Here's a little look behind the scenes here at The Balisong Collector's workshop.
I host this site at New Global Network.
For $12.95/month, you get 100MBytes of space and virtually unlimited transfers plus generous e-mail facilities and a lot of nice extras too. That's all very nice, but what really counts is personal service. The folks at New Global have been very helpful to me in getting my domain transferred, and getting everything uploaded and set up. Every time I've had a question, they've answered it quickly and thoroughly. Upload performance is almost as good as it was when I was hosting with a local ISP, and the site seems to perform well overall.
I host several sites at New Global now and am very pleased.
Yes, it is true that there are services on the net that will host sites cheaper than even New Global, many even as cheap as free. But, you'll find that they usually have poor performance, poor or non-existent service, or that they want to pepper your site with advertising over which you have no control. I looked long and hard and for larger sites (and balisong sites with lots of pictures and even video files can get really big), I concluded that New Global was the best deal. I was very surprised and pleased to find that their service is as good as their price.
If you're thinking about building a site of your own, I'd encourage you to consider New Global as your host. If you do sign up with New Global, please tell them that you heard about them on my site. I get $2 for each referral. Be assured that, while every man has his price, mine is a bit higher than $2. I would not give them the strong endorsement that I have here for $2. I honestly am very pleased with them and recommed them. But, I'd still appreciate it if you'd mention me when you sign up so that I can get the $2.
I edit and build this site with Adobe PageMill.
So far, I haven't found anything I wanted to do here, or on any of the other sites I maintain, that I couldn't get PageMill to do fairly easily. But, then again, I don't tend to try complicated stuff because I know that many browsers don't always accept such things equally well. In the past, I have used Microsoft Frontpage extensively. Yes, I think that Frontpage is better than PageMill. It's not much better, though, and it's four times the price. So, when it's my money on the table, I'll take PageMill and have enough left over for a nice new balisong thank you.
Many of the pictures on this site were taken with my trusty (if not rusty) Pentax Spotmatic II 35mm SLR camera.
You can't get the Spotmatic anymore. Some people would probably say, "And there's a good reason for that." But, I like it because you can buy used lenses and stuff for it really cheap. By the way, while it's not on their website, you can still get the Pentax K1000 which I would venture is the most popular camera ever made (certainly the longest running. I think they've been making K1000s for twenty years). Also, K1000's are very commonly available used. The K1000 is essentially the Spotmatic with K-mount lenses instead of screw-mount lenses. Of course, Pentax has a fine line of fancy new cameras too.
The developed film is scanned in with my Minolta DiMage Scan Dual film scanner which I am absolutely pleased with.
Yes, it's a bit slow, but the quality of the scanned images is much better than what you get by putting prints on a flat-bed scanner. Some may argue that the increased resolution and color depth that comes from such a nice film scanner is irrelevant when you just resize the image down to a lower resolution anyway. But resizing down is always the last step I do. The more information you can give image processing algorithms, the better the results you'll get.
I edit the images with Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop is the industry standard. It's same tool that professional graphic artists use for their most sophisticated and demanding layouts. It's great. Again, I've never wanted to do something in Photoshop and not been able to figure it out without to much trouble. The only problem with Photoshop is that it is a serious professional tool and the learning curve is a bit steep, but well worth it.
And all of this takes place on my Gateway PC.
Lately it seems like I've just gotta pull teeth to get them to honor the extended tech support contract for which I paid $200 extra (they keep insisting that whatever question I have must be taken to their new 900 number, pay-by-the-minute tech support line). The computer has been great for me, though. So, I recommend Gateway, but skip the extended support contract.
Some time ago, I went to a major art museum in a major city. This particular museum has a number of galleries and exhibit rooms, and all of those rooms connect to a central lobby. It's kind of nice since you can go from any gallery to any other via the lobby. A visitor looking for a specific exhibit can simply ask the guide at the desk and then go directly to the room of interest.
Some time ago, I went to a major art museum in a major city. This particular museum is not very big, but it is ten or fifteen stories tall. Each floor is a separate gallery and there's an elevator in the middle. As a result, you can go from any gallery to any other gallery directly without even going through the lobby.
Some time ago, I went to a major art museum in a major city. This particular museum is built in a long, narrow building. Inside, the space is divided into galleries and exhibit rooms, and each room is connected to the one before it and the one after it. So, you necessarily go through this museum in a long line in order from room to room.
Some time ago, I went to a major art museum in a major city. This particular museum is in a huge building best described as "quirky." I don't think that there are two rooms in this building that are the same size or shape. The various galleries and rooms and spaces are interconnected by a multitude of passages and halls and doors. I turned one corner and found myself in a small, hexagonal room with nothing in it at all except for the light streaming in through a stained glass window that formed most of one wall. The architect who designed this building obviously wanted to challenge and delight his visitors. You mustn't visit this museum with the idea of going directly to a specific work. While a guide might give you directions, you probably won't be able to follow them since the space is almost confusing and they specifically don't have printed maps available. If you go to this museum, take along a spirit of exploration, a sense of adventure, and some time to enjoy it all.
Some websites are like that first museum I visited. They have a "home page" and every other page is linked to that home page. The home page functions as your lobby. You can get anywhere from the home page.
Some websites are like that second museum I visited. These are often frame-based sites and have a menu bar on the left or across the top. The menu bar is like the elevator buttons. Using the elevator, you can get from any page to any other page. And you're never far from that elevator.
Some websites are like that third museum I visited. The pages are linked to each other in order and you can go backwards and forwards, but that's all.
My site is like that fourth museum. It's "quirky". You should come with a spirit of exploration, a sense of adventure, and some time to enjoy it all. Here on The Balisong Collector's Site, there is no site map and no elevator buttons. I just encourage you to explore and enjoy.
By the way, there's more than one "Easter Egg" hidden on this site! I get a report every two weeks telling me how many visitors request each page. I check those special page myself occasionally just to make sure it's still there. But, aside from my own custodial visits, hardly anybody has ever requested any of the Easter Egg pages. My guess is that somewhere in that fourth museum there is a room filled with art that nobody except the custodian has ever seen.