KikkoMan to the contrary (and you simply must check it out), I’m beginning to feel that Flash is a cancer on the Web.
In response to Jeremy Zawodny’s note about Flashturbation, Marc Canter posted a unconvincing defense of Flash. The essence his argument seems to be that although Flash is the source of a lot of commercial and noncommercial crappiness on the Web right now, rich media clients are going to be the future of the Web and we should keep Flash around so that Macromedia will own the format when that day dawns. Besides, those crappy Flash ads are paying the bills. He concludes:

Lets just close this diatribe by saying: “Please don’t turn off your Flash – it’s taken Macromedia 10 years to get to the point where we can START to define a new world. Now that we’ve finally gotten beyond straw sipping – don’t shoot yourself in the foot by getting rid of your Flash. Give us a chance to change your world – again.”

Marc doesn’t explain why we should put up with flashturbation in the meantime, just so his proprietary format will be the winner in the long run.
A couple of days ago, I was going to post a more moderate entry, motivated primarily by the abovementioned KikkoMan– which I reiterate if you do nothing else today, you must check out. Then I followed another link from Jeremy to an interesting-sounding flash animation on a local TV station’s site that shows Bay Area cell-phone dead zones. The Flash crashes both Chimera and Internet Explorer on a Mac. Interestingly, it crashes with a error message that says I should increase Flash’s memory allocation, despite the fact that OS X doesn’t work that way.
So, I can’t tell you whether the designer needed Flash to convey the information. But I can tell you that Flash (1) is a proprietary format, (2) locks non-Windows users out, and (3) still brings more junk than information to the Web.
One of my favorite press mentions is this from an article about Shockwave.com in Forbes in April of 2000. With the exception of adding “communication” to the list of Web attributes, I stand by this today:

As a reminder, Shockwave.com prominently posts a trash-talking billboard in its lobby as psychological motivation for its 125 employees. “The Web is not going to be an entertainment medium for a long time, if ever,” the sign says, quoting analyst Barry Parr. “It is a news and information and shopping medium.”
“When will they ever get it?” [Shockwave.com leader Rob] Burgess says, shaking his head.

When will they get it, indeed.