back to article Fire up that Macintosh II: Retro techhead gives the web a Netscape 1.1 makeover

Times change, and so has the www. Cast your mind back 20 years. Web pages used to be svelte little things, really just text and images, with the occasional Flash banner ad thrown in for good measure. Now, they're applications, with even the simplest of pages buried under a mountain of JavaScript. We could argue all day over …

  1. Disk0


    I really enjoy the retro feel of using FrogFind, it brings back fond memories of screeching modems and flickering screens with grainy images.

    It turns out that however that interactive nonsense now makes up nearly all of the content, so you can visit a website vie FrogFind, but not quite view the content. A bit like being able to drive to any shop, but remaining confined to the parking lot...

    1. ThomH

      Re: Wonderful

      From the category of we've gained so much but lost so much: the graphics card in my family's 486 could be bumped up from the VGA default of 70Hz to 90Hz in Windows 3.1. I don't recall whether that meant settling for 640x480.

      You might want to try something like that if flicker is a problem.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    reaching for a 12" powerbook with 10.5.8

    I will give it a spin and see how it goes. There is too much cruft on websites these days...

  3. sbt

    We could argue all day over...

    Seem like a short day to me.

    Good morning! Sites made entirely of JS can die in a fire. There, the sun has set.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: We could argue all day over...

      Sites made entirely of JS can die in a fire.

      Yes but THEN what will we do with all of those JS web coders?

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    This is actually quite nice.

    If it could just solve a few issues with missing content, then it would be something I would be willing to pay for!

    I wonder if something like this that generates jpeg images instead and distributes them could be an option. Retro machines don't have massive resolutions so the jpegs wouldn't be impossibly large. Plus these images are probably lighter to decode than an average Javascript blob.

    Then image click maps could be used for navigation.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Agreed. The things that are missing as far as I'm concerned are…

      * Images - but meh. I can live without that.

      * Tables and frames - a little layout would be very nice.

      * Search boxes - critical. Wikipedia without a search box is (as with most of the web) a lucky dip.

      All that being said, I don't want to seem ungrateful - I do love this effort. I like using my old tech, and so this effort makes me very happy. Thank you!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac II

    There's a blast from the past. A fully-loaded Mac II was the first computer I used in my first full-time job, circa 1987. It had the full complement of 8MB RAM along with the 13" colour monitor and a real Ethernet card. It even had two - yes two! - external 80MB SCSI hard drives. It lived on my desk and cost more than my annual salary at the time. Fond memories...

    1. fidodogbreath

      Re: Mac II

      I recently found the original box for a once-cherished (and blindingly expensive) Total Peripherals 40MB external pSCSI hard drive. The drive was mounted in a heavy steel enclosure that sat beneath my Mac SE, and connected to it via a cable the diameter of a small garden hose.

      In a few years the tiny Samsung T5 USB-C external SSD that I plug into my iPad Pro will no doubt look similarly ancient and huge.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What we need is to stop that newfangled HTTP nonsense, and get back to Gopher.

    Who needs to waste bandwidth on bitmaps and sound waves and whatnot when we've got ASCII art and BEEP already?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Honestly...

      > What we need is to stop that newfangled HTTP nonsense, and get back to Gopher.

      There is just such a project underway already - Project Gemini

      There's an article about it here.

  7. Zarno

    I'll calculate to this!

    This is so going to be my new translatrix utility when browsing the web on my HP 50g.

    Now to dig out the 28.8K modem and a copy of usinagaz, and dig out a dial-in number...

    Pint for the effort, and as Woody said in Toy Story, "Wind the Frog!"

    1. Charlie van Becelaere

      Re: I'll calculate to this!

      "Pint for the effort, and as Woody said in Toy Story, "Wind the Frog!""

      As I have not seen this film, I'm wondering if wind has a long I or a short I when spoken.

      Is this like winding a horn, or winding a clock?

      1. Zarno
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'll calculate to this!

        Happy to explain.

        It's wind as in winding a clock.

        Think old-time toy with a clock key wind-up mechanism.

        Sid had a penchant for modifying and experimenting on his toys, breaking them while remaking them.

        One of those was a wind-up hopping frog, modified to have wheels instead of legs.

        At a pivotal time in the film, the frog was wound up to lead the escape, with Woody saying "Wind the frog!"

        And thus, The line "Wind the frog!" has become synonymous with "Let's go!" or "We're doing this!".

        Incidentally, the movie Toy Story is where all the Debian release codenames have come from.

        And Sid is the name for unstable, because, well, Sid in the film.

  8. PhilipN Silver badge

    The Netscape spinning globe

    Want! Want! Want!

  9. jake Silver badge

    "We could argue all day over whether this is a necessary evil or a cancer on the modern internet."

    Need an antonym and an operand change: It's both an UNnecessary evil AND a cancer.

    Now that that's taken care of, this round's on me :-)

  10. Silverburn

    Can and does work

    Running 9.2.1 and Classilla on a Tangerine clamshell and this is a godsend. Was running 10.4.11, but its just too much for the old clamshells.

    If your preferred media consumption is reading instead of youtube or Farcebook, this works really well. Faster than I expected too.

    If you want the full 2021 web experience, you can create a VNC session to a Raspberry Pi 4 and run that fullscreen. It works, but youre limited by what VNC can do. You can even run airport on the clamshell, if the Pi4 hosts an AP with MAC address whitelisting.

  11. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge


    Great for hassle free browsing of the web. There's also projects such as browservice : or for even older browsers that can be used to proxy the modern web to old computers.

    1. squelch41

      Re: Excellent

      WebOne is good too - have it on my raspberry pi for my 486 to connect to. Works with ie 6 and old versions of Firefox in win 98.


      Well, erm...

  12. nautica Silver badge

    HELP !

    I have a LOT of older laptops / netbooks with older OSs on them (Acer Aspire One (Atom-powered), HP 2133s, Asus EeePCs) which are absolutely beautiful machines, but the hardware requirements of "modern" web browsers make them completely useless now.

    I am not a Luddite. I use two very modern 14" Lenovos and a 15" Acer laptop. I would really like to use all this completely-capable hardware I have for either personal use (the 2133s are built like tanks, are small, and are 'bullet-ptoof'; all of which makes them great for being tossed into a briefcase for travel purposes), or to pass along to appreciative individuals.

    I can find no information on how to install FrogFind on any of my--older--machines.

    Can someone please help?

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