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Quain's Top Ten Surfing Tips

First appeared in Fast Company magazine's October/November 96 issue.

Surfing the World Wide Web? It's more like the World Wide Wait: waiting for connections to be made, waiting for searches to turn up the site you want, waiting for pages to appear on screen. Here's what you can do to cut down on Internet-induced coffee breaks.

1 Put up more cache. The "cache" setting in your browser tells your system how much information it can store on your computer as it comes in over the Net. Set it higher (at least 8 MB) to speed up the process.

2 Launder your cache. Under the options menu in your browser, you'll find a switch to clear out pages that have been temporarily stored on your machine. If downloading seems slow, clear the cache to give your system more memory to work with.

3 Avoid loading graphics automatically. Turn off this option, and when you hit a site you'll get just the text. If you want to see graphics, double-click on the graphics icon.

4 Don't start at your browser's home page. Netscape is the most heavily trafficked site because most people don't turn off this option. Under "options" for Navigator, go to the "general preference" menu and hit "appearance." You'll see the "browser starts with" option; click on "blank page."

5 Hit "reload." If it takes more time than usual to access a site, it may mean you've got a poor connection. Hitting "reload" on your browser reinitiates the hookup.

6 Reduce the number of connections. Most browsers give you the option to connect to more than one site at a time. The greater the number of connections, the more slowly the pages appear.

7 Use an offline browser add-on. For example, FreeLoader will automatically update Web pages and store them on your system. You can read the pages offline.

8 Get online in the early morning. Net traffic is heaviest in the evening.

9 Go digital. Get an ISDN line and modem.

10 Don't get on the Net. Ask yourself, "Is this trip really necessary?"

Fast Company

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