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About This Website

More answers to more questions. Just in case you were wondering ...

Origins

After many years of participation as a web developer it happened that I stumbled across somebody else using my handle for their email. Not unlikely but still a surprise. My wife told me that I should register my name as a domain to avoid confusion. Several others had actually said the same thing before but I suppose I had considered their comments suspect. Sometimes folks just talk.

So over the winter of 1998 it was decided. I registered this domain in Jan 1999. Then there was the question of what to do with it. Busy with other projects and web development, there wasn't much time to do more than post an image.

see : 1999 homepage >>

Of course things need to change and that page did too. I was doing some work with Xara, a really spiffy graphics package from the UK. Lean and mean. For 2000 I posted a new graphic to illustrate transparent color and contrast, and how proper compression affects load speed, for an article I think, but again did not take the time to add content.

Notice how quickly the background image loads, even with complex shadings and patterns. The basic image is a .jpg only 24.2kb and fills the page by repeating horizontally and vertically.

see : 2000 homepage >>

For the new millenium I figured it was time to change the basic look to accommodate text and start adding content. This was the *iris* page about which I have received many comments. I began to use the site to display some of the articles and papers, and to test and demonstrate certain coding techniques. Then there was that snappy little sign I had seen in a gas station service bay.

see : 2001 homepage >>

2002 brought *the look* page in response to nostalgic comments from old friends. Content was expanded and elaborated in an attempt to actually provide something useful. I continued the process of periodic updates throughout 2003 with the *thumbprint* page, and began collecting and adding some of the tools and widgets I had developed over the years to make them available for public use.

see : the look homepage 2002 & 2004 >>

see : the thumbprint homepage 2003 & 2004 >>

For 2004 we used a script to display *the look* on the odd minute and *thumbprint* on the even minute. More tools and other pages were added along with subsection navigation. I published the nifty Internet timeline that includes links to deep content.

Besides updating the stylesheet for 2005, the homepage included a fractal image generated daily using Winfract v18.21 from the Stone Soup Group. Some examples. Hit ++ top right for more.

see : fractal homepage 2005 examples >>

For 2006, the current left wall images are generated using the Chaoscope 3D strange attractors rendering software. This is freeware running on Windows. Try it. Its amazing.

<< more

Purpose

The history lesson above makes it obvious that the purpose of the site has changed somewhat over the years, from a simple device to establish an expected email address identity, to a means for answering common questions in one place and thus diminish email traffic, and then a hopeful offering of useful content and tools.

Nevertheless, it is important to maintain a focus.

So currently I must satisfy myself that the purpose of the site is to demonstrate that there is indeed a site and I am still breathing. And it works. The ten thousand kids I met twenty years ago have a means to contact me, and many have, current website prospects have a portfolio to peruse, and I have a convienient place to test new methods and code.

And a place to show it off. Or just show off.


Method

This site is developed on a BAMP software stack. That is an acronymn for BSD, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Another very popular webservice stack is called LAMP. Just subsitute Linux for BSD and you got it.

more on : BSD >>
 
more on : Apache >>
 
more on : MySQL >>
 
more on : PHP >>

I have nothing against Linux. Some of my accounts request Red Hat servers and I comply without complaint, but BSD is generally considered a rock solid reliable OS especially for webserving from a single-processor x86 box. Both BSD and Linux have their distinct advantages...

compare : Linux vs BSD >>

So, why not Cold Fusion? Why not Microsoft ASP or .NET with IIS? Just read what is really going on with the above links and those answers should become obvious. Then there is Netcraft.

more on : Current Netcraft Webserver Use Survey >>

Since BAMP and LAMP are basically open source the cost is free or minimal. When a bug is reported a fix is usually directly or indirectly available since there are literally over a hundred thousand developers worldwide working on it. It stands to reason that no cathedral-type business, not even Microsoft with their billions, can compete with the numbers and talent that the open source bazzar can supply.

The Internet still runs on Unix. Why pretend otherwise.


About Email

My email address

Yes, I prominently display my personal email address on this site. Yes. I display the address as a hot link. Although this practice, from the early days of the web, has been widely discontinued due to spam, I still do it because of the kids who email me. I try to keep it as simple for them as I can. To expect them to discern a sophisticated masking device is beyond my comprehension.

I receive maybe 600 emails a day and dump at least 400 of them promptly. I am not interested in MSNs solution to spam. I maintain a list of over 400 IPs for the mailserver to automatically reject. My *black hole* list is compiled from several international lists. You do not want your IP on any of these lists.

Sending me email

I have select to receive text-only email. This works for me. It greatly diminishes the disply footprint of each message, enabling me to physically scan faster.

I generally do not open attachments. It takes time, and there is a risk of deliberate and even inadvertent malicious code slipping through active protections.

Please use your name in the From header. Please make your Subject concise and to the point. If you must be clever, please be clever in your content and not the Subject text. Your email may get dumped if I cannot understand from the Subject header why I should open and read it.

BTW...this is usually good practice for any email you send to anybody.

If you have tried to email me and received no reply, please try again using the phrase * Try Again : * then your subject text in the Subject header.


About the Site Sections


The Home Page

The population number is gone. What happened?

No worry. Only the number is gone. The people are still here.

And what about thelook?

Archived. Replaced for 2005 by the fractals.

Why the W3C validation stickers?

Well they work and the code validates. I had received comments about why I didn't advertise clean code. Of course, when I added the fancy color-coordinated scrollbars, to match my spiffy color-coordinated input buttons, the CSS didn't validate any more. The solution was javascript. HTML and CSS both validate again. Scrollbars work IE but degrade nicely. Check the source.

Ok then, why the ICRA rating sticker?

I agree with their method and support the effort. They have a broad base and seem to be divorced from self-interest.

The random tips. Are the numbers legitimate?

Do the numbers exist? Yes. Do they represent the population of the tips catalog? Come back and see for yourself.


Where did the dictionary come from?

That started with an effort to provide a study tool for my school-age kids. The hard copy dictionaries we had around the house did not contain many of the simple words found on their spelling lists.

I started with a public domain text called OPTED, an acronymn for The Online Plain Text English Dictionary. OPTED is a public domain English word list dictionary, based on the public domain portion of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary which is in turn based on the 1913 US Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.

more on : OPTED >>

more on : Project Gutenberg >>

I found that OPTED contained approx 173,000 useable line entries. Then we went to work to develop an additional several thousand line entries and also tweak many of the existing ones. The kids liked it and after some brainstorming we determined that I would build MyStudyDesk.com and develop many more useful study and homework features.

more on : MyStudyDesk >>

I added a widget to allow my kids and their friends to add sentences for each definition since their homework sometimes required this. I built a nifty typing tutor with interactive stages. And the writing desk allows them to easily do research, take notes, organize their notes, and write a report or story.

And the websearch?

Google® supplied an API beta to allow direct access to their engine. I added the numbering widget and the blank targets. We thought it would be a handy feature for MyStudyDesk so I tested the code from my own homepage and just left it up there.

What about the encyclopedia?

A wiki widget. Quite a project actually, and Open Source.

more on : Wiki : One Minute Wiki >>
 
goto : The Home Page >>
 

The Internet

Almost everyone knows something about it. And after 35 years there is certainly a wealth of information available. So what could I contribute that would be useful to a wide audience?

I decided to compile a timeline of some of the more significant events shaping the development of the Internet. This timeline is by no means definitive, but remains fairly comprehensive.

I have also taken the time to locate sometimes obscure source material and have included hotlinks to those pages. Follow the links and you will find proposals, specifications, news reports, photos, charts, graphs, and maps. Personally, I find this information fascinating. I hope you will too.

goto : The Internet >>
 

The Web

Condensed from several articles and public appearances. Without going into considerable detail, this short article should dispel some of the common myths about the World Wide Web and provide the correct replacement facts.

The intended audience is the small business operator who became involved with the web as a novice and consumer, and is trying to translate that experience into a working knowledge of how to integrate the web as a tool for business.

goto : The Web >>
 

Web Development

This article is presented to stress the importance and sequence of planning to the successful development of a business web presence.

Again, the intended audience is the small business operator who needs to integrate the web as a tool for business.

goto : Web Development >>
 

Portfolio

The thumbnails of the screenshots were compressed using XnView. This is a free graphics utility from France. I like the user interface and features. Another popular utility of this type is from Austria, costs $10, and is called IrfanView.

Folks who don't know me usually want to know what I have done before they want to hire me. Its ok.

goto : Portfolio >>
 

Links

This is a link list to primary web technology companies, universities, institutions, and organizations.

It includes the manufacturers and producers. These are the folks who make the things that make it work. These are not the folks who get to make things because of the folks who make the things that make it work. Those would be secondary links.

goto : Primary Web Technology Links >>
 

Interview

An attempt to answer some of the more common questions I get and help those seeking to find me via the internet to determine if it is me they are looking for. My nick thefrank is now in wide use.

No. This is not an interview in the conventional sense. It is actually a collection of very brief interviews amounting to one or two questions at a time. I just get many of the same ones over and over, so I thought to accommodate the queries as if one very curious person had spent a great deal of time at one long sit down. Clever of me, huh. I add to this section from time to time based on emails, conversations, and current developments.

goto : Q & A : An Interview for the Curious >>
 

Laws

The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, as reported on p185 in The Encyclopedia of the Environment -- Eblen, R. A. and Eblen W. (1994) Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

I was impressed by the fundamental basis of these descriptions and how they seem to measure either directly or as an allegory of the progress of any endeavor that requires the application and expense of energy to accomplish.

And if you think that is something try reading any other scientific description of energy applications from the same perspective. Try Sustainable Development for example, as applied to a small team of web project developers. Or the musicians of a band.

goto : Laws & Order >>
 

ICO

I receive emails and even phone calls from kids who played ICO as far back as twenty five years ago. It is likely they have grown up by now. I do enjoy the contact; no need to be bashful.

BTW, we just call it thegame nowadays. Imagine that.

goto : The Legend of the ICO >>
 

NTP

NoteTab Pro is a leading-edge text editor and HTML coding tool, and an ideal Notepad replacement. From Switzerland.

If you write code you should have heard of it. I use it. So there.

This is a collection of Color Palate Clips to demonstrate some of the outstanding functionality NoteTab provides by virtue of an easy-to-use built-in clip language. By writing your own clips or borrowing from other NTP users, you can apply automatic subroutines to text, files, documents, and directories, with ease.

goto : NoteTab Clips : Color Palates >>
 

Tools

A while back I began collecting and adding some of the web-based tools and widgets I had developed over the years to make them available for public use. This happened as a response to public request.

So many of the websites that are developed and posted get discontinued, subverted from buyouts, or changed when upgraded by someone else. Consequently, a lot of the sites I built are no longer active, and the tools and widgets I built for them are no longer available for use.

Since these tools are archived with the old site code I have to hunt for them, usually after I remember that there was a tool *like that*, and usually after somebody reminds me.

If you remember one that you would like to see again, please describe it to me as best you can, and I will try to find it.

goto : Tools & Useful Widgets >>
 

Personal Favorites & Other Links

Who are the authors of the quotations?

Ok. Here is the list:

Why did you reference just their first names?

You had to think for a minute just who the author might be.

How do you choose the plinks?

Its a personal choice. Many are uncommon. I like that.

I add to this list from time to time. You can send me a link that does not appear here, but I will have to like it as much or more than you do for me to post it here.

Go ahead, give it a try.

goto : Plinks : Personal Links >>
 

tree

Who is tree?

My wife. That is her nickname. I made that page for her right after 9-11. She likes to show it to her friends, so I leave it posted.

Who is Townes Van Zandt?

Many consider Van Zandt to be the finest songwriter Texas has produced with Billboard declaring him "the Van Gogh of lyrics." TvZ released sixteen albums during a recording career which lasted from 1968 until his death January 1, 1997, aged 52.

Who are the kids?

Lindy. Mandy.


Feedback

If you have anything at all to say about this site, say it here. Be advised that if I find what you have to say interesting, I may publish your comments to this site. I will never distribute any of your personal contact information to any third party.

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Newsletter

From time to time I distribute news via email to interested parties. At the present time this is an irregular distribution, usually every other month or so, whenever I find or do something that I think may be of interest. I will never distribute any of your personal contact information to any third party.

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