Tools We Use: ClickToFlash

When it comes to web browser plug-ins I generally try to avoid them. I have to admit that I have four installed in my Safari browser at the moment. There are many reasons to avoid using plug-ins. If you experience problems its is most likely caused by a plug-in. I actively uninstall plug-ins like Adobe Acrobat in favor of built-in viewers. When it comes to Flash, its hard to surf some web sites without Flash. There’s nothing worse than a web site that is all Flash or uses Flash for navigation. Flash is also used to track users with its own surreptitious cookie mechanism. So Flash is a necessary evil. That’s what makes ClickToFlash (Flash-blocking plug-in for Safari on Mac OS X) so valuable for Safari users. This $6 Donation-ware plug-in for Safari replaces Flash elements on the screen with a simple gray box. Clicking on the box will activate the Flash element.

The plug-in is smart about some web sites. You can configure it for example to “white-list” some web sites that you trust. You can tell it to play Flash that originates on that site while disabling banner ads that load from another site. You no longer need to worry about Flash animations jumping up in front of what you are trying to read.

It has additional settings for YouTube to force those videos to play in QuickTime instead of Flash. This even allows you to download those videos with a single click.

This plug-in makes it safe to use Flash in the wild.

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