Linking with Lynx lessens lag time

Running a graphical World Wide Web browser such as Mosaic Netscape or Internet Explorer over an ordinary phone line amounts to an act of blind optimism best understood by folks who believe every year that the Red Sox will win the pennant.

Even high-speed local-area networks hooked up to the Internet can choke on graphics-intensive Web pages. Add sound and animated Java applets to a Web page and even power users have difficulties.

These problems are compounded when using dial-up modems even the so-called "high-speed" 28.8 kilobit/sec jobs.

Dial-up Web graphics become even worse as the phone connection between your computer and the Web degrades causing modems to throttle back their speeds.

Trying to access the Web over a hotel's phone line turns into a real exercise in futility. Some hotels have added modem jacks to their phones but even this advance usually requires stringing wire from the jack across the room.

This hotel-field-wire fix comes close to guaranteeing a poor connection to the Web so when traveling why not ditch the graphics altogether and use Lynx the text-only browser developed by the University of Kansas? Lynx reduces the Web to its essentials - information - and delivers it quickly over even the poorest of phone connections including modems hooked up to acoustic couplers.

Lynx also delivers the true power of the Web: the ability to follow links ad infinitum without stumbling over glitzy graphics road blocks. You don't even need a mouse to use Lynx. Just hit the space bar to scroll through a page and type "b" to scroll back.

To find the links on a particular page just use the arrow keys the down arrow takes you easily from one link to another and the up arrow reverses course. Want to follow a link with Lynx? Just hit the return key and you move easily to the next Web destination.

If you forget which key controls which command just type "h" for help.

Lynx supports VMS and VT 100 terminals. Because shareware such as Procomm provides VT 100 emulation this means every PC in the government should be able to tap into Lynx.

The University of Kansas abandoned support for Lynx earlier this year. But Foteos Macrides a researcher at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts has taken up the slack and recently released Lynx Version 2.5. Tap into his home page www.wfbr.edu/dir/lynx to download the server and browser software.

Does your agency offer Lynx for dial-up users? We'd like to know. Send ane-mail to brewin@access.digex.net or antenna@fcw.com.

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