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Re: Revised : User rich-content preferences object

From: Ric Hardacre <ric@hardacre.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 00:20:17 +0100
Message-ID: <99135E0A85F74BEBB6F459FC8EBC8F0B@maverick>
To: <public-html-comments@w3.org>
Response to:

>I haven't done anything with the proposal below. I think it is interesting
>but I haven't heard any interest from browser vendors so I am reluctant to
>add such features at this point.

>On Tue, 1 Jul 2008, ric wrote:
>> ?FIRST REVISION of original proposal archived at
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-comments/2008Apr/0003.html
>> Author: Ric Hardacre

Wow, can't believe it's over a year since i first proposed this, I'd like to 
revisit this as it's become somewhat pertinent to myself in the past couple 
of months. I rescued an old laptop and made it into a web-dedicated suring 
machine, it'sa 800MHz Duron with 128MB RAM, wich doesnt leave many resources 
left even after a heavily slipstreamed XP install. I also now have a 
smartphone/xda which tries to send a non "Mobile" useragent string and parse 
the resutling web pages, this is a 500MHz ARM with 128MB RAM.

So one computer has a 12" screen and full keyboard, the other has a 3" 
(640x480) screen and very minimal keyboard. But due to the specs and the 
capability of the ARM processor they're probably evenly matched. If i switch 
the UserAgent on the mobile browser to one that sites recognise then quite a 
good number will give me stripped down pages, but that's not really an 
option for the laptop.

So again, at this point i have two choices: the basic "noscript" "no flash" 
internet or the full-flavour maximum caffeine internet. On the other hand i 
can choose to be put into a "full desktop" or "minimal mobile" box if the 
site so chooses. Whereas i believe that if i were better able to control the 
exerience more finely i might be able to surf somewhere in between.

On a desktop OS, e.g. Ubuntu i have the option of turing off Compiz and 
effects and every single app that i then run respects that and my (orange 
and black) desktop pc with its onboard graphics runs fine. With the web you 
currenty have to choose "full" vs "lite" on every idividual site, or run 
extensions such as adblock and flashblock, with unpredictable results. If i 
were able to simply state, "give me javascript, but not transitions, opacity 
or other effects" then i could use google maps without waiting 2 minutes 
between choosing zoom levels - it would not insist on showing 
mock-interpolated zoom levels (each taking several seconds to scale due to 
the lack of dedicated gfx hardware on either machine) instead it could 
simply do:

function zoom()
 if( !window.UserPreferences.AllowTransitions )
  return target_level;


...but still allow me to drag to move around and right-click to set markers.

Software tends to fill its container and this is true for both bandwidth and 
clock-cycles. The division between mobile and static computing has blurred 
from a black and white one to a matrix of capability vs connectivity. The 
current model of all or nothing can not be made to fit. What if, for 
example, I want to surf in full-fat mode over wifi but in minimalist-mode 
when on EDGE, G3 or GPRS, shouldn't i be able to have my browser "know" what 
connection i'm on (and that the latter is costing me per the KB!) and be 
able to turn off flash ads and videos unless i determindley override it?

OK, so i think i ranted a bit there, hope it provokes some discussion...

Ric H (Cyclomedia.co.uk)
Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 23:14:47 UTC

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