Since my 4.5 year old Windows XP Professional 64bit Edition workstation at our company’s office was really crapping out over the heavy CAD stuff I’m working on at the moment, I spent the other half of the day working from home on a 2.5 year old Windows Vista 64bit system. Now that by itself is nothing special and merely illustrates that technology progresses at such a rapid pace, that what is good and super-expensive today is only a piece of scrap tomorrow, but it also reminds of another thing that has been going on for a while: The slow move to 64bit everywhere, including home computers. While in this case it’s actually a good thing and engineers and 3D artists have always been hungry to throw a few million polygons more at their computer, thus probably having used 64bit applications for longer than anyone else, most other people only started to care when it meant they had to buy a new computer. Now one such event was of course the move to turn After Effects into a 64bit program. While I still consider it only a short-term workaround until the underlying issues with bad memory management and multithreaded operations can be resolved in more fundamental ways e.g. by reworking the render engine, it has at least helped to make the program more stable in many situations, which I personally consider a much more important key benefit than just being able to address infinite amounts of RAM per se, similar to how running 32bit apps on 64bit operating systems already makes them more stable by better memory management.
Very much for that exact reason it is actually desirable that more professional applications go 64bit with Illustrator being high on my list, but whether or not this needs to include any version of Flash Player is a somewhat weird thing. Yes, inevitably in the long run, but I wouldn’t have expected it quite so soon. Anyway, our friends at Adobe seem to think otherwise and so the Beta of Flash Player 11 will be the first to also natively run in 64bit. The rationale behind this move actually even makes sense (which is rare for Adobe‘s rather helter-skelter policy when it comes to most things web). Not only does this allow them to better access resources on 64bit operating systems better such as they are required for the new 3D stuff and video encoding/ decoding, but, which with regards to Flash is rather critical, it also adds an extra level of security simply because the security already built into such operating systems by design can be built upon, adding more safeguards that one day may safe your behind. On the other hand of course it can also mean that Flash Player is just the same bitch it always has been and will merely crash your system after it has gobbled up more RAM. Which way the balance tips we’ll have to see when it actually makes its way out there, i just hope we don’t get bombarded with this mediocre 3D stuff too much.