DEC Emulation Website

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Fri Oct 20 20:00:16 CDT 2017

On Sun, Oct 08, 2017 at 03:36:00PM -0700, Zane Healy via cctalk wrote:
> While it’s still in need of a major update, the DEC Emulation
> website now has a new home.  It’s now on my server, and
> realistically I should have moved it years ago.

Cool, thank you.

> Believe it or not, I am planning to update the pages in the near
> future, who knows, I might even modernize them a little.  When I
> started them, one of the design goals was that they be readable with
> Lynx.  I’m not sure how important that is anymore. :-)

I have browsed it just few moments ago with lynx, emacs-w3 and my new
textual favourite, elinks (it multitabs!! and shows tables!! and I could
play with configuration a lot, so on 256-colors-enabled term it looks
a bit nicer to my eyes). In all them, and in some old graphical one,
the site looks decently.

As of "modernisation"... You know, just MHO and stuff but sometimes
when I see modern pages it seems like their creators have had been
abducted to some sect and brainwashed clean. I have 1600x1200 and I
like to have some other window besides browser (say, an editor, like
emacs). So I open such page, and the browser has about 3/5 of estate
and I am not going fullscreen, no way. And there is huge menu on the
left side, so I can choose. And there is some (expletive0) "top bar",
all white and empty, or maybe with page title (I already have one
(expletive0) title on a title bar of browser window), then there is
(expletive0) bottom bar, all empty. And for a text, there is area left
which is about five to ten (expletive0) lines high. There is no
(expletive0) way to make those (expletive0) elements go the (subseq
(expletive0) 0 4) away. The last resort is to turn styles off, which
quite often gives me almost the view that I would like to have, plus
(quite often) a parade of (expletive0) leftovers from the leftside
menu, which after switch takes more than 90% of (expletive0) web
page. I swear I do not make this up. The usable part of the modern
webpage is on average the (expletive0) ten percent, as measured by
scrollbar - and sometimes even less.

The only reason I keep using very old Opera 1x.x is because it:

A) does not multithread (so when I load heavily crapped page, it only
(subseq (expletive0) 0 4)s with one core of my cpu max, rather then
(expletive0) with me fulltime

B) is able to show very decently a page with styles turned off; this
also sometimes means lowering core usage by half (the usage which is
there even when (expletive0) browser is expected to sit on its
(expletive1) and do nothing).

C) I turned a lot of CSS off by default, but I am not quite sure if
this really works (software, trust, does not compute) - and I put
fixed/monotype fonts wherever I can see them, because I love the idea
that space is same width as "i" and "W". So all the job done to max my
pleasure with downloadable fonts is lost, and (expletive0) good for me.

I have tried switching to Firefox, but somehow having eighty tabs does
not work very nicely there, for me at least. But I launch it when
there is something that poor Op cannot render properly. Overally, I
have few browsers opened as day goes by, one for Common Lisp docs,
another for casual reading, one for sci articles heavy with equations
and gfx (mostly up-to date rendering 'gine), few text browsers for
interesting stuff, books or longer reads etc. I have recently started
to experiment with Dillo - this is very nice piece of (expletive2),
recommended to everybody even if it not always shows things, kind of
like text browser with graphics (sometimes) and multitabs. Perhaps
will also try "old new" Mosaic - the old one got lost during
innumerable system upgrades.

As I could have observed, plenty of people out there think that
"modern" means "optimised for mobile", but what does it mean in
practise? The text, i.e. useful part of the page might take 10
kilobytes (optimist, me, always), there might be even useful pictures
on it, and then there goes a (expletive2)load of javascript. Megabyte
is a, kind of, norm. So, this (expletive2) eats my download/upload
quota, for which I pay (in theory, because I never was in such
position). And then it starts running and eats from my battery, which
can be loaded for peanuts, but who wants to recharge every few hours -
this is supposed to give me mobility, but not to/from wallsocket.

Which is how I came to brainwashing - the words being used are
redefined. Optimised no longer means what it used to mean. Now it just
means conformance to some group's standard. Optimised for pats in a
back, just not from enduser (some endusers dream of packing boot deep
into webdevel's (expletive1) and leaving it there, and the second boot
would go to their halfbrained tasteless boss'es (expletive1), only

For me, "optimised for mobile" is something like HTML1.0, or maybe
even 3.0 (if this is when tables were defined). And "modern" is
unimportant, if a goal is information retrieval. If you (or anybody)
plan to upgrade your webpage, please consider doing it like XIX
century guy, just barely after computer lessons. Text is
everything. Because this is how information is being
transmitted. Pictures are few, and if they are there, there must be a
purpose (like, they too convey some information somehow related to

So this is my opinion on modern web design, and mind you, I am not
using it on a cell phone, but on something as big as two A4 pages, and
the (expletive0) web cannot do very well on such (expletive0) huge
area, or significant part of it. What are "they" using for making
their creations - a monitor wall? I cannot imagine my state of mind if
I started to depend on a cellphone for web reading, but I guess a
dictionary of expletives could get few new words. There is no day
without cursing the web here, despite all the heavy measures I took to
protect myself from poor (i.e. modern) design. Well, maybe I curse the
web only every other day, plus every time the page almost loads except
one small element (perhaps some JS dependence, and server is
down/restarting so I wait minutes because reloading only makes things
worse in this case - but perhaps this is my ISP's fault, but then ISP
is part of it, too).

As of Javascript - sure there is a place for it. I dream of writing a
compiler in Javascript. A few have been written. Ok, maybe I do not
dream so much to learn Javascript. But the whole "page is an app" is
just misunderstanding in best case, or more probably, some kind of
crime - crime against reason, for example.

This was meant to be short(er), but got long(er). Blame the web.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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