Browsing at the Speed of Text

February 9, 2011 at 17:50 | Posted in Life, Privacy/Security, thoughts, Tutorials/Howtos | Comments Off on Browsing at the Speed of Text
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I recently started using the ‘links’ browser for various things and was impressed with both the speed and the highly increased signal-to-noise ratio. Suddenly I could get to the information I wanted quickly and easily. This prompted me to set all of my other browsers to: no images, no scripts, no plugins

The difference was breathtaking. Suddenly I was back to the Internet I first fell in love with, a place where you can quickly find and share information. No blinking ads. No annoying scripted effects. No over done glitz. Just the info I was after.

I have found that I am getting things done much more quickly since my switch to text-only browsing.

The breath of fresh air that text-only browsing was got me nostalgic for the “old” days of the Internet when it was all text-only. I started using “Mutt” to read and send e-mail. I loaded up “Irssi” for IRC chat. I switched to a text only RSS feed reader for my morning and evening headlines/news. Again my productivity increased. So now I want to share how others can do the same. So try it out and see if your experience is similar.

The best place to start is probably the browser. For most people these days it is (sadly) the main, if not the only, way that they interact with the Internet.

I refer to a standard browser that has been configured to render only text as a “Stripped” browser.

To strip your browser find it in the list below and follow the steps. To un-strip it just reverse the steps

Internet Explorer:

Dont bother to try. IE is just too much of a mess and it’s likely you’ll break something trying to “Strip” IE.

If you are an IE user I’d suggest downloading Firefox or some other browser and “Stripping” it.

Firefox:

On Windows:
open Firefox
click tools -> options -> content
uncheck load images
uncheck enable JavaScript
click ok

click tools -> addons -> plugins
highlight each plugin by clicking on it and then click disable. (You’ll be able to “enable” them later)
Close the addons manager when done.

On Linux:
The same as above except the first options are under
edit->preferences->content

You now have a nice text only browser. Take it for spin and enjoy. Yes it will break some sites (YouTube naturally wont work) you may be surprised to see what sites fail to function. Many sites however will work just fine and be a lot easier to read.

If people know the steps to “strip” other browsers that I do not have access to please feel to post a comment.

If you have a browser not listed you basically want to search through the settings and do the following.

Disable all scripting
Set the browser to not load images
Disable (not uninstall) all media/rich content plug-ins

Once you have played with a stripped browser for a while you might get brave and decided to check out a true text-only browser like Lynx, elinks, links2, w3m, etc

I’d also suggest installing a second small/light browser to use as your stripped browser. As this way you can easily hop over to the other “Main” browser if you need to go to a page that just does not work right in a stripped or text-only browser.

As this post is getting a little on the long side I’ll cut it short and talk about doing other things on the Internet in a text centric way in another post.

More info on text centric use of the Internet can be found at the Ascii Ribbon Plus Campaign’s website. (Which I will also talk about in an upcoming Blog entry)

posted with Maemo WordPy from my N800

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