What should we keep in mind for forum users who have a slow internet connection?

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  • Elisabeth
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What should we keep in mind for forum users who have a slow internet connection?

Dear all,

I count myself lucky as someone who is using a very fast internet connection. It is easy to forget that some people are on a very slow internet connection.

Recently, Kris Makowka reminded me of this problem: I had told him that in my view it is best to embed photos directly in a post, rather than attaching them, because it makes the post more visual.

He said for him this is of a disadvantage because he pays for kB downloaded and when the photo is embedded, it is always downloaded whether he wants to see it or not.
(see here for an explanation on how to embed photos or images in a post: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-qu...images-in-your-posts ).

In terms of download speed, it seems to make no difference whether the photo is embedded, attached or linked to from Flickr.

I still think that an embedded photo in a post is great, but maybe I will only embed 1-2 and rather attach any additional photos (?).

Chris Canaday wrote to me about this issue:

What I do not like is attachments of over say 500 K. And it is best for me for videos to be in Youtube, as I can usually lower the resolution and watch them fairly normally.*

Thanks for thinking of us with developing world internet connections.

My problem with big attachments and high resolution videos is also the time. My internet from the Ecuadorian national phone company is "unlimited" but slow. I do not pay per megabyte, but may sometime switch to a celular service that would be.

* How to reduce the resolution in Youtube is explained here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/139-ge...inar-now-online#6394

Kris wrote:

Here in Kampala the main issue is the strong fluctuation of internet speed and the high volume cost (real flatrates cost >300$/month, and on per volume prepaid connections it is about 10$ per 1GB volume).

Hopefully it will get better with the glassfiber cables Google is currently laying in Kampala (Project Link) and the O3B satellite backhauls, but somewhere out of Kampala people most likely only have 2G EDGE connections, which are about as fast as ISDN (those transfer about 16kB per second to put it in perspective to the above figures) connections you might remember from the past in Germany.

P.S.: flicker might be a bit faster if they have mirrors near you (but also not much if the bottleneck is the finale 1km mobile 2G connection), but it will not result in less traffic, thus the high cost remains (of course not for every individual picture... but if someone just has 200mb per month or so, they will have to be careful with what sites they open).


So my question here to anyone on a slow internet connection: is there anything we can do for you to make your life easier? Any suggestions in that regard?

By the way, if you are on a slow and shaky internet connection, then it may be be better to send posts to the forum by e-mail rather than by posting directly, in case your internet connection drops out half way through you writing your post.
This is explained here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-qu...-the-forum-by-e-mail .
Basically it is as simple as sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (for registered users; e-mails from non-registered users will be rejected by the system to avoid spam).

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(with financial support from WSSCC, now SHF)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: What should we keep in mind for forum users who have a slow internet connection?

muench wrote: In terms of download speed, it seems to make no difference whether the photo is embedded, attached or linked to from Flickr.


Small correction on this: embedding directly or through Flickr doesn't really make a difference, but just attaching (e.g. only a small thumbnail is shown) is multiple times faster. Just one picture is about 50x as large in size than its thumbnail; of course only if you don't download the picture to look at it then ;)

Outside of Kampala you usually only get 2G Edge speed, which has a maximum download speed of about 30kB/s meaning a single 100kB picture (typical size embedded) takes alone 4 seconds to load, thus a full thread can easily take minutes to load.

Edit:
All I am saying is: please don't go over board with embedding pictures that might not be interesting for every reader of the thread.
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: What should we keep in mind for forum users who have a slow internet connection?

Dear Elisabeth,

I have a slow internet connection here. Can't help - have to live with it - poor me!!

Best,
F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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  • jankn
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Re: What should we keep in mind for forum users who have a slow internet connection?

There is also something one can do from a user's perspective:

The Opera browser has something called "Turbo" (in older versions) or "Off-Road Mode" (in the most recent version). If this feature is enabled, the websites you browse are redirected via the Opera servers and all images are compressed significantly before sent to you; you wouldn't notice any changes, though. I do use it regularly when my connection is creeping through the aether.

Maybe the other browsers have similar features.
Jan Knappe

Doctoral Researcher on environmental performance assessment and modeling of on-site wastewater treatment systems
Trinity College Dublin & University of Limerick
Email: jan.knappe(at)tcd.ie, Twitter: @JanKnappe

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