No Flash: Just like an iPad, only different (and much crappier)

To say that the PC I use at my freelance job is as useful as a smoldering heap of turd would be an insult to heaps of turd throughout the world. It’s slow, sluggish and lacking many elements that people take for granted, Adobe Flash among them.

Adobe Flash

One of the biggest criticisms of the Apple iPad is that it doesn’t support Flash, which means users of the tablet can’t see a lot of video content on the Web. However, while the lack of Flash support represents a fairly serious issue, the iPad is still much cooler and much more advanced than the creaky Pentium 4 HP with an undersized monitor that I’m stuck with at work.

The problem is that as a freelancer, I’m the lowest person on the totem pole, and I certainly don’t feel empowered enough to bitch about anything equipment-related. When the nice, big monitor I had for my first couple of weeks on the job fizzled out and was replaced by the Etch-a-Sketch I’m using now, I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

My policy as a freelancer is to draw as little attention to myself as possible, because my tenure at this job can end instantly, without the details of letting a full-time employee go, such as dealing with benefits and severance packages.

So while every single person on this planet does personal things online during work hours — and don’t even try to tell me you don’t — I still don’t want to advertise the fact that I engage in that activity. And the lack of Flash hinders me more in my personal use of the Web than it does in my work-related use, although it has definitely tripped me up while doing actual work, as well.

Not having Flash has mostly been a problem when trying to sneak in a little work for my other freelance gig while between stories (hush up now). Tech-related sites tend to use newer technology (not that Flash is that new, but you get my point), so I have a great deal of trouble accessing sites like TechCrunch. I can’t use Scribd to upload documents. I can’t use Seesmic Web to manage my Twitter account (which made me realize just how badly Twitter.com sucks ass).

When it comes to really personal Web use, the biggest annoyance is the fact that live game trackers like those on ESPN.com or MLB.com don’t work without Flash, so when I’m stuck in the office during a Yankees game — which happens far too often for my tastes — I have to rely on my Droid to keep tabs on the team. In my opinion, if I’m going to be stuck in the office during a ballgame, an HDTV feed, snacks and beer should be provided. Unfortunately, management and I don’t see eye-to-eye on that. But at least let me follow the damn game on my PC.

Sadly, until the IT department at this company realizes that Pentium 4 chips, Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 ceased their tenures as state-of-the-art five years ago, I doubt I’ll ever see Flash on this heap of junk.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to refresh the browser on my Droid for the 593rd time so I can see how the Yanks are doing.

iPad, Kindle, or neither?

I am generally a big fan of new technology. I don’t embrace every new product, gadget, application or Web site that comes along, but for the most part, I find new stuff cool. Yet I have no desire whatsoever to invest in either an Apple iPad or an Amazon Kindle.

Apple iPad

Do they have some cool features? Absolutely. Do I think they’re silly, useless or unnecessary? Not in the least. As someone who tends to lean toward Apple, I’d probably go with the iPad if I had to choose between the two, even though the iPad is considerably more expensive ($499-$829, versus $259-489 for the Kindle). What can I say? Apple is cool.

Here’s my issue: While both devices have multiple functions, the main reason for buying either involves reading, whether it’s reading newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, or whatever. And I wouldn’t want to have to worry about an expensive electronic device in the places where I do most of my reading.

The throne: I’m not trying to be gross, but some of my best reading, as well as some of my best thinking (shut up!), takes place while sitting on the throne. The bathroom is no place for an expensive electronic device.

In bed: I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to try to hold an iPad or a Kindle and read it while resting in bed. I could be wrong about this one, but I’m a little skeptical.

Amazon Kindle 2

At lunch: Whether I’m working a full-time job or working part-time from home (my current situation), I usually treat myself to what I call one “fat bastard” lunch per week, where I completely separate myself from my computer and indulge in some gross but fun fast food – Wendy’s, Five Guys, White Mana. I always take that time to read the paper while I eat. I would never run the risk of getting French-fry grease, ketchup or soda on an iPad or a Kindle.

The beach: I’m always nervous about having my cell phone at the beach. Hell, I don’t even like having my $29 radio near the sand when I listen to Yankee games on the beach. I’d be terrified to have a delicate electronic device there.

So, I think I’ll pass on an iPad or a Kindle for now. Oh, yeah, and the fact that I’m dead-ass broke might also have a little something to do with that.