The Obligatory Computer and Web Stuff

Or, How Did She Do That?


My Computer(s)

Until November, 1996, my computer was an Epson Equity I+. It had 640K RAM, dual 5.25" floppies, a 20M hard card, and a 2400bp modem. It used an 8088 processor. Friends, this was the processor before the 286, so I could not even run Windows. The operating system was DOS 5.0.

Then I bought a used 486 with DOS 6.22, Windows 3.1, 8M RAM. I got it to dual-boot Linux (Red Hat 5.1). But the monitor could only display 16 colors.

Currently I am using a generic-as-possible computer, custom built by a local "white box" shop. It's running Windows 98 on a Celeron.

My Work on the Net

I used to have dialup access to an Open VAX/VMS, a.k.a. VAX alpha, and to a UNIX shell. When I am using my own computer, the only way I could access the Web until May, 1997, was by using Lynx, which is a text-only browser. I still like Lynx a lot for its speed, economy, and portability.

For graphical work, until July, 1997, I had to use public access terminals.

If I can build Web pages with this set-up, anyone can.

Getting Started

Here are two how-to introductions to the basic elements of constructing documents for the WWW.

If you prefer a little more hand-holding, at least in the beginning, Eric A. Meyer's Introduction to HTML is an excellent tutorial which will walk you though the basics. He explains the reasoning behind HTML, and lets you try your hand at writing some simple pages.

Using Entities for Special Characters

My writing involves some characters which are not on a standard U.S. keyboard, so these tables are helpful.

Checking Documents

When my work looks good to me, I run it through a couple of checks to make sure that it will also look good to people who may have different computer set-ups and different browsers.

Viewing Source Documents

One very good way to learn new tricks is to look at other people's work. If I see a page that is especially good, and wonder how it was done, I look at the original HTML coding. If I am using Netscape, I select "View", and then select "[Document] Source". The procedure in MSIE is similar. If I am using Lynx, I simply hit the \ key.

Editing Graphics

If I want to manipulate images, I use LView Pro or IrfanView.

Using Backgrounds and Colors

The best place to look for background textures is on Yahoo's backgrounds page. After I have found a background I like, I go to ColorMaker, where I can see what colors of type will work best. ColorMaker uses a chart of colors that do not require dithering on Windows, and when I have found a good combination, it tells me what the code for those colors is.

Backgrounds I Am Currently Using, and Where I Found Them

bubble wrap (2K)
found at Russ's Backgrounds (now defunct). I lowered the contrast and lightened it with LView Pro.

ivory laid (3K)
found at Texture Station (now closed). Originally a medium gray, shadows close to "default gray." I lowered the contrast, changed the color, and lightened it with LView Pro. I think it looks like ivory laid paper, very subtle. But I am phasing it out, because it looks horrid using video cards with few colors.

marble
found at Pattern Land! (now defunct).

musical score (2K)
I made it myself, using Bach, a shareware TrueType musicology font for Mac and Windows. You can download Bach from WinSite's Font Archive.


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The Obligatory Computer and Web Stuff / Revised 6 January 2004 / © Copyright 2004, Elizabeth T. Knuth / URL: http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/compweb.html