In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

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In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:55 am UTC

(There's no seemingly appropriate Fleeting Thoughts thread for this.)

People here will remember using 28.8k modems, and even much slower, and yet being able to email (or even usenet) easily enough at the time. Is it a valid argument that one should feel the need to drive for 10 minutes to email something instead of 'suffer' a 0.5Mbps connection? (Or is it being so slow because he's also downloading film(s) all day?)

Though I suspect part of the problem is email-bloat. MIME-encoded "text/html" with additional embedded/autodownloaded images, just to carry a one-line message. And bloated email client/server relationships, possibly. But that's showing my age and old-fogeyness even more.

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Re: In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

Postby Jplus » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:24 pm UTC

I suspect this person is using a webmail service, and the web-based email client is too bloaty for such connection speeds. Most people seem to have forgotten that dedicated email clients exist.
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Re: In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

Postby ucim » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:52 am UTC

Jplus wrote:and the web-based email client is too bloaty
More than that, and more than just email.

The net is only useful if you can connect to things. In the intervening times, the things you can connect to have bloatified. And fundamentally, this is the result of the surveillance-based intrusive marketing model that sustains the net. This is the opposite of the environment in which it was born, which is what (ironically) makes bloatifying intrusion so easy. The internet has no antibodies for it.

For good or evil, control has passed from the user to the supplier, and the supplier wants you to insists that you participate in its carnival before it delivers the goods. Software obliges.

Sure, you can still usenet, but there's nothing there any more.

Years ago, when video started to come out, I predicted that it would never take root, because it's so much easier to type your thoughts out in text and post them than it is to make a video. I don't think I've ever been so wrong in my prognostication than in that. And (IMHO) it has led to great tragedy.

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Re: In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

Postby wumpus » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:53 pm UTC

Bloat expands to fill all resources. And from vague memories of frosh econ classes and highway traffic rates, it expands past the point of failure and tends to stay there (and keeps expanding past the point of failure whenever possible).

Of course, if you only have one tab open you *probably* are all right assuming a modern connection (nothing like a 28.8k modem). I know that 4-5 years ago, I was doing just fine with a .5Mbps modem (which was an absolutely amazing jump after dialup, but I couldn't increase it at that location again) so "modern connections" can be a lot slower than most people think. I suspect that Amazon and the like will limit their need to clutter their own web pages if it means allowing more people to buy their products. On the other hand, adblock and the like become all but required to avoid the "need" for advertisers to use your every last cycle in a vain attempt to get you to look at their ads.

SMTP is still there (which was the original point of the thread) and unless you are including videos (or similar) should work fine at 28.8k. USENET binaries are presumably popular, but I suspect the discussions are mostly gone (I haven't looked since 2000 or so). In general the issue is that the server owner wants the cheapest possible web page, so the web page designer uses the simplest tools. These tools simply generate maximum bloat and are never cut down (because costs). If you don't like this, you need to limit your web use to pages that don't work like this (are there meters to see how much data is transferred per page? This seems like an important thing for wireless and especially satellite-based users. I'd be curious to see how much data each page is transferring, even if it doesn't mean anything to me.

I wonder if there are any specialist search engines that would be willing to rank pages based on amount of data transferred. If Google did this, it would get things under control fast, but looking at how much data Android loves to send (which the user then has to pay for), I can't see them doing this. Duckduckgo would be my next best guess (I use them by default, but really don't trust their privacy all that much), but I'm not sure they even have that data to rank the pages.

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Re: In sympathy for those with snail-like email, tortuously tortoise-like?

Postby Jplus » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:05 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:are there meters to see how much data is transferred per page? This seems like an important thing for wireless and especially satellite-based users. I'd be curious to see how much data each page is transferring, even if it doesn't mean anything to me.

The major browsers all have "developer tools" that let you inspect technical stuff about the page in your current tab. Look for "inspect page source", "inspect element", "open developer tools", "developer console", something like that (on a mac, you can reveal the tools using cmd-opt-i in the three major browsers). When you open the tools, there are multiple tabs. Look for one that is called "Network". With some luck, it will show you all the network transfers that happened "behind the scenes" on your current page, together with the size of each transfer. If you see an empty list, refreshing the page while the tool is open will probably do the trick.

If you're using Safari, you might need to enable "Show developer menu" in the "Advanced" section of the application settings. For Edge/IE, I don't know.
"There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache coherence, naming things, and off-by-one errors." (Phil Karlton and Leon Bambrick)

coding and xkcd combined

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