Talking Out of Both Sides of Your Ass

I usually leave the commentary on Adobe to my Angry Mac Bastards cohort John Welch, but this gem was too good to give up. I’ve commented before in various venues that my issue with Adobe has little to do with shit like Flash performance, but rather the rampaging idiocy that comes out of Adobe’s Flash marketing team. Specifically, of course, I’m referring to master twit John “I Shift More Goalposts Than a Football Stadium Construction Engineer” Dowdell.

Case in point, let’s take a look at a recent entry on John’s blog: “Same Markup” makes sense. The overall thesis of the post matters little for our analysis today. As far as I can tell it’s some twaddle about how talking about “HTML5” is “divisive and “blah blah fragmentation.” But let’s pull some quotes:

Why is this important? Because every instance of willful fragmentation increases content development costs, increases content support costs, and increases content maintenance costs.

and:

Adobe’s about bridging the different silos. But even if you don’t use the Adobe work, you shouldn’t have to pay a “developers tax” to reach different devices.

Ignoring the rich creamy irony of a company that sells a suite of products for near a grand talking about “developers tax,” the message that Dowdell obviously wants us to take away here is that Adobe is the great unifier; the bridger of divides.

Now let’s look at the immediately preceding blog post: Evaluating device choices. Again, the overall post itself doesn’t matter—for the record it’s basically a load of apologia for why Flash Player 10.1 on Android isn’t the Alpha and Omega that Adobe claimed it would be — but let’s pull some quotes:

One of the tricky incentives is that nearly every manufacturer wants to highlight the world’s creative SWF content-they want Flash. This leads to differences between various Player 10.1 and Flash Lite offerings-between devices which have worked with Adobe for mutual optimization and those which haven’t even between Adobe runtimes and non-Adobe SWF renderers (whether JavaScript or native code or third-party ports).

and:

Flash Lite or Player 10.1? Up to you. Each is a different era, will do different things. There have been a billion or two devices shipped with Flash Lite through the world, and they’ll continue to play a role for some time to come. You may want your own high-end most-current device, but it’s really vital to know how your potential audience may experience things too. If you’re developing creative work for real world audiences, then experiencing their experience is vital. Up to you.

and:

Will it all be totally groovy? Groovier than without, but the World Wide Web’s graphics & video haven’t always anticipated being displayed on itty-bitty screens (or great-big screens either, for that matter). It will take a few years before the Web is equally happy on all types of displays. High-resolution video files will particularly strain a connection. Set your expectation against prior reality, not idealized reality. It’s a big step forward.

and finally:

Player vs AIR: The Adobe Flash Player works within browsers, and there’s a lot of existing web content, whether that’s one-third, two-thirds, whatever. AIR is applications, where the interface logic and data remain on your personal machine. Whether the app code itself is “in the cloud” or “on the desktop” is your own choice, and most people find both are necessary. First AIR/mobile deliveries are expected to appear on Android later this year. Do what makes sense for you now.

Why, if I didn’t know better (because Adobe is the great uniter) I’d say that sounded like a fragmented situation.

This is my beef with Adobe’s messaging about Flash, and Dowdell in particular. They seem to exist in some sort of quantum existential flux where they will say whatever they need to in the moment to promote Flash, even if it contradicts what they said mere moments before.