I'm going for the cable company, which is your ISP.
Earthlink is just a service that you use, like AOL, but they do not supply your internet connectivity.
Trying the old G4 is a good idea, but be sure to compare Apples with Apples. Same network cord, same sites, etc.
Can we assume that other than the slow downloads, the Macbook is functioning correctly in all other aspects?
I have a Macbook 13" running OS 10.5. In the past couple of months, I've noticed that my downloads (links, email, Websites and more) are getting slower and slower. I don't know whether it's my browser (Firefox 3), my ISP (Mindspring/Earthlink), my cable service provider (Time Warner) or what, but when I say, "slow," I mean anything from slow to glacial in pace. Today, especially. I wanted to play a video from a Web site, and there was a pause every second. When I went to a site at abc.com, it was even worse, with "loading" crossing the picture constantly and "transferring content" along the bottom of the window until I finally decided to give up, for now.
Can someone tell me where the problem lies? I have had some issues with Earthlink (mostly about other things, though); I believe that Firefox 3 hasn't worked as well for me as 2 (though I have no really firm evidence to that effect); and I don't know enough to judge whether the cable service (not always the greatest on the TV) could be at fault. I only know that by contrast, dialup was a sail through the park. And most are sites that behaved very well in the past.
The question is where to start investigating. It makes no sense to make big changes unless I know where the problem lies.
I confess that I haven't yet gone to Disk Utility (or whatever Disk First Aid is called now), and I can't use my old (4.1) Disk Warrior and haven't yet bought a newer version. I don't know, therefore, whether something to do with the computer itself is at fault. I could try all this on my old desktop (OS 4, G4 Sawtooth), but I'm not sure that makes sense. On the other hand, if I found that Earthlink, Firefox and such worked OK with that computer, that would rule out some things. If you think it's wise, I can try that. It only just now occurred to me to do it.
Anyway, I may be able to do all that before anyone replies. If so, i'll get back to you then. Sorry to possibly be putting the cart before the horse, but I'm going a little crazy, including an unrelated series of oddities relating to Earthlink (including messages that take a long time to come or appear and then disappear and then appear again, sometime later). I'm a patient woman, but this slow, slow, slow loading is the last straw.
Thank you, folks.