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Old Sony, Browsers, Deviantart, MP4, Roytam1?


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First, THANK YOU here for modifying browsers to work on older systems and to do more- it's a silver mine here. Roytam1, hopefully you can help me get started on modifying browsers myself? Obviously you know how it's done.

 

A half-hobby, half-environmental effort of mine is trying to make old hardware go further. In particular is a 2001 Sony VAIO, Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3, 256MB RAM, Pentium 3 800MHz (so no SSE2), 1024h x 768v resolution, 16/24-Bit color, DirectX 9 (according to DXDIAG) installed, 32-Bit system.

It is also a "Dual-Boot" laptop, its other Operating System being Puppy Linux 5.2.5 Lucid. This is important because not only does this give it more abilities but enables much safer browsing. Equally important is the fact that at least one local library has a poorly-done wifi system so using Puppy Linux is the only way to even detect it with that antique.

The main reason I'm here was because an art website I'm a member of- "deviantart.com"- changed to the horrible (and unpopular) Eclipse style nobody wanted.

Before, even with the puny Sylvania Windows CE netbook using Opera Mini 5, one could do just about everything there; with the Sony a number of browsers- including Firefox 40 and Opera 12 as well as Linux Palemoon 27 SSE- worked. With Java emulators it could also use Opera Mini. No problem.

But with that crummy new style the Sony can no longer Comment, Reply, post Journals, or post Literature. I did submit instructions on how to use URLs to do a number of things for people with older browsers- in a number of cases it's the only way now since clicking directly won't work, including Search! No appending URLs can get around these problems, even with "#" for Comments, which does in some browsers sort of make the window appear.

 

https://www.deviantart.com/griswaldterrastone/art/Deviantart-Old-Style-Best-But-For-Older-Browsers-883271146

 

And did I mention how ugly it is with a capital "UG?"

Even Sta.sh no longer allows one to post Literature or Journals.


Sadly, there is a problem- the "later modified" browsers can do it but are rather sloooowwwwww; the "earlier modified" are faster but cannot do those things- on the other hand MP4 is now a reality.

Here are the results (all SSE versions at most); note that Windows programs can be run via WINE in Puppy Linux mode and this deals mainly with Deviantart.com:


ArticFox 27: Never works, be it in Windows or Puppy Linux mode. It just gives a "COULDN'T LOAD XPMOD" error message. Why is that happening here and what can be done about it? The browser does show promise, although it cannot handle Deviantart fully.

Palemoon 28: Can handle everything but is very, very slow. In Puppy Linux mode it never gets anywhere, all you see is HANDSHAKE, READ, etc. Can handle MP4, and HTML5 games like "Beam," offline, at least.

Basilisk 52: Same as Palemoon 28, maybe slower. Remember this is an old laptop.

Firefox 45 (modified): It too can handle everything, but it is also very slow, and does no better than the above. Of course it does handle MP4 as well.

K-Meleon (KM76.4.4-Goanna-20210626): Faster, and can handle MP4 streaming. It cannot handle Deviantart fully, though, and ANY attempt to stream MP4 while in Puppy Linux mode causes it to crash. In XP mode this one is great for certain MP4 sites in particular.

Palemoon 27: By adding two files from the "LAV-DLL-Lite-MMX" folder ("avcodec-lav-57.dll" 3,146 KB; and "avutil-lav-55.dll" 501 KB) the most recent version not only streams MP4 but does not crash in Puppy Linux mode. In particular is one MP4 website that the Sony can now handle, even in Puppy Linux mode, something it could not do before. Sadly it cannot handle Deviantart fully. To be honest that is its only flaw for me, otherwise it's the best one.

Netsurf 3.9: Unable to stream anything visual (I haven't tried MP3 or old websites using the Windows Media Player, doubtful they'd work), unable to handle Flash-SWF, this browser is limited in a number of ways and is no better at handling Deviantart than other earlier browsers, not even including basic style. Curiously enough it does not work with my website, weird since it's a site even Internet Explorer 6 on the Windows CE Sylvania netbook can handle. You can reach "about:config" but cannot alter anything. That said, for basic browsing on most sites it's a dandy little browser, quick and simple to use.

 To access Literature and Journal submissions the following URLs could be used once one is logged in:

https://www.deviantart.com/?submit_modal=literature

https://www.deviantart.com/?submit_modal=journal


This works with browsers that can already handle everything normally. With earlier browsers you get to the crummy new overall art page, then no further. It seems as though the modals used here are the problem. I do not know yet exactly how Comments and Replies work.

My goal is to get a K-Meleon, Netsurf, or Palemoon 27 browser that can do all of this without being as slow as Palemoon 28 etc.


If possible, I'd like to help by working on this myself. What tools did you here use? Where are the instructions to get started? How do you ascertain what the problem is? can anyone here link me to what is needed?

My immediate efforts would be for:

1) Modify a faster browser to work fully with Deviantart.

2) Modify browser or those two DLL files to be audio-only for MP4 streaming. There are game sessions on Twitch TV I'd enjoy but whatever video streaming they use, even with 160p, isn't practical, especially if trying to comment in the chat area. Mobile streaming does not work. MP3 is not available to desktops or laptops without the special app, and I doubt it works with that old Sony. Audio would be great.


Again, the Sony's MP4 abilities are now far better. Still, Flash-FLV worked better.

Thanks, everyone!

 

 

p.s. This was submitted using Palemoon 27.

Edited by GusCE6
Missed some.
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@roytam1 might not see this thread unless you ping him (I just did for you, though).

I have to say, I salute your diligence on this matter. And you're not the only one who is repulsed by DeviantArt's changes in recent years, believe me. (Fellow XP enthusiast with a DA presence here!) Among other things, I know many, many people vocally opposed the Eclipse redesign and even more so when DeviantArt, as is typical of practically any online organization/business these days, forced the changes on its userbase ... Almost certainly because DeviantArt's managers were confident the users will likely just keep using the site anyway. (It is, after all, the same pattern that's happened with every YouTube redesign, every Twitter redesign, every Facebook redesign, etc. ... I remember when DasBoSchitt spent a whole GMod id*** Box intro in 2010 castigating YouTube for the forced layout change in; now, there's a whole subreddit dedicated to trying to hang on to that pre-Polymer/Kevlar layout.)

I myself have been looking into restoring my old Newgrounds account and posting my art there from now on, as others have done. Also thinking about starting to post my stuff to Pixiv.

That all being said, the problem might be less XP-compatible browsers being less capable of efficiently handling the current state of websites like DeviantArt and more that such websites are just demanding too much damn resources these days. When you look at the source code for sites like, say, DeviantArt or YouTube these days, there's pages upon  pages of script code, and of course as all sites have done for a decade now, heavy reliance on off-site scripts and CDNs. (Which is ironic because when YouTube announced the incoming Polymer layout in 2017, they crooned about its simplicity. Ahaha, no.)

Many years ago I had seen an article discussing how websites have dramatically increased their use of system resources (both CPU and RAM) ... and that was probably more than a decade ago by this point. Even back in 2016 some sites could hog 25% of a computer's CPU, which this author attributed to ads. It might just be that a lot of older machines won't be able to use most websites as-is anymore because the companies running them have become less and less concerned about efficient use of a computer's resources.  They probably figure just about everyone's got 3Ghz multicore CPUs and at least 16 GB of RAM, and therefore no need to bother being frugal.

Never mind that even if you have the resources, such a burden from a mere webpage (especially one which used to be very snappy and lightweight before a redesign) is not a welcome experience ...

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15 minutes ago, TrevMUN said:

Which with a CPU that does 4 threads simultaneously translates to 100% on a single core CPU without hyperthreading. Full core utilization is natural for the code that's not waiting/sleeping. Very common with older games, though not as bad in that context and taking history into account, when CPUs were slow, unless we're talking about those that actually consume 100% to display Win32 configuration dialog, which one doesn't spend a lot of time in, so those webpages still win in ridiculousness department. JavaScript abuse at its finest.

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Every Direct3D game uses 100% CPU with V-Sync, which is necessary for good visual quality. They are not necessarily "old" games relative to the age of WinXP. This leads to inability to run any background tasks on single core without stuttering or crackling sound. OpenGL works correctly. Some older games even run at high priority, which makes the problem worse, to an unresponsive keyboard. Those games need to be patched.

The current layout of YouTube uses CPU whenever its tab is in the foreground. It's but one example of a bloated site. Often I find Opera browser with its slower JS engine grinding to halt while displaying seemingly plain looking flat design site. Inefficiency has been increasing for as long as computers have existed. The majority software has been described as bloated at some point, and this is sometimes used as an argument why software bloat is not real. Software is like a gas. It expands to fill the container. I'm surprised that people pay money to use heavy "streaming" websites. Viewing media in a browser is always uncomfortable.

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I'd say: have no clue for such situation. Not enough on both memory and processing power make it hard to "live" on current internet since every site/framework intensively uses complex javascript to render their content.

and for playing MP4(AVC/H.264), it requires processing power above every Pentium3(but of course, it depends on video resolution and profile and bit depth, etc.). so even if you download it and try to play it with local media player program, you'll end up viewing slideshow.

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Dave-H: No regular Firefox browser beyond 48 will work with a Pentium 3 device.

 

Roytam 1: I'm willing to work on the problem myself, but do not know how to get started. Given what you've managed if anyone can tell me it's you.

 

There's little doubt the Internet was a better experience a decade ago. Now it's becoming a bloated mess with intrusive and demanding ad-script, crummy site designs...for what exactly? Standard billboard ads would do nicely- if someone goes to a site about race cars then an ad for Autozone would be appropriate; if watching Topi the Corgi videos on Youtube obviously ads for pet products would be the thing. Ad-script gobbles up CPU power and is really glorified spyware since it's obvious whatever information it gets about your browsing is stored on a database somewhere.

 

But those things I want to do are my goal. What is it about Palemoon 28 that works on Deviantart but not 27? If those DLL files can be made audio-only then one can at least enjoy what would amount to Twitch Radio, good enough for RPGs. Trust me, once I start getting the hang of this I can get pretty good at it- it's getting started that's the real obstacle for me. Unlike corporate sites these sites are worth something.

 

 

TrevMUN- I'll check out your site at Deviantart. Here's mine, the upload about their new design is right there still.

 

griswaldterrastone.deviantart.com

 

Thanks everyone!

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45 minutes ago, GusCE6 said:

Dave-H: No regular Firefox browser beyond 48 will work with a Pentium 3 device.

Ah, understood.
Sorry to have muddied the waters.
:)

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2 hours ago, GusCE6 said:

What is it about Palemoon 28 that works on Deviantart but not 27?

changes are huge between 14 gecko versions (i.e. between nm27(gecko38) and nm28(gecko52))

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On 7/11/2021 at 7:07 PM, roytam1 said:

changes are huge between 14 gecko versions (i.e. between nm27(gecko38) and nm28(gecko52))

 

 

But remember, what I'm trying to do is rather specific- get Palemoon 27 (or whatever) to handle Replies, Comments, Journal, and Literature on Deviantart. For all I know it could be one file in the browser's folder that needs changing, or a minor modification somewhere. Since Palemoon 27 already does handle MP4 streaming, giving old XP/Puppy Linux 5.2.5 Lucid devices streaming and downloading abilities it did not have before, that base isn't just covered, it's one never reached before.

 

How do you do it? Please link me to the tools you use and some basic beginner's instructions, I have had some programming experience in the past, but at my age the sooner I get going the better! :) This is not just wishful thinking- I'm serious about doing this.

 

As far as streaming MP4- even in Puppy Linux mode Palemoon 27 does a remarkably good job, and if you use the third-party site trick it can even stream nicely as much as 360p. The Sony can handle offline videos as high as standard DVD size (480p vertical), and if downloading a video of say 1080p or 720p no problem- those three portable file converters can deal with that.

 

Thanks!

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On 7/11/2021 at 7:07 PM, roytam1 said:

changes are huge between 14 gecko versions (i.e. between nm27(gecko38) and nm28(gecko52))

 

And of course only NOW does it occur to me to ask the obvious: which would be the earliest gecko version able to properly handle Deviantart? If you could link me to an archive of such browsers I'd just test each and every one until I found the earliest. This would give my own efforts a reference point, assuming I ever get started.

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The best route to "test-and-play" is to use PORTABLE browsers (I've never "installed" a browser since going "tabbed" right around 2003/2004 or so {GreenBrowser shell to tabless-IE6]).

Here's a good resource as far as Firefox versions, which it sounds like you are targeting  --  https://sourceforge.net/projects/portableapps/files/Mozilla%20Firefox%2C%20Portable%20Ed./

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