Miscellaneous Thoughts from Time to Time

Philosophy and Other Stuff

Some of the articles in this section were written as early as 1999; others are current. I've allowed some of the older articles to remain because you may find them amusing as historical oddities. Everything listed below is from long ago. I have not updated the formatting from the prevous site. If you enjoy looking at relics in museums, these articles are for you!

Website Development

The battle of the browser standards: Once website designers had to keep multiple competing "standards" in mind. What worked in one browser might not work in another. Thanfully, those days are largely gone.
Browsers: No shortage of standards: Near the end of 1999, I visited this topic again.

Advertising in an Internet world: Advertising on the Web is completely different from advertising in print or broadcast; and it's exactly the same.

Designing for today’s Internet user: Remember Web-safe colors and 640x480 screens? At one time, website designers had to take into account people with 16-color screens!

Want to set up your own website? Yes, this is a service I provide, but you can do it yourself. Here is a list of some of the decisions you'll need to make.

The great (graphics) wasteland: Load time is a less important consideration than it was when I wrote this article. Today you can assume that at least 30% of your home visitors will have a fast Internet connection and, if you're running a business-to-business website that concentrates on large corporations, nearly 100% of your visitors will have a fast connection.

Where should your Web site live? Finding a good, reliable service provider is a challenge. The best option is usually a small company, but you want one that plans to be around for the long haul. All too often good providers are purchased by mammoth providers and gutted.

Getting the cart before the horse: Cascading style sheets (CSS) are the standard today, but I was excited about them from the time the W3C started to talk about them. Unfortunately, browser support was missing, limited, or flawed in the early days.

Looking under the graphical hood: Even with today's faster connections, there's still the ongoing battle betewen the quality of a graphic and the load speed. In the old days, it was even worse.

Web site design 'gotchas': There are lots of mistakes to be made in setting up a website. I've made most of them. Once. There are enough new mistakes to make that I try to avoid committing the same one more than once.

#1 placement in search engines: Search engines change the way they work all the time, but the key to top placement is understanding how things work, thinking like a potential customer, and playing fair.
Improving search engine ranking: I revisited the topic a few years later.

Top ten new mistakes of Web design: I wrote this back in 1999 and its surprising how well the guidelines hold up today.

Snake oil in Palm-land: The website gurus say that your website must be accessible on a hand-held device. Really? Is there any good reason why someone would need to access your website from a taxi?

How little is too much? It's easy to get carried away with your website. You want to put everything there. Trouble is, information overload isn't a good thing. Give people too many choices and they'll probably choose "None of the above."

Security Concerns

Absolute security guaranteed! Your computer is connected to the Internet. It is, by defintion, NOT secure. If you want absolute security, I can guarantee it. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Security in a connected world: Who's vulnerable?
  2. Security in a connected world: Beware the cons
  3. Security in a connected world: Worms, viruses, & trojan horses
  4. Security in a connected world: Nuke that spammer
  5. Security in a connected world: Damnable ads

Other Stuff

Great pictures, no film: In 2001, it was clear that photography would be digital in the future. Film images can be digitized and digital cameras were ready to take off. Remember the 2Mpxl cameras for $1000?

Y2K: No disasters, lots of annoyances: It seemed as if everyone who "knew" was predicting great Y2K disasters. As part of an emergency response team, I spent the evening of December 31, 1999, and the early morning of January 1, 2000, on the top floor of a hospital because county emergency officials wanted to take no chances. Earlier, I had written this article predicting that not much would happen.

Do you really Caere about OCR? Until about 2000, optical character recognition (OCR) wasn't sufficiently accurate that it could be trusted. That changed with the advent of Caere's OmniPage Pro 10.