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Flash sucks the life out of your MacBook

Using Adobe's Flash plug-in on your portable device could reduce battery life by as much as 33 per cent according to testing carried out by a respected tech website.

Ars Technica's in-depth and otherwise positive review of the latest 11-inch MacBook discovered "quite by accident" according to the report's author, that installing the Flash browser plug-in gave the razor sharp laptop's CPU such a kicking that it lost up to two hours of run-time.

Apple has made a big deal of excommunicating Flash in all of its forms from its hand-held devices, but the two newly-released MacBook Air models are the first from the Cupertino company not to have the browser plug-in or Player software pre-installed.

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time weaving their way around the web will be aware that Flash is often irritating, invariably expensive on CPU overhead, and seldom essential, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that Steve Jobs' antipathy with the animation and video software is increasingly well-founded.

"Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably - as much as 33 percent in our testing," states the Ars review. "With a handful of websites loaded in Safari, Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary, and the best time I recorded with Flash installed was just four hours. After deleting Flash, however, the MacBook Air ran for 6:02 - with the exact same set of websites reloaded in Safari, and with static ads replacing the CPU-sucking Flash versions."

With more and more major websites turning to HTML5 for their moving imagery, and smart users disabling Flash animations in favour of better battery life and less unwarranted strain on the CPU, we reckon it's about time Adobe started to rethink the future of its ageing and ultimately unnecessary Flash platform.

Just think how many gigawatts of power those millions of daft animated ads sitting in unseen browser tabs are sucking up on desktop machines all over the world. Time to turn the lights off, we reckon.