Uninstalling Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash’s days are numbered. Flash is one of those technologies that I never liked using. Using a Flash app on a small business website was never great, but Flash on commercial websites just felt gross, slow, and never felt like it belonged on my Mac. Adobe announced that they would discontinue Flash Player for interactive content at the end 2020. Unfortunately, Adobe’s announcement was in 2017. With months still left on the countdown clock, why are we talking about Flash now?

In the intervening years, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome have been becoming more aggressive at warning and then blocking access to Flash apps. Starting with Safari Technical Preview 99, the WebKit team will be completely removing support for Adobe Flash support from the browser.

Long time Apple fans knew that this day has been coming. From the get-go, Apple famously did not allow Flash to run on their iOS platform. It was a decision that I fully supported after seeing how terribly Flash ran on Palm webOS devices. A decade ago, the late Steve Jobs ranted about Flash in a 1,600-word argument against the technology in a blog post titled “Thoughts on Flash“. In the post, he made an impassioned plea to convince the tech industry, and Apple customers, that Flash was a terrible technology while also arguing that Flash-free Apple products would perform better. It was classic Jobs: fight for the users and Apple all at the same time.

So, now what? If you are like me, I’m ready to ditch Flash now. I already use the Safari Technology Preview beta software. My remaining need for Flash, working with a team that still used Flash on their website, has gone away. Now, I’m ready to rip Flash out of macOS 10.15 Catalina. Here’s how we can uninstall Flash together.

First, go get Flash uninstall tool from the Adobe website.

Next, double-click the uninstall_flash_player_osx.dmg download file. This will create a Flash Player drive icon on your desktop (below, left and center).

Inside the Flash Player drive, double-click the Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller.app file (above, right). When prompted, enter your macOS password to authorize the removal of Flash.

When you are done, drag the Flash Player drive icon and the uninstall_flash_player_osx.dmg file to the trash can icon in the Dock.

Since Flash has a System Preferences control panel and plug-ins for the web browsers that you may have installed on your Mac, I like to also add in a reboot just for good measure.

Upgrade Firefox Now

In an eyebrow raising announcement, users of Mozilla’s Firefox browser are urgently warned to upgrade to Firefox 72.0.1, Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) 68.4.1, and Thunderbird 68.4.1 (which uses the Firefox engine) or later right away.

All software has bugs, and Mozilla’s software is no exception. Also, bad guys will ruin everything on the Internet.

What makes this warning from the United States Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) so important is that there are active attacks being made on Firefox compromised websites that have been infected with malicious web pages. Once an unpatched version of Firefox is successfully exploited, an attacker will be able to gain control over the Mac or Windows PC that the browser is running on.

The CISA cybersecurity warning reads:

“Mozilla has released security updates to address a vulnerability in Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. This vulnerability was detected in exploits in the wild.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisories for Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1 and Thunderbird 68.4.1 and apply the necessary updates.”

Mozilla has provided directions for upgrading your copy of Firefox to the latest release on their support website.

Keep yourself safe. Apply this update, even if you normally do not like to apply software patches and upgrades.

Linux Mint 19.3 Now Available

Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia Cinnamon desktop in action

Now that the holidays are over and the family schedule is going back to normal, I discovered this morning that the girls and boys at the Linux Mark Institute have released Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia”.

Released with three desktop environments, Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce, “Tricia” is ready for download as an .iso downloadable for new installations or via the software update feature in an existing Linux Mint install. If you have not used Linux before, or need help with the installation process, you can download the install, user, or troubleshooting guides from Linux Mint website.

If you have an extra PC lying around, or have a virtual machine system, such as VMware Fusion, Parallels, or Virtual Box, you install a Linux distribution like Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia is easy and painless to do.

A nice feature of booting up the .iso installer as a virtual PC is that you can test drive and play around with Mint before committing to installing it. If you like what you see, double-click the install icon on the desktop to take the plunge!

Some of the advantages of using Linux as your PC operating system includes getting away from costly Microsoft Windows upgrades and copy protection shenanigans, frequent security updates, and side stepping all of the popular Windows-based malware. (No OS is 100% secure, so you should always use a malware protection product).