Next time when you fight off that unwanted Flash overlay ad just to read a news article, keep in mind that you are not the only one who's annoyed. Your computer feels your pain too. Online publishers and advertisers put in tremendous effort to make their websites interactive and appealing, but every visual effect has its cost. While the computer is seemingly doing nothing after the web page is loaded, the CPU is busy tracking the mouse interaction and rendering every frame in all the animated banners. Is your computer fan louder than it use to be? Now you know why.
The following screenshot plots the CPU usage incurred by the front page of Twitter.com. Notice the periodical spikes that indicate a high frequency timer that is used to simulate a "real time" feed update.
. The efficiency of these frameworks is outside this article's scope. But they all support Query Selector - a lazy mechanism of addressing any objects on a webpage that share any forms of similarity. In non-technical words, this is some sort of magic. Magic is convenient but expensive.
Flash is another abused technology that consumes arguably the lion's share of your computing resource. Aside from Flash based websites, Flash animations are mostly used as interactive ad banners.
How to block Flash
Not all Flash objects are unwanted. Video streaming such as YouTube relies on Flash; or at least until HTML5 is well supported by mainstream browsers. FlashBlock
, a plugin for Firefox, elegantly prevents Flash objects from being loaded automatically. You can click on the Play icon to enable a specific object. This is particularly useful when you need to watch a video but block the ads that also use Flash.
How to block GIF animation
Moderate use of animated GIF images would not drag your computer. If they becoming annoying, you can disable them in Firefox by typing "about:config" in the address bar, and set the value of the image.animation_mode
field from normal