The horrors of the World Wide Web

Most people don’t know what an internet browser is. Heck, most people use Internet Explorer or Safari for that matter. But it’s all thanks to Google people change their minds. Commercials. Everywhere. This isn’t too bad, but it’s bad for the ‘free browser market’. Other browsers (Firefox, Opera) do not have the budget to advertise on such a large scale (worldwide).

There are around 5 popular browsers.
– Internet Explorer
– Firefox
– Google Chrome
– Safari
– Opera

The last one, Opera, introduced version 15. They use Webkit, just like the other zillion other browsers. Why? They are pushed by the market, and their recent change of management did not have a positive effect on the company either. The only popular browsers that do not use Webkit (or a fork) are currently Firefox (Gecko) and Internet Explorer (Trident).

The main feature of Webkit is HTML5. A standard, most people say. But it isn’t actually an official standard for HTML rendering.

Opera had major issues with HTML5, thanks to the CSS prefix ‘-webkit’. Most (popular) websites use either the normal HTML5 CSS (without any prefix, ignored by Webkit browsers), or the prefixed one. And sometimes both, and it will render twice. All because it’s for ‘developers only’, and mostly ignorant people that just use HTML5.

This seems to be a major problem, and something needs to be done about it. The market share of the recent Opera 15 dropped because many features need reprogramming, and are just missing.

A quick portable server: Raspberry Pi

A portable server for around $85. Yes, if you told someone just that 10 years ago, you were put in an isolation cell in the worst-case scenario.
But today it is possible, and nobody will call you crazy with this setup you can put in tiny handbags, dog or spaceship capsule. (unless you are going to host The Pirate Bay this way, or automatically dump passwords on Pastebin for example)

Getting started:

Here is a shopping list to start with (the prices are an indication e.g. cheapest (or similar) on eBay/Buy now):

  • Raspberry Pi model B [$35]
  • Bag, suitcase, storage box (as long it’s ventilated) [0$]
  • 3G router with dongle[*] (I used: EDUP EP-9501N router (since it has a battery) and a Huawei E220 3G dongle) [$40]
  • 2 USB solar panels (w/ internal battery of 1000mAh, or 1 of 2000mAh. The higher, the better, the bigger, the longer battery life. [$6-$20]
  • USB Y-split cable (if you have 2 solar panels) [$1]
  • SIM card with huge internet bundle [$?, varies per country]
  • Dedicated VPN (for remote port forwarding, since you have 3G)[$10]
  • Some IT experience [priceless]

Step one:

Get all the items, charge the solar batteries and the portable router.

Step two:

Remove unnecessarily services and applications. I’m assuming you’re controlling your Pi without a display and using SSH. If not, connect to your Raspberry Pi over the network (connect it to your own network).
Now, set-up the VPN, and make it automatically connect. Write the IP address down of the VPN.
Make your server software ready, eg. Apache to use this IP.

Step three:

Configure the router. On most EDUP models, this is 192.168.1.254 or 192.168.1.1. If you’re unsure, check the sticker on your router.
Connect your 3G dongle and insert your SIM card. Next, set the APN, username, and password.

Also, there are some 3G dongles that do not need an external power source to be connected to the Pi. Use Sakis3G on your Raspberry Pi.

Step four:
sudo poweroff your Raspberry Pi.
Now, connect the 2 charged solar batteries using the Y-cable.
Connect the Ethernet cable from the portable 3G router to your Pi, and also connect the 3G device.

Step five:

SSH into the IP of your VPN. Now you are connected to your Pi over 3G!
Put it in some case or bag, and travel for 5 hours without power loss if you’re lucky. For more power, upgrade the battery inside the router(this is the first device that will die, thanks to the 3g connection), and connect the router via USB to the Pi. This shouldn’t give any problems, since you have multiple power sources.

And of course, it is not completely low budget, but you can easily get the prices down if you know what and where to buy.