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Asynchronously pre-loading images

I'm tinkering with how Gnus displays inlined images with w3m.  The main
problem is that when reading an HTML article with an external picture
(which is typical for the gwene.* groups), w3m takes a while to download
the pictures, which makes the reading experience not quite optimal.

Gnus pre-fetches nntp articles asynchronously, so it could theoretically
copy the messages over to a temporary buffer, point w3m at that buffer,
and then kill the buffer once w3m has finished fetching the article.
Somehow.  But is there an easier way to say to w3m "here's a buffer with
HTML in it.  Pre-fetch and cache all the images in it in the background,
but don't bother actually rendering any of the results"?  That would be
very helpful...

(domestic pets only, the antidote for overdose, milk.)
  larsi@xxxxxxxx * Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen