Adobe released Flash Player 10, a new version of its ubiquitous software for displaying video clips and special effects in a web browser. You’re using Flash every time you watch a YouTube video. There’s a long list of new features on the Adobe web site, although really all that matters is whether it will stream higher-quality video without stuttering. Supposedly the new version will do better at that.

So I scurried off to install Flash 10, since I live for things like this – went to the web site and clicked on the “Get Flash Player 10” button and watched in excitement as a setup dialog appeared, followed by a couple of quick glimpses of setup windows coming and going, followed by the thrilling conclusion!

flash10error

Hmm. Now Flash is broken.

I’m not discouraged! Back to the web site, click the setup button again! The computer whirs and belches and eventually the animation appears and I get the confirmation that installation was successful!

flash10error2

Version 9? Not quite what I was expecting.

Okay, fine. Let’s get tough.

Off to Control Panel to uninstall Flash. There are two Flash programs listed, one of them for Flash 10 plus another one that probably was supposed to have been removed by the Flash 10 setup program. Uninstall them both.

Then back to the Flash web site, click the setup button, computer clanks and beeps, and wow, I’ve got Flash 10! Great!

I have no idea what difference that makes but perhaps it will be clearer after developers and web sites with video begin taking advantage of the new features.

Our experience with online video will steadily improve and this is one of the incremental steps forward. Microsoft just released Silverlight 2, Microsoft’s competing technology for online video, which Microsoft hopes will chip away at Flash’s commanding lead in the market. I don’t care much who wins, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could install useful tools without this kind of exercise?