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The background to my web pages.

The falling standard of television is partly to blame for this web site.

I started to become (cough) interested in HTML, Flash and web design once I'd noticed the Internet, some time in 1999. It was amazing at first; So many funky things to see and do! Yet, after a while it seemed much of it looked rather alike. The porn was just porn, the lists of stuff were just lists of stuff. After a while I got so bored of other peoples nonsense I wanted to create something of my own, for myself, and (looks around in mute wonder, pointing at bits) this is it. It's not for you. It's for me. You're a guest in my world and I may ask you to leave at any time.

This site has grown and changed as I've learnt to do new things with it. It's moved host, it's changed name and it's developed into it's current form more by evolution than design. In that way it's more like a medieval city than a web site, which explains the smell. As it stands it's a bit of a dumping ground for random ideas, pictures, semi-professional wafflings and various other brain flotsam from this place I call my head.

I suppose it's also become something of a shop window (complete with dead fly. Can you find it?) for my writing / photographic / design etc. skills, on the off-chance that a passing genius may come across it and be so impressed that the offer me a job writing / photographing things / making web sites. I know. I know. But it's important to have dreams, right?

Much of what I've learnt to do with site design I've tried for a while and rejected. Some eye catching things you can do with JavaScript are nice enough, but if you spend all your time going 'hey, cool' then you'll likely miss the message of the page in question. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Flash animations which are dotted about are, on the other hand, totally justifiable. Not just as decoration, but as an integral navigation and fun element to my pages. And as a warning, of course. Remember this on the way in?...

Should you want to follow my shaky footsteps, this is how I did it:

The HTML guts of the site were created with the aid of The Complete Idiots Guide to Creating a Web Page by Paul McFedries (ISBN 0-7897-2256-9), plus the HomeSite 4 software by Allaire which came free with the book.

The graphics were either photographed or scanned in by me, and then edited with a paint and draw program. I tend to use MGI PhotoSUITE Platinum 4 to make GIF's, and a thing called Camera Access by FlashPoint Technology (c. 1997, can you imagine?!) for working with JPG's and BMP's.

The Flash animations were only possible because of another Complete Idiots Guide, this time to Macromedia Flash 5, by David Karlins (ISBN 0-7897-2442-1) and the desire to impress a girl called Bengy.
Latterly I've been using Sams Teach Yourself Flash 5 in 24 Hours by Philip Kerman (ISBN 0-672-31892-X) to gain a deeper understanding of this very complex tool. Bengy remains unimpressed.

The rest was just time, effort, desperation, experimentation, inspiration, constipation and far too many sugary drinks. I looked at other peoples sites (and right-clicked for code, when I wanted to) and saw how to do things. I then totally ignored them and went my own route. I left the stuff I thought was interesting and useful in and binned the rest. If I have one message for aspiring webmasters and mistresses, I'd say 'Do your own thing, in your own way, about something you love, and remember, it's supposed to be fun!'

I accept it's quite a long message.

Before I took the time and effort to learn how to do all this HTML and other stuff, I practised web design wherever I could. Like a skateboarder, I took my art to the streets. Seen below is the oldest existing picture of one of my early test sites

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