Alternate Option
Thoughts from me.
Friday, January 13, 2006 10:10 am
Lynx browser: The Internet at 64 kbits/s

It’s that time of month again—when I exceed my download limits, and my ADSL connnection slows down from 1.5 Mbits/s to 64 kbits/s. Better than the old 56 kbits/s POTS modem, and with much less latency, but still slow as.

Most sites I visit are so graphics heavy that it’s a real hassle to use Safari or FireFox to browse. And so despite wondering what in the world Opera’s long term strategy is: I’m glad there is a version on Mac OS X. Simply because Opera, has a single toolbar button that toggles graphics on and off.

I also took the opportunity to better get to know Lynx—which is a cross-platform text-based browser. I used DarwinPorts to get my OS X version a while ago, but of course had little incentive to use it at the time. Surprisingly, it’s very usable in this age of complex web pages. In fact I think it has given me a new appreciation as to how unimportant much of the data on most pages are. I just scroll through and ignore the lots of image tags on each page. The speed is refreshing. Even forums that require signing in work well.

Navigation is keyboard based, with each key having some function—reminds me of the old days of playing Ultima 3 & 4. Out of habit, I find myself reaching for the mouse, and then realising that it serves no function. In fact, maybe Lynx would be useful in those aggravating times when one forgets to charge their wireless mouse.

There is no tabbed browsing either—although I can just open a new terminal window and type lynx apple to get to the Apple site. So each Lynx window is a separate application. I quite like this feature, since ocassionally some graphical browsers (e.g. Safari, Firefox) provide me with the spinning pizza of death (similar to the hourglass in Windows) preventing me from switching between any browser window/tab of that application.

So, Lynx… my browser of choice for the next 3 days—until my next Internet billing cycle.

[posted with ecto]


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