Those who frequently work with portable Macs should really consider reading this article. I’ve been dealing with some internet connectivity issues at home recently and as a result, I’ve had to bring my MacBook to Starbucks where I get to leech off free wifi in exchange for a Chai LattÃ©. Sure, that temporarily connected me back with the rest of the world but I had to be quick. With the wireless network adapter switched on and no power point in sight, my battery would last a measly 4 hours.
Let me put this in perspective for you – I had less than 4 hours to research a topic for my next article (from scratch), think of the angle which should be presented to you (the readers), write the article, proofread it and submit it – all within the four-hour time frame. I’m not saying that it’s impossible but really, quite close to the limit.
Since then, I got myself a UMTS device and luckily from a provider which offers unlimited usage for a fixed monthly fee. I know for a fact that a lot of other providers out there charge by the megabyte. Those of you with such a tariff and are looking for a way to reduce your internet usage, read on.
Both of these issues (battery life and restricted internet usage) can be addressed with one simple application – BashFlash. You see, flash is a major pain in the ass. It appears in ads as animations and online video players. And it does two things very well; firstly, it takes up a lot of your internet usage because of those damned flash videos that masquerade as advertisements which automatically load whether you want them to or not; and secondly, when flash videos play, it uses a whole lot of CPU power, heating it up, and draining the battery because the fan has to run and cool it back down again.
Here’s where BashFlash comes in. It’s a menubar app that detects the activity of the Flash plugin. Whenever Flash takes up a significant amount of processing power, BashFlash’s menubar icon will turn from grey to red, allowing you to kill the Flash plugin.
Now, before you download BashFlash, know this: you need to be running an Intel Mac on Snow Leopard at 64-bit. Don’t know if you’re running at 32- or 64-bit? Check this page out, basically you need to have at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Also, you need to use Safari in order for BashFlash to work. Firefox and other browsers doesn’t run Flash as a separate plugin so BashFlash can’t kill the process.
If you happily fulfill both requirements, then let’s see what BashFlash can do for you. After installing it, BashFlash places its icon on the menubar. If there is no Flash content running in Safari, the icon will appear grey. Once a flash-enabled ad or video loads, the icon will turn red and subsequently allows you to kill the Flash process.
And look what happens immediately. The plugin is temporarily disabled and the video stops playing, CPU usage goes back to normal, internet usage normalizes, and battery is saved. All is well.
Reload the page and everything starts up again, including the Flash plugin. Nothing is permanently disabled so you get to choose exactly when and how to deploy the Flash killer.
Again, BashFlash will only work with Safari and Intel Macs running on Snow Leopard at 64-bit. Do you get annoyed with flash ads that suddenly spike up your laptop’s core temperature and start spinning the fan unnecessarily? What do you do about it?