Mosaic changed your life..

Published on: Author: Mike Hall 1 Comment

.. even if you were not a computer user back in 1993/4. It was the first browser to incorporate pictures into a browser view.1993_mosaic_browser_large

The picture above shows the ‘Windows’ version which did not come available until 1994, being released for the Mac and Amiga at the same time.

By today’s standards, modems were incredibly slow way back then, but the concept of being able to use a computer to find out about stuff which you didn’t know that you didn’t want to know overcame the speed issue, not that you would have known anything faster, of course.

Mosaic was a brilliant browser, and I was sorely disappointed when my ISP of the day dumped it in favour of Netscape Navigator, a browser I never particularly liked.

Internet Explorer appeared during the ‘Windows 95′ era, and became top dog eventually. It would store more bookmarks than anything else, the search was wide, and it was and remains free to all. I have used Internet Explorer ever since.

Yahoo home page 2008

Now, IE is being challenged by Mozilla for top browser, but a browser is a browser at the end of the day, personal choice dictating which browser is used. The picture above shows IE7 displaying the Yahoo home page of 2008 for comparison.

As you can see, it is way more stylish than Mosaic, more color, more pictures and  animations. The modems in use today are considerably faster and this new page will display in seconds if you have a high speed DSL or cable modem.

The only trouble is..

.. that ‘everybody’ does not have or can use a DSL or cable modem. While the technology behind the web page has marched on, Internet access for many people is still firmly set in the ‘stone age’. The dial up service and modem is alive and well (the word ‘well’ is used advisedly here) for people who live in outlying areas where the cable companies will not venture and the consumer is beyond the 3.5 mile distance limit from their ‘local’ telephone exchange. Satellite is not overly reliable or cheap, and like the new breed of wireless distribution, requires line of sight which may require the erection of a tower costing around $4000 to set up.

Cable distribution is affected if there are too many users active on any one cable ‘run’, and users of DSL who are close to the distance limit get anything but high speed, regardless of claims made by the ISP. The answer to slowness according to the ISPs is to upgrade to their new ‘supadupa’ high speed service which will get over any slowness.. NOT..

Also, it does not follow that ‘where there is cable TV, there is cable Internet’. Some cable companies flatly refuse to supply both, citing that the cable presently installed is not the right type, or that there are not enough potential users to make it worthwhile, or that they will ‘have to ask the supervisor, could we please hold the line’.

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