|First posted Mar 30, 1998|
Last update Apr 22, 2013
I am what we in the industry affectionately call a webmaster. I put together web sites and manage them on the Internet. All my services are free, I am a volunteer, but I only work with non profit organizations who can't otherwise afford professional web services. Currently I am responsible for seven different sites plus my own. Check my links page for a listing.
I write in pure HTML (the language of the web) using a program called HomeSite, version 4.5a. To be honest, I really couldn't write a web page from scratch, (my hat is off to those who use Notepad). I rely on buttons and dialogue boxes to fill in the codes and place them in correct locations. HOWEVER, I do READ raw HTML and understand all it's components and where they belong. I am just now getting into dealing with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). That is a system which controls the formatting of the web page. By changing the settings in a single file, I can change the look of the entire web site. I'm having lots of fun with CSS but Netscape is giving me a headache. It doesn't follow the rules like it should, making it difficult to keep everything working correctly for those who like to use that browser.
I don't like wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editors, like Front Page, they tend to create monster pages and add all kinds of unnecessary code. Every now and then someone hands me a web page to work with which was created with a wysiwyg editor. I spend more time trying to clean up the code than it would have taken to do the page from scratch. I am not against wysiwyg editors, they allow people who don't know HTML to create some great web pages, I just don't like using them or having to fix pages created with them.
If you want to see what HTML looks like, in Internet Explorer click "View - Source" or in Netscape click on "View - Source Page".
I should mention that, except for my personal pages, I do not write the text on the various sites I manage. I have always had a very tough time writing documents from scratch, almost failed english in high school because of that. The owner of the site creates the text and I create the web site from that. I can take something someone else has written and edit it, and I think I do a a pretty good job in that field.
I am a PC fanatic and enjoy working with digital photos. See my computer page for more info. Many of the photos on the sites I manage I shot with the various digital cameras I have owned. Currently I use a Kodak Professional DCS 315. (above photo) It is actually a Nikon Proina 6i SLR camera that Kodak has modified into a digital. I have had many comments on the photos it produces. See my Spring in DC page for more examples. Even though this is a low-end professional camera it is not for the average amateur. The camera currently sells for $4,000 without lenses. I have about $6,000 invested in the camera, lenses and accessories.
Between 1993 and 1999, I spent my time at Manassas National Battlefield Park, in Northern Virginia, about 25 miles west of Washington DC.
Manassas is the site of two major American Civil War Battles. The First Battle of Manassas was the first major land battle of the Civil War.
My primary duty at the park was taking care of their computer system and network. My second duty was the park's web page. At the time I quit, there were over 186 megs of pages, photos and sound files. They deleted all that when I left and replaced it with very little. You can see some of the pages I built for Manassas on my other site where I have posted them.
I spent over 8,000 hours of time at the park. They gave me a new add-on part for my name pin for every 500 hours I put in.
In January of 1997, the Park Service made me an Honorary Park Ranger, the highest civilian award the Park Service can give.
There have been only 120 of these awards given in the history of the National Park Service.
A few of the other recipients have been...
I have volunteered in a number of places and the National Park Service's Volunteer program is definitely the best I have seen. Most of the people in the National Park Service are terrific to work with. Most everyone was friendly and they made me feel important and needed.
Why am I no longer at Manassas?
During the second week in November, I suddenly found my key to the office didn't work any more. No one had bothered to come to me and change my key. When I approached my supervisor about it, she said "you're not getting a key, you are a volunteer not an employee and volunteers can't have keys."
A week later we were called together for a Y2K meeting. Well I had been in charge of making sure the computers were up to date so I showed up. My supervisor told me "we're only going to talk about imbedded chips, not computers, so you don't need to be here". I started to get up and leave, when the person in charge of the meeting said "yes we are going to talk about computers" so I stayed. The next day, my supervisor told me "I was not to come to any more meetings unless invited". I found out she had been embarrassed when someone at the meeting asked her why a volunteer was in charge of a mission critical function.
The last time I was told not to attend meetings I hadn't been invited to, all hell broke loose when major computer problems began to crop up, when network components were unplugged by contractors during building renovations. If I had been at the meeting, I would have been able to warn the contractors about the network power requirements and the network may not have crashed. Of course I was the one who had to fix all the resulting problems.
I could deal with any one of these things by themselves, but all of them coming at the same time was effecting my health. I came down with the shingles and it took 4 months to get rid of them. After 6 years and over 8,000 hours of volunteer time at Manassas, I was forced to quit.
I am now serving as Webmaster for a number of local nonprofit groups. Check out my links page for a listing.