About this Site



This is a private, and personal web site. While I provide professional services to some of the companies and institutions represented here, they are in no way associated with this site. This site was started on 9/11/97.

Browser Note

Please note that Microsoft Internet Explorer seems to be displaying the opening screen larger than actually designed. The Netscape browser (version 3 and 4) display the page correctly. After trying repeated combinations to get IE to work, I just gave up. As a result, the first screen for IE users will appear larger than expected (there is no loss of content, or other side effects I am aware of).


This site is currently hosted by Best Hosting (www.best.com), but was first hosted on Affinity Hosting (www.ahnet.net). I switched because:

  • In my 6 days with Affinity, the server was down for 2 days (they said it would be 3 hours)
  • The Affinity 'control panel' that lets you administer your account has many un-implemented features
  • Affinity currently offers no anonymous FTP
  • Affinity's CGI ability is limited (I want to create my own C++ CGI programs... Duh!)
  • Affinity has no TELNET for administration

Things at Best are going better, but you have to be a more technically-aware user than for Affinity. For Best, you should be pretty familiar with UNIX. You will also have to call up Best in order to do things like add mail users, where Affinity had several automated operations you could do on-line. All in all, if your a real power user, looking for lots of control, go for Best, if you need basic services and automated interfaces, try Affinity. One final point for Best: I called them on a Sunday afternoon, and spoke with a real human tech support person.

Hosting accounts start at $20 at Affinity, and $30 at Best. (per month), plus a small sign-up fee, and a Domain name registration of $100. My reason for picking Affinity was simple, I saw a banner for it on a yahoo page. One cool thing though, within 24 hours, I had a temporary IP address to build the web pages on, and in 48 hours, the domain 'openroad.org' was mine. All done electronically.

Knowing what I do now, I would have first checked out the www.webhostlist.com URL, where they offer a list of the top-25 web hosting companies. But, rather than start 'server-hopping', I've decided to try and make Best.com my home, especially since I have no complaints thus far.

My computer

  • A Micron Intel Pentium 450MHz with 64Meg RAM and way too much disk space(13.3 Gig) for this.

My software

  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation First Install  Second Install
  • Adobe PageMill 3.(about $90, replaces PageMill 2.0, tried FrontPage)
  • Adobe Photoshop LE (came with PageMill)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.1
  • Microsoft Outlook

The computer described above is new (10/6/98), and with it I installed all new software. This new software included Visual C++ Enterprise Edition, which included the BackOffice products, such as SQL Server and Transaction Server.


Custom Software

I've already written a couple file-formatting utilities in Windows/C++ to handle things like converting the C++ source files into standard HTML files (not complicated at all, the Windowing interface was more involved). I expect there will be more such programs. I have implemented several CGI programs, and while I was at it I put together a quick-and-dirty CGI library I'm calling MGCGI (reachable from the home page). The CGI sample page, and the anonymous feedback form (which sends me email) now use that library, which has proven worth the effort. In time, the source code for the utilities will be posted (MGCGI source is already posted). First I'll have to make them text-mode programs that will compile in either DOS, UNIX, or Win32 console programs.


Compuserve is my ISP. And, well, it sucks. It's expensive, and it's content has gone way down in the last year or so. It seems like all the companies have made their own websites, and Newsgroups are now more active then the forums. I'll probably switch to Netcom for the flat fee. At this point, Compuserve is nothing but an email box, which this domain will replace.

In the past week, I've had a chance to use a 56K X2 modem with Prodigy. A recent PC Magazine article reviewed ISPs. Something I thought was strange was that Prodigy got the highest marks from surveyors, but was not selected as their Editor's Choice. Well, Prodigy at 56K, is noticeably faster than Compuserve.


As you can tell, this turns out to be pretty cheap. Which is a good thing, as the $$$ comes out of my pocket. For about $300 for the first month (including software), and (roughly) $25 each month after, you get a website. I'm not counting the ISP, because I would have that anyway. Now, the really big expense is finding the time to build the site. I've already made some silly mistakes, like wasting hours figuring out how to control the frames so that there are no borders (yeah, I know how to now). Hopefully, it will all come together, and someone, somewhere, will find something useful here.

For questions, email webmaster@openroad.org