Flash animations in background Safari windows

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 6th, 2003 • 10:36 pm

I find it rather disappointing that, on my dual 1.25 GHz G4, when a Flash animation such as the one that Salon forces you to go through before you can access its “premium” content is playing in a Safari window that is not currently in the foreground (even if Safari itself is in the foreground), the animation plays in slow motion, as if my computer didn’t have enough resources to play it at regular speed at the same time I was doing something else in another window.

After all, for years now Apple has been promoting Mac OS X as a great multitasking environment, what with minimized QuickTime movies running in the Dock and the ability to run several QuickTime movies simultaneously without frames being dropped.

Correct me if I am wrong, but playing Flash animations should be far less processor-intensive than playing video in QuickTime, shouldn’t it? Yet the Flash performance in Safari, while better than it was in the early beta versions (where Flash sites were frequently unviewable), is still abysmal.

The blame is probably shared equally by Apple and by Macromedia. The same Flash animation in a background window in Explorer also runs slower than it does when the Explorer window is in the foreground. But — surprise, surprise — it is not as slow as it is in a background Safari window!

For a computer and operating system that’s supposed to be at the forefront of the “multimedia war”, this is utterly disappointing.

(And, of course, I won’t mention how useful it would be if Safari could provide the option to turn off such animations when they are used as annoying ads that loop endlessly.)

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