I am just a learner who likes to delve in websites as a hobby. Hobbies are what make life so enjoyable for me. I have tried many other things - watercolor and pastel painting, organic gardening, kayak making, dinghy sailing, kite making, origami, stock photography, cartooning, carpentry, rock collecting, snake rearing and many other unusual pursuits. Somehow, as time goes on, and for some particular reason, they gradually become just bits of historical and passing interests for me. Amidst these passing interests, Internet comes along.
From first day I learned to surf Internet, I became impressed by it. I could not recall whether it was incredible amount of knowledge that can be found there, or was it quality of reading medium that struck me. But it did.
I was hooked. At that time, I was gathering information on how to make a kayak. Well, not all information was exactly way I had wanted it, but by carefully piecing all bits and pieces of information together, I managed to use them to make a fully functional kayak, custom made to suit me.
Deep down inside me, I was so excited by this technology, that I wanted so much to get involved too.
Then a MLM company that calls themselves SkyX (Not their real name) came to scene. They were supposedly going to revolutionize world of online business in Malaysia. They were an American company that operated their business very much like a pyramid scheme, with their main products being a web design software, some learning tool and web hosting for one year that teaches one how to make websites. To me at that time, it was product I was looking for. Being so very new to Internet, I did not try to look at other options.
That's what company wanted! The trap has been sprung. Sweet talking me with their attractive carrot bait, members made me lose my grip on myself and I succumbed to their enticements. Although I was aware that people have been conned into pyramid schemes before, I was somehow swayed by their explanations about multi-level marketing concepts and how their business structure was a bit different from pyramid schemes. They really knew how to play on my emotions and weakness to their advantage.
They had all workings of a well-established network that gives support to all members, organizing presentations and holding functions. What did I do then? Since I was already part of network, I had to do my part in getting more members. If not, I won't recover my money. So for a very short while I did just that.
Eventually, this American Company was sued and it went bankrupt. That was end of chapter. My money just went down drain! It was a bitter and expensive lesson to learn. But lesson was well learned. I bit bullet, picked up pieces, and behaved as if nothing had happened. I was determined to make full use of what I had purchased. Looking back at situation, I recalled that taking part in MLM activities was never on my agenda in first place. Learning how to make websites was.
And so from that clumsy beginning, making use of product, and working on it when I had time, and completely at my own pace, I managed to learn rudiments of web designing. I borrowed books from library to supplement my knowledge. I learned basic html language, color notations, picture editing and other simple steps. The websites that I created were so very crude.
But it was fun and exciting for me. It's a new toy. And it's magical.
After surfing for some time on Internet, knowledge in me gradually grew. I picked up bits and pieces everywhere. By time, MLM collapsed, I was already well versed in html language and I was no longer that fresh. I had also acquired necessary photo editing skills to make presentable websites.
I bought a scanner and started to generate images for my websites. Unfortunately, most of my photographs were transparencies. So I had to copy and develop them into photo prints before I could scan them.
I searched around for a few web-hosting companies that offer free hosting and decided to try out my new skills on them. It took me some time but I got around getting used to their routines eventually. My first efforts on these free hosting companies were nothing to boast about. (Although I did get feedback from people who said that they were good. Surprise, surprise!)
I also learned to use search engines, and I found them very useful. They opened up a whole new way of finding information for me. Almost any subject could be found with just a click from mouse.
As I dug up more information both from Internet and also from library books on designing, and handling images, I became more and more proficient. I learned how to use ftp to upload my files to host server. This saved me a lot of time. Most important of all, I saved on Internet call charges on my telephone bill.
Reading through what experts say, I came to conclusion that one of most important characteristics of a good website is content and its loading speed. I have observed some sites that give very flashy and impressive animations, but unfortunately, were rather slow loading. I decided in favor of functionality.
My websites must be fast loading and full of content. I also found out that to make page load fast, file size of images should be small. So I optimized all my web photographs accordingly to jpeg and gif format to make their file sizes small.
Then I looked at other things like making my websites crawler friendly. (The spider at search engines will crawl inside Internet to find your site. This spider is not creepy crawly type that will give you goose bumps, but they work on web just like a real spider)
Although I am aware that html software editor that I use is not so efficient in generating clean html, and that it adds a lot of extra html tags that are redundant, thus making files bigger than required, I will leave it as it is for time being. There are still many other things that I still want to explore and develop.
One of them is e-book creation. E-books are one of most efficient ways to present information to people. They can be published completely with text, images, color, hyperlinks, animation, and sounds on CD's and diskettes. They can also be downloaded through Internet, or sent through emails. (But first make sure that email server can handle file size)