About This Website
pwall.net – About This Website
How It Started
This website started as a means for me to communicate with friends and family scattered all over the world. I found myself writing the same thing in emails to different people, so I figured I could just write my news once and tell everyone where to look.
But the web is public, so that means that anything I put here can be read by anyone in the world. That tends to cramp my writing style a bit — I find myself using something midway between the informality of a casual email and the formality (and tendency towards pompousness) of a “letter to the editor”.
I’m still working out the balance, and if some of what I’ve got here seems a bit stilted, you should understand that I probably think so too.
Browser Window
I like to have multiple browser windows open on screen at once, and that means keeping each window fairly narrow. But as screens have become wider, my narrow windows have also become wider, while still allowing me to have several open at the same time.
When I last redesigned my site I settled on a width of 640 pixels, but that now looks anachronistic when even tablets can have screen widths of 1920. This time, I’ve settled on 960 pixels, and I seem to be in good company — several other sites appear to use a similar width. I’ll keep it under review, but this seems like a good choice for the moment.
A while ago I bought myself a tablet — I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I quickly found that the links on the right-hand side of my page were difficult to select with a finger, so now I’ve switched to square buttons, similar to those on a tablet — these should be equally usable for finger or mouse.
I’ve also changed the selection of links — there were several that I never used, so they’ve now gone. And I don’t see why my readers shouldn’t share my obsession with Australian Football.
Web Hosting
For several years this site was hosted on GoDaddy — a company more famous for its television advertising during the American Football “Super Bowl” than for anything else. But a while ago, GoDaddy started attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. The head of the company made several statements in support of the SOPA and PIPA bills in the United States Congress — these two proposed pieces of legislation were an outrageous overreach on the part of copyright holders in the U.S., attempting to claim the right to censor large parts of the Internet. (Both bills have since been withdrawn, but no-one should assume that the large media companies have given up their fight to control the entire on-line world.)
So, along with a large slice of their customer base, I decided to leave GoDaddy. In my case, I switched to Gandi.net, a small company in Paris, France. From my research at the time they seemed to have an excellent reputation and so far I’ve been very pleased with them. And there’s one further change — the hosting service at GoDaddy was just a static HTTP service, but Gandi gives me a complete virtual machine that I can run as I wish, so I have installed my own web server, along with dynamic template-driven page generation software.
Dynamic Page Generation
By the time they reach your browser, these pages are normal HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc. But they are all generated on-the-fly using template software I wrote myself. This means that I can make changes to the layout of the entire site very quickly — instead of having to re-generate all the the pages and upload them all separately, I can just upload the changes to the template and from that point on all the pages will have the new features.
I’m hoping this means that it will be easier for me to make changes, and therefore they will occur more frequently. Time will tell whether that actually happens.
All photographs on this web site are “click-through” — that means you can click on any of the smaller or “thumbnail” images to get a larger version, usually 1024 x 680 pixels.
You can also save the image without loading it in your browser — just right-click on the small image and select “Save Target As” (in Internet Explorer) or “Save Link As” (in Firefox or Chrome).
I hold copyright in all images (and in the text, HTML formatting, CSS and JavaScript code) on this website. You are free to copy any part of the website content for personal use; for commercial use please contact me (my email address is at the top right of the page).