Social sites for old/slow machines?

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and promoting your book on the Internet
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Rachel Ventura
Posts: 152
Joined: September 30th, 2011, 12:29 am

Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Rachel Ventura » November 1st, 2011, 12:19 am

OT rant: This decision-making process about my social media presence has become so painful for me that I've decided to call it S&M. :lol: Facebook + Blogging = "flogging." But just like with any sort of fetish, there are people entirely averse to it, and others who really get a kick out of the whole thing. :twisted:

<Safe word: Honorificabilitudinitatibus. Oh, man, talk about getting twisted and tongue-tied.> ;)

Back to post. Since my computer is *ahem* painfully slow, and the Internet not much faster (and with no way of upgrading at the moment), is there a way people with really old, slow PCs and internet connections can use media-heavy and rapidly-updated social sites like FB and Twitter? I've heard of what's called Mobile editions, which are optimized for the small screens of iPhones and Blackberries, etc., but still use a so-called "rich media framework." :?

But what I'm wondering is if there are ways of using these sites or something similar that's optimized for very old PCs that don't have the latest plugins and updates and can't, anyway, because the third-party software (like Flash, QuickTime, etc.), just can't be upgraded past a certain point.

Right now I'm on a relative's computer that has Windows 7, but I'm not on this one all the time -- hardly ever, in fact. Most often I access what I can of the internet through an old (but still functional!) laptop running Windows 2000. Another in our house still has Windows 98. The 2000 one works pretty OK for the most part, but like I said, certain things either don't display correctly or won't load at all, saying I need to upgrade my plugins -- but I can't. AFAIK Facebook and Twitter are something like that. I can't afford a new computer and the internet isn't mine to be paid for. How do people like me -- the "poorest one percent" -- use sites like these with the equipment they've got? If I wanted to do a FB/Twitter or blog for whatever reason, how could I do this without having to fork over money for a whole new computer, or is that possible? And if it's possible, would I not be able to "reach out and touch someone" as effectively without pulling in all the media items and so forth, i.e. keeping the blog strictly for words, and not having any pictures (boring, I know), or not adding slow-loading widgets and whatnot to the page?

Collectonian
Posts: 159
Joined: February 17th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Collectonian » November 1st, 2011, 2:23 am

You kind of have two separate issues: dated system and low-speed internet. With the system, 13 years old is practically ancient in the computer world, and outside of the realms of what most software applications will support. You can't install a modern browser on Windows 98 anymore, and the very latest versions won't even install on XP. The guts of the operating systems have just changed too dramatically since then for it to be practical to build applications that can run on it all. And the older browsers that will run on those operating systems do not meet current minimal security requirements, which will mean being increasingly blocked from accessing sites using secure connections.

That said, there are still many sites you can use text only, by using the browser settings to disable Flash, images, etc. It is harder to get away with disabling JavaScript. Some sites, like Facebook, are completely unusable without JavaScript, while others have ways to work around it. The low-speed internet is easier to deal with, because it primarily involves a blend of patience and customizing your settings to avoid image downloads as much as possible.

In terms of blogging with such a system, its iffy, not because of the lack of images, but because of those security requirements. Some sites still degrade to the low grade encryption on older browsers, some don't, so you may have to shop around for that bit. Other than that, I don't see any reason you can't post a primarily text only blog. Look at Evil Editor and Query Shark. :-)

Whether you'd need to get a whole new computer would depend on the specifications of your current ones. Depending on what hardware they have, you could be able to just upgrade to XP, which is still generally supported by the browsers and would be usable awhile longer. It would be cheaper than a new computer, at least :-) (Depending on your tech savy, you could also wipe the system and go Linux for free).

Rachel Ventura
Posts: 152
Joined: September 30th, 2011, 12:29 am

Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Rachel Ventura » November 1st, 2011, 6:25 pm

Thanks, Collectonian. The laptop I have (not the PC I'm on right now, a desktop with Windows 7) is an old IBM ThinkPad, which doesn't meet the memory specs for XP, which requires a minimum of 64 MB RAM (128 not to run like molasses). I have, I think, 96? Or somewhere in the middle. I'm not technically savvy enough by far to aim for Linux...but I do meet the personal system requirement of absolutely loving penguins. :D

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865 (Microsoft: System requirements for Windows XP)
13 years old is practically ancient in the computer world
And they say old dogs never die. ;)

Does Twitter work without JS, or how about Tumbler? Are the mobile sites accessible w/o JS enabled?

Collectonian
Posts: 159
Joined: February 17th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Collectonian » November 1st, 2011, 6:32 pm

Alas, I don't use Twitter or Tumbler, though I'd imagine they are both likely to be heavy JS dependent.

Mobile sites may or may not use JavaScript, depending on what they are targeting. Today's "smart" phones can handle some JavaScript, but most sites are likely to use little to no JS, however they will also be geared towards smaller screens :-)

Rachel Ventura
Posts: 152
Joined: September 30th, 2011, 12:29 am

Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Rachel Ventura » November 3rd, 2011, 5:55 pm

Collectonian wrote:Alas, I don't use Twitter or Tumbler, though I'd imagine they are both likely to be heavy JS dependent.

Mobile sites may or may not use JavaScript, depending on what they are targeting. Today's "smart" phones can handle some JavaScript, but most sites are likely to use little to no JS, however they will also be geared towards smaller screens :-)
That's actually a good thing for me, the smaller screen interface. (Obviously the old ThinkPad isn't exactly high definition widescreen!) ;)

Also, I heard that JS and other plugins actually tend to carry security risks themselves, and need frequent updates as a result. For optimal security you're actually better off not using any of them -- Flash, Java/JS, Shockwave, etc. You won't get the fancy features but AFAIK your machine, regardless of how new or old it is, is far more secured.

I actually have display of images turned off because I heard there was a security vulnerability in .jpg files. Can't be too careful IMHO.

For the meanwhile, unfortunately it doesn't look like there's a lo-fi edition of Bransforums in the near future. Something tells me, though, a lot of these plugins are overrated, and apparently I'm not alone in my opinion:
Jonathan Franzen wrote:It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
Not a fan of Franzen's "good fiction" myself but he does have a point on why it's a gift to be simple. :)

Collectonian
Posts: 159
Joined: February 17th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by Collectonian » November 3rd, 2011, 9:05 pm

If you get to the point of being paranoid of images and everything else, might as well stay offline, cause the minute you hook your computer to the internet, you are "vulnerable". :-P

Having an older machine with older plug ins does NOT make you "more" secure. Keep in mind, if those plug ins need security updates, it means those flaws are in the old versions. And older versions mean the flaws in them are more well known and more exploited versus the newest ones. Not using them at all, can make you somewhat more secured, but the better method is properly securing you system holistically, using the appropriate modern version of software that do not carry major flaws but do support current security standards, and using the Internet in a smart manner. And many of those flaws are more with specific browsers and OS. One reason Internet Explorer has often been reviled as a browser by professionals is because its excessive integration into the core of the Windows OS made it a huge target for hacking, because getting in got you the actual system. The newest versions are finally pulling back from that some, making them far more secure than older ones.

The biggest security hole on any system is, in the end, the user. For example, all the "hacking" of Facebook accounts - it isn't because someone is a brilliant hacker who cracked all the security codes - it was users with crappy passwords (seriously, if your password is password or abcde, or your name, etc just hold up a sign outside saying "hack me now" LOL) and users who click on stuff promoting some salacious video or picture, there by initiating the infection. Don't go to questionable sites, have a good antivirus program that you keep up to day, have a firewall, etc and you will be safer on the web, old or new browsers, plugins or no. :-)

lindsayB3462
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Joined: August 25th, 2012, 7:44 am
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Re: Social sites for old/slow machines?

Post by lindsayB3462 » September 5th, 2012, 4:43 am

today people are use more tablets or smartphones than ever before. They are grabbing every new product related to these categories. websites are upgrading to give their best optimized performance to people.
I have a pc which is quiet old and when I try to enter facebook and scroll down news feed it seems that it struggles. But with new one that isn't any problem. I tried to optimize the old one, by increasing ram or taking some software measures. But none of them worked.
Old is gold - happening to us. :D

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