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Thread: Browsing the net on 486 laptop over null modem cable

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    Default Browsing the net on 486 laptop over null modem cable

    Toshiba T2100, 486SX @ 25MHz, 12Mb RAM, 250Mb HDD, monochrome display.

    Got it few years ago, installed Win 95 on it, then floppy disk drive died and I haven't really used it since then. Luckily I installed DCC and TCP/IP stack before the floppy died. Bought a serial null modem cable and USB to serial cable recently and decided to have a play with the old laptop and get it connected to my network.

    After a bit of trial and error got it to connect to the internet via Win XP host. Now I can browse the net via Lynx browser in text only mode Serial connection was useful for copying some more programs onto it as well. Luckily old software is relatively small in size so copy times are bearable, and I can copy it directly from shares set up on the host machine.

    Does anyone know of a "modern" browser that will run on the above hardware (there probably isn't any)? I tried a version of SeaMonkey hacked for Win 95 which supports most of the modern HTML standards, but it doesn't go past splash screen - I guess CPU and RAM are far from what it needs to run.

    486.jpg

  2. #2

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    Arachne runs under DOS.
    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

    There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen
    ☞ Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Arachne runs under DOS.
    Good point, forgot about Arachne. I did try it not too long ago on another machine under DOS (with network card), but I didn't get it to work as I didn't have the ODI driver for the network card (only NDIS), which Arachne requires. Will have a go and see if I can make it work over null modem connection.

    Windows based browser would be nice, but there probably won't be any for this hardware.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Simke View Post
    Windows based browser would be nice, but there probably won't be any for this hardware.
    Off By One will work with WIN95.
    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

    There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen
    ☞ Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Off By One will work with WIN95.
    Just came across that one while doing some research Looks promising, will give it a try tomorrow.

  6. #6
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    The problem I've been hitting with older browsers and even Lynx in the last five years or so is less that websites are relying more on things like flash, javascript and HTML5 but the post-Snowden switch for everyone to HTTPS. Most of our older browsers have no support for encryption and the later ones that do either use obsolete algorithms or are too resource heavy. Even under Windows XP you cannot even reach the Windows Update website until you apply SP3, Install IE 8 AND patch up the machine completely. Otherwise it fails because the TLS encryption is not new enough.
    = Excellent space heater

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    The problem I've been hitting with older browsers and even Lynx in the last five years or so is less that websites are relying more on things like flash, javascript and HTML5 but the post-Snowden switch for everyone to HTTPS. Most of our older browsers have no support for encryption and the later ones that do either use obsolete algorithms or are too resource heavy. Even under Windows XP you cannot even reach the Windows Update website until you apply SP3, Install IE 8 AND patch up the machine completely. Otherwise it fails because the TLS encryption is not new enough.
    Aint' that the truth, the closest I got to a modern browsing experience is on my 486 using Firefox 2.0.x under Windows 98 SE - which actually CAN render pages, but good freakin god is it a memory hog. Just loading it takes about 2 minutes, and once it is up, doing anything beyond accessing an older site like www.uncreativelabs.net or a google search is worse than surfing the web in 2001 in Windows 3.1 using AOL 4.0 on a 486 DX-33 with 8MB of RAM over a 56K modem through a uni-directional UART serial port.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2015
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    Not "modern" but Opera 3.60-5.x will run just fine on that. I used to run Opera 5 on a Thinkpad 365ED (486DX4/100, 16(?)MB RAM, Win95) and it's totally useable. The problem is while Opera 5 runs great on that hardware, most of the modern web won't run on Opera 5. Mobile sites & forums (e.g. this one) often work well though.

    Advantage: versions of Opera that old should be extremely secure as it just plain didn't run most of the client-side scripting that let malware through. No Flash, no Javascript, no ActiveX (holy ick! remember that??), etc.

  9. #9

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    I've tried surfing the internet on older machines and it's pretty much unbearable. I used to browse reddit and wikipedia on old machines, since their site is simple enough, but new https breaks everything.

    If you have a modern pc up and running, you can try something like this: https://virtuallyfun.superglobalmega...cient-browsers.

    You can also do VNC from win95. The screen will refresh slowly, but everything else should load up fine.
    -------------------------------------
    [CAT-644 Homebrew Computer][CoCo2] [HPLX-100 186] [286-12] [486DX-133]
    [K6-2+ 600/3dfx Voodoo3] [Athlon X2 939] [Atom Netbook][FX-8120][Tegra K1 ARM Laptop]

  10. #10
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    Vintagecomputer.net will work pretty well on older browsers including Next and Win 3.11 Netscape 1.0. Turn off javascript.
    @ BillDeg:
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