Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Graphics Software IT

Is Flash Really On 99% of Net Devices? 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the self-proclaimed-ubiquity dept.
Barence writes "Adobe claims that its Flash platform reaches '99% of internet viewers,' but a closer look at those statistics suggests it's not exactly all-encompassing. Adobe puts Flash player penetration at 947 million users out of a total 956 million internet-connected devices, but the total number of PCs is based on a forecast made two years ago. What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people — around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Is Flash Really On 99% of Net Devices?

Comments Filter:
  • by cypherwise (650128) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:02PM (#26948839) Journal
    If these sites had tiny embedded flash objects whose sole purpose was to test for successful loading or not you would be able to get a ton more stats that any survey. How much do you think they could charge for data like this?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Is that, as I child of the 70s, it brings to mind the act of exposing yourself. In the 70s the image of this was a pervert wearing a trenchcoat.
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:55PM (#26949251)

      plus the survey was conducted using a flash pop-up

    • by nametaken (610866) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:58PM (#26949279)

      Googles Analytics does check for flash player. I'm sure they know. ;)

      And let's see...956-947 million for a difference of 9 million users? Let's ignore linux users for a moment... we have no idea how many linux users have flash. OTOH, I'm pretty sure I read that Apple has sold well over 10 million iPhones. We all know iPhones don't have flash. So I'm pretty sure we already know that number is absolute bullshit.

      Nice work Adobe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nitro-57 (656185)
        With noscript I block Google Analytics and flash. This would put a bit of skew in the data.
        • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @02:11PM (#26949921) Homepage
          Lots of tracking software has ways to account for people like you. Xiti, for example, loads both a script and a small image. They err on the side of caution and assume that people who load the image but not the script have fairly restrictive settings. So, Xiti tells me that after filtering out bots 2% of my users have js dis-activated, although I believe that the actual percentage is lower. If I assume that all of those users have flash disabled and combine that with the fact that Javascript-based Google analytics tells me that 3% of my users either don't have Flash or that it doesn't recognize their flash version, at most 5% of my visitors don't have Flash and the actual number is probably a small fraction of that.

          In general, I do not advocate the use of Flash in web design, but you cannot deny that it is nearly ubiquitous.
      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        And on top of that you can add the 10 million+ iPod touch. Given that there's no contract attached to the iPod touch and that it's available everywhere (no need for a carrier), I'm pretty sure it's also at least 10 million.

    • At least for your own site, google analytics will not only tell you what proportion of users have flash installed but also which version.

      For example, on my sites (4 medium/smallish commercial sites with around 1000 visits per day each) 45% of users have Flash 10.0 r12, 53% have some version of Flash 9, and 3% have "not set," which is probably split between users with no Flash and users with something that blocks GA's data collection (things such as no script could do this, but I think this is unlikely as
    • by yog (19073) * on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:57PM (#26949803) Homepage Journal

      Flash is pretty ubiquitous. It comes on every Windows PC loaded with Internet Explorer, and it's an easy download for Macs and Linux machines. The Android phone OS from Google supports Flash, and Adobe has announced a working Flash for iPhone, simply awaiting Apple's go-ahead. The new Palm Pre phone will have Flash. Windows Mobile has Flash Lite. Probably, Apple will allow Flash if Pre and Android phone sales take off.

      Youtube pretty much ensured Flash's predominance. Suddenly, there was an easy, painless way to watch video and listen to audio without having to mess with Realplayer and Windows Multimedia codecs and stupid digital rights management code that only works in certain versions of MS Windows.

      It's interesting how Flash took the web app market away from Java. Flash is the big player in interactive web apps, while Java is a bit player. Java is still huge in server side apps but it's dead on the desktop. I can't even get Java applets to run on my current home machine with Firefox and Suse Linux, but I have no incentive to get it working. There are still a couple of web sites out there that use java applets for their user interface widgets, but these are few and far between.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ahabswhale (1189519)

        Regardless, the stat is still meaningless. I have flash installed but I use NoScript to block all of it. I only have it to occasionally watch YouTube vids. I refuse to go to flash sites because they are 95% dogshit. I'm not exaggerating for effect...I honestly feel that way about flash sites. So, just because flash is installed doesn't mean a whole lot if a user blocks the vast majority of it.

  • The fact is the vast majority of people that are targeted do have Flash (especially compared to those with Silverlight) and that's all most people decided whether or not to flash will care about.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      To make things like YouTube and pr0n sites work you have to have Flash. The day YouTube et al changes to something else is the day that Silverlight will become significant.

      VHS all over again!

      But then there is the use of AdBlock etc. that kills flash ads, so using a flash item to analyze the use and spread of flash may be grossly misleading.

      Of course - in some cases devices actually lacks Flash for one reason or another, but this is more on specialized devices and mobile devices where performance and bandwid

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        To make things like YouTube and pr0n sites work you have to have Flash.

        Wrong. All you need is a browser that HTML5 compliant. Safari on iPhone, iPod touch, Mac OS X and Windows can already play video in this manner. Firefox and Opera should also support this method pretty soon, with Internet Explorer 15 also supporting it around 2154.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:03PM (#26948849)

    "Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?"

    No.

    - Ramanujam

  • Of course not! It's more like 98.5%

  • Count me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:04PM (#26948867)

    I'm proud to be in the 1% of people who haven't been penetrated by Flash.

    Flash was originally crafted with the best of intentions, I'm sure, but due to gross misuse by virtually everyone who's ever touched it, Flash has become a blight on the face of the Tubes. Whether it's noisy and annoying ads, embedded-but-not-linked video, site navigation without a plain HTML version, or malware-pushing securityless redirects, Flash has earned its rightful place in /dev/null.

    • Re:Count me... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by someone1234 (830754) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:10PM (#26948911)

      Well, i hate flash as website menu and eyecandy.
      But some flash games are really nice.
      If you never played ANY flash game, you miss something.
      There are so many different games, one might be good for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bjourne (1034822)
      There is not a single technology on the web that has not been abused in the same way flash has. Javascript is mostly used for popup ads and page hit tracking cookies, CSS by designers who creates pixel perfect sites on their system but breaks down on any other browser and creates a nightmare for accessability. And don't forget HTML, it is a mess of marque tags, ugly framesets and unclosed P tags. Oh and don't forget images, they are just for porn, animated gif ads and for 1x1 alignment images because the de
      • by socsoc (1116769)
        WTF is a marque tag? Please point me to the HTML spec that describes brands. If you meant marquee, it was never part of a W3C spec.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I don't know if it was crafted with the best of intentions. It is was it would have had the ability to turned off by default, just like image loading. The reason so many people use it is because it couldn't be turened off by default. So it became the preferred option to animated gifs. As of now, I have it turned off on the browser I notrmally use, and move to another browser when I have to use a flash intensive site.

      This is why I am perfectly having having a phone that does not run flash. I can see

    • I'm proud to be in the 1% of people who haven't been penetrated by Flash.

      Likewise. I have several machines that would cheerfully do their part to lower Flash's penetration statistics.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I'm proud to be in the 1% of people who haven't been penetrated by Flash.

      Uh.... huh huh huh. Don't deny it, we know you'd let him [gaygamer.net] given the chance! :)

      BTW... 99%? That's promiscuous!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rockrr (1196773)
      For computers that have the primary drive that is not "C", flash won't install. I have one,(of four)that is without flash. I find that I don't really need it. I would rather read information than have it shown to me.
    • Re:Count me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:44PM (#26949683) Homepage Journal

      Wow, what an insightful comment.

      Considering I have developed several RIA applications that run on both the desktop and the web in ActionScript that have nothing embedded save for minor graphics assets to smooth out the loading process and implements full on MVC architectures that utilize Unit Testing ... it's warming to know that I just create mindless bullshit.

      Flex, which is a flash based technology and requires the Flash player is becoming every bit as valid a development framework as Java. And works hand in hand with Java on the server-side and through communication protocols such as RTMP and RTMFP.

      And while there will always be crap code developed in any language, blaming the tool itself for the ineptitude of developers is nothing short of ignorance.

      Why don't you just do us all a favor and just call your service provider and have them disco your service?

      Clearly, you must be to the point of a nervous breakdown having to tolerate the mountain of crap that is YouTube and all those millions of blog sites with crappy javascript, poorly formated HTML and links to banner ads to overburdened ad-farms.

  • by UnixUnix (1149659) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:09PM (#26948893) Homepage
    I do browse the Internet with my BlackBerry Pearl, and no, I cannot get Flash video on it. Was the definition of "Internet viewer" tailored to purpose, by any chance?
    • I don't have flash on my iPhone -- and I like it that way!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nametaken (610866)

        As I mentioned earlier, if I've read it right, Adobe claims 9 million devices that don't run flash. Apple has sold over 10 million iphones.

        Sounds like "Myth Busted" to me.

    • I do browse the Internet with my BlackBerry Pearl, and no, I cannot get Flash video on it. Was the definition of "Internet viewer" tailored to purpose, by any chance?

      TFA quotes Adobe's fine print (some of it anyway) in which Adobe specifically states "desktop computers".

      Hey I use Flashblock on my Mac - I wonder how I'd be counted?

      • TFA quotes Adobe's fine print (some of it anyway) in which Adobe specifically states "desktop computers".

        Un huh. That says a lot, considering most of the people I know no longer use desktop computers to access the Internet.

    • No Commodore 64s have Flash installed. That doesn't mean that no Commodore 64 users have access to flash content.

  • Blockers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:09PM (#26948895)
    It would be more interesting to conduct a survey to find what percentage of net users find Flash as annoying as I do.

    Maybe some download stats for Flashblock? I would have to agree that Flash is now more or less inescapable, especially if you like YouTube, but if a site is built on Flash it's usually a surefire sign that the content won't be worth the bandwidth.
    • by YGingras (605709)

      With Konqueror, I set my flash viewer to /bin/true. That way I avoid the annoying pop-ups that ask me if I want to save to disk or to install a viewer. I also avoid the annoying flash content but I unfortunately lead some clueless webmasters into believing that I'm "flash enabled".

  • Learn statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:10PM (#26948903)

    Please, this "how can just 4600 people represent so many" comment is something any college-educated person should know better than to say. Provided the sample was drawn randomly from a representative pool of users, 4600 people is more than adequate, giving a sampling error of about 2%.

    • Re:Learn statistics (Score:4, Informative)

      by Guido von Guido (548827) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:51PM (#26949217)

      Please, this "how can just 4600 people represent so many" comment is something any college-educated person should know better than to say. Provided the sample was drawn randomly from a representative pool of users, 4600 people is more than adequate, giving a sampling error of about 2%.

      Agreed--but the methodology could well be iffy. From Adobe's methodology page [adobe.com], "Panelists are recruited from multiple sources such as RDD, in-person interviews, Web partners, as well as banner ads." The "Web partners" and banner ad commponents seem particularly troubling to me.

      • by catxk (1086945)

        Agreed, it is troubling enough to disregard the results entirely. But I guess we already did that as the study is based on two years old data, practically excluding all mobile devices.

        But to question the validity due to a sample size of 4600 is as mentioned not very educated. 1000 respondents will provide a satisfactory result no matter how large the population.

    • by hardburn (141468)

      The study claims a 5% margin of error, with a 95% confidence. That's a bit on the high side for these sorts of studies, but it's good enough to validate the 99% figure.

      It may not be a good random sample, though.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      College brainwashed perhaps.

      4600 may be enough 'statistically' but anyone with half a clue about statistics knows how utterly easy it is to make them say anything you want them to say. 4600 is ONLY useful if it is truely random, but it wasn't.

      It can not possibly be, they did an email survey, that in and of itself has limited and biased the survey group. The survey was done only in english, another major bias.

      So while you can say you're educated and know why it works, you are talking about theory that is r

  • by FalseModesty (166253) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:12PM (#26948929)

    The fact that the sample is a very small fraction of the total population does not make it meaningless.

    It may be meaningless for OTHER reasons of course...

  • A forecast from 2 years ago might have assumed Flash Lite getting onto more mobile platforms than it has. The iPhone & iPod Touch, for example, certainly take a decent chunk of the mobile market at the moment, and neither can run Flash.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:18PM (#26948961) Journal
    The survey was made in flash
  • by Chysn (898420) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:19PM (#26948969)

    Saying that Flash can be viewed by "99% of internet viewers" is not saying that Flash is on "99% of internet devices." My Centro doesn't have Flash, but my work laptop does, so I'd say "yes" if polled about whether I have access to Flash content. My ratio of internet devices to Flash-capable devices (5:2) doesn't interest Abobe.

    Their claim is probably about right.

    • Their claim is probably about right.

      I'd be highly surprised if it's right. Getting 99% of any population to adopt ANYTHING is pretty near impossible.

      For one thing, iPhones couldn't handle youtube, last time I checked. They have some fake version of youtube by default, but if you cancel that and go to the real youtube site, it won't work.

      • by iggymanz (596061)
        you're missing the point, those iPhone users also have PC that have flash.
      • Yet it's probably a safe assumption that nearly all iPhone owners will have a PC or Mac as well - and those devices /can/ access the Internet.

        Just because a single device can't access content does not mean that a user can't access it. While I think the phrasing attributed to Adobe is a bit iffy, I also think it's fairly safe to say that 99% of Internet users can view Flash-based content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nametaken (610866)

      You should have read the article.

      It WAS about flash enabled devices. The survey used embedded flash, with "can you see this" type questions. That survey was meant to devine the percentage of internet enabled DEVICES.

      It wasn't a "do you own a device somewhere that can play flash content?" survey.

  • Test YOUR Users (Score:5, Informative)

    by md17 (68506) * <james@jamesward. o r g> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:22PM (#26948985) Homepage

    [I also posted a portion of this on the original site but thought it might also be useful here.]

    Being a Technical Evangelist for Adobe I frequently get questioned about our published statistics. My response is that you should always test YOUR user base before you make a decision about building on any technology. And in most cases when companies do their own testing the results are within one percent of our published numbers. This is true for enterprise's, SMBs, media companies, etc. But occasionally I hear about some demographic where the numbers are totally off. For instance, if your user base is still working on green screens then you will find lower Flash Player penetration numbers there.

    I think Slashdot should publish their stats about their users. It would be interesting to see what the Flash Player penetration is like with this demographic - especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

    -James (Adobe)

    • I think Slashdot should publish their stats about their users. It would be interesting to see what the Flash Player penetration is like with this demographic - especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

      I never see them ..... you should learn how to block ads.

    • ... especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

      That's very odd ... for some reason, I do not.

    • Re:Test YOUR Users (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @02:14PM (#26949957)
      I am an Internet user, and Flash does not work on my Sony Ericsson P1i phone, my Nokia E61i, my FreeBSD desktop, and only sometimes works on my Ubuntu desktop. However, all of these recieve frequent solicitations to download a "compatible version".

      Either create a compatible version, or stop asking me to download one.

      Yes I know Flash works on Windows XP. And maybe 99% of Internet users use WindowsXP. That is a poor excuse for not working on FreeBSD on UltraSparc hardware. Either you go after the "long tail". or you agravate the nerds. We, the nerds, are currently agravated.

  • There's no flash on the iPhone.

  • You could just go the HTML route...

    w3c claims that its HTML platform reaches '100% of interweb viewers,' but a closer look at those statistics suggests it's not exactly all-encompassing. w3c puts HTML-capable web browser penetration at 956 million users out of a total 956 million internet-connected devices, but the total number of PCs is based on a forecast made two years ago. What's more, the number of HTML users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people - around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 100% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?

    • HTML reaches 100% of all web users

      Well, if you're including those web users on Windows-based mobile phones... you'll have to broaden the definition of "HTML" for this to be true.

      I kid, I kid... okay I'm not completely kidding.

  • Unfortunately... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Strake (982081)

    99% seems an ambitious estimate. 64-bit Flash, for example, is still in testing, and many distributions still do not include it. What about the myriad CPU architectures used in embedded devices? Different browsers? Different operating systems?

    Perhaps if it were an open standard, it could be more widely supported, instead of supported only on those platforms selected by Adobe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      99% seems an ambitious estimate. 64-bit Flash, for example, is still in testing, and many distributions still do not include it. What about the myriad CPU architectures used in embedded devices? Different browsers? Different operating systems?

      Perhaps if it were an open standard, it could be more widely supported, instead of supported only on those platforms selected by Adobe.

      Not really. 64 bit Windows can run 32 bit browsers. Flash comes in both 32 and 64 bit forms for Linux.

      If you look here

      http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8 [hitslink.com]

      Windows 88.26%
      Mac 9.93%
      Linux 0.83%

      Add them up and you get just over 99%

      Anyhow it is open swfdec and Gnash exist. And Adobe offers Flashlite for embedded platforms.

  • ... my guess is that flash penetration has to be at least significant, since youtube uses flash practically exclusively before you can view any videos. I'd like to see numbers from major video streaming sites and other flash using sites as well.

    I know that I sometimes get peeved when I am asked to download a file like quicktime or some other format now instead of just stream it via flash.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:37PM (#26949111)

    I love flash and I think it's time to start lobbying Adobe to make Flash Open Source Software. I know its specs are open but we don't know what tool Microsoft might be planning now with its Silverlight platform.

    If we succeeded with Sun's Java, we surely can succeed with Adobe's Flash. This will mean that these wonderful pieces of software can be bundled with Linux by default --- Sweet!

    One thing I still miss are picture controls on all those video sites including Youtube. You sometimes need to put a little light, hue and contrast into those pictures.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by failedlogic (627314)

      A better lobbying effort would be: Make Adobe less of a CPU resource hog.

      A have a 4 or 5 gen old dual-core w/ 2 GB RAM and at times my system almost comes to a halt with a Flash page. I feel sorry for people with lesser systems. Don't they realize this is one reason why Flash Block exists? If they are concerned with PR (the reason for this survey) then they should be more concerned that more and more people are blocking flash.

  • by jonnyj (1011131) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:45PM (#26949171)

    I'd expect tech readers to have a modicum of statistical sense, but the arguments presented in the summary display an embarrasing ignorance of established statistical techniques. The central limit theorem - one of the first things taught on any stats course - suggests that the sample size is more than adequate, and the researchers have made a serious attempt to take a representative sample across coutries, age groups and genders.

    The flaws in the research are more subtle but aren't picked up in the summary. First, beware of any vendor-funded survey - you can guarantee that the although the underlying facts are probably accurate, the interpretation will spun to the point of incredulity. Also, there's probably good reason to believe that people who take part in email surveys aren't representative of the wider population.

    But the real problem is that the survey muddles up devices and people: the research discovered that 99% of people can read see Flash animations, but that doesn't remotely mean that 99% of internet-connected devices have Flash. My phone is connected to the innternet, but it certainly can't read Flash files, for example, but I generally read emails on my PC not my phone

    Having said that, the results smell about right. Almost all PCs have Flash because it's so easy to install these days - even on Linux./P

  • The Wii browser for example uses an rampantly outdated version of the Flash player and is incompatible with oh so many sites. I bet this is true for many other platforms as well.
  • Survey shenanigans (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unts (754160) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:52PM (#26949227) Homepage Journal

    What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people

    It didn't help that the survey was done using a flash app. Some might say that skewed the results somewhat.

  • Accessibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by azav (469988) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:56PM (#26949261) Homepage Journal

    How do they survey the people they can't reach or only speak something like Vietnamese?

  • by smack.addict (116174) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:56PM (#26949265)

    /. should not be a forum for perpetrating common ignorance, such as the comment,

    "What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people â" around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached?"

    They really needed to survey just 1,000 people to get a statistically meaningful survey.

    It does not pass the smell test because it leaves out a number of important devices we know to exist on the Internet (for example, the iPhone).

    The problem is almost certainly sample bias. 1,000 data points is significantly relevant if your sample is truly random and not skewed towards a particular subgroup. Sample bias means that your mechanism for picking who you sampled would be more likely to pull data points from a specific subgroup. For example, a methodology that discouraged responses from people on mobile devices.

  • From Adobe's site... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cliffiecee (136220) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:08PM (#26949371) Homepage Journal

    Here's the quote from Adobe's site...

    Adobe ® Flash ® Player is the world's most pervasive software platform, used by over 2 million professionals and reaching 99.0% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices

    It's interesting that Adobe defines Flash as a "software platform". A javascript-enabled browser could also be defined as such- which would make Adobe's claims of "most pervasive" false, since there are many sites which use javascript but not flash.

    Mature Markets include US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan.

    Hm, seems like they left out a few ...

    Of course, they just want to make people to feel comfortable paying top dollar for their products. (And as someone faced with buying a copy of Flash or Adobe CS4 soon, Holy Cow it's expensive!)

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:10PM (#26949391) Homepage Journal

    The use of two year-old data for projecting the current Internet population may or may not be questionable, but there's nothing at all wrong with extrapolating from sample of 4600 to a population of one billion -- or any size.

    It's a curious result of probability theory that, assuming your sample is truly random (which is HARD to achieve!), the sample size you need is independent of the size of the population you're examining. It doesn't matter whether there are a million, hundred million or hundred trillion Internet-connected computers, a random sample of 4600 is equally good.

    Yes, this is counterintuitive, like so much else in probability theory.

    When choosing an appropriate sample size what matters is the rarity of the trait you're searching for, the margin of error you want to allow, and the degree of confidence you want to have in your result. It's an interesting circularity that you need to know how common computers without Flash are in order to determine how large a sample you need to determine how common computers without Flash are. In practice it isn't a big deal, though. You guess at your answer, compute the required sample size, perform your sampling operation, then see what answer the sample provided. If it's not close to your assumed answer, then you use the sample as the basis of a new assumption and compute a required sample size for your desired level of confidence. If needed, you sample some more. Usually, though, you can make a good enough initial guess that one round is sufficient.

    This is why pollsters can give 3% error margins and 95% confidence intervals for voter preferences even though there are many millions of voters and they only ask a thousand or so. The fact that getting good random samples is so hard explains why pollsters nevertheless do get it wrong from time to time. But asking more people wouldn't help, since the additional samples would likely have the same unknown bias as the first thousand -- or perhaps if they were chosen a different way they'd have a different unknown bias.

  • Statistical sampling (Score:5, Informative)

    by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:21PM (#26949489)

    I wish people would understand sample size before claiming it as a weak point.

    A sample is by definition a small slice of a population.

    Sample size is not a weak or strong aspect of the analysis based on what its ratio is to the entire population, it is weak or strong based on the confidence level you end up with.

    Example: If you have a sample size of 4300 people and your resultant confidence level is 99%, then even if you have a total population of 6 billion people, your sample size is perfectly fine. If, however, your confidence level is 95%, the statistical results should be questioned as to their accuracy wrt the entire population.

    I don't know what the confidence level of Adobe's survey was, but the summary should not be throwing its results into question based on the sample size to total population ratio, it makes the person sound stupid.

  • I have a Blackberry and use it to browse the net. It doesn't have Flash. Something like >14 million people have Blackberries, and >8 million people have iPhones. Those devices don't support Flash yet,though a player is in development for the iPhone. [pcworld.com] Additionally some of the most savvy web users don't run scripts [noscript.net], including Flash, for security reasons. This story sounds like Adobe-flavored Kool Aid.
  • What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people -- around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total.

    That's the single dumbest thing you can say about polling results. I just asked this question on the last test of the statistics class I teach two weeks ago. Neither population size, nor ratio of the population polled, are in any way factors in the accuracy of a poll.

    Opinion polling margin of error is computed as follows (95% level of confidence): E = 1/

  • So they predict that 99% of the world uses flash because they surveyed 4,600 Adobe employees I'm guessing?

    Only 60% of the users in my organization have flash installed.
    Less than 20% of the computers do. (Far more servers than workstations :)

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Qbertino (265505) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @02:10PM (#26949915)

    Let's say Adobe has scewed the results in their favour by a few percent. So it's like 95 or 93%. Bit fat hairy deal. Flash still is the most ubiqious plattform in existance with such frictionless deployment to the end user you'll be hard pressed to find something that even comes close. The closest is Java, and Java Webstart isn't quite there yet. JavaFX isn't truely cross-plattform and I can't think of any other feasable rich client plattform even worth mentioning. And no, Silverlight isn't even a nominee, as Curl, Prisim/XULRunner, SMIL/RealPlayer and a few others have much more penetration.
    And since compiling without the official Flash IDE has gotten very easy with MTASC and the Flex SDK I see no reason not to use it for complex RIA projects.
    Flash has been the RIA king for at least 10 years now, and unless Sun finsishes the last 20% of JavaFX (true x-plattform is still missing) it will still stay that way for while.

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @05:29PM (#26951437) Homepage

    I'm tempted to say "Who cares?" at this point.

    Just about the only people without Flash are the people running obscure platforms who *know* they're missing stuff like Flash; people browsing on crap cell phones, who also know they're missing out; and a third group of want-to-be-self-righteous people missing out on purpose so they can troll.

    The silly "What about grandmas running Windows 3.1 who don't know how to install plug-ins?" arguments are pointless because people like that are going to have bigger problems than Flash anyway. Hell, if you're still running Windows 98, I wouldn't be surprised if the malware on your machine will install Flash for you.

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Working...