Hacker News

21 hours ago by xiii1408

My grandmom legit still uses Netscape dial-up as her ISP. She lives in a very rural county in Tennessee, and there are no DSL, cable, or fiber options. Her house is unfortunately also down in a valley, so there's no cell phone reception, although there's reasonable 5G service if you walk up to the top of a nearby hill. Perhaps Skylink will be an option soon, although not yet.

My parents bought her a Kindle a while back, which is difficult to use without WiFi internet access, although it doesn't require much bandwidth. I actually made her a dial-up WiFi router using an RPi, USB WiFi and dial-up modem adapters so that she can create a WiFi network off of her dial-up connection to download e-books. My friends helped me use the GPIO to set up a nice, user-friendly button to connect and disconnect the dial-up connection, as well as a notification light to signal whether the dial-up is connected, connecting, or off. (Remember you can't leave dial-up on all the time, since you want to receive or place calls using your landline sometimes.)

Actually, the hardest part of the whole thing was getting the dial-up connection working with an open-source Linux client instead of Netscape's proprietary Windows client. I ended up having to use VirtualBox and some Linux FIFO's to listen in on what the proprietary windows client was doing when connecting. In case anyone else happens to come upon this problem: the proprietary Netscape client lowercases the password before sending it over the wire. :P

20 hours ago by user3939382

I would make a deal with a friend or neighbor who gets 5G reception on top of the hill. Connect a 5G modem to a Ubiquiti point-to-point antenna set that beams the connection to the house at the bottom (they have different products depending on the distance).

That may violate the TOS of the original connection but probably wouldn’t come up.

17 hours ago by kiwijamo

Have you missed all the recent chatter about Ubiquiti? I'd steer well clear and look at other options such as MicroTik et al.

10 hours ago by Sander_Marechal

Have you seen the chatter about MikroTik vulnerabilities as well? Everybody has security incidents. What matters is how you handle them.

17 hours ago by pmlnr

> That may violate the TOS of the original connection but probably wouldn’t come up.

How? If that were true, WiFi range extenders would violate TOS as well.

16 hours ago by bayindirh

> How? If that were true, WiFi range extenders would violate TOS as well.

A WiFi extender just repeats the same network with same security, SSID and access password. It doesn't extend connection to third parties.

Similarly, if I have a large property with a large land, I can spread the network to every part of the land with the equipment of my choosing and no one would say anything unless I allow third parties unfettered permanent access to said network.

17 hours ago by outime

WiFi range extenders usually implies same home and same family members and not the house down the hill so neighbors don’t need to pay their own. It’s a bit absurd though since that house wouldn’t be able to pay their own in this case.

19 hours ago by daguava

Ignoring all the problems you had, this is so sweet I can't stand it - your grandmom has an excellent grand-daughter/son <3

12 hours ago by qwerty456127

> My grandmom legit still uses Netscape dial-up as her ISP.

I wish all the websites which reasonably can and should would have mandatory lightweight versions optimized for dial-up and comparably slow connections so you could still use your bank, read news, chat (I mean WhatsApp which doesn't even have a PC client app you could install once), download books, book hotels/flights, order stuff from e-shops and online marketplaces etc while on narrowband. Thanks G-d we still have plain old POP3+SMTP e-mail servers and clients still available at least.

15 hours ago by stuaxo

If you get time, make a blog post somewhere with this info on it, so other people can find it easily !

a day ago by AceJohnny2


> Netscape ISP is a dial-up Internet service once offered at US$9.95 per month. The company serves web pages in a compressed format to increase effective speeds up to 1300 kbit/s (average 500 kbit/s). The Internet service provider is now run by Verizon under the Netscape brand. The low-cost ISP was officially launched on January 8, 2004. Its main competitor is NetZero. Netscape ISP is no longer actively marketed, but for a time its advertising was aimed at a younger demographic, e.g., college students, and people just out of school, as an affordable way to gain access to the Internet.

17 hours ago by akoster

Reminds me of Opera Mini [1] utilizing Opera’s compression servers (which really helped with capped mobile data plans a few years back) or Google Web Light [2] which I have heard might be similar

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_Mini

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Web_Light

14 hours ago by rollcat

Opera Mini doesn't just compress web pages. They run Presto (their OG web engine) headless on the backend, pre-render the pages, and push THAT to the device. It doesn't just conserve bandwidth but also the CPU power.

11 hours ago by tootie

Amazon Silk works the same way. I think it's the default browser for Kindle devices.

16 hours ago by zorked

I used to be involved with an ISP-specific product which was basically a plain-old HTTP proxy that would ensure everything is compressed with gzip at max settings and which downscaled images.

For dial up, it worked well. For everything else the added latency that came with re-enconding reduced subjective connection speed considerably unless you were lucky to hit the server's cache.

12 hours ago by vidarh

It's unfortunate how many of these things won't work so well with SSL everywhere.

At one point I toyed with the idea of a setup that'd rely on keeping a cache reasonably coherent between two sides of a slow link, but it'd be most effective if it was shared, but it's a non-starter unless it's only shared between people who'd be happy with MITM'ing their SSL connections for the sake of getting more of their connections.

Basically if both sides have a decent sized cache, on a cache miss you can re-request the resource from the origin but instead of returning the full page compare it to the cache entries you know the other side also has and produce a diff, and return just the compressed diff. It also overcomes bad cache settings etc., as long as the slow link between the caches is the primary performance limit of course.

(To guard against the caches going out of sync, you can of course return a hash, and let the cache on the "client side" force a refresh if it does)

If I ever find myself on a really slow connection again, maybe I'll test it with a VPN to a VPS.

a day ago by jandrese

Some people are going to call the design dated, but to me that kind of layout is timeless. Just the facts and it has good information density.

But LOL that the "Maps" link goes to mapquest.com. In other news Mapquest still exist.

19 hours ago by drewzero1

My dad recently had me help him remove "Maps Galaxy" which had taken over his Chrome homepage, and which he had accidentally picked it up trying to get to Mapquest (which he apparently still uses regularly).

He is also the kind of person who wants an iPhone because he was impressed by the quality and capabilities of the Apple ][ computers he used in college. It's difficult for me to understand, but I have to respect that kind of loyalty in our rapidly-changing digital world.

13 hours ago by HenryBemis

I don't use Apple, but I understand "old people" (like I am rapidly becoming) follow the 1) It works!, and 2) If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

You don't specify, but can I assume that he has the same iphone for the last 5-7 years, or he upgrades regularly?

4 hours ago by drewzero1

Oh no, he has a low/midrange Android and upgrades every couple of years. But occasionally he mentions he's thinking of switching to Apple, and mentioned that as the reason every time.

Incidentally and unrelatedly, I have had the same iPhone for the last 7 years, but I've been using a feature phone for the phone part the last 5. I'm reemerging into the smartphone world with Verizon's 1X network shutting down and I've realized I am also definitely rapidly becoming "old people" myself.

All of the phones I thought were so cool are now hopelessly obsolete, and most may not even be able to activate on a current network. Even beyond the obvious headphone jacks, physical keyboards, and removable batteries, what happened to phones with FM radios, tiny secondary screens, and IR blasters? Everywhere I look all I see are big screens and fancy cameras.

19 hours ago by basch

Compare that to the garbage that is the default msn page in Edge. I’m disappointed Microsoft isn’t using their new tab page to be more educational. So many scammy ads.

6 hours ago by mikestew

One of the lists I'm using on the home pi-hole apparently isn't fond of MSN, either, because "Safari can't find the server 'www.msn.com'. Sure enough, the pi-hole query log says it's being blocked. Maybe I'll disable for a few minutes and see for myself...

Yeah, now I see why. The MSN home page is worthy of an article, hell, a series of articles. I wouldn't dare click a thing on that page.

20 hours ago by mypalmike

I still use the verb "mapquesting" when referring to online maps. It gets a laugh every once in a while.

17 hours ago by philistine

Only one response comes to mind: OK boomer.

20 hours ago by JohnJamesRambo

It’s completely beautiful to me. Just the information you need and no bs.

a day ago by kivlad

https://www.compuserve.com is the same thing.

Oath/Verizon is keeping these sites on some kind of life support to this day.

6 hours ago by whoisthemachine

I prefer to think there's some developer out there who wrote wonderful code to made that "Homepage" performant and easy to maintain, and has successfully argued for their continued existence, occasionally pushing out a small feature addition to feed in data from new sources as old sources go.

17 hours ago by mrweasel

They actually took the time to make it at "template" of sorts.

I wonder if the sites are deliberately made using an older design language to appeal to a certain audience?

You almost want to clone it and just replace the content with something more interesting.

15 hours ago by caslon

Actually, the Netscape page is just a thin veneer over the CompuServe page. If you take the green gifs off, the page is filled with CompuServe colors. It's less a template and more Netscape wearing the skin of CompuServe turned green.

21 hours ago by swiley

Wow that feels so weird seeing spammy headlines with a minimalist layout and knowing it's not broken.

19 hours ago by drewzero1

I was surprised not to see the old interactive Flash ads like "Swat the fly for a better insurance rate!"

a day ago by statenjason

That loaded fast.

Also, seeing the network request for background gradients takes me back to an era of CSS I don't miss. Anyone remember the hacks for drop shadows and rounded corners?

a day ago by DaiPlusPlus

> Anyone remember the hacks for drop shadows and rounded corners?

Originally it was kinda simple: just a 3x3 <table> with stretched images in the outer cells, then <div>-itis. Fortunately we rarely needed 9 nested <div> elements - a common trick was to create a 2000x2000px-sized PNG containing the top-left, top, and left-edge border and then another for the other side and make that a background image - the only problem was the lack of support for transparency and how IE would get PNG colors wrong for some reason until IE8 unless you altered the gamma ( https://salman-w.blogspot.com/2011/03/png-color-problem-in-i... )

21 hours ago by edgyquant

I remember building rounded containers this way, it’s been so long I had forgotten how much border-radius has saved us from those little hells.

19 hours ago by karlshea

And that was around the time the CMS was really getting mainstream (instead of Frontpage). So then you had to go digging through a million templates trying to wrap the right thing with your 3x3 table.

20 hours ago by Tijdreiziger

> That loaded fast.

After getting through the order-of-magnitude slower cookie consent page, yes.

17 hours ago by kiwijamo

What cookie consent page?

12 hours ago by dspillett

https://imgur.com/a/vb6h0IF - complete with the "legitimate interest" checks that basically say "we see you'd rather not be stalked, we'd like to stalk you anyway". Never click "reject all" if you actually want to opt out of all tracking, always go to the options screen or what-ever they call it because "reject all" usually means "reject all except for those that claim legitimate interest" (i.e. not even remotely rejecting all).

If you are not in the EU, you just get all the tracking without even being asked (instead of being asked but any negative response somehow worked around).

Each of those chevrons when clicked lists the hundreds of partners that you are potentially being followed around by. They make it painful to opt out (impossible to permenantly opt out but of course easy to permanently opt in, accidentally or otherwise) though this design is not as egregious as many I've seen as it gives an opt-out-all click for "legitimate interest". Some sites ("powered by Admiral" - I'm looking at you, well actually I'm not as you are collecting in the list of sites blocked at the network DNS level here) make you click a separate option off for every. single. one. of. the. many. many. many. many. many. 3rd parties.

15 hours ago by wasmitnetzen

Probably an EU-specific page. I got it too, it was even in my local language.

21 hours ago by slater

"That loaded fast"

welcome to non-garbage HTML! ;)

20 hours ago by agumonkey

And someone spoke about pdf value as 'fixed' presentation a few days ago, this page felt the same.

19 hours ago by karlshea


13 hours ago by bartread

Man, that logo hit me right in the nostalgia. Nice that they haven't modernised it actually.

Also, that homepage is incredibly lightweight by today's standards: 125KB with uBlock Origin enabled and still "only" 390KB with it disabled. Granted I'm looking at it on a fibre connection, but for me it loads almost instantly.

I imagine, if you're still using the Netscape dial-up internet access service over a 56Kb modem, it's going to be a rather different experience: probably 20 - 30 seconds to load with an adblocker switched on, and maybe up to a couple of minutes without one. I used to get stroppy with pages >50KB back when I still used a modem because of the time they took to load.

Still, a very beautiful and nostalgic homepage. Props to Verizon for not screwing it up.

21 hours ago by coolreader18

I feel like the first character of this title should be lowercased, URLs traditionally are and I thought it said "LSP" instead of "ISP"

19 hours ago by forgotmypw17

Agree @mods

17 hours ago by kiwijamo

Has the title changed in between your post and now? It currently is 'Netscape ISP Homepage' which makes sense to me?

17 hours ago by zinekeller

"Isp.netscape.com" was the title.

17 hours ago by buro9

Inaccessible without visiting guce.advertising.com/collectIdentifiers

DNS ad-blocking shows up a fair number of these methods because the sites become unavailable (not a bad thing)

Latest fetch: https://web.archive.org/web/20210408062043/https://isp.netsc...

Earliest fetch (2004): https://web.archive.org/web/20040205013205/http://www.isp.ne...

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