Rationale and History

Welcome to tipson.net. The point of this page is to collect important but static information in one place, with the goal of freeing up the front page for the more dynamic information (which will give the impression of a more dynamic web site!). This page is divided into Navigation Instructions, Shaun's Web Site Construction Recipe, The Plans for the Future and Version Control: Record of updates to tipson.net

By way of introduction, and in case you don't know (and if you're reading this it's highly unlikely that you don't), my name is Shaun Tipson, I live in Canberra, Australia, studied at the Australian National University(BSc (Hons), LLB (Hons)), and can be contacted via email at shaun@tipson.net.

Navigation Instructions

Navigate using the menu on the left of the page (and here's hoping that I never need more then seven things to choose from!). The names should be fairly descriptive, but the basic theme is stuff that I thought should some day contribute to the mass of useless information on the Web. Well, that day has come!

The site is divided up into sections and pages. A section is a collection of subject-relevant pages (although this may not be obvious, for example there are some fondue recipes in the Eurovision section). Each section has a section home page that you can get to by clicking on the section title at the left of the page. You can tell what the current section is by looking at the top-left corner (for example, right now the text "Home" is in the corner). A page that is not a section home page will have an informative heading (for example, "Rationale and History"). Finally, you can return to the top of a page by clicking on a link that looks something like < top >  (this will hopefully avoid unnecessary scrolling).

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Shaun's Web Site Construction Recipe

At the risk of reinventing the wheel, I thought it would be worthwhile to briefly summarise the main steps in climbing the ladder from domain-deprived to web-presence (of course, some might view it as a decent into uber-nerdiness):

  1. Buy a domain name

    A domain name is your address on the Web. A domain name is part of a URL (uniform resource locator), which uniquely describes a link to an Internet resource. An example is the URL that got you to this page: http://tipson.net/version.htm. The bit at the beginning is the protocol, the bit in the middle is the domain name and the bit after the slash is the reference to the page (of course, due to the magic of the web, the URL http://www.tipson.net/version.htm will get you to the same place).

    The point is that the domain name is the name of your site, and in order to have a site, you need one. So, find out whether the domain name that you want is taken (and most of the good ones are) by searching at Melbourne IT. Note that tipson.net is not the same as tipson.com or tipson.net or tipson.com.au, so just because one is taken doesn't mean that the rest are unavailable. And, if you're an individual your best bet is a .com or .net domain name (because they're cheaper, not normally associated with a particular purpose [like .org and .edu], and you don't need an ABN [like you do for .com.au]).

    Once you've found a name that you like and no-one else has registered, register it with domain name registry. There are thousands of resellers, each offering different prices, but as an example, bottledomains.com.au registered the domain tipson.net for 2 years for A$60.

  2. Host the domain name

    Now, with any luck, you own a piece of intellectual property. Creating a web site is now a matter of finding a place to host your domain (there's a lot of technical stuff that happens behind the scenes, but the nice thing is that it's all hidden - unless you really want to know about it).

    Again, there are thousands of hosters, and the nice thing is that the Web is geographically independent (more or less), which means that the site can be hosted anywhere. For example, savinghosting.net hosts tipson.net in Canada, and they charge CAN$1 /month. The amount you pay will depend on how much bandwidth (how many people access your site?), storage (how big is your site?) and features (what sort of bells and whistles do you need?) you site requires.

  3. Publish (and update) content

    Once your site is hosted, this means that every computer on the Internet can now find your domain name (this works a bit like a phone book, with your domain name being attached to an address. Every time someone asks for your domain name, their browser goes off and asks a directory computer how to find your site). Now you need to give them something to look at!

    Of course, publishing for the Web is a whole different proposition, and the method that you use will depend upon your hoster and your technical skills. If you have no skills, it's still possible to put something on the Web, since most versions of Word these days have a "Save as HTML" option. This is not intended to be a Web Publishing tutorial, but the steps should briefly be:

    • Create content (be creative, there's enough tedious stuff on the Web without people adding to it);
    • Save for the Web (searching Google with the words "HTML", "howto" and the name of the program that you used to create the content should tell you how to do this); and
    • Get the saved file to your web hoster (the hoster will normally give instructions on how to do this, words like FTP and SSL might come up here).

Now, the only challenge is to avoid falling into the classic Web trap, and updating the site once every five years!

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The Plans for the Future

Short term goals for site functionality include:

  • An image library with associated metadata (so that I have a record of when, where and why each photo was taken).
  • An interactive world map, to keep track of people's travel around the world. Ideally, this will allow a star to be placed next to a person's name at a given lat/long.
  • Learning how to use PHP, so I can include pages and interact with a database.
  • A better collection of Eurovision statistics. With more information, maybe I'll find a better way to predict every year!

Long term goals include:

  • Perhaps a password accessible forum and message board.

Email me with any other suggestions since, as all the technically-educated out there know, the real struggle for any web site is the content part. More importantly, I think that people are still trying to figure out the purpose of the Internet. Surely Google, porn and sporting events can't be all there is to it? So, with any luck, this site might incrementally help the search for a real point for the Web. And, once we find it, we can stop using a sledgehammer to crack macadamia nuts.

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Version Control: Record of updates to tipson.net

28-09-2003 Time for an update! Yes, after a good (almost) 6 months of inactivity, the site now has a slightly new look. More importantly, I have redesigned the behind-the-scenes stuff with the goal of making things easier for me to modify. So, welcome to tipson.net version 1.1!
July 2003 The number of photos that I have accumulated is now ridiculous. Look for an online photo archive (to arrive shortly after the site revamp.
08-05-2003 Eurovision is up and running for 2003. Check out the new design.
02-05-2003 tipson.net Version 1.0 created. After slaving over a hot computer, I've finally created an appearence which doesn't look completely icky.
28-04-2003 Already the proud owner of the domain name, I manage to finally crawl out of apathy and into procrastination by finding a place to host it.
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2003 Tipson Family.
Email any problems on comments.