One of my biggest gripes about the Internet has been its tendency to carelessly, one might say heartlessly, move forward in sudden leaps and leave systems behind. This has to be expected; it's technology, after all, and it is going to keep on doing that.
The thing is, though, many techie types also claim to be green, that is to say, they believe in efficiency over waste, that it is far better to recycle than to dispose of older systems.
The opposite appears to be the truth.
They want you to update your systems, not just in terms of software but in hardware.
A good example would be websites that demand that they cannot be seen effectively with anything but graphics chipset X. These are few and far between, but they are out there. Then there are the sites that make use of a fair or above average amount of Flash or Java, and always the newest version. The solution? Update both, right? Suppose, though, that the browser you're using is at end-of-life, or say the operating system. Now, you have a quandary; what if your system will support neither?
One solution to this was found by the folks who developed the SkyFire browser. Their approach is unique; the browser doesn't render the page, their server do, and the browser simply works as a client. Of course, this technology is limited to a handful of systems, and is not currently supported on Windows CE or Mobile at this time. While it works well, they have a tremendous amount of control. We have now returned to the issue of non-supported systems.
To test a few of my ideas, I'm currently sitting in the cafe of a bookstore that offers free "WiFi", courtesy AT&T, and I am on the Sylvania. It loads in Pocket Internet Explorer, but its behavior is... suspect. Clearly, something going on. There is a possibility that there was a welcome page that was supposed to have loaded that didn't; when my home page came up, there was also a "Cannot Find Page" message in the address bar. Otherwise, it seems to be working well. The real test is going to be Opera Mini...
...which also seems sluggish, and furthermore seems to be having a hard time with secure webpages. The other browser on my Sylvania is Iris, and it too has issues, though it connects very well. Its problems seem to be an inability to cut and paste. Troublesome, to say the least, since I actually write in PocketWord.
These are minor gripes, to be sure. Obviously, solutions need to be found. I have yet to test out a Linux on these smaller devices (be it JLime on the Jornada or Debian on the Sylvania). If we are to expect everyone to have access to the Internet, we need to examine the ways they get there.
Or try to.