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loband - Killer App for Developing World? 232

An anonymous reader submits "With recent stories about hardware products for the developing world - namely the MIT Media lab's $100 laptop and the Simputer, its interesting to see a software solution to the problems of internet access. Aidworld, a Cambridge (UK) based organisation specialising in ICTs for the developing world have created a free internet service to speed up web browsing in low bandwidth environments: loband. Using server-side compression and by filtering images, scripts and plugins while retaining content and basic formatting, loband reduces bandwidth requirements by between 5 and 50 times. Its making waves in development circles but it also seems to make for a much leaner browsing experience in this world of heavyweight websites. Could this be a much needed stepping stone for users in developing countries? Do high bandwidth consumers find the sites they view could look much cleaner?"
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loband - Killer App for Developing World?

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  • 3rd World? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:30PM (#12257296)
    Using server-side compression and by filtering images, scripts and plugins while retaining content and basic formatting, loband reduces bandwidth requirements by between 5 and 50 times

    I wouldn't mind making that standard for cell phone and PDA browsing
    • Re:3rd World? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ckaminski ( 82854 )
      Once upon a time, I used images for buttons on my website. I'm convinced now, after having run it for some time on a low-bandwidth pipe, that this is stupid. My users should not have to download 250-1000K of data just to view my front page. My site now loads faster now that I've smartened up (and it's on a pipe 10x faster).

      I'm sick of pages that load images upon images upon images to throw me ads. It's sickening. And websites that split a 10 paragraph article into 3 or 4 pages of html to increase ad r
    • Cingular's wireless EDGE network recompresses all images. Quite a bit of savings depending on the web site. On my handheld I dont even notice the difference since the screen is small, although its pretty noticeable when hooked up to a bigger screen.
    • happening already (Score:3, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
      >I wouldn't mind making that standard for cell phone and PDA browsing

      Its not a standard, but proxies are old news. My Treo650 is on Sprint's proxy and the Blazer(the browser) requests compressed pages (gzip). Sprint's proxy compresses images too. It looks terrible if you use your treo as a wireless modem for your laptop, but looks good on the handheld.

      The sidekick has a much more restrictive proxy system in which only certain elements are send to the client instead of the html of the page (text, basic
    • If you're in the UK, try Onspeed [onspeed.com] then - it does exacly that.
    • *I wouldn't mind making that standard for cell phone and PDA browsing*

      which is exactly why I thought "YAAAWWWNNNN" when reading this story, the thing is just that old. it was around on major cellphone-network providers at least 2 or 3 years ago.

      opera even has had their own service like this for quite a while.
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:30PM (#12257303) Homepage Journal
    I don't care that I have fast broadband, I want the option of cleaning the html up and speeding my web experience.

    Every second counts.
    • If every website used XHTML and linked CSS stylesheets then the world would be a much better (and faster!) place.
      For exanple, take a site like this:
      http://www.nthwclan.com/ut2004/ [nthwclan.com]

      It's written in XHTML and the code is lightweight, averaging about 3K per page.
      You also have:
      http://www.nthwclan.com/ut2004/?no_css [nthwclan.com]
      ...which is about 500 bytes less, for mobile platforms.

      Such a site can be viewed on literally any device because the code is so lightweight.
      If this were done in Slashdot-style HTML 3.x marku
    • Ok, so you've got fast broadband and you're only trying to speed up your browser's interface. Sounds like a great job for an http/html cleanup proxy at 127.0.0.1 (or on some machine in your LAN if there's a better choice, but if you do that, make sure it isn't an easily-spammer-abused open proxy.)

      You probably can't clean up everything, and there are some pages you're perfectly willing to put up with lots of graphics from, so you probably want to do more than just run a Lynx relative (:-), but you could d

  • Ouch. (Score:5, Funny)

    by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:30PM (#12257304)
    loband - Killer App for Developing World?

    I knew that overpopulation is a concern, but this is ridiculous.
  • And pr0n? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:31PM (#12257307)
    I mean, if pr0n is what makes internet happen, how is loband expected to actually have success?
  • by has2k1 ( 787264 )
    Trying to design a $100 dollar laptop for starving users or kids who still go to schools where blackboards are mounted on trees is not a feasible idea.
    • by Spodlink05 ( 850651 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:43PM (#12257406)
      Trying to design a $100 dollar laptop for starving users or kids who still go to schools where blackboards are mounted on trees is not a feasible idea.

      Because they don't believe in stupid stereotypes.
    • by crazyphilman ( 609923 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:59PM (#12257515) Journal
      Well, there IS something useful about such a concept. You have to consider the social effects of such a development:

      1. Networks optimized for the third world give them the equivalent of a telephone system, only better. Once everyone can communicate with everyone, cooperation becomes a lot easier.

      2. The cheap laptops give them the ability to communicate not only with each other, but with the rest of the world. They get to see how everyone else lives, and compare it with how they live. And they get to see that things CAN be different, which makes them want to make things different.

      3. Once they have the ability to communicate with everyone, and they have the desire to improve their surroundings, access to information from the rest of the world might give them ideas about how to actually change things. They might look for ways to improve irrigation, for example. Or ways to prevent their houses from having a leaky roof. Or even things as simple as learning how to bake bricks from clay, to make better houses.

      4. The more they know, and the more they change, the more they will WANT to know and change. And things will accelerate significantly. I don't expect them to accept changes to their culture, rather, I expect them to want to learn operational things, skills and trades, engineering. That sort of thing. They'll pick and choose, and get what they want.

      Access to knowledge is an extremely liberating, empowering thing. It's like the old saw, "dont give a man a fish, teach him how to fish".

      The third world doesn't need to be taken care of by the first world; it needs to learn how to take care of itself, without the first world's help.

      Then it doesn't NEED the first world. See?

      • I'm currently teaching high school kids in London, which in general is a pain in the arse, as the kids tend to be brats who have little or no respect for their teachers (or any authority). A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to a teacher also working in London, but originally from Kenya, where she taught beforehand. She was saying the difference was mainly that in developing countries, the students absolutely, truly want to learn, and at school give everything they have, knowing that education is the only
        • Fuck that: don't give developing countries $100 computers, give them the $1000 ones that are being wasted on the so called developed countries - hey they're already developed, so they shouldn't need them, right?

          Although I empathize with your troubles teaching spoiled kids, I have to say I found the technologies mentioned in this /. post pretty amazing, and found them to be in sharp contrast with what is being done in my own country.
          I live in Brazil and just today I read in the morning newspaper about P [worldchanging.com]
          • Absolutely. I think a very cheap laptop is inevitable. It's not a new idea, either; it's been floating around science fiction for years and years. An idea that interesting, in my opinion, is almost inevitable. One novel described laptops whose casings were made of plasticized straw, cheaply put together with inexpensive components. Almost like a salvage job... Another one described laptops made of paper composites, with printed-out circuit boards. And just this past year, didn't a company figure out how to
        • No, I don't think the $1000.00 computers are a good idea for the third world; they're nice, and powerful, but they don't fit the environment they'd be going to. For a computer to be useful in the third world, it needs to be:

          1. Very durable, waterproof and shockproof with a battery you can charge up *without* a dependable source of electric power.
          2. Very cheap, not just for the initial purchase, but so you can replace it easily if it gets stolen or destroyed.
          3. Easy to use.

          The expensive computers you're ta
          • 1) Waterproof is impossible if you want to see the screen. Shockproof is almost impossible because of the harddrive.

            They're not going to be playing catch with them. What they need is something that can protect these units while not in use, like during a monsoon. This isn't an issue with the units, it's a case issue. A nice $50 waterproof, suspension mounting case will do nicely enough. Heck, if they know bad weather is coming, they could even move them to a secure location/shelter.

            The battery thing
            • 1) Waterproof is impossible if you want to see the screen. Shockproof is almost impossible because of the harddrive.

              Not true! I'm typing this on an old mil-spec laptop I got on Ebay, and this laptop is (if not submersible) effectively waterproof and (thanks to a protective harness around its hard drive and its LCD) shockproof. My screen looks pretty good; it's sunlight-viewable, too. You're thinking of consumer laptop tech. "There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy".
              • Well, if you've had good luck with those rugged laptops, maybe I'm wrong.

                I've heard that they can't stand getting water spilled on them for more than a few seconds and they'll still break if you drop them more than four feet. If you've actually tried these tests and had good success, then I'd definitely like to know more about it.

                As far as the voltage thing, you're obviously not knowledgable about such things.
                Flexible voltage regulator+any source of power at all=charging.
      • by say ( 191220 ) <sigve&wolfraidah,no> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @06:07PM (#12257863) Homepage

        I think you have a pretty naive image of the world. You seem to believe that if poor people only knew how good it is to be rich, they will start making changes to become rich? So, what do you suppose they are doing right now? Do you think the problem of starvation is due to lack of motivation for agriculture?

        I'm sorry for bashing you this hard, but I often meet people in western countries who seem to think that the developing world could become rich if they only knew or only tried harder. I believe there are quite a few structural hurdles as well. Western companies' interest in keeping a low-pay workforce for coffee, shoes, cocoa etc. is one of those hurdles. Tax barriers in developed regions is another hurdle. And lacking economic strength makes it in itself hard to develop a stronger economy (ironically), because it makes it extremely hard to defend your currency, interest rate and your companies from hostile foreign takeovers.

        • Pardon me, but you missed the point I was trying to make.

          It's not about the third world suddenly wanting to become suburan American-type consumers. It has nothing to do with that at all.

          What I mean is, for example:

          A man who currently lives in a shack sees an article on the net about brick houses and adobe. He looks at his shack, looks at an adobe house, and thinks "That might be better". So he reads about how to make adobe or brick, digs clay, makes a kiln, and puts a better home together. Without spendi
    • by say ( 191220 )

      Mods! INSIGHTFUL?

      a) Obviously, not every developing country has general starvation and only ad-hoc schools. In fact, none of them have.

      b) Obviously, a 100 laptop is "not needed". Nothing except food and water is "needed".

      c) Obviously, technology and communication are essential parts of making a "developing country" into a "developed country"

      Obviously, the poster of parent has watched too much TV. The "developing world" is not all starvation, flies and wars. There are cities! And food! And (*gasp*) t

  • food.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orufet ( 873172 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:31PM (#12257314) Homepage
    Shouldn't we help them out with the things they need most in the developing world, rather than technology?
    • Re:food.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:52PM (#12257470) Homepage
      The entire term "developing" world is problematic. It assumes a teleology: that societies like the US and Europe are at some ideal state that others need to aspire to, that levels of consumption and production are the indices of progress.

      I'm not an anti-technologist who idealizes pre-modern ways of life, and I think it's a good thing if kids all around the world can get vaccines and medical care. But not every not-first-world society is just a mess of problems, and the problems aren't all the same everywhere. Most places actually have enough to eat most of the time; some areas are occassionally subject to famine due to reasons environmental, political, and economic. Many have sustainable economies where people aren't starving at all and things are generally OK--the biggest difference between their way of life and those in the "first world" is that they watch TV together in a public space, instead of having one at home, and that they take jitneys instead of driving; others are struggling with disease and sanitation issues, or war, or oppressive governments, or widespread crime. Maybe having internet connections in some of these areas will be helpful, maybe they won't. These things are entirely local issues: no single attitude or policy about "the developing world" is useful.

      So maybe the first thing to do is to actually listen and learn from the people who you want to help, and not assume that you can characterize over half the world was one model.
    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:57PM (#12257496)
      It's a misconception that the developing and third worlds are unable to grow their own food and feed themselves. They can, and they don't even need genetically modified crops to do it.

      What they need is well run, stable governments. Take a look at Zimbabwe. Used to be fairly stable and able to feed itself. Not anymore, expect to see and hear of famine and death from that region in the near future.

      It's a similar story throughout Africa. Corruption, poor government, poor planning all mean that any problems such as drought are massively exaggerated and kill millions.

      Of course, import tariffs on food, created by developed countries in order to protect their domestic agriculture don't help even a little bit.

  • Mobile (Score:3, Funny)

    by MHobbit ( 830388 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .90tibbohm.> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:32PM (#12257318)
    This would be great if it was used for mobile phones as well: you keep the general layout, albeit lose the images.

    Another unforseen benefit is that you can prevent your son from watching pr0n on their new cell phone.
  • Hell, I just want rproxy. I'm stuck on dial-up out where I live, and I'd gladly trade a few CPU cycles for faster access to the sites I regularly browse.
  • Not really much... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vidarlo ( 134906 ) <vidarlo@bitsex.net> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:33PM (#12257327) Homepage
    I'm using Firefox [getfirefox.com] with Adblock extension [mozdev.org]. This blocks out unwanted images, and in addition, I block out certain elements of my internet banking provider, like uneeded images, and such. This speeds up browsing, as I'm on 56K modem. I don't see how browsing with images turned off or having privoxy or adblock do blacklisting is different from this new service... Seriously, it is not that kind of stuff that is needed. Modem is fine for surfing the web, but not for downloading. So if they want a ISO, loband won't help at all...
  • The developing world doesn't need fast web browsing. It needs less corrupt leaders, and excused world bank debts. Sure, infrastructure is pretty high on the need list, but drinking water, sewers and power come WAY before faster internet. That said, I'm sure porn would go a long way to stem the AIDS epidemic...
    • Development isn't a waterfall where one thing comes after the other. A few internet based companies doing great business could bring around the initiative needed for a better power infrastructure. It makes more sense to invest money in power when it also generates more dividends, in terms of new businesses paying taxes and employing people.

      We, the western world, do not exactly develop in a particularily streamlined way. It would be strange if the developing countries were suppose to follow a different rec

    • "The developing world doesn't need fast web browsing. It needs less corrupt leaders..."

      Wouldnt broad access to uncensored information help deal with this problem?
  • Adblock (Score:5, Informative)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:34PM (#12257334)
    It's a good idea to heavily use adblock as well. As an average page refers to several advertising services, knocking them out will usually reduce the number of DNS queries by 2/3 and bandwidth use by like half. The key is to not limit it to just images, but gratuiously give wildcard bans to entire domains that have something with "counter" or "ad" in name.

    And as a side effect... yeah, you'll have no ads as well.
    • Yep, this true especially on my 3 KB/sec dial-up connections. I see significant differences. Note this is without images when I surf the Web.
    • Don't forget Flashblock [mozdev.org] too. I still have to use Flash once in a while, but at least I can manually start the Flash components.
    • Re:Adblock (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Reaperducer ( 871695 )
      gratuiously give wildcard bans to entire domains that have something with "counter" or "ad" in name.

      What do you have against Counterstrike and the Mod Squad?
  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:36PM (#12257351) Homepage
    You can have all the great hardware with network browsing connectivity you want, but if there isn't compelling/useful content, it's completely useless.

    The real 'killer app' here is going to be in the realm of content. The best idea I've seen is from Neil Stephenson's 'The Diamond Age'. In there, a piece of software (with the needed hardware to display it) called 'A young lady's illustrated primer' laid the foundation for essentially creating effective, resourceful people with th tools needed to get things done.

    If you hand a bunch of cheap web browsers on solar charged pads sprinkled across the 3rd world, what are people going to do, log into Craigslist, click on 'Serengeti' region and go from there?

    The wikipedia is a great start at making a collection of open source repository of knowledge, the real killer app might be to create a framework for TEACHING the useful parts of that to any willing audience. Said framework might include the ability to translate from the source language, track progress, test on comprehension, etc.
    • by crazyphilman ( 609923 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @05:11PM (#12257580) Journal
      I think a third world wiki would probably lean very heavily towards "how-to" subjects that would directly benefit people living in the various areas affected. For example, articles on how to use clay to bake bricks for use in building, articles on the use of adobe, articles on roof-building and plumbing methods, how to build water-delivery systems out of locally available materials... These are the subjects I would put in.

      Everything from ancient Roman engineering concepts (the arch, the aqueduct, locating and exploiting water sources, etc) to modern home-building techniques could go in. Operational stuff, you know?

      It would also serve as a "good-faith" thing; don't try to mess with their culture, respectfully avoid the subject entirely, just give them what they need to really improve their lives. That's what they want to know, you know; "How do I build a house whose roof doesn't leak in monsoon season?" "How do I build a better boat, with more capacity for fish and is easier to pilot?" Stuff like that.

      I'd LOVE to see a resource like that made available. I think it'd help people a whole lot more than dropping bags of food from airplanes. :)

    • You're absolutely right -- it's all about content.
      This is one of the areas that shortwave radio has addressed for years. The U.S. government beams regular programming into impoverished areas in their native languages teaching them how to improve crop yields, build safer sturdier homes from available materials, build new types of tools, and provide basic education to children.

      Most /.ers have never heard of it because shortwave is so 20th Century, but it's an effective method for blanketing a region, even a
    • I'm constantly surprised by the poor quality of learning tools on the internet. You'd think someone would have the funding to get these things right the first time. There are some good ones, like go. But for a complete guide to some of the most basic principles like Calculus, French, English, C, physics, these things should have the equivalent of amazing text books available online but they don't. Sad :(
  • Cool. Maybe we can finally squeeze a TCP/IP connection into Morse Code now.
    • It's feasible (as Morse Code is a valid layer 1 network protocol), but would reduce the bandwidth. You can design something a lot more efficient for a 3-state communication channel...
  • An other use would be to put this on the company proxy, and insteead of keeping all the explorers/firefoxes safe, just use this filtering technology to let only pass a basic internet. Users can still access all information, but a lot of spyware /viri attempts are filtered this way.

    any proxy plugins that can do this?
  • I've been useing this:
    http://packages.debian.org/stable/web/filte rproxy
  • ELinks / Lynx (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miratrix ( 601203 ) * on Saturday April 16, 2005 @04:45PM (#12257423)
    Why don't they just have people use ELinks / Lynx? ELinks with frame and table support works with most websites out there and it's very, very useable. It also runs on minimal hardware.

    With mod_gzip / Content-Encoding headers, absolutely everything's taken care of. So you move this into servers and it all of sudden becomes a killer app that's gonna kill everything else that's out there?
    • Re:ELinks / Lynx (Score:3, Informative)

      by grumbel ( 592662 )
      ### Why don't they just have people use ELinks / Lynx?

      Because thats client side, if you are really low on bandwidth you want to filter the junk out before you have downloaded it, not afterwards. Lynx of course already kills of the biggest junk by not downloading images, but there is still a whole bunch of useless information left in the html that you can filter out to reduce the size quite a bit.


    • Because, it's not about text-mode browsing. It's about low-bandwidth. Loband lets you see images if you have to (and recompresses them for you). The issue isn't having crappy hardware, it's having a flaky 12kbps satellite internet connection and having to use banking software full of javascript, imagemaps, and other accessibility-destroying oddities.
  • Isn't this pretty much exactly what aol and similar "internet enhancer" software has been doing for years?

    Other posters who were observing this kind of rewriting technique might be ideal for cell phones or pdas or whatnot are on to something, I think, but I don't expect this will really be at all popular among the "developing world" people they're intending it for.

    Think about it: Which would you prefer, the webpages you see now but loading kind of slowly, or webpages that load a bit quicker but look like
  • OnSpeed [onspeed.com] have already been providing such a service in the UK and other countries for a while.
  • Maybe someone should have just showed them Lynx before they went to all that trouble.
  • The loband application is available in full gpl compliant form from the parent organisations' website (I assume from loband directly as well, but its /.ed..)

    Its written in java and sits on a high bandwidth server acting as a proxy for all narrowband clients.

    Heres a link [aidworld.org]
  • Since ioband.org is returning 500s, have a look at my notes on reducing bandwidth and getting sites to load fast [gregorytoomey.com]
  • ... what they think of all this ... what business problems do they have that computer & communications technology might address?

    While I can think of a lot of potential problems, to which a no-graphics "Craigslist for the 3rd World" would be a useful response, wouldn't it make sense to ask the potential customers first?

    • "...wouldn't it make sense to ask the potential customers first?"

      Son, with an attitude like that, you'll never get far in development. 8^)

      I've been working in IT for about a year and a half now in a country designated by the UN as an LDC (Least Developed Country). A lot of people have challenged my assertion that the communications infrastructure is critical to development, pointing to the 34% literacy rate in this country, the abysmal state of health care and various other items as higher priorities.

  • Google Mobile already does this to an extent, though I don't know about the compression part. It seems to take ordinary sites and condense them down to just the text delivered in XHTML. Check out this [google.com] page (the first result for "test") then check out the full version [ets.org]. I actually kind of liked the stripped down version better, it communicates what it has to communicate and doesn't get in the way.
  • Sounds great, but images, special effects and whatnot are staples of the web. Filter them out and you are not only losing a large portion of your content(picture worth a thousand words) but annihilating your ability to use large chunks of the web as imagemaps, flash, etc are far overutilized cop-out web design elements. Besides, the developing world needs pr0n as much as the rest of us.
  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @05:00PM (#12257520) Homepage
    Slightly offtopic, but... it seems to me that the MIT $100 Laptop is really a way of trying to prove or validate Stephenson's theory in Diamond Age [strangewords.com]... Namely the idea that knowledge embodies class/culturual values and if that knowledge can be transferred, it expands the in-group.

    On of the key points glossed over in the novel is that computing hardware and bandwidth (which were part and parcel of the same thing... the primer.. in the book) are really seperate things in our world. Cheap hardware and access to inexpensive bandwidth would be absolutely critical to such a device.

  • I couldn't RTFA because it's coughing up Internal Server Errors, but how is this different from the "web accelerators" that have been available for years? The one we currently use at my work is RabbIT [sourceforge.net] - it reencodes images to a lower quality, saving bandwidth, and also gzips the pages. It makes browsing on a 56k seem signifigantly faster. Sure seems very similar to what this is doing, and certianly isn't anything revolutionary.
  • It is much better to use a scripting/page language that allows your server to generate a page adapted to each client's abilities: the interface can remain rich *and* optimised for various formats.

    And you can achieve a lot simply by using thicker client side (script or other), re-usable style sheets, etc
  • I'm thinking that the 3rd world does need some neat technology like this, if only to keep up with the 1st world. Factory machines, hospital equipment and other major equipment is likely to run on a computer ("Please make sure you are running Windows 2000 or greater..."). Hell, we probably send them their statements ("You owe 23 billion dollars in interest to the World Bank. Please include some high class prostitutes with payment.") in an Excel file.

    We need to give the 3rd world a chance to catch up by all

  • It's called a "Proxy server which doesn't work properly".
  • by MTO_B. ( 814477 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @05:20PM (#12257628) Homepage
    Till recently I used almost the same thing, provided by an ISP in Spain.
    The way it worked was like this:
    - The ISP sends you html pages compressed.
    - The ISP sends you *.jpg files compressed to your own choice of compression ratio.
    - The ISP sends you *.gif files compressed without animations.

    The html pages, are sent compressed, you localy have a program that acts as a proxy or something like that, then it decompresses it. The program also lets you set image compression ratio and all that.

    It even compresses pictures inside flash files!

    The result?
    Much quicker browsing with less browsing.
    If at any time you want to see the original picture you can just quickly change settings.

    You can view a presentation of it here:
    http://www.wanadoo.es/acelerador/micrositio .html
    (in Spanish)
  • Loband is not a client side filter like Adblock, but more like a proxy/webapp(translation service).

    For slashdot.org, the numbers are:
    without Loband:
    16214 bytes + like 20 images
    using Loband(from intrac page):
    12922 bytes (no images)

    So slashdot isn't speeded up a lot.
    I guess slashdot has high entrophy..;-)

  • Finally (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot looks like it should. [loband.org]
  • Such software have hidden cost on ISP hardware. Imagine how many serevers you need for soultion like
    this to service say 10,000 simultaneous users. Plus extra staff to maintain it.

    Basically it makes ISP to run more poverful servers and at the end they still pass the cost of it to the
    subscribers.
  • CSS thrown out (Score:2, Insightful)

    We make extensive use of CSS to style our site so that we don't have to use images, is there a reason that loband is not rendering style sheets. While I get that images often add very little to a site relative to weight, CSS provides a lot of bang for the weight. I estimate that if loband rendered our CSS, our site would look 95% the same. The only images we use are for our logo. ???
  • by ewg ( 158266 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @06:29PM (#12257973)

    Loband users are not easy to identify in web server access logs, at least by user agent string. Loband apparently echoes the original client browser's user agent string, with a request-specific (possibly random) floating-point number appended.

    "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.7.7) Gecko/20050414 0.8801681055082656"

    I guess you can look for the (Perl 5) pattern \s0\.\d{16}$, but why not just identify yourself as loband?

  • Have you tried it? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@nosPam.automatica.com.au> on Saturday April 16, 2005 @06:49PM (#12258059) Homepage
    I'm writing this, after browsing slashdot through loband.
    It's a nice, clean look actually - nowhere near as much clutter as the standard slashdot.
    It's a nice, sans-serif font (in black) on a white background and all links are in blue with an underline. There are no ads or other images, yet it keeps the layout pretty true to the original. Form submissions are a bit hit and miss - I could change, for instance, the threshold for viewing comments OK, however I had to return to regular slashdot to actually post this.
    Plus, even though I'm on a 10 meg connection, this loband page loaded noticably faster than the regular page - less cruft to download, less HTTP connections to be made and broken, and a cleaner layout that's easier for my broswer to rend.
    • After hearing about all of the "cool" stuff this is doing, I was wondering just what was the difference between this vs. web browsing via Lynx or some other low graphic-intensive application?

      I don't do it lately, but back when 9600 baud modem connections were still considered state-of-the-art (or at least typical for a computer geek/college student trying to get some sort of net access), I routinely did web browsing via Lynx. I could even do reasonable access at 4800 baud... which would work even with pur
  • .. or, actually, half a second. This looks like a modern day project of the bandwidth conservation society. Anyone remember that?
  • by gozar ( 39392 ) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @07:24PM (#12258250) Homepage
    Separate layout from content, so those devices that can't use the CSS can still display the content?
  • I just tried loband [loband.org] and it resembles with w3m [sourceforge.net] or lynx [browser.org] would display. It's true the text probably isn't getting compress, but text usually isn't the issue with low bandwidth, though text is highly compressible.

    But looking at the source of the file I just downloaded. What it basically does is strip off the css and replace with its own [loband.org]. images will get a link to the actual image, which doesn't get compress anymore. I don't see any compression at all either.

    Another problem I see with this is that what loband

On a clear disk you can seek forever.

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