First off, if you are using Internet Explorer prior to version 7 with Windows and it looks kinda crummy, you should consider using a different browser. Perhaps something like Mozilla Firefox, the Mozilla Seamonkey, Opera or Safari. The site will look something like this. For whatever reason, Internet Explorer doesn’t properly render transparent PNG images and this site makes extensive use of them. There are hacks out there to try and make them work, but they require changes to the site or don’t work with CSS background images. I’d rather that you experience the goodness of a modern, standards compliant browser rather than warping my site to support a sub-standard one.
Originally I registered the domain patsoffice.com so that I could have a consistent email address. I had left my job at Verio full-time and had begun work at UC Davis. Having my own domain seemed like a good idea since I didn’t know if I would keep my Verio addresses too much longer. Credit for the domain name goes to my old co-worker, Jim Nessen, since I lacked the creativity to come up with an original domain name and instead copied his jimsoffice.org domain.
Since I run my own server/router at home, the next logical step was to make a web site so that family, friends and communities that we participate in could keep up to date on what was going on with us. Since I have no artistic ability whatsoever, I asked my friend Airic van Staveren to do some artwork for me. He came up with some cool ideas that I liked and created artwork for a website site. After a very long delay, I finally came up with a website layout that I liked. Unfortunately, I am only using one of the pieces of art that Airic came up with, the title image in the upper left. If I can incorporate the others someday, I will certainly do so.
My current operating system of choice is Linux (I have problems calling it GNU/Linux.) It’s fast, flexible and free (in the sense of both freedom and cost.) I currently run a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS. In keeping with the freedom of the operating system, all of the graphics on the site are either PNG or JPEG images. It was a conscious decision to use non-patent encumbered technologies. The downside is that as noted above, Internet Explorer on Windows and old versions of Netscape (that should no longer be used) either do not support the PNG format or they do not support PNG transparency.
The site is built upon the “blogging” software WordPress. The theme is one of my own creation, but it’s heavily based on Hemingway. I did look at other themes way back when I started, but I couldn’t begin to tell you which ones. All non-photo graphics used on the site were created with the Gimp.