11:13:17 uzbl & "Faster Dial-Up" Redux

About three years ago, I posted "Faster Dial-Up" about my possibly quixotic determination to keep dial-up internet access working for me. Once I tweaked the Firefox browser [turning off, if not needed, images and javascript], I regained a tolerable experience.

[uzbl logo]

Alas, the dial-up slowdown continues.

56K dial-up has become so slow using a major browser [Firefox, Opera, Chrome] on my linux box means many a webpage is essentially a crapshoot as to whether the webpage server will time out on you. And the odds don't improve if you "try again."

Much slowing the internet is givens: Tracking and data mining take time. Plus for improved security, websites are moving toward SSL protocols [https ...] and more involved handshaking and certificate questions. And, of course, increased traffic in streaming content makes for a collective bandwidth hogfest.

But what can I do? As I concluded in 2014, the only choice -- other than hardware upgrades -- is, Which browser?

A conclusion I've reached about Web browsers is, in the past three years, they've taken on larger and larger footprints.

I decided to look for a nimbler, minimalist browser that runs on Mint Linux and does two things: javascript so I can access webmail. And webpages rendered with reasonable fidelity.

I won't list all the featherweight browsers I tried before settling on two contenders, but what they have in common are footprints of 5% - 10% of mainstream browsers.

The test is how fast these browsers load a select webpage, say, cosmicplodding.net.

Results were:

~ Firefox 38.0 @ 3 minutes, 15 seconds
~ links2 @ 20 seconds
~ uzbl @ 1 minute, 5 seconds.

My minimalist browser choice of uzbl was quite easy. Despite links2 greater speed, uzbl offers javascript, which links2 does not, and uzbl renders pages more faithfully.

So what do I give up by going with an obscure browser not one person in 1,000 [10,000?!] might know? Well, a lot of that point-and-click ease, always the promise of the graphical UI after the 90s. You see, to go to an URL, I have to be in CMD [command] mode; I type "o," then "cosmicplodding.net," without the benefit of a bookmark. No password manager, so I have to cut & paste for that. Not much to give up, I'd argue, if I'm forced to think about what I'm doing.

So for now, it's uzbl that I fire up to access the Internet, eskimo.com coming up as my start page, recognizing that's my ISP for a mere $36 a year, which keeps my frugal side happy with dial-up!

Image credit: commons.wikipedia.org

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