Accessing The Internet Offline
Posted on 04 Apr 2002
by Ashok Hariharan (Junglee)
Rated 4.38 (Ratings: 20)
- More articles in Commentary & Society
Before I begin I am not even sure if this article is very relevant to manypeople accessing this site. Let me explain why, I gather that most people have access to high speed/steady connections, well this article would be more relevant to people not having the above, in some cases not even having access to the Internet.
I am going to mention some ways to browse the Internet using just plain andsimple e-mail. Why is this relevant to me?
- I live in a land of slow Internet connectivity... forget about Internet, I am freaking lucky if I am able to get a dial tone from my phone.
- On a very sunny day, with blessings of all the holy men around, I would be really privileged to connect at 33.6 over a telephone line.
- Did you mention cable modems? Dude, we don't have cable TV.
A Brief Digression
I have this good lady friend who works for a relief organisation in southernSudan. (I hope everybody knows where Sudan is, I know: they are my neighbours).
Sheis mostly in the field, and her organisation has provided fairly decent equipment. Their field office has some radio equipment, and my friend has some weird proprietary software that allows her to access email over a wireless radio. They have got this and a radio satellite phone that fits in a suitcase but is bloody expensive to use. This is about the only way they've got to communicate to the outside world.
My friend is from Swaziland, she sometimes has to be in the field for quitea long time, so she loses track of all the happenings, news, sports et al. in Swaziland - what's she to do now?
The Web via Email
As any decent friend would do (;-)) I offered to help her out.
If I send an email to:firstname.lastname@example.org with no subject, and this in the body of the email :
After a while I receive this reply:
This mail is not a spam but the automatic reply to your mail;
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 12:38:33 +0300
After this I get the whole html results page from google news for the keyword:Swaziland in text form with all the hrefs below it, allowing me to make further requests if needed via email
What I had basically done was, send the title="Launches google news in a new window">http://news.google.comsearch string to a mail robot, which browsed then download, then emailed the page back to me.
What if I wanted not just a single page but also all the pages pointed to bythat page?
No problem, the agora service has a command called DEEP.
For instance if I send:
DEEP http://www.cnn.com, the service would send me the first page i.e. www.cnn.com and also all the
My good lady friend used agora for a while, but she found a page referringto a pdf document on a web page that she wanted to see very much. Again she looked to me for help.
The www4mail Service
If I send an email to: email@example.com this in the body:
After a while I receive the file xyz.pdf back as a file by email.
This service also sends back HTML files, if I sent the same google news searchURL to the www4mail service, it sends me back the search results page as an HTML file.
FTP via email
There used be quite a few services available around a year ago, especiallyone called BITFTP, sadly most of them seem to have met their demise, and I couldn't find any working services.
So my friend is happy, which means I am happy, and on this pleasant note, letme finish.
I have provided links to some sites, which provide information on these offlineservices. The service locations that I mentioned above are not the only ones in existence. These services are free, there are also some services which do this for $$$$, I didn't mention them. The response time for some these services is not instant (takes a few hours sometimes), and sometimes they do not work at all. So use them wisely.
- www4mail service home page & user manual. This also has a list of currently active www4 services.
- Discussion group on www4mail. This is a list maintained on the w3.org website.
- Accessing the internet via email- a FAQ by G.E.Boyd. Slightly outdated though but still relevant, many of the listed services are offline.