Not to say that this page is so great that others would want to see how
I possibly did it... This page is mainly to give acknowledgement where
it's due. And to recommend some good places for web design.
First, my design philosophy, what there is of it. The goals of
these pages are of course to communicate clearly about myself and my interests,
and to help others in the process. I want to make these pages easily-accessible
even by people without Pentium systems and 64 KB of RAM (my god, you mean
people still have lower-speed systems? Let them eat cake!), so I
try to keep the bandwidth fairly small, which means a lot of text and few
In the course of making this stuff, I've used:
Laura Lemay's Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 4 in 14 Days: Professional Reference Edition.
The title sounds a bit cheesy, but the book is really very good. And it's a real, physical book, so you can keep it open even when your system crashes, and as the author says, "squash spiders with it."
Eric Meyer is one of the masters of CSS design; seeing the amazing things he did on css/edge, his demonstration site, inspired me to retool my site with CSS. His book is excellent, one of the best CSS references around, even though it's not designed as a reference.
Designing with Web Standards, by Jeffrey Zeldman.
I haven't used Zeldman's book much yet, but as I start trying to get this site working in different browsers, I expect it'll come in very handy.
Other CSS sources
I've also used several other sources of CSS information and inspiration:
- CSS Pocket Reference, by Eric Meyer. It's one of O'Reilly's series of pocket references, and it's quite useful, though it isn't as complete as it could be.
- CSS Max's Listamatic has lots of interesting ways to handle lists.
- CSS Zen Garden has some seriously cool sites designs all done with CSS and a few images..
- The W3C's CSS1 recommendations have been occasionally useful, though they aren't exactly easy to read.
- I'm not advanced enough yet to get much out of A List Apart, but soon...
The WYSIWIG is quite nice, but it constantly inserts code that I don't want. When I'm using Windows and want things to come out the way I really prefer, I usually use...
It has a lot of nice features -- color-coding of tags, macros, simple HTML validation and beautifying, etc. -- and it's free. Actually, not only is it free, it is Careware; you get the software in exchange for trying to be a good human being. (Not necessarily a small price to pay -- I think monetary payment would be a lot easier for many people -- but definitely worth it!)
I have also used this HTML editor. It's very handy, effective, simple and, last I knew, free.
Since I've started using Linux, my main web design package has been Quanta. Like most Linux software, it's both free and very high-quality. I kind of wish it had a more Gnome-like interface, but you can't have everything (especially when Bluefish doesn't run well on my machine).
My cheapo Acer scanner(a Prisa 320P).
It works pretty well, but the programs it comes with are fairly low-quality. The ULead photo system is, well, as good as any bundled product probably gets. The Xerox optical character recognition program that also came with the scanner -- well, let's just say that it doesn't recognize apostrophes and crashes my system literally every time I use it.
TwinBridge Chinese Partner 4.98.
I strongly recommend that you don't buy this product. Although it claims to be usable with "thousands" of programs, it has only actually worked on a very few that I've seen so far (even then, mostly only MS stuff like Word and Excel), and it is then of limited use at best. It frequently "forgets" characters which have been scrolled past, requiring me to reload whole pages again or even save them to my notepad before I can actually view them. It occasionally just doesn't translate code into Chinese, again requiring me to reload the pages or restart my system. It regularly causes my system to crash, and the Chinese input system is poorly-designed, clumsy and inconsistent at best. The number of pre-set phrases is limited, and unmodifiable (I can't for example, add my Chinese name, so I have to re-type it every time). TwinBridge's customer service is laughable. In general, the product stinks. If you really understand Chinese and are looking into a Chinese-capable computer, I'd recommend buying a Chinese Windows system and a good input system rather than TwinBridge (well, I'd never actually recommend buying Windows, but you know what I mean). Also, the clerks didn't tell me this before, but I'll tell you -- you can't run Chinese Windows programs on English Windows, but you can run English Windows programs on a Chinese Windows system. Don't make my mistake.
Better yet, install Linux with Chinese localization.
As little Microsoft stuff as possible!
I don't think I really believe a human being can be evil, but Bill Gates is about as close as anyone. I'm sure that lots of nice people work for him, but I can't support his company in good conscience. No wonder I've been using almost entirely Linux stuff since the middle of 2003!
Lots and lots of Coca-Cola.
Well, mostly Volvic water now, but Coca-Cola fueled a lot of the initial stages of this web page.
It is certainly not a great program, but it does do the basics of image editing and creation pretty well. I used it to create the qipao image above and the buttons you see to the left (if that wasn't obvious by their low quality). I've recently begun using the Gimp more, but when I want to do serious image processing, I still turn to PSP.
My Rexel Derwent colored pencils.
Probably the only things that I've used here that do what they're supposed to consistently.
Oh, and a computer.
What? You actually care what kind of computer I use? Okay, if you must know.
<Rachel's technical mode> It's a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz running Ubuntu 7.10 and Windows 2000, with an Asus P2B motherboard, 1 GB RAM in two sticks, a 40 GB Seagate HD, a 160 GB Samsung HD, a 500 GB Seagate HD, a no-brand region 3 DVD drive, a no-brand region 1 DVD+RW drive, an unconnected Lite-On CD-RW drive, GeForce 3 Ti200 graphics card, no-name soundcard, 120W speakers, floppy drive, no-name case and power, a USB card or two, a no-name Ethernet card, no-name pseudo-ergonomic keyboard, a Hitachi SuperScan Supreme 803 21" CRT monitor, a 6x8 Wacom Intuos tablet and a Logitech MX610 mouse. It was originally built for me by a guy in a booth at the Guanghua market, but I've made quite a few modifications to it over the past few years. I also own a 350 MHz/512 MB RAM system that I haven't used since I came back from Taiwan. I might get it up and running as a web server sometime.</Rachel's technical mode>
How much of that was actually relevant? Probably very little. Am I proud of putting money into the coffers of Microsoft and Intel? Of course not. How did I afford this thing? It was the result of my having been taxed ridiculously much in 2003 year (as are all foreigners who come into Taiwan, even if they've actually been living here for years and just went out for a visa run), then getting most of that tax back as a refund. I could've gotten a computer, a plane ticket back to the States for a quick visit or paid off some of my horrendously-large outstanding college loans. I naturally chose the option which provides the most video games. Maybe one of these years I can start paying off my loans...?
When you'd like to go back to my main page, go right ahead; I also have some notes about how I produce some of the art on my site; or if you prefer, you might want to go back to my page of random tidbits.
This page (http://www.jiawen.net/ designnotes.html
designed and ©1999-2009 by Rachel Kronick
. Last updated April 26, 2009.