I have been urged to explain how I created this web site and tell what tools I used to help others create their own web pages.

This web site was created using the inexpensive CoffeeCup HTML Editor. To show how useful this tool is I had the web site up and running in two weeks, even though I had never programmed in HTML before I started. I relied upon O'Reilly's "HTML & XHTML The Definitive Guide" by Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy to guide me through the mysteries of HTML, and later "JavaScript The Definitive Guide" by David Flanagan to introduce me to that peculiar language. I also found many useful sites on the Internet to help with programming problems, especially the w3schools web site. I should confess that I have experience programming in C and C-- (what one of my coworkers says I do to C++), and I did use early text markup languages back in the dark ages (1980s), so I was not totally unfamiliar with programming. Still, it was remarkably easy to get the site up and running with the CoffeCup HTML Editor. I highly recommend it.

I chose to make the site XHTML 1.0 compatible to ensure future compatibility with advanced browsers. All pages are verified with the W3C Markup Validation Service.

My original slides were scanned into Photoshop using a Canon FS4000US slide and film scanner. The images were cleaned up and resized in Photoshop. I reduced most images to 1024 pixel width to ensure that they would fit on just about any computer screen and be completely visible without scrolling.

Images in documents were also scanned into Photoshop using a flatbed scanner. Document text was scanned into Word using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and then the Photoshop images were pasted into Word to complete the document. The use of OCR produced file sizes much smaller than would have resulted from just scanning everything into a series of images for each page. The word files were then "printed" to PDF files using the freeware CutePDF printer driver. I cannot overemphasize the usefulness of CutePDF. Because it installs as a printer driver the program looks like just another printer to all programs. Consequently, it allows the creation of PDF files from any program that can print.

All of the illustrations (except those scanned from documents) on these pages were created with DesignCAD 3D Max, an extremely versatile, inexpensive and relatively easy to use CAD program. It is a full CAD program that produces 2D drawings and 3D models. I generated JPEG images from DesignCAD, and often edited these in Photoshop to annotate, trim and resize images, and combine multiple images.

The blueprints I use for creating the CAD models were scanned into files at high resolution from microfilm using a microfilm scanner at our local public library. Each blueprint generated multiple partial page scans. These were pasted together in Photoshop and then edited to reduce distortion and make the prints more readable.

I use the freeware FileZilla program to manage my web site on the remote server. It has a silly name but is a most useful tool, and I highly recommend it. It is very well designed, and in an age where there is a lot of garbageware floating around this is unusual. Just about all you have to do to transfer files back and forth between your computer and the remote server is just drag and drop between windows. It couldn't be easier.


Why were sailors once called "tars?"