Best Web Resources

  <HTML> Best Web Resources

This page includes links to my favorite resources for web programming, along with descriptions of what you'll find there and why I like them. I go a little further than web programming, though, including anything that has to do with the web, from the best email client to the best site for learning about search engines, and more.

Hardware, Software, Servers and such

 
A Great Host
CI Host has had some problems in the past, but for more than a year I've been nothing but happy with their service. In fact, I've just signed up for their very reasonably priced Managed Dedicated Server, which is where this site now resides. $99/month to host up to 8 domains, and I get to get my hands dirty (virtually) installing non-standard scripts and taking care of the server myself. Cooool.
Web Site Garage
Constructive criticism and clear indications of what you need to improve to make your web pages work well are offered at this web; one page at a time is free. The information is valuable enough that the $9.99 fee is worthwhile now and then.
Software!
Tucows is the best place to go to find useful software. Most of it is shareware; download and try it, then if you want to keep it, pony up.
Looking for Hardware?
ComputerESP has a nice search engine that helps you locate websites that sell what you're looking for, including price and availability, payment information and links to their sites.
Email: Solve All The Headaches
Calypso is the best email program ("email client" in webspeak) out there. This program will check email on several domains, sort incoming and outgoing mail into whichever folders you choose, give you easy access to as many signature files as you like, let you create nesting folders, work while you download, auto-respond during an absence (on a computer that stays turned on all the time), and help filter out disgusting junk mail. It does more than that (like giving you an easy way to choose which buttons you want on the toolbar, and the order to put them in) but I could go on and on and shouldn't.
Your Own Domain
I am now Queen of four domain! Having long ago given up on InterNic, and with my head still bruised from banging it onto my desk while dealing with Network Solutions, I find I'm happy with this inexpensive service. At $15/year it's a great deal.
FTP Program
CuteFTP does it all, neatly and efficiently.
Chat With Friends
ICQ ("I Seek You"), with over 7,000,000 subscribers worldwide, is the best way to find friends online. I find the piece of their page about Rumors to be very useful in getting new subscribers to stop forwarding messages which upon slight examination are downright silly.
Discussion Group Software
My biggest challenge, thus far, has been to find decent software to run a friendly chat (primarily for the wheat-free folks) on my own website. Simplenet is fast and cheap and does things generically, which has meant I can't get them to install any really cool software on a server for me. Trying to find a host that isn't going to force advertising on the users is impossible. In fact it's been darned difficult just to find anyplace that talks about such software. If you type "discussion group software" into any search engine you're going to find a bazillion discussion groups devoted to software! Well I got lucky on Profusion recently and found this very excellent list and information about the available software. The software we're using now (and happy with) is Anyboard by Netbula; it comes with a basic version that's free, and then various levels of upgradeableness beyond that.

Aesthetics

Web Page Design For Designers
Wow. This is a really beautiful, functional, and educational site on the subject of graphic design -- layout, primarily. It says its for designers but anyone can use it and learn a lot about making beautiful websites. What fonts work best and why? Download teeny tiny fonts! Why do some fonts look good in graphics, but not others? What colors work well? How can tables help you lay out text? I've spent hours visiting this site and hope, someday, to have time to apply all that knowledge.
Build Your Own Favicon.ico
What is a favicon.ico? It's the little image Internet Explorer puts on your Favorites list. If the favicon.ico file is not in the directory with the page the web-surfer is bookmarking, the usual little "E" for explorer goes on the file. But you can make your entry stand out on this list, by building this special little file that will mark your site's listing in a bookmark menu.
Paint Program
Paint Shop Pro is my choice for a relatively easy to use program that can handle GIF, JPEG, Windows Wallpaper and other formats, even converting between them. It has lots of nice special effects, too. I've found a support group for it, too, though I have yet to try it.
Color Help
Especially for figuring out what's the best background color to use, this page will help you find colors that will not change from one platform to another.
Techbabes Cross Platform Colour Page
Two great GIF files and some hints on how to use them can be found here.
True Type Fonts
Fontage is the best place to see what fonts you may want look like. If the webmaster is sure the font is in the public domain, you can even download them here, otherwise there are usually links to locations where you can get the fonts fairly.
Heiki's Backgrounds
These are exotic and beautiful to behold.

Advertising on the Web, Search Engines and Directories

Search Engines, Explained
Absolutely the best site on the net for gaining an understanding of the various search engines and directories on the Net, their relationships with each other -- and with you (either the merchant or the surfer). Even includes a page on adding search functionality to your own site. Sadly, the subscription rate has now gone too high for me to feel it's worth the extra bucks, though.
Self Promotion
There are so many services out there that offer to get you indexed in the gazillion different search engines, directories and so on, but most of them will just take your money and then not do a whole lot for you. However, if you're willing to invest a *little* of your own energy, using Robert Woodhead's selfpromotion.com will give you a much higher return on investment (it's free, though you are encouraged to offer a little monetary support -- I do; the site is well worth it). And if you're willing to put more than just a little effort in, there's a huge amount of good and accurate information, frequently updated, too, that'll steer you in just the right direction.
ProFusion
My favorite method of finding web pages calls on several different search engines and collates the information it receives and ranks the sites. This gives a far higher percentage of helpful links, all in an easy format.
Directions!
You can have the answer to "How do I get from here to there?" answered in several ways, from graphical to text output, door-to-door (sometimes) or city-to-city.

Net Concerns

The Truth About Virus Myths and Hoaxes
Have you heard about the latest virus? It's always wise to make sure it's real before you start worrying. This website has it all, from basic myth-busting to the truth about which virus warnings you really need to worry about, and which are just hoaxes.  You can also check the U.S. Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC)'s Hoax Busters. A very popular, more recent addition to those tracking all those stories your friends pass on, and urban legends in general is Snopes.com; they are now the best place to check first before you go passing on those rumors and look like a gullible fool when they turn out to be all wrong.
Copyright Issues
Are you breaking the law when you forward an email sent to you privately to others? Or how about when you quote it to a newsgroup? These and many other issues are important to keep out of trouble. Visit this website to get a quick rundown of the issues involved, and lots of clearly written answers. Before you put a page up on the web, you'd be wise to read the Internet Issues Page which you can reach through the "Bleeding Edge: Internet Issues" link.

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Copyright 1999 Linda Blanchard All Rights Reserved. Date Added: February 8, 1998. Last Update: July 05, 2006.