Friday, May 13, 2005

Getting ready for putting up a Web site Getting ready for putting up a Web site

I have spent the last couple of months learning HMTL, etc. so that I could build my own Web site. To some extent, that seems silly, with today's technology, as there are professionals who do this, and presumably produce much more professional looking sites.

But I did it myself for two reasons. First, it is something good for me to know as a patent attorney who sometimes deals in this area. Indeed, looking back to a couple of applications that I have written in the area in the past, I can think of areas where I would have done a slightly better job, understanding the technology better.

And secondly, I am a programmer at heart. HTML is a language, of sorts. And it uses Javascript, which is even more of one - being a hybrid of C and Java, which itself is descended through C++ from C.

And, in the end, a third reason, in that I have become somewhat of a purist. My site is going to be rather stark, for wont of a better word. I figure that my average inventor, typically an engineer, will be more impressed with its utility, where you can find exactly what you want quickly, than he would be wading through sliding graphics and the like.

Also, after learning to code in HTML and Javascript, I realized that most Web sites today are written very messily. The code itself is very ineligent. Also, I have implemented some features that I hope to patent some day.

So, I have an operational Web site on my desktop, and all it takes is to put it up for the world to see. Originally, I was planning on hosting the web site myself. For that, I had acquired a static IP address for my DSL line, gotten a router to work with my modem (non trivial, as it turned out - I now am running with two hardware firewalls/NAT), and had put up Apache on my desktop.

I had also bought another desktop machine, and am in the process of building it up. But then, I realized that I really needed a totally dedicated machine. So, I was going to use an older 125 mhz desktop that I had bought from my old employer, Bull, for my daughter. It was a ZDS (Zenith) system, as Bull had owned that company at some point. In any case, I have been trying to tracking down drivers for it, as I had had to replace the hard drive a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, this looks like a dead end.

But then, I asked my ISP yesterday how much it would cost for them to host the web site for me. $9.95 a month, for 5 gb or so (and I am currently under 1 mb) of disk space. For that price, it is silly for me to go through all the hassle. They run their hosted Web sites off of RAID disks and have hot backups. In the end, it was a simple decision - $9.95 for removing a lot of headaches.

I do intend to ultimately put up a noncommercial site or two myself. Probably one for the Geriatric Tele[mark] Society, of which I am a charter member. And maybe one for my daughter. I had put one up hosted by for my family, but both my father and my ex complained about disclosing personal information. So I am letting that expire.

I did have to come up with a registerable domain name (I picked, but I am sure I will add another one or two as I get inspired). And that is that. The ISP is doing everything else. In a week or less, I should be able to ftp the files to the ISP's site, and I will be live.

Luckily though, I asked about any restrictions. How does their server know what my home page is named? (answer: index.html in the root directory). Also, I found out that I needed to change all my file names to lower case and remove all the periods, except for the extensions (like .htm), since it would be hosted on a UNIX system. So, today, I should finish that up.


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