Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The New Breed of Snails are Good News for Old Snails

This is an iPhone. It is one of many handheld devices capable of surfing the internet. But it's processor speed and ram is much less than a typical desktop or laptop computer. For this reason and because of the smaller screen size, devices like iPhones, Pocket PC's, smartphones and PDA's have special needs when it comes to browsing websites.

Just like your old computer, they are snails. But they are a new breed of snails, on the cutting edge of technology.

This is great news for you if you own an old slow computer, because there are a ton of websites designed especially with these new snails in mind. And if you are having problems with the increasing demands of typical websites loaded with flash, scripting, large images, etc., then why not give the mobile sites a try?

Most of them will work on a desktop computer, and they not only work great on old slow computers and ones running at lower resolutions, they also work great for newer computers on slow dialup connections.

Do you have a Yahoo webmail account? Are you not too happy with the newest fancy version of their webmail? Does even the older interface leave a bit to be desired when it comes to speed of loading on a slow dialup connection? Try the mobile version of Yahoo Mail. There is no fancy scripting or graphics and it has only a few text based ads. It is the simplest version of their webmail that I have ever seen.

Do you use Hotmail instead of Yahoo? Don't worry, there is a mobile version of MSN that has Hotmail.

How about a version of GMail that is even lighter than their basic HTML version? Try this one.

Do you wish that there was a site with tiny lightweight flash games that wouldn't kill your pc? Then try the mobile games at Gamoku.

You can even shop at Amazon!

You are now ready to give that other hidden internet of sites that are snail friendly a try, but except for the few sites that I have given you, where and how does one find them?

One of the first things you can try is looking on the sites you already like but are struggling with and see if there is a link to a mobile version on it. This was how I found the lighter version of Digg.

Another thing you can do is check directories of sites that are specifically designed for handheld devices.

Important Note: Not all mobile sites can be accessed with a desktop computer. Some web developers have gone out of their way to restrict their mobile sites to handheld devices only, and the links may not work, or even worse, they may lead you to the regular version of their sites. Keep this in mind as you are browsing.

Here are some directories you can try:

If you have a link to a great mobile website or directory that I haven't mentioned, why not share it?
Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Digg, Digg Lite, Digg Ultra-Lite


In case you are unaware of what Digg is, it is a social news site where any member can submit an interesting article link that they find on the web, and then all members can vote on whether they like it or not. If it is very popular and gets a lot of votes, it is moved to the front page of the website, so everyone is sure to see it.

But it is a bit more social than that...you can even comment on the articles, make friends, leave shout messages to each other, etc.

Digg can make you rip your hair outBut there is a serious problem with the website. It is NOT snail friendly. If you are the owner of an older slower PC, you could end up ripping your hair out while trying to use the site, as a recent rant on my personal blog shows.

The last thing I asked in my rant post, was if anyone knew of a Digg Lite and if they did to please supply the URL. Nobody came to my rescue with a link for me to try, though.

Digg's page code
I did a little looking around on the site and a bit of digging of my own, partly in the source code of the very slow digg.com site, originally looking for ways to make the site load faster, possibly by blocking unnecessary ad servers in my HOSTS file.

Instead, I found something even better. What I found were two links, one of which was commented out in the code, so it wouldn't appear on the page.

I am happy to announce that owners of older slower computers do not have to suffer with Digg's over-scripted, slow loading, bloated main site. There are two other options that you can try.

First, you will need to have a Digg account, which you can only obtain on the main site. So if you are having problems with loading or using that site, I suggest you use another computer to sign up. Do it at a friend's or relative's house, or school, work, or a library if you have to. Once you have an account, you are all set to go to one of the alternative sites and start Digging.

Digg mobile
Digg Lite

The first alternative site is their mobile version that is meant for hand-held portable devices, like cell phones and PDA's. But it will work fine in your desktop browser, as well, and it is much lighter than the main site, with much less scripting.

Give this one a try first and see if your browser and computer can handle it before trying the even lighter version. This could be all you will need.

When you click a link on the main list page, you are taken to an individual article page where you can access the link to the web page where the article appears, vote on the article, plus read comments. Sometimes some of the comments look a little messed up or seem a bit out of order, but the majority are still readable.

The only things you will not be able to do is the more social interactive features such as make comments, browse profiles, leave shouts to friends, or submit article links of your own. But there is still plenty of fun to be had with this version, with what features it does supply.

Digg River
Digg Ultra Lite

Now if you have tried the lighter mobile version and it still isn't working out for you and you need something even lighter, there is Digg River, the original ultra lite mobile site with very little scripting and very little in the way of features.

It is just the headlines, links, and descriptions, along with a voting button. There is nothing social about this version...no comments or any other features.

It is very good for finding interesting things to read, though. Plenty of that there. And if you hate the comments on Digg and would prefer never to see them again, this version is definitely for you. This is the one I prefer, and precisely for that reason.

Comfort Tip: If the text on the Digg River page is too small for you to read, try holding down your CTRL key and hitting the plus (+) key till it is a comfortable size. (If this affects other web pages, hold down the CTRL key and hit the minus (-) key till it is normal size again)

So now you don't have to be left out of Digg entirely, just because you have an older slower computer. You can still enjoy yourself, as long as you don't mind giving up the more social features, in the process.

Take me to bloated Digg.com
Take me to the lighter mobile Digg
Take me to the ultra lite Digg River
Read Digg's blog article about Digg River
Read my original rant about Digg