My Workshop - mind the dust...



Techie Stuff

The first pages I put up were all hand-coded in emacs. I knew the HTML 2.0 code pretty much backwards and forwards, and I knew parts of the then proposed HTML 3.0 standard. I found some features, like *blink* to be bloody annoying, so I don't use them. (Well, except right there to show why it is annoying.) Setting the background might seem harmless - but I ran into one cute page that asks for your favorite color, and then makes all the backgrounds that color. Great - except I used the same color for the text of links. Red on red is not very readable. Beware being too cute with your pages.

Ok, enough with the sermon... I attended Web World in Santa Clara, CA in the spring of 1995 to gather information for a Web project at work. While I was there I picked up a copy of SoftQuad's HoTMetaL PRO HTML editor for windows. It takes a lot of the tedium out of coding HTML, since it provides a WYSIWYG interface and macroing features that allow easy customization. Yes, this is sort of a sales pitch - I've had the opportunity to try a large number of HTML editors and add-on packages, personally and through work, and HoTMetaL PRO is the best I've found.

I originally wrote the above after using version 1.0 - which was new at the time. Well, I still say it is the best around, but it was up to 3.0 last time I used it. I don't use it much anymore myself as I've become fluent enough in HTML to hand code it all in emacs again, on the fly.

Playing with my first personal pages gained me valuable experience with HTML. Enough that I earned the right to step in as Webmaster for Xylogics! And then I quit and left for Livingston right as things started to happen. So I had to restart there all over again.

About the same time I swallowed my annoyance with Netscape and started using Netscape Navigator, aka Mozilla, for my remote browsing. Being in the networking industry, I was slightly annoyed at Netscape for messing with the HTML standard and adding some silly features, and doing some just plain wrong if you go by the guidelines of SGML. But I have to admit their browser is very, very nice, and it really isn't that big a deal. I am still annoyed with them, but I still use Navigator for now. I haven't forgiven them for FRAMES though.

I still have theToshiba T4800CT laptop I mentioned in an earlier version of this page. The only really annoying thing is it uses a Ballpoint detachable pointing device. I much prefer the little eraser head pointing devices in the keyboard. But I got a very good deal on this one, you take what you can get. I recently acquired the DeskStation IV docking station, and a 16MB RAM upgrade (to being it to 24MB). My plan is to upgrade the RAM, dock the notebook, and turn it into a Linux workstation on the LAN in our new house. I haven't used it in quite a while, and I have a new notebook that goes with my job at BBN. A 486-75 would be a bit slow with Win95, but it'll crank with Linux.

I also store the files offline on what I consider to be the coolest computer peripheral device ever, the Iomega Zip drive. This cool little device uses 100 MB removable disks about the size of a 3.5" floppy, just a bit thicker. Very, very nice offline backup device and spare space for files.

I also have a Dell P200 mini-tower at home. I do most of my work on that now. The machines link to the outside world from a LAN we have at home via a Livingston ISDN Office Router. Works great! But I have my eye on new MediaOne cable modem offerings coming in my area, as well as an ADSL trial that is supposed to be on the way. Faster is better. :-)

And that basically concludes the boring techno-babble portion of our program. If you read all of this, I'm surprised. ;-) But I did want to give a fair shake to the companies whose products I use.

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