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I have seen the Future

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There are some public domain electronic books that I’m going to host on my website. They’re very good and rather than leech bandwidth from their original sources, I transferred them to my site.

How to do that was the question, as I’m stuck on dial-up and a couple of the books are over 100mb! Then I recalled the shell access (SSH) that my fine hosting company provides as part of my plan. Aha! I’ll just transfer the files directly from the remote site to mine.

The next problem was how to fetch ’em. The shell provides only character interface (no graphics) so I could not fire off FireFox/Linux. There is the ftp command line client for ftp transfers but these files are downloaded via http. Then I recalled our good friend Lynx. Lynx is a character-based web browser that runs on everything from Linux to DOS. Like the good nerd-heads they are, the guys at DreamHost had it installed.

So I fire off PuTTY, log in to my SSH account and fire off Lynx with the site’s URL and start browsing. Character-based browsing isn’t the easiest thing in the world since most sites are optimized for graphical presentation. This particular site’s download page was simply a list of titles and URLs so it wasn’t too difficult. Then an easier method dawned on me.

Get the URL from FireFox and paste it into the PuTTY screen to invoke Lynx on the download URL directly. In FireFox, right click on the link and select “copy URL location”. In PuTTY at the shell command prompt, type “lynx ” (note the space) and then right click. The clipboard is automatically pasted. Hit return and yer off. Works like a champ.

Now the vision of the future. File transfers at 1000mb/sec or faster, depending on their network load. Watching a 4mb file come over in just a couple of seconds. Watching a 200mb file come over in a couple of minutes. Wow! I’m green with envy at those guys at DreamHost that get to sit there and browse at OC3 or better speeds!

The only problem I ran into was that some cheap-sh*t hosting companies throttle their client’s output. One book I grabbed was throttled down to 75kBps. Not even enough to fill up an entry level DSL connection. Oh well. That too will change.

This peek into the future has me salivating. Just imagine a gigabit connection to your home! It’ll almost surely be fiber, of course, and it may take 10 years to happen. Or not.

Of course, I’ll never see that up here in God’s Country. Why is life always a tradeoff. Live in a sh*t-hole city and have broadband or live on the right hand of God and suffer dial-up. I guess that He figured that our heads would explode if we had too much goodness :-)

John, yer correspondent on the information rutted cow trail.

Posted by neonjohn on June 15th, 2007 under Computing


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