I've said most of what I wanted to say in the other threads.
I'll summarise my feelings as follows:
Had Flash or any counterpart product not been available at all for another couple of years, when it was released it would have caused a vast storm, far more of a stir thatn it did a few years ago, since a far larger audience would be in a position to enjoy it and interact with it.
In that regard I think it fair to say that it was streets ahead of itself as a product and, quite simply, the web was not and is not ready to cope adequately with it.
I appreciate that someone who knows what they are doing with Flash can produce excellent output with far lower file sizes than many would expect, but no matter how clever the user, there are still real issues with feeding Flash site inclusions well and those who can (or will) go the extra mile are far outweighed by those who don't.
At work I've been on broadband for ages and at home I've had it for some time as well, yet even now, I rarely sit and wait when confronted by a loading screen. I'm just not interested in waiting when the site content is what I want to see.
I want to read about products and services.
I want to read about the benefits to me if I buy those products and services.
I want to see catalogues of goods and have payment taken securely as and when I choose to buy.
I want a client base that is wholly satisfied in their web site or application and I don't want the added headaches of making Flash content accessible to the disabled.
Since most web content is still text based, you can't realistically expect people to generate their text output using Flash to any real extent. It just isn't practical.
All of these issues can be tackled to some extent if, and only if, you are well above average with Flash. Few, if any of them can be fully addressed though.
I looked at a Flash site some months ago that showcased the talents of those people who had submitted their work to it. It was breathtaking and my hat goes off to them all. I couldn't think of one single use I could put any of the site content to though, apart from as a "look at this, aren't I the greatest animator you've ever seen ?" statement.
There are few real world uses I like to put Flash to that I can't do as well or better by using other methods. I do tie it into PHP and ASP and use it as a front end for web applications sometimes, but not often, and in doing so I have to deal with loads of additional headaches not present when using other methods.
So until such time as animated GUI's become a mainstay that I am asked for on a regular basis, my use of Flash will continue to be very, very sparing.
I like it, and I admire it and what it is capable of in the right hands. If anyone thinks though, that they can produce a visually identical site (the whole site, not just elements of it) to one written in CSS/XHTML with the same or lower file sizes then my hat goes off to them too and it's something I wouldn't mind seeing myself. I know how small files can get when produced in CSS/XHTML.
I've met and worked with some incredible professioanl Flash developers over the years and the vast majority of their work, even at their level, still has a penalty o pay at load time and they all, without exception, pray for the day when compression is such that they can deliver to all and not just to some.
The world wasn't really ready for Flash and for general web use, I still think that this is the case.