thomas christensen  

homeward bound



my web work

In addition to my own section of the web, I am also responsible for the Asian Art Museum website (along with my colleague Jason Jose). From 1995 until 2000 I managed the Mercury House website (which sort of morphed into this one, and some artifacts remain).

Despite that experience, I think of myself as an amateur--I've never tried to make a lilving from web work.

This is a pretty large site, and while I try to keep it up to date inevitably you will find here and there pages from various eras of its existence. Has anyone done a history of web design?

web philosophy, web style

Simple. Fast. No more frames, no more pop-ups. And I'm a believer in content.

Links make the web a web. I don't think you should worry about the page rank of linked pages. Sure, you want to avoid spam, link farms, link churn, and so on, but you still want to provide a good experience. That said, I have to admit I'm a little less promiscuous about links that I used to be. I still love links (especially their potential for irony, which is underutilized, partly because of the literal-mindedness of search engines), but the problem is that link rot is so pervasive it threatens the entire noncommercial web arena. Webmasters need to do a better job of maintaining their links.

In some ways the development of web tools such as javascript, etc., is analogous to the development of page layout programs. In both cases the technology succeeded in developing enough rope for most people to hang themselves. Because people can learn a typesetting program, they think they can set type, though knowing nothing about typography. The results are all around us. By the same token, you can't go wrong by keeping a website simple but filling it with a wealth of content, including an abundance interesting links.

Paragraph indents. "Except for the openings of sections, I don't usually like business-style paragraphs." That's how I used to feel. Now I see more of a difference between web and print publishing than I used to. But I still prefer end punctuation outside of links.

This is a noncommercial site. No ads, no adsense. I've begun running some adsense ads.I think people are used to these, and I don't think I'm doing it to the point that they are a significant distraction.

I don't like "sticky content" that tries to trap the visitor by making links open within the site or in a new window or any of the other tricks people use to imprison visitors. You can come and go freely from this site.

More on Frames. Currently my navigation "frames" are actually table cells (they will scroll up and down with the rest of the page: that is why I have added "top of page" buttons at the bottoms of most pages). One advantage of frameless pages is that it is easier to reload updated pages when they are not embedded in frames. Some problems are:
      * they add to the navigational complexity of a site;
      * they require readers to alter their navigational strategies and behaviors;
      * they "break" URLs, which represent the basic addressing scheme by which items on the Web are identified and catalogued (which affects bookmarks, search engines, etc.);
      * they violate the basic need for pages in a "web" to be self-sufficient and discoverable

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web tools

For the first several years I maintained this site, starting in 1994, my main tool was NotePad or WordPad, and I still think it's useful to have a knowledge of the basic underlying HTML. Back then ftp was awkward, and it creating subdirectories was such a pain that I tended to dump stuff in the root -- to this day I still find myself moving old stuff out of there.

Now I used Dreamweaver, and I like it fine. For image work, you just can't beat Photoshop for pixels and Illustrator for vectors.

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how to do a screen capture

This is really simple, but it's surprising how many people don't know the easiest way to do it, so here you are: Just hitting the "Print Scrn" button on you keyboard makes a copy of your screen. Then open Photoshop (or whatever) and paste. Voilá.

If you only want the active window (not the task bar and other junk, hold down the alt key when you hit the print scrn button.

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hex color

The color codes used on the web are in hex: that is, a hexadecimal numeric system based on root sixteens. The sixteen hex digits are 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-A-B-C-D-E-F. Now you can convert hex to RGB in your head, right? A web color is expressed in six-digit hex: two digits each for the red, green, and blue values. So "#FFFFFF" would be white (because RGB is an additive color scheme), "#000000" would be black, "FF0000" would be "pure" red, etc. Let's check that last one. Remember, hex is based on sixteens, so FF = (15x161) + (15x160) = 240 +15 = 255 ... which is the maximum saturation value in RGB: it works! So knowing that, you can play around with colors. Say you have a light blue such as D7E5F0, and you would it a little greener. Just crank up the middle digits a couple of notches (and maybe take down the blue to keep it from getting too light): D7E9E0. Presto! If you don't want to do that, PhotoShop will do it for you. Or you could also check out these sites:

     HTML colors and symbols
     HYPE's color specifier for Netscape
     HTML colors
     the gifdot archive: dots in all colors!

Here's a tool that will extract the color codes from any web site:

     Red Alt - I like your colors

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domain names

Worst choice of domain name award: http://www.expertsexchange.com.

Is the internet big or not? Check out registered domain names (such as the 295, at last check, containing the string "Christensen") with Domain Surfer.

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on browsers

Firefox is ahead right now. Most people aren't aware that how much browsers affect how we see thinks on the web: Consider the amazing koolephant.

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search engines

A big subject. Go here.



navigation, this page:

web philosophy
on links

paragraph indents

on frames

domain names

web tools

how to do a screen capture

understanding hex color

on browsers



more from this site:

about search engines
if historical figures had been webmasters

outside link:

interesting facts
about domain names

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