“The Flash Plugin has Crashed”

It’s a common enough scenario. You experience a problem on the computer. You call the hardware vendor, who blames the software. You call the software vendor, who blames the hardware. In each case, you’re dealing with a chaiwallah in India who has nothing to go on but a script targeted for the least-competent computer user in the universe, and you waste precious time in order to get no answers. Which explains this XKCD comic. “Dammit” is right.

My problem: Flash 11.5.502.146 and Firefox 18.0.1 (both the latest versions) are incompatible, and the flash plugin crashes every ten minutes, with a cute little “submit a crash report” link. I’d be curious to know where those reports go, and if anyone cares, because the problem has been going on for a long time. For me, the problem began with Firefox 16 and have continued to date. Mozilla blames Adobe’s Flash 11.3 update, and the fora appear to bear out the fact that there are problems in Flash that Mozilla can do nothing about, and Adobe appears to be unwilling to fix, given the current version numbers.

Today I chatted with Adobe’s customer support, and you can see the result below:

Thank you for choosing Adobe. A representative will be with you shortly. Your estimated wait time is 2 minute(s) and 30 second(s) or longer as there are 1 customer(s) in line ahead of you.

You are now chatting with Vikas.

Vikas: Hello. Welcome to Adobe Technical Support. How may I assist you?

Me: I would like to know when Adobe will resolve its issues with Mozilla. This has been going on for over a year now. I’m using Flash – 11.5.502.146 and Firefox – 18.0.1, and the flash plugin crashes constantly. I have visited every online forum I can find, and everything points to the fact that the problem lies with Adobe’s refusal to fix certain bugs, and nothing to do with Firefox. It’s depressing, and I want it fixed.

Vikas: I can understand your concern. There could be multiple reasons for this error, we need to look into the issue and fix it. However,if you need our assistance then you need to purchase a support contract for $39. As the support for flash player or any other free software is paid.

Me: I don’t want to pay a fee, and I don’t want support to take me through a whole lot of idiot-checks only to find out in the end that the problem is the same one everyone knows about. I simply want the product fixed. Can you give me assurances that the problem is being addressed by Adobe, and a date when the fix will be implemented?

Vikas: I really apologize Chris. If you dont wish to pay I can escalate your feedback to our engineering team so that they can look into the issue. However, cannot assure you the time frame.

Me: Is Adobe aware of the issue, and are they working on it?

Vikas: We work on every feedback provided to us by the customers. We are currently working on the issue. As explained that cannot assure you the time frame.

Me: Thank you for your time. I appreciate your being there to answer questions.

I do my best to be polite to phone agents because they’re just trying to make a buck like me, but you can see that the corporate script they have to work with is hqiz. Even if I had paid the $39.00 fee (an insult!), the result is fore-ordained: “Is your computer plugged in? Have you rebooted? I suggest you re-install Windows 7…”

What bothers me the most is the insouciance. When companies get so large that their budgets move into the billions of dollars, some problems are deemed not worth fixing, and users are nothing more than dollar signs, some of which can be sacrificed as collateral damage in the pursuit of even greater profits elsewhere. It can be downright depressing.

I’m getting close to my only real solution at this point – ditching Mozilla altogether. I have it configured just the way I like it – no ads, no trackers, and a number of very useful add-ons, which are the main factors which keep me hanging around. Chrome has no such problems, and my patience is almost at an end. I’m surprised the Mozilla community has been unable to bring any pressure to bear on Adobe, Mogg knows they’re big enough.

The Old Wolf has whined enough for now.

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