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Notes on starting out

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

I do like a challenge, and getting this website up and going has been one, in case some potential bloggers are visiting this site and might be interested. So, here are some observations I have about the personal control issues I dealt with in getting it going--and others can certainly join in to add comments of their experiences.

I didn't want to take forever on it since I need to get some awareness of the book's availability out there, and I feel that a website might be an important part of that as well as starting some of the reader interaction I consider is equally worthwhile. At the same time, since I didn't know really what form this all would take and if it would amount to anything in the end, I wanted to have a web platform that allowed good flexibility, wouldn't be expensive, and something within my ability. Those are the control parameters.

As a historical note related to ability, I started out with my first computer being a Radio Shack TRS-90 using cassette tape for storage and requiring basic programming to make it do anything. That was in the late 1970's I think. The next big jump was to the Apple II, which we used in a middle school where I taught for 17 years. The quest there was to find software for those machines (and later upgrades) which could be used for classroom instruction. That proved to be difficult, with some successes, but straight-forward keyboarding practice and word processing programs were the most useful in daily practice. So, I'm not a complete novice in the use of computers since I continued to upgrade my software application skills and machines for using them. However, application of programs, and not computer electronics and software programing, was my forte.

Which brings us to the first website construction platform I tried, WordPress. It sounded good: flexible for making products, able to integrate apps to do whatever was wanted, many aides and guides, and free except for a company to host the domain, and none of those are prohibitive for the level of needs I have. After about three days of floundering around in the over-whelming amount of options for freedom of construction, I gave it up and looked around.

Very often in trying to control what is needed to happen, too much freedom is definitely debilitating. I used to also teach gifted and talented strudents at that middle school, and I would always tell them that creativity doesn't come from have everything available that you want but comes instead from having a set of limitations (whether material or ideational) that force you to be creative with what you have. That was certainly the case with WordPress: too much freedom, at least for me.

Next, I tried out Gator Website Builder. Again, it sounded good for all the right reasons, as well as being not so demanding of web building skills and having fewer choices to get lost in for building the elements of a website. After about two days, again I gave up and decided it was too restrictive for what I had in mind (I did have a visual image in my mind) and the instructions weren't clear enough for me. For some, most assuredly many, it is a good platform to use, but the fit just wasn't good for what I was trying to do and was capable of.

At last, Wix seemed to work for me: active on-screen help while editing, drag-and-drop with pop-up menus, and themes that I could change through editing to get what I had floating in my head. It has still been a robust learning curve, but I could quickly see I was making progress and could come up with a product that had the potential to do what I wanted.

And that's a summary of some of the control factors that I dealt with in order to get where I am now: starting out. Some additional notes. The mobile version of this website seems to have a quirk when tapping on the categories menu to bring up the posts, but it does work. The desktop/tablet version doesn't have that problem. (If you notice something wrong with the website, or that could be improved, let me know through this blog or separate message via Contacts.)

Also, I noticed that the mobile version accesses the Amazon listing page of Control more restrictively than the desktop version. You can utilize the Look Inside feature only for the Kindle ebook listing, making about the first 17 pages available. However, the paperback listing doesn't make its Look Inside feature available, whereas pulling up the listing on a desktop or tablet makes about 30% of the book available for viewing--skipping around to a variety of pages. But, both at least give a tease, shall we say, of what's inside. And that's the purpose and format of the Look Inside for all their listed books, which I have found useful for my interests too.

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