About A.J.'s Place - The Third:
Movie reviews, guides, games, news, and more!
"Not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary,
run-of-the-mill, ho-hum entertainment website."
This page last edited
July 6, 2016
All design and text content of A.J.'s Place: Movies & More (C) 2000-2016 by A.J. Vestal
Images on this site are used only to enhance the visual presentation of information and to promote films and websites.
Requests for image removal may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. A.J.'s Place is based in Marin County, California USA
The Making of A.J.s Place: Movies & More
This site began as an experiment to see how inexpensively I could create a website. How close to "FREE" could I get and still accomplish what I wanted?
First, I needed a free Internet Service Provider (ISP). I had tried virtually every free service, many of which have since gone under. (and I don't mean to Australia!) I soon discovered the service provided by NETZERO. It was a very reliable service that offered free ISP, e-mail, websearching, and many other nice features. Unlike a certain other American online service, I had rarely been involuntarily disconnected from NetZero. to keep it free, NetZero utilised a small ad-box which incorporated a lot of nifty bells & whistles like a stock, news, and sports ticker, e-mail alert, etc. NetZero offered its users 8 hours of free service per month. They also offered an unlimited hours premium service without the ad box for a very reasonable rate. At the time, NetZero was as good or better than any service that stuck you for $20 or more each month! (That's the way it was... and we liked it!) So, I said goodbye to AT&T and hooked up for free. So far, so good. I'm on-line with cash in pocket. Next, I needed to find a free website server that provided both creative and publishing services. I started this site on another server, but found the interface to be bothersome, and the directory system a complete mess. I never did find my own site there, even after searching for an hour. How annoying is that? Then, I discovered Homestead.com. Wow! What a difference! If you don't have your own website or homepage here, you're really missing out. Until August 2001, Homestead was a completely free server, but has since become a pay service. Okay, now we're cooking. Free ISP, almost-free website server, all that was left was to actually design the site. I wanted to design most of the buttons myself, so I used Adobe Illustrator 8.0. (Whoa, that costs money!) I had purchased Adobe Illustrator for other uses before I had even thought about building a site. With a free tryout copy, a freeware screen-capture utility program and a little creativity, you can achieve the same results. (Hint: Those tryout versions of programs like Illustrator and Photoshop don't allow you to save your work, but with a screen-capture utility...) For screen-capture, I recommend PrintKey v4.0, available for free from PCWorld.com. Tons of other free goodies there, too!
So, a nearly free internet presence was still possible! All it took was a computer, a bit of imagination, and some free time with which to use them.
My goals for the actual site were:
1) It must be easy to build. 2) It must be easy to maintain. 3) It must be easy for others to access. 4) It must load fast over a standard modem. 5) It must be user friendly. 6) It must be a fun and useful site to visit.
I must say that Homestead.com took care of the first three goals quite nicely. The site manager is nearly perfect, uploading works great, adding to and editing elements of the site couldn't be easier. The directory and community listing and search functions are first rate. Also, Google is a useful search engine. After all, YOU found me, didn't you?
(Note: Take care when using Google search - Its algorithm overseers have, as of late, begun to intentionally manipulate the delivery of its content to favor politically and ideologically biased - often misleading - information. As a result, it has become an inherently untrustworthy source for accurate information pertaining to world events and public opinion.)
Cut! Print! Moving on...
To make the site load as fast as possible, I've done without many audio effects or music, and I enter any photos last, so that text may be read while the pictures finish downloading.
To make the site as user friendly as possible, all menu buttons are displayed on each page. Also, the A.J.'s Place logo at the top of each page links to the 'Main Menu'. Lastly, a button at the bottom of each page allows you to go back to the top of that page. It's not fancy by any means, but I think it works pretty well. In addition, whenever I feel a link would be useful, I will provide one. There are three text links on this very page.
Whether my site is fun and useful or not is, of course, up to you. I sincerely hope that it is, and thank you very much for visiting.