What's going on behind the curtain.


[clouds at sunrise]

creating the site

ellars.com was coded by hand using Pico, the Pine Composer, on a remote Linux server. Some of the early development efforts occurred on a local personal computer, using Microsoft Windows Notepad on Microsoft Windows 2000. (By using a plain-text editor, the "code bloat" so common to most WYSIWYG editors was avoided. This in turn leads to streamlined pages that download faster.)

photographs and other images

Except where explicitly noted, all of the photographs at ellars.com were taken by me. Most were taken using my lovely Canon Powershot S200 Digital Elph camera. A few were taken with a Nikon digital camera that I borrowed from work, and one or two come from my older Sony Digital Mavica (floppy-disk) camera.

The photographs were enhanced, cropped and/or resized in Adobe Photoshop on my local personal computer, as were most of the other assorted thumbnails, graphics and screenshots. While most of the images are JPEG files, a few are PNG files with alpha-transparency. (Due to a long-documented bug with Internet Explorer, these images with alpha-transparency display with an ugly gray background in that browser. You can help by signing this petition to Microsoft asking them to honor their four-year-old promise to fully support PNGs!)

markup and styles

The pages of this site are coded as valid XHTML 1.1. (You can verify this by clicking on the [xhtml 1.1] link on any page, located near the copyright information.) I have worked to ensure that the specific code for each web page is mostly structural in nature, with presentational information (such as fonts, colors and borders) defined using various cascading style sheets (CSS).

If you are using an advanced web browser (such as one derived from the mozilla project), you can switch between the standard style sheet and one or more alternative style sheets. And thanks to the wonders of scripting, most browsers should be able to utilize the "theme switcher" links (located near the copyright notice on each page) to not only view the alternate style sheet(s), but also set your browser to remember which style sheet as you navigate from page to page!


Though any sans-serif font should work, ellars.com was specifically set using the Bitstream Vera Sans typeface. The Vera family, a collection of ten serif, sans serif and monospaced fonts, was specifically developed in association with the GNOME Foundation. The fonts have been released under a special open source license and are available for free copying and redistribution. While not a requirement to view ellars.com, it would enhance the experience to have these fonts (specifically Bitstream Vera Sans) installed. You can download the Vera fonts frome the GNOME web site. Note that even though the GNOME Foundation promotes Linux, the Vera fonts are PC-compatible TrueType fonts that should work just fine with most operating systems.

web hosting

ellars.com is hosted by Dreamhost. It would be difficult to find a better host for the same or less cost. In fact, I host all of my web sites there!

responsible sustainability

ellars.com uses only the highest quality recycled electrons. No electrons or other atomic particles were injured in the creation of this web site, though some quarks did seem a little strange...

themes?: [lightness] [darkness] [blueness]

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