A quote from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy home page button

About this website

This web site is simply my way of being part of the www community. It is also a hobby.

As a hobby:+/-

Since the days in 1967 when a complex itterative calculation to correct raw data from an electron-probe microanalyzer prompted me to learn Fortran IV and delegate the tedious work to a computer, I have enjoyed learning and using scripting to get computers to do neat little jobs.

The fun really took off after I got my first personal computer in 1987 (a Standard 286 from ComputerAdd: probably the 8 MHz model, 20 M hard drive, amber monochrome monitor). Unlike the early days when stacks of punched cards were carried over to be placed in the queue for the main-frame computer, so that it could indicate on the twenty eighth page of printout that it failed because of a minor syntax error, learning, experimenting, testing and refining could now be done within a few hours or a few minutes in the comfort of home.

Over the years I made use of DOS batch programming, Basic, Macros in WordPerfect (the best word processor, suppressed only by Microsoft's greater marketing power), and Clips in Notetab (the most useful text editor).

By the turn of the century (the year 2000) I had started a web site for our research unit at McGill University. All the html scripting was done from scratch in text editors. At the time, although it was possible to use word processor software and export your document as html, the result was typically full of redundant script and obsolescent script. I stuck with the text editor, and evolved with html (and xhtml) versions and css. To the extent needed to achieve particular goals, I got into javascript and php.

The uninspired domain name is telling. The site was created in a hurry. We wanted to share photos with people we got to know while hiking in Glacier National Park, so it was established soon after that trip.

The dot-com is meaningless at present, and probably will remain so, because I have no natural talent for money-making business. But if (a big "if") ever I make this site sufficiently interesting to attract enough visits, I would be content simply to get it to pay for its maintenance.