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Dealing With Dialup

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the life-through-a-soda-straw dept.

Communications 588

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like my parents may end up stuck having to use dialup to access the Internet from their cottage inside the Cape Cod National Seashore. Neither Comcast nor Verizon want to bother upgrading the hardware required to get them faster service. They could put a satellite dish on their roof, but it's a 300-year-old house and they feel a dish would be as prohibitively ugly as running dedicated lines would be prohibitively expensive. I've suggested they get familiar with a text-only email client; I also suggested they talk with their senators and local political reps. , Are there other ways they can increase the functionality despite the pitiful bandwidth? Any other good ideas? Any success stories you can share where people have finally got the bandwidth they crave?"

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588 comments

pda? (3, Informative)

Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375684)

if email is the biggest issue, a pda that gets wireless intarwebs from cell towers could be the solution. i hears talk that their making ones that are actually faster than wired broadband.

Re:pda? (5, Informative)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375966)

I don't know what it is like in the US, but here in Ireland we have 3G services, that the government even include in statistics as "broadband" connections. However, they do not actually provide good speeds in practice for most, as the service does not handle increased users well - the cell bandwidth gets divided out between the users and so just 20 or so means worse than dial-up speed and useless QoS. At the worst times it can be faster to switch to GPRS (2.5G)

Maybe Edge or whatever is used in the US is better, although I believe the top theoretical speeds are lower even if they do deliver better speed in practice.

----

As regards the OP question of how to cope with dial-up, I highly recommend NoScript for Firefox. Greatly reduces the load time for webpages (at least in my experience of seeing it on a browser using dual-channel ISDN). It by default blocks the worst web content - flash and javascript (e.g. loading graphics and animations from 3rd party ad servers). Simpler and more useful than Adblock, also fairer for website owners as you are not blocking ads specifically - just not handling certain types of content. You can easily whitelist javascript for domains for which it is essential.

For email, set up your email client (it doesn't need to be text only) to leave the emails on the email server - you can choose which ones to open up and download, and delete junk without downloading.

For downloading, it is useful to use a download client that can pause and resume downloads, or handle interruptions.

Two-way satellite works great except for the latency. You could always have the dish on the ground out in the garden if the house or shrubs etc. don't shadow the signal. Two-way sat has the advantage of being "always on" and you don't have the time-based billing of dial-up, also usable for downloading large amounts of data.

Look on the brightside (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23376028)

...their time is almost up. Then dial up will be the least of their problems. And if I had a 300-yr-old cottage on Cape Cod, frankly, I wouldn't give a damn about the internet, e-mail, or whether my kid was in my will.

Get a USB Modem (2, Informative)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375686)

We've had problems with our broadband being capped down to dial up speeds from time to time (Virgin sux), and I purchased one of those USB Modem sticks [vodafone.co.uk] .

Speed isn't super fast, about 750MBS, but it does the job.

We're Mac users and have one in each room. We put the USB modem on an iMac, configure it to share its internet connection via airport, and we're happy.
 

Re:Get a USB Modem (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375716)

lol i doubt they have 3 / 3.5g wireless in many places in the us when they are still selling 2g iphones.

Re:Get a USB Modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375872)

>Speed isn't super fast, about 750MBS

Gigabit Ethernet is "only" 1024 Mbps.

Re:Get a USB Modem (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376006)

You do realise they're not capping you to dialup speeds, more like 1mbit down and reduced up stream. It's probably someone you're sharing the connection with whoring all the upstream and making it feel like dialup. They start the cap at 4pm and it runs for 4 hours. Make sure everyone sets up a schedule on their P2P software to limit it back heavily. More details here : http://www.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.php [virginmedia.com]

Re:Get a USB Modem (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376086)

You do realise they're not capping you to dialup speeds, more like 1mbit down
I think you need a reminder of just how slow dialup is. Even counting dual-channel ISDN as dialup you're still too fast by a factor of 8.

Re:Get a USB Modem (0, Redundant)

cibyr (898667) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376076)

Speed isn't super fast, about 750MBS, but it does the job.
I have mod points, but there's no "-1, Wrong" option...

Feel free to mod me redundant though, thank $DEITY we have an option for that!

Wireless broadband (4, Informative)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375692)

There are some companies offering (expensive) wireless broadband on 5 GHz. Maybe not on the tip of the Cape, though. When I checked, they were priced like T1s...prohibitively expensive.

I'm guessing they're not able to get DSL.

There's also the possibility of using WiFi access points and directional antennas to create a point-to-point link with someone who has broadband. I did this for my brother and it works well, just need that person willing to share their broadband connection.

Re:Wireless broadband (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375896)

Or someone who doesn't have broadband but *can* get it...
I used to live just out of range for ADSL, so i found someone down the street who could get it and offered to pay for it and give them use of it in exchange for wireless access to it.

Re:Wireless broadband (5, Insightful)

D.A. Zollinger (549301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376022)

There is a solution no one has yet mentioned, ISDN. All POTS companies are required to offer it, and provide it at a decent rate. It won't compare to DSL or Cable, but it is a hell of a lot better than dial up. (Up to 128Kbps)


Rates for a Basic Rate Interface (BRI) should be similar to a standard phone connection, and with modern dial-up modem banks, just about any company that offers dial-up should offer ISDN access. From there, you would have to purchase an ISDN modem for your parents - I personally like 3Com's Office Connect ISDN LAN Modem for the features it provides. The upshot to this solution is that like DSL your parents can use the internet and receive phone calls simultaneously.


Take a realistic approach (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375696)

The first thing they should probably look into is shared wireless broadband multiplexing. By synchronizing and RSI-ing home wifi routers across whole neighborhoods, it should be possible to create a large enough mesh in which a communal network is created. By then expanding the reach of such a mesh network through the growth of the group itself (through more community members adding themselves to the network by physically adding newly-bought routers) and through the use of technologies like WiMax, it should be possible to reach an internet logon node. At that point, it's pretty much elementary, my dear Watson, to get a working link up.

The benefit is that as the community grows and more benefits appear for each user, the cumulative benefits become attractive to those who were at first unwilling or wary of such a mesh. When they start joining, they provide their own routers which in turn makes the mesh stronger, more resilient to single-point failures, and simply more stable for everyone.

There are plenty of companies providing this type of solution, but the best that I've found (and seen implemented in various small towns across the US) have been home-grown. Good luck to your parents!

Re:Take a realistic approach (2, Informative)

weijiao (749614) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375960)

Go with the flow :-) Use mobile websites where possible eg http://m.gmail.com./ [m.gmail.com] Many websites still have have text pages - use them.

Ordinary email clients, such as Thunderbird work well at dialup speeds.

Re:Take a realistic approach (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376094)

Use imglikeopera firefox extension, or opera so you don't download all those pesky images. They take an age to fetch.

And large caches, DNS and HTTP. So you don't use bandwidth if it's google again.

Re:Take a realistic approach (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375964)

The first thing they should probably look into is shared wireless broadband multiplexing.

There was a big effort to do something similar in Western Australia with wafreenet [wafreenet.org] . They've put together a massive wireless resource collection at E3 [e3.com.au] . It'd be worth having a good browse around there.

Re:Take a realistic approach (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376096)

German "Freifunk" (literally: "Free Wireless") initiative has made a complete firmware package [1] that integrates mesh routing (they use OLSR [2]) into it's web interface and also allows for remote administration per SSH. Installation is cake.

To see what's possible with that technology, just look at the maps of the Berlin [3] or Leipzig [4] networks; these cities had DSL white spots, just like parts of the US (or rural areas, for that matter).

[1] http://wiki.freifunk.net/Freifunk_Firmware_(English)#Overview [freifunk.net]
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLSR [wikipedia.org]
[3] http://map.berlin.freifunk.net/ [freifunk.net]
[4] http://leipzig.freifunk.net/ [freifunk.net]

Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375698)

Sorry, they don't want a dish because it might ruin the looks? Put it on a pole. This sounds the classic NIMBY crap we always get from this corner of the country. Then to top it off, since no company wants to spend the fortune it would cost to serve a few customers you want me (aka the guy who funds the government with the help of a bunch of other income earners) to pay for it?

Look, there may be wireless solutions in the future. I also do just fine with my email over dial up when necessary (just don't let it download anything with attachments).

DIAL UP IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Your parents have an open solution by a provider. (satellite) Obviously the looks of their house is more important than high speed internet.

Whats next on /.? Being forced to live with old single core processors?

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375762)

I have a single core processor, you insensitive clod!

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (4, Funny)

Weh (219305) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375908)

have you told the UN about this? obviously your human rights are being violated!

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375770)

First off, let me tell you how much of an ass statement that was.

I live in an area that is out of the range of local DSL and Cable providers - satellite is by no means a comparable solution (I can speak from experience), and it looks like theres no hope in sight. Company's have gotten all the subscribers that they need to keep their monopolies up and running, and now they don't give two shits about the people that are getting the shaft.

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375888)

Sorry, but I also have no sympathy for the poster's parents. If it's anything that puts my back up, it's upper middle class types(which is what the parents most likely are) who want to preserve their tasteful neighborhoods and impose NIMBY costs on the rest of society. An example is the opposition on Nantucket Island by rich and powerful people to the construction of windmills within sight of their precious playground. Again, sorry buddy, but zero sympathy from me.

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375782)

>DIAL UP IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

For email? Sure, even though the spam could be annoying if the provider doesn't have a good filter..

For web browsing, it must be a real pain in the ass though: I switched to broadband around 2000 and it was already a big relief back then and now the average web page size has tripled since 2003! [slashdot.org]

I agree with you for the dish, it doesn't have to be on the house, it could be setup at the back of the garden on a pole, that said I've heard that webbrowsing with satelite sucks due to the latency (big RTT) and I don't know if it's possible to have the uplink in dialup and the downlink through the satelite..

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (1)

rhavenn (97211) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375808)

For web browsing, it must be a real pain in the ass though: I switched to broadband around 2000 and it was already a big relief back then and now the average web page size has tripled since 2003! [slashdot.org]

Nagh, once the initial page load starts coming down the pipe it loads very quickly since web browsing is for the most part a couple of very small requests handled at one time by the remote server and that data comes back quickly once it starts.

Satellite does suck for online gaming, ssh type interactive sessions and VPN stuff since they are dependent on 2-way traffic with low latency.

Re:Uh, get the dish or quit crying. (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376000)

Well said. Enough whining and thinking the world owes you a favour.

Oh, and the chap talking about "shared wireless broadband multiplexing" (e.g getting everybody in the local area to position and setup their wireless JUST right so that everybody can have it.) is obviously completely unaware of human nature.

what about EVDO? (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375700)

Is there anything preventing you from using an EVDO connection through Sprint or Verizon? I know Verizon has a MB cap but Sprint is supposedly unlimited. When i decided to abandon Comcast about 4 months ago i got a sprint modem and the unlimited service package. for roughly the same price as Comcast.

Transfers are around 3 mbps in my area with respectable upload speeds. If there is no EDVO signal in the area speeds may be slower then dial-up if not nonexistent.

Re:what about EVDO? (4, Informative)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375948)

Since I am a loser... I checked 90% of the cape cod national seashore is covered by sprint's "Sprint Mobile Broadband Network (avg 600 kbps - 1.4 mbps download, 350 kbps - 500 kbps upload)" with the highest quality signal.

And at 60 Dollars a month you have nothing to complain about.

Re:what about EVDO? (1)

StarOwl (131464) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376072)

At $60 a month, you have something to complain about -- it's $50 if you do the leg work for a SERO plan.

EVDO isn't great for some broadband applications (video, gaming, VOIP), but it's a helluva lot better than dialup for routine email and webwork.

Potentially crazy suggestion: (5, Interesting)

Astatine210 (528456) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375704)

Get a satellite dish.
Mount it on the ground.
Cover it with a fibreglass imitation rock, or some other feature that's microwave-transparent but blends in with the local scenery.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (3, Funny)

Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375726)

completely crazy suggestion. why hide a bee-you-tee-full dish under a rock? we use cable, but i still want a dish on my roof, even if i doesnt do anything.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (1)

Astatine210 (528456) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375778)

Completely crazy suggestion. why hide a bee-you-tee-full dish under a rock?

As per the article, that's not an option. Even if the poster's parents grudgingly slap on a dish, they're living in an area where there's likely to be local ordinances against blatantly jarring or modern features on houses. As a bonus, hiding the dish under a cover will stop it from vibrating in the wind; not a regular problem for most people, but it might be if you lived on Cape Cod.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (5, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376050)

Howz about putting the dish inside the roof and replacing the roof tiles over it with pretty fibreglass tiles? That puts the dish in the house, and off the ground, out of eyesight, safe from the wind and hail and yes, maybe even lightning.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (5, Informative)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375728)

or just place it under the roof. They sell purpose-made fiberglass roof tiles that will match the existing ones after a little creative weathering, and are microwave transparent.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (1)

Gricey (154787) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375752)

or just place it under the roof. They sell purpose-made fiberglass roof tiles that will match the existing ones after a little creative weathering, and are microwave transparent.
mod that bad boy up. microwave transparent tile & dish is clearly the correct answer to the question.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375784)

That's about what I was thinking, I really don't know anything about "microwave-transparent" materials other than they don't get hot in my microwave though.

Could there be any sort of fire risk with something like that ?

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376024)

The amount of energy transmitted by a standard house microwave dish is minimal, and the nature of microwave-transparent materials is that they'll absorb virtually none of that energy. No risk whatsoever, at least microwave-related.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375830)

1. ISDN

2. stick the dish inside the attic - may require a small patch of roofing redone.

3. mesh type network

4. 3G if available

Mod parent up! (0)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376040)

People tend to forget about ISDN. ISDN in itself isn't incredibly fast, but it's dedicated, damned stable and still technically counts as "broadband". Plus if you get ISDN IDSL may become an option. Then you have two ISDN phone lines to play with where you can ditch the original analog line.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375838)

A 20 foot high fibreglass gnome in the back garden would do the trick. You could paint nerd clothes on him too as an ironic thingy.

Re:Potentially crazy suggestion: (3, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376068)

Or a 20foot high TUX!!! You could make money by selling tickets to geeks who want to have their picture taken with it.

Communities in action (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375720)

How near is a house with cable internet? Can they talk to one of their friends and then you set up point-to-point wireless? You could share the bills and half the cost. If it's 100m you could even run cat6 for speed.

oculab0b (1)

ocularb0b (1042776) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375734)

If it's available, a cell based service might be the best solution. The pricing has come down quite a bit and while the speeds aren't great it doesn't take much to beat dialup. You can even get a router with a pcmcia slot and share the connection with multiple machines or even neighbors and split the cost. Good luck.

Re:oculab0b (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375746)

they even make routers for the USB based cards. My sprint connection is under $60 a month and just as fast as Comcast ever was. I get the added advantage of taking that connection with me.

Granted i cant use it everywhere. but i can use it just abut any place i find myself.

Re:oculab0b (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375850)

If they have less aesthetically concerned neighbours they could put the dish on that house and offer to pay for their internets.

hide the dish (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375740)

you might be able to get GPRS or EDGE or whatever, that would be an only hope. IT would be a bit higher price, and it's not given that they put towers for that in such remote areas.

Googling a bit gives the option of "hiding" the satellite dish, some exist in the UK at least, not sure how well it looks in reality: sqish [sqish.co.uk]

Re:hide the dish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375978)

EDGE?
Oh thats right - your country is still in the stone age as far as mobile technology is concerned

Put the satellite dish somewhere else (1)

da.phreak (820640) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375742)

It will also work if you put it somewhere in the garden behind something where you don't see it. Just run the wire into the house and you are fine.

300 year old dish. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375748)

a 300-year-old house and they feel a dish would be as prohibitively ugly...
If my other best connection was a ouija board, I'd explore the possibility of getting a camouflage painted satellite dish.

Parabolic / Directional Antenna (2, Informative)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375754)

Do not know the distance we are talking about, but sounds like there won't be anything prohibitive on line of sight.

Closest neighbour who can have a fast connection, arrange with them to setup a WiFi, but not with regular uni-directional antennae, use directional, big one.

More precise you can align the antennaes, the further you can reach with better bandwidth. To avoid the bad looks, you could hook it up in a tree too.

If you are DIY type, there's lots of DIY tutorials to make one yourself on the cheap, which is just as good or better than some which costs insane high bucks. Just google "DIY WiFi Directional Antenna" :) Here's one: http://demi0urgos.livejournal.com/5924.html [livejournal.com]
Picture: http://img237.imageshack.us/my.php?image=smalllabattstilt2nr.jpg [imageshack.us]
Used: Beer can, some copper wiring, and some household items.

You actually can get quite damn good distances with this kind of setup, alternatively, you guys might want to ask if you could use signal boosters to amplify the strength of signal, but beware, there's very good reasons why by default the output is weak, but that's mostly directed towards to areas where there is other users.

Also, get the best hardware you can find on sane prices, using some cheap D-Link crap or something like that, is plain shooting yourself on the foot, they don't even work for 10 feets, nevermind 10miles no matter what kind of antenna you use.

Also, by nature WiFi is not very reliable, but setup well, it should work fine most of the time.

Re:Parabolic / Directional Antenna (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375812)

Wouldn't a big, directional antennae be just as bad as a big, directional dish?
Not saying your suggestion is a bad idea, just saying I don't think they'd go for it.
Personally, if internet was that important to me, I'd stick with the dish, or sell up and move somewhere else.

Re:Parabolic / Directional Antenna (0, Redundant)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376010)

Big in terms of WiFi antennaes, not big in terms of a regular satellite dish.

Maybe 50cm width? That ain't very big, especially if it's hooked in a tree, under the leaves you won't see it, and the signal goes very well through leaves :)

Usual WiFi antenna is like 5mm radius and 15cm long. compared to that 138x138mm is absolutely huge.

It's not the dish, it's the house. (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375768)

They could put a satellite dish on their roof, but it's a 300-year-old house and they feel a dish would be as prohibitively ugly
How about getting something newer for that 300-year-old house? Start with the dish and design the rest around it if simply moving to a more connected area isn't an option.

Why is "turn to government" the first solution? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375780)

Seriously, why is it always "turn to government"? It is a free country. They are free to live somewhere where they can get broadband. The broadband providers are free to not provide where they feel it is not profitable. This is not like telephone or cable (which have a government monopoly in many cases). Why should government be able to force a private business entity to enter a non-profitable market? Except perhaps in the case cited of an artificial monopoly?

Besides, it seems like they have an option (satellite), but they just don't want it.

Look towards Siena (3, Interesting)

dontknowdidley (802457) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375792)

Dishes can be painted to match with the existing surrounds - making them blend in fairly easily.

I was in Siena, Italy - a city that didn't develop during the Renaissance after losing a war to Florence - and there were dishes all over that were painted to match the stone and brick work of that city.

If a city that old can have dishes without looking bad or distracting, I think a house in New York will be okay.

Never give up on the easy solution - it's probably the best one.

Deal with it? (3, Funny)

Briareos (21163) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375806)

Nuke dialup from orbit, it's the only way to be sure...

np: Kettel - Afwezig (My Dogan)

Coop? (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375820)

Knowing nothing about the area or indeed what kind of people live there, the only thing that springs to mind is to find somebody nearby ask pay them to latch onto their connection, if possible. Or, if nobody has it and everybody want it, how about forming a cooperative? The cooperative would build a shared broadband connection in whichever way was feasible, and perticipants would pay a share of the costs; it wouldn't necessarily have to be very expensive, and a shared facility could be built in an out of the way place that doesn't damage natural beauty, old houses etc.

.-=anonymous=-. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375824)

i can't vouch for coverage on outer cape cod, but verizonwireless is an excellent value these days. $60/mo for unlimited use. this is of course after any up-front equipment costs. this would use cell-phone signals to provide an internet connection, and typically it supports only one computer. if you need to share the internet connection with 2 or more computers, there is at least one company (can't recall the name) that makes routers designed for use with a cellular internet connection.

Mirror (2, Funny)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375826)

They should mirror the internet during the night, updating a local cache, and when they surf during the day, they actually surf the locally cached internet.

They might even be able to use their browser cache for that, I would think. I have mine set at 50Mb and I never get complaints from my browser that it needs more, so I would say 50Mb is enough. Maybe set it to 100Mb of you also want a backup.

I hope this helps. And if not, I still have a 14k4 modem somewhere of you want to speed up the caching process.

Re:Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23376090)

> I have mine set at 50Mb and I never get complaints from my browser that it needs more, so I would say 50Mb is enough

So THAT is what I've been doing wrong! I set my browser cache to 50 Mb, too, and now I have the whole Internet cached! Wow, it's a LOT faster now!

Thanks!

I'm going to double the size, so that it goes twice as fast!

human rights issue? (1)

parasite (14751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375832)

I'm about fed up with the extreme left "technology pressure group" politics of this retarded website. Slashdot -- suck me. Why do you post such rubbish? Poor old geizer, poor poor geizers, don't like their available options because they're not 'AESTHETICALLY PLEASING' enough therefore the American people should subsidize their BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to internet just the way they want it. I suppose they didn't have any choice in choosing the house either -- it's all society's fault, so society should pay.

Cache Proxy (1)

EyyySvenne (999534) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375834)

The only thing i can think of from the top of my head are a Cache Proxy, but that pretty much requires you have flat rate on the modem pool phonenumber. Configure it to refresh the most visited pages/sites manually and/or automatically. If this is a success is very much dependant upon their surfing habits thou. For e-mail i would have run a server that popped the e-mail to it and then served it to the local client. Offtopic: The news i read immediately before this was about three of Stockholm's municipal housing corporations that has started to upgrade it's 90k home and 10k business customers connections to 1 GBit/s.

First world problems. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375848)

If your parents can afford to own (as you imply in the phrasing) a historic Cape Cod cottage as a vacation home they can afford to use a cellular service to check their e-mail and finances. Most likely, you're 15 and don't want to miss your World of Warcraft raid sessions and 4chan while on vacation. Boohoo, tough luck, deal with it.

Re:First world problems. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375866)

Shame you posted AC or I'd have modded you up. You posted exactly what I was thinking. Also if they stay somewhere like Cape Cod its probably to get away from a lot of the pace of modern life so perhaps they wouldn't even want a broadband connection.

Re:First world problems. (2, Interesting)

thereofone (1287878) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375942)

I didn't realize that that was why I haven't seen AC posts by myself or others modded up. Thank you though; it drove me to the final step after lurking for, oh, three years.

What am I missing here? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375860)

They could put a satellite dish on their roof, but it's a 300-year-old house and they feel a dish would be as prohibitively ugly as running dedicated lines would be prohibitively expensive

The WildBlue [mybluedish.com] dish is 28x26 inches.

Mounting this jet black dish inconspicuously would not seem to present any particular problem.

Authentic (4, Insightful)

August_zero (654282) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375864)

Unless they are driving up there in a horse and buggy, and use whale oil lamps to light the night, i would say the illusion is pretty well broken anyway. Why not mount the dish on something near the house, or even on a post or something? It isn't going to distract anymore than the SUV sitting in the driveway

Go for a walk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375880)

An idea might be to take a damn walk or stay home off the cape.

There is no point in going to the National Seashore if you are going to websurf while you are there.

Get off the net is the answer to the problem.

Guaranteed they have absolutely no need for the internet and probably ought to have the cabin siezed and given to someone who would appreciate it.

Got GSM or CDMA network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375884)

If you can't have broadband connection, you can always purchase a 3G mobile broadband device.
Although not every place has 3G connection, every day the number of places are increasing (with either UTMS or EV-DO) and the speed is acceptable, not the 20 or 30 Mbps you get with cable (depends of the country) but you get a nice 1.8, 2.4 or 7.2 (depending on the technology), but in places where you can't get 3G, you'll have GPRS that is slower than a normal dial up access, so make sure you have 3G access before buying the device.
Cheers
Carlos Segura

Cooperative approach (1)

Doofus (43075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375892)

Meet with neighbors; develop a cooperative approach w/ a major provider; get a higher speed line run to a central location further inland; use a wi-fi relay to distribute bandwidth.

lots of ideas (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375894)

Using a Unix account might not require as much user education or volition as you might think. Here are some of possibilities if you use a shell account on the user's ISP:
- Faster Web browsing using Lynx
    - No, there's nothing (seriously) wrong with Lynx
    - You can also use W3M or Links or Elinks if you like
- IRC chatting with EPIC4 or Irssi
    - I know IRC doesn't use a lot of bandwidth, but every little bit helps
- Instant messaging with TTY clients
  - Centericq does some protocols
  - Pork for AIM
  - Cabber or Imcom for Jabber
      - These are both crashy I'm afraid
  - There might be a text version of Gaim or Pidgin
- Offline downloading
    - User can download to the ISP first with Wget, Bittorrent, or the ftp command
    - User can later download the file to his or her home computer with an FTP client
        - Slightly more efficient
- Resize large images with Imagemagick
- Re-encode or down-sample audio
    - With the Vorbis Tools oggenc command
    - Or use Ogg Speex, which is down right awesome at reducing the number of bytes needed to store human speech
        - A friend of mine used Ogg Speex to download the first Codecon presentation to his dial-up account
            - Probably in much less the time it would have taken to listen to it
- Re-encode or down-sample video
    - Use Mplayer's mencoder command
- Maybe VNC or the low-bandwidth X proxy might be options

That's how I used to do dial-up. Except for things like the fact that Ogg Vorbis, Mplayer and Jabber weren't invented yet at that time. Fortunately my ISP let me have a shell account.

All this said, Windows XP is a lot more stable than Windows 3.1 was for me, so maybe it's better to run some client programs. Here's some tips for that.
- Filter the e-mail at the ISP
    - Spam these days is very large in file size
    - Use Spamassassin or some other filter at the ISP
    - Of course, a lot of ISPs do this for you already
- Turn off Javascript and disable plug-ins
    - If you're bent on using sites like Myspace or Yahoo Games or Youtube you might not have a chance at using this on dial-up anyway, so you may as well turn off the Web browser "features" they require, for faster loading of many Web pages out there
- In the old days you could have Netscape not automatically load images, but then load them if you clicked on them, or clicked on the "load images" button
    - This was the ideal solution, but unfortunately neither Firefox nor Seamonkey offer this feature
- Did I mention turning off Javascript and plug-ins?
    - I guess use of Noscript is a fair compromise
- Take advantage of the ISP's Web Mail service, or read mail on the shell account, if you can
    - Then you can delete e-mail messages you don't want
        - For example if they're spam, or too large, or you've already read them
    - But later download the mail you want to keep on to your local client
- Educate the user to educate his friends not to send too large e-mails
    - Quote properly
        - I know it's a lost cause, but it'll help
    - Teach not to include attachments without asking first
    - Teach how to reduce images to 640x480 (or 480x640) first

And, of course, sometime's it's faster to buy a CD or DVD and have it mailed to you than to download something. Dial-up ISPs could consider offering this feature, but perhaps with a customer-supplied harddisk for cost reasons.

Tom

Consider and easy-to-use iPhone? (1)

olafva (188481) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375898)

Foret the computer and get them an unlocked iPhone - much easier to use!

I've had mine in Europe nearly 2 months now and find it great to keep in touch with photos, email, web etc. Lately, found I
don't even need a SIM card as fring.com provides WIFI phone as well as easy to use Skype. Better yet perhaps they both would like one.

Test based email client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375900)

Why?

Email over dialup is fine - suggest webmail or IMAP incase there are large attachments they don't want to download.

disable flash and use adblock. Yes you can actually use the internet at dialup speeds you know.

Re:Test based email client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23376020)

Actually I think that this is the most insightful comment I've read on this article so far :-). It should be moderated up!

Tom

That's the point (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375902)

If you move to the boonies to get away from everything, don't be surprised when it works.

google "dry pair" (2, Interesting)

CoffeeBreath (317384) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375904)

There are several how-to docs on using bare wires from the telco (originally intended for alarm circuits) with special-purpose modems to get internet access in places the "usual" technologies won't reach.

Re:google "dry pair" (1)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376036)

If I hadn't looked it up myself just now, I would have been under the impression that "dry pair" refers to the phenomenon of wearing freshly laundered underwear.

Universal Access (1)

Cros13 (206651) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375912)

I'm currently running a 57km total (longest stretch 45km) 802.11a link with two relays to my parents house. I have fiber and they can't even get a stable dialup link. I know for a fact that three OC-192s lie less than a meter from the front gate and the local fiber MAN ends just a few hundred meters from there. 300m from 100Mbit Nirvana and unable to get DSL.....

Quitcherbitchen (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375916)

They could put a satellite dish on their roof, but it's a 300-year-old house and they feel a dish would be as prohibitively ugly as running dedicated lines would be prohibitively expensive. I've suggested they get familiar with a text-only email client; I also suggested they talk with their senators and local political reps.

(translated) My rich parents can't get broadband in their summer home in Cape Cod because they're too pretentious to use a dish and the mean old phone company doesn't want to spend millions to run DSL out to bumblefuck. Mr. Senator, can you make the taxpayer foot the bill so my parents can have *broadband* in their *summer home*???

Gimme a break. Talk about spoiled. You know, there are people who still use dial-up. Does it suck? A little. But talking about political action so rich people can get broadband in the middle of nowhere where they chose their vacation home? Get out of here.

OnSpeed Compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375924)

Try www.onspeed.com for Windows and OSX.

I use it on my MBP with my crappy old GPRS phone when I'm on long train journeys.

It really is an amazing product.

Cell Phone Modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375930)

I'm pretty sure Sprint works out there. Just get a USB datacard from Sprint (or someone else) and they're good to go.

Not as fast as DSL/cable, but a hell of a lot better then dialup...

Don't dismiss dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375932)

I use dialup and 14.4k wireless a lot when I'm traveling, and I travel to places (national parks) where I have to walk significant distances to get enough signal for a 14.4 connection. That is enough for me to to do my job, read the news, and check the weather.

Identify the functionality they really want. I bet you can find a mix of software and webapps that would scratch their itch over a clean dialup connection.

oh the horror... (2, Insightful)

gittela (248158) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375934)

What about disconnecting? IsnÂt that the point of vacation?
One of the things I love about our cottage is that there is no power, no running water and hardly any cellphone coverage.
If it is dead important I can read mail on my phone down the road.

Is it required? (1)

Wobble-U (1112077) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375968)

Do they need to have anything more than dialup? Using mail clients through dialup isn't that bad.

No biggie (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375970)

I know this will sound stupid, but really, a text-only email client is pushing it.

We had pathetic dialup lines in India for a long long time, and I still managed to use the Internet fairly comfortably. I used to be online almost 24/7 (except when phone calls whacked out the connection, but there came along programs to deal with that, also) on a dialup line not too long ago.

IRC, IM, E-mail (Webmail, POP3), regular WWW browsing - I did it all. Dialup doesn't automatically mean pine + lynx + bitchX + licq. Thunderbird + Firefox + mIRC + AIM/Yahoo/MSN/Gtalk/whatever works just as well. I even ran an Fserve in mIRC in EFnet over my line. People got pitiful download speeds from me, but it was possible!

In a nutshell: All is not lost, it'll just take a wee bit longer to find :)

Dude, 'fess up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23375972)

you're the one who wants broadband access.

Wireless, if you've got the money (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375988)

I've actually worked on a system like this in the north of Scotland. The thing is, the customer had pretty deep pockets, so you might want to think carefully before dropping this kind of cash on broadband.

The customer had a site at the top of a hill, some sites at the bottom of the hill, and a location 10km away where they could get broadband *and* line-of-sight to the hill. So what they did was use a 5.8GHz fixed wireless point-to-point link (Orthogon Gemini Lite) to get a 10MBps link to the top of the hill, then 5.8GHz point-to-multipoint (Alvarion BreezeACCESS VL) to the sites down the hill.

As I say, quite expensive (the Gemini alone was about £6000 at the time), but this will throw your broadband for a good few miles and is extremely reliable if set up correctly. The outdoor units for the links are squarish things about a foot across (Gemini a bit bigger, VL a bit smaller). If you consult the manufacturer I believe you can paint them to make them blend in.

You could probably do it with consumer-grade wifi gear with external antennas, but 2.4GHz is so noisy these days. If you *really* had money to burn you could use a licensed link and get carrier-grade reliability.

set up a terminal server (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375996)

If you have DSL or cable at home and you have a machine you use as a firewall (which is always running), maybe you could set it up as a terminal-server.

Preferrable over a VPN.

You might want to look into which protocols are the most bandwidth efficient.

the squeeky wheel (1)

izm (592666) | more than 5 years ago | (#23375998)

How much kicking and screaming have they done? I ask because as a former verizon network engineer, I have routinely found myself putting out work orders to modify plant to make DSL possible. The qualification system used by the call center reps is littered with errors and false positives. With that in mind I would highly suggest that you incist that they put in a ticket to engineering to qulify the loop, or even that they push an order through anyway. If it's not doable as is, the loop assigners will put it to engineering. If its impossible for engineering to do, then it will fall through all together. How far are they from the CO? Have you seen any CEV's around the neighborhood? A CEV is a sort of remote extension of the CO to extend the reach of certain services. For the most part it looks like a big metal door into the ground. If there is a CEV figure out how far they are from that. All in all if they are more than 18000 ft from the CO or a CEV verizon cannot physically provide service. If any neighbors have dsl, that is also a good justification to make them try to do it. Good luck. Hope I helped. --izm

ISDN? (1)

Mumei no koshinuke (1110677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23376070)

It's only 128kbps, and it can be rather expensive, but ISDN has traditionally been available in areas where DSL/cable aren't.

In my opinion, ISDN is a better option than cellular or satellite broadband because there is so much less latency.

If ISDN isn't available, the phone company may still let you sign up for several phone lines. You could then use multilink PPP with 2 or 3 modems. (Your ISP would have to support this.)

3G Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23376074)

Have you ever thought of 3G internet?

another day of fake clouds/weather (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23376084)

we wonder how much that is costing US taxpayers, & what effects it's having on what's left of our real atmosphere? seems like a nonexistent topic. 'course that permits US to continue pretending, & not holding anyone responsible/accountable. butt isn't that how we 'deal' with almost everything nowadaze? either with the 'head in the sand' method, or the mynuts won; 'you must be kidding/crazy' tome. alternatively, you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

just follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn. anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in.

for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it?

we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece
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