Hitch hikers guide to the internet

I’m starting this thread to gather some ideas an opinions on this internet society. Now I consider myself pretty intelligent, but I’m a internet outsider. I know all the technobabble, but can’t apply any of it. The online community seems a bit exclusive.

I guess the point of this thread is to gather some info on the 101 things you must know online. Nothing specific, but alot of the topics and instructions that pop up around here go over my head. What websites do you consider essential if your online (Straight Dope excluded)? What skills are a must learn? Whats so great about ICQ, IM, ftp, etc.?

So far I know HTML, but can’t apply much of it. I am trying to build a homepage, but the results I get using the WYSIWYG editors aren’t that great. What do you all use (I know how many webmeisters there are around here) to develop graphics, backgrounds and the such.

How did everyone here get their web savvy for everything from MP3’s, Shareware, and all that other crap I haven’t heard of. Is there any online how to’s?

I guess I’m a perfectionist, and want my page to be as attractive as some of the pros, not realistic, but I’ve gotta be able to better than some glorified Word document. I got a cable modem, 10MB of server space, 13Gig harddrive and all I do is waste time here and look at porn! I can do better.

So can the TM throw me a bone here and point me in the right direction?

First you need to find yourself a search page to find all the info you want on everything you can think of. The good ones I can think of are http://www.yahoo.com , http://www.hotbot.com , and http://www.google.com .

Next you need some programs so that some of the web pages and downloads will work. You need RealPlayer for streaming video and audio( http://www.real.com ), you definately need WinZip for downloaded zip files ( http://www.winzip.com ), and Winamp for MP3 files ( http://www.winamp.com ).

As for making web pages, well as you can see in my home page, I’m not that good as well. Sorry. All I can say is tinker around with the WYSIWYG editor some more to see if there’s anything else you can do on your homepage to make it better.

And check out the HTML tutoral in the “About This Message Board” section for more HTML advice.

Hope that helped somewhat.


Thanks Louie, but it appears we are equals in this internet world. The search engines, and apps are the things I’m fairly competent in. It’s the underground things that seem to make the internet a boon for some that I’m missing out on.

Another search engine I like is http://www.northernlight.com/ . It gives the plain list of sites as the others do, but also sorts them into subfolders.

Instead of Winzip, I’d suggest EasyZip 2000. It’s free, not shareware, and is a little more capable than Winzip. http://members.xoom.com/ipsoft/

Welcome, and have fun!

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

What do you mean by “underground things”? Are you talking about HTML information? Websites? Other Internet features (e.g. usenet, ftp, etc.)?

As for setting up your website, try this: find websites that you like and take a look at the source code. In addition, sign yourself up for a geocities page, set it up using their easy (Basic) editor and/or click and build thingy, then check out the source code to see how the code looks. That, and check out used/bargain bookstores to get a copy of the Idiot’s Guide to Creating an HTML Web Page for 75% off regular price. :wink:

If you want your webpage to be more than a big block of centered text, you need to learn to use tables with a border=0 (invisible tables). Then you can create margins and place anythng you want exactly on the page. If you get really nitpicky, you can use invisible images to place your text and images more exactly.

The best book I can recommend for you is “Creating Killer Websites” by Dave Siegel; if you want some of his ideas online, go to http://www.killersites.com/ or http://www.dsiegel.com/home.html . See if your wysisyg editor can do tables; I know FrontPage can. Otherwise you need to code it by hand, which can get complex if you are doing tables within tables, and table cells that span multiple columns and rows. For the record, I hand-code tables at work, but for my own site I use FrontPage and just clean up the HTML later (wysisygs put in a ton of “clutter code”).

Try “view source” on this page of mine, and you can see how I use tables to organize the info.http://www.elnet.com/~lburch/artpage/pg6.html Otherwise there’s no way I could get the page to look like that. That’s a fairly tricky table, though, and there’s no need for you to get so complex yet.

As for graphics, read up on anti-aliasing and invisible backgrounds; it’s too much to go into right now. If you have Photoshop or Fractal Painter, you can do your own tiling backgrounds, but I don’t know of any other image editing programs that have that kind of power. You’re better off getting one of the free backgrounds off the net. And, from a design perspective (IMHO) you’re better off with just a flat color or a very subtle background.

Seriously, the most important things on a webpage are content, readability, and ease of navigation. So don’t worry too much about looks yet.

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

Thanks guys, but I may have understated my skills. Tables, fonts and borders are things I’m comfortable with and use them fairly well. I guess its the artwork that I want to learn how to customize, creating icons and the sort. The style where you move the cursor over links imbedded in graphics where the link becomes backlit etc. Trimming and cropping photos, overlaying them and so on. Putting the text where I want it I can handle. I would like to be able to create a nice page header using some font other than the type included in Composer of Frontpage.

As for the underground stuff (a way to subtly discuss activities frowned upon by the Administrators) I meant taking advantage of ftp, the usenet, newsgroups, and other file sharing groups. I guess I want some free stuff, and I know not everyone in those groups learned the skills in school, or have been online since 88. I’d like to build a MP3 collection, and download some quality shareware/freeware. I guess I just feel like I’m missing out.

  • I tried pasting code, but it was too much*

To do simple, text-only rollovers check out “A:Links”

To do cool-graphic changes, you need to use JavaScript and OnMouseOver, OnMouseOut, and a simple swap image routine or two.

I use:
Paint Shop Pro- logos and whatnot
Reptile - backgrounds
Fireworks2 - prepare graphics for web
Dreamweaver2 - page design/layout (much much better than FrontPage)

Non-standard fonts are usually put in as a graphic, but there are tools that supply server-side downloadable fonts.

Feel free to check out my web site and steal any code you like; I think it’s pretty good for a guy who can’t draw a stick man.

As far as “underground” stuff, go usenet and IRC. You can get cracks and serials on the web, but for warez, you will be better off in alt.binaries.* newsgroups or #warez-type IRC channels.
Use deja.com to search newsgroups for ftp sites and hidden web sites (geocities is a popular one nowadays) - and never ask anything in a IRC room … just lurk and jump on open fservs and catch ftp sites.

For rollovers, toss this in the I had images named “home1.gif” and “home2.gif”, and so on; it would switch back and forth when moused over (from home1.gif to home2.gif). Substitute your own image names in the code, and there ya go. To get a “glow” effect, copy the image behind itself, color it white, and apply “gaussian blur” to your taste (this only makes sense if you have photoshop).

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei
[Note: This message has been edited by Eutychus55]

Oh crud, it tries to run the JavaScript. Hope it doesn’t crash everything. let me try this:
(Javascript removed from this and the previous message)

[Note: This message has been edited by Eutychus55]

sigh not gonna work. I’ll email you, and if anybody wants some Javascript rollover code, I’ll send it to them too. Email me at sburch@elnet.com.

My view on java script is, only use it if it has some important and specific purpose. Roll over buttons are great. Good for a nice finished and professional touch to a page (IMHO). I also like pages with white back grounds and pictures with no obvious edge (seem to be a part of the page instead of “glued” onto them).

As for me, my pages are mostly information, such as my conlang pages: Conlang Pages. I prefer a straightforward approach to them, but they are a tad boring, so i may be snazzing them up a bit.

I like shockwave, but for those of us on slow lines they take a while to load up, and not a lot of people have that kind of patience.

I also use Netscapes (or when i am frustrated at the program, Nutscrapes) WYSIWYG editor. One draw back is if i were to do frames, i would have to do it by hand in note pad (I havent figured out how frames can be accomplished).