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Boring Technical Details About This Site


My site first hit the web in 2000. Having decided to live in Japan for an indefinite period, I thought it would be easier publishing photos on a web site than getting photos developed and sending them to everybody. In the long run, it has been easier, but there have been a number of hiccups along the way.

Right now, you are looking at the fourth incarnation of this website. A previous incarnation still exists. It doesn't work very well in Mozilla-based browsers and I'm probably going to delete it one of these days.


Design was initially sketched out onto paper. Paper is a highly recommended tool and, fortunately, widely available. After designing this site, I used a free text editor (called ConTEXT) to convert my ideas into CSS and HTML. Writing the CSS almost drove me to alcoholism and I'm probably going to write about it some day, probably as part of a modern version of Dante's Inferno. Testing was done against Mozilla Firefox 0.8 and Internet Explorer 6.

Most of the basic graphics were built initially using Microsoft Powerpoint. Graphics were then overhauled using the Windows version of The Gimp. The Gimp is an irritatingly powerful but incomprehensible program, but through persistence I've cracked a lot of its code. Free had something to do it. Photos are maintained using ThumbsPlus from Cerious Software. ThumbsPlus is used to improve photos and automate the generation of photo sets for the web site.

Content management is achieved using City Desk from Fog Creek Software. Although it makes life very easy, I seem to be constantly pushing the boundaries of my tools. I'm toying with the idea of discontinuing the use of City Desk and going PHP, but it does depend on my needs which are largely satisfied right now.

To host the site, I'm using HostMagik who seem pretty good all round. HostMagik are helpful and responsive - I've been using their Starter package since September 2002. I gave up free web hosting a long time ago as it wasn't reliable and I didn't have enough control. Domain name registration is managed through Go Daddy, who are cheap and efficient, yet maintain one of the most of overloaded and difficult to read web pages I've ever come across in my life.