Friday, August 14, 2015


I'm always on the lookout for programs that run well on my old hardware.  My latest good find is the K-Meleon web browser, a Mozilla off-shoot.  Here's a snippet from the homepage:

K-Meleon - The Browser You Control

K-Meleon is an extremely fast, customizable, lightweight web browser based on the Gecko layout engine developed by Mozilla which is also used by Firefox. K-Meleon is Free, Open Source software released under the GNU General Public License and is designed specifically for Microsoft Windows (Win32) operating systems

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I have the browser running on my old Compaq laptop with a Pentium III and a gig of memory for Windows XP.  It loads as quiickly as Opera, and it runs quite a bit faster than Firefox.  The browser is fully compliant with modern standards, and the interface is familiar to anyone using any of the other currently popular browsers.  K-Meleon delivers particularly impressive performance in running youtube videos, showing no degradation of the video or audio streams.

I recently refurbished a Dell Inspiron 6400 with the dual core processor and 2 gigs of RAM.  It is fast enough to run the Chrome browser well, but is seemed worthwhile to try K-Meleon too.  I don't see much difference between the two in this case..  With both the Dell and the old Compaq, I am running the currently next-to-last version (75.) with Win XP on the Compaq and Windows Vista on the Dell.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Budget Networking

I downloaded the Apache web server and installed it on the $5 computer seen in the back row of the above picture.  I copied all of my photography web site files into Apache's htdocs folder and started the program as a service under Windows 2000.  Everything worked perfectly with no changes to the Apache configuration file.  I opened port 80 in my router, making the web site visible from anywhere on the web.  

The blue screen over on the left is my Dell Pecision 690; it is running Handylinux in a virtual machine under Windows XP.  Opening port 22 on my router lets me access Handylinux remotely through the secure shell program.  To test that arrangement I took the Compaq laptop on the right down to the Old Town Plaza where there is a free city internet connection.  I fired up Tiny Core Linux, opened a terminal window and typed in "ssh mike@(my router ip address) -Y" to establish the connection.  

That "-Y" at the end of the ssh command allowed me to run virtually any program on Handylinux in a window on the laptop, including the graphics.  In fact, it is even possible to run programs that cannot normally be run on the Compaq with its old Pentium III cpu because the heavy lifting is being done by Handylinux on the Dell desktop and the laptop just has to handle the display.  So, I can have Firefox, Chromium and any number of other gui heavyweights operating on the the old laptop screen.

I was particularly pleased to get the ssh connection going because I had previously been unsuccessful in doing so.  I had been able to easily make standard terminal connections with quite a few Linux and Windows systems, but I just couldn't get the X11 graphics enabled.  I finally hit on the idea of trying a connection to Handylinux, and that did the trick, along with the use of the "-Y" option in the ssh command line.  It seems that the out-of-the-box ssh configuration in Handylinux is up to the task while none of the others were.  So, my next task is to compare the Handylinux configuration file to some of the others.