Flash is a lot like a gun. It can be a very useful tool when used for what it was designed to do. It can also be very nasty, evil tool when misused.
Flash is great from a design standpoint because it gives you real control over what you are presenting. If you think the webpage author shouldn't have control, that the user should, then we should just all go back to text and scrap the IMG tag. Yes, some people use 800x600 resolution and some use 1600x1200 and your page should allow both to view it equally well, but what other products allow such customization based on the consumer? Newspapers? No, you get the whole paper, even if you just read the funnies. Shoes? You can choose your size, maybe the color within that size, but you can't choose to get the chuck taylor's in alliagtor skin instead of canvas. At some point, you either have to take what the author is presenting or simply not use/read their product. It's up to the author to maximize their market.
Another comment I saw referred to HTML being great because it's a standard that all clients can read. First, HTML is a MARKUP language, not a LAYOUT language. Nested tables are a kludge and they suck ass. Period. Flash gives you the ability to do both. And 99% of the browsers out there have a plugin for it. *cry* "B...B...But there's no lynx plugin or Amaya plugin for RedHat 5.2" Seriously, tough shit. You brought it upon yourself. If you want to be an elitist and not use something that has a Flash plugin, then piss off. They've made it for a crap load of configurations, including Linux.
That all being said, Flash is not the end-all, be-all of web applications. What it _does_ give you though is a centralized, totally configurable, readable by 99% of the browsers out there, way of authoring a site. You don't have to agree with me. I don't even expect you to, but the fact is: Flash _can_ be a great tool if used properly and I'm sick of all the Flash-bashing here on