This page results from enquiries
I have had and is for anyone
interested in the technicalities involved in setting up this website or who
might perhaps want a website themselves.
I will begin by stressing that I
was starting from a virtual zero knowledge base so everything had to be
Why did I choose 1 & 1
to Host Happy Hiker
Anyone starting a website needs to register and
"own" a domain - in my case happyhiker.co.uk. You also need
someone to "host" your website i.e. to put the files you create on their
server linked to the worldwide web. For simplicity, I wanted to have both
functions with one provider but who to choose - there are so many?
So I started researching the web looking for
reviews/comments about providers. I quickly came to the conclusion that they
are all useless. Why; because I could not find one where all or even a
significant majority of the reviews were positive. Obviously this cannot be
so and I came to the conclusions a) that I would have to disregard the
reviews and b) I could spend the rest of my life researching. I reasoned
that as I only wanted a simple website with no particularly clever bells and
whistles that a basic package with virtually any of them would probably
I liked the idea of one powered
by green energy, one that was a large well established company and where
costs were reasonable. I had to "plump" for someone and to some
extent seduced by a large advert in a computer magazine, chose 1&1.
So, how has it been for me?
Well, it has all worked very smoothly. I had a problem when I first
started which as it turned out was due to my ignorance rather than a problem
with 1&1. I phoned their help desk and they quickly explained my
mistake. I particularly liked that they did not treat me like an idiot -
which given that the issue was due to my ignorance, they could have done.
1&1 give you a Control Panel through which you access various features
such as statistics on visitors.
So would I recommend them? In a
Web Design Software
Although 1&1 and other web
hosts provide templates where you essentially just fill in the blanks, they
usually limit the number of pages and in any case, I wanted a unique design
with full control and therefore needed some web design software. I intended
to start this site a few years ago and via Ebay bought a copy of Microsoft
Front Page 2000. As a true Yorkshireman, I did not want to waste anything so
decided to see if it would still work and as you can see, it does!
Being used to MS Word and Excel,
I found it fairly intuitive but a manual "Front Page 2000 for Busy
People" was a boon and explained everything in simple terms.
Some MS Front Page functions are
no longer supported, a significant one being its statistics section but as 1
& 1 provide them anyway this was not an issue. I also use the free
Google Analytics but only to a limited extent as this seems to have become
I realise any web designer worth
his/her salt will consider Front Page is stone-age but a) I understand it, b) it
works and c) the website seems to respond quickly in browsers I have tried -
so that is good enough for me!
Design of the Site
In choosing colours, text etc, I
wanted a design which looked crisp, had no fancy graphics, music etc which
might delay responses and which would have good contrast and so be best
visible to anyone with sight problems.
Black on a white background
seemed best for this for the bulk of the text. Where I wanted to have text
over background colours, I have used pale shades for the background
and emboldened text. The text itself is Arial which is clear and crisp. The
RNIB advise between 8 and 10 point size for the general reader and I have
used 10 on the web pages although how this appears to the reader will depend
on the size of their monitor and browser settings.
It is probable that if anyone
wanted to print out the directions for my walks to take with them, they
would not want to print the photos as well if only to save ink! I therefore
decided to provide PDF versions of the text only, to give people an easy
option. Knowing how annoying it is when people have to keep switching
glasses or putting on reading glasses, the PDF versions are in 12 point in
the hope of keeping this to a minimum. Note anything printed on an ink jet
printer is unlikely to be waterproof so use of a map case is advised.
Alternatively, there is
I have tried to put myself in
the mind of a visitor and put considerable effort into making the site
operate logically and ensuring links work. If you find any do not, please
email me at:
All the photos are taken by me
and all have been taken with either of two digital cameras. The first one
was a Nikon Coolpix 995. This has 4 x optical zoom, 38 - 152 mm equivalent
and 3.34-megapixels. I found I especially liked the swivel facility which
made overhead or low shots easier by enabling the screen to swivel
independently from the lens. This camera gave very acceptable results.
However things move on and I
decided to upgrade. My original intention was to go back to a SLR type which
I used when I used film (remember film?). However when researching, I
discovered a new breed of "bridge cameras" which are almost like
an SLR but smaller and lighter because they use an electronic viewfinder, so
doing away with the mirrors and prisms in SLRs. A SLR would also have
required carrying different lenses (as would the equally new "System
cameras") and I already carry enough. And lets face it, I am only a
"snapper"! So I opted for a Panasonic Lumix FZ100. It has a Leica-branded
f/2.8 – f/5.2 24x zoom lens (equivalent to 25-600mm) which is truly
amazing and 14.1 megapixels. It has all sorts of clever features including
image stabilisation which magically obliterates camera shake even at 24x
zoom. It has a swiveling screen which gives the same functionality as the
As far as I can see, this camera
will be the only camera I could ever need - although I said that last time!
All photos are taken as JPEGs at
To manipulate the photo sizes,
add titles and draw my sketch maps, I usually use Paint.Net which a free download.
For stitching photos together for the panoramic shots, I use Windows Live
I use a PC rather than a
laptop/notebook, a Compaq with 2 GB RAM. I run Windows 7 and Norton 360 for
protection. Mapping software is Memory Map.
In the Field
I use a Garmin Geko GPS receiver
which I have had for some time now. Basic but it works. This has now been
replaced by the Garmin eTrex.
One issue with these basic
models is that because they do not contain OS maps, sometimes, you get to a
point where the precise onward route may not be clear. A good example would
be which side of a wall to walk, if the path was not clear on the ground.
However, I always carry a 1:25000 OS map, so such problems can be easily
Many people are now using
smartphones with appropriate apps to follow GPS (GPX) routes. I have not
tried this myself but given the relatively limited battery life, I think I
would prefer the dedicated machine and even then, backed up by map and
compass. Unless OS maps are accessed on the phone, the issue about precision
above still apply.
For making notes on
the walks, I decided that it would be unfair on companions to be forever
stopping to write notes so I use the dictaphone facility on my mobile phone. I can therefore
make copious notes very easily on the move, without slowing down. I also
sometimes photograph signs with interesting/useful information.
I therefore have no excuse for
any mistakes although Sod's Law means there must be an odd one - but I do
I have used Google Maps to
pinpoint the start point
of my walks and to identify the towns/villages
in which advertisers of accommodation are located. I was asked how this was
done by someone wanting to draw routes on Google Maps. It was easier to
explain this visually rather than try to verbally describe it and I produced
a Guide to using Google
Maps which I make available here In case this is of use to anyone else.
The principle of creating lines/markers is the same. I have also set out a
way of transferring GPX routes to Google Maps.
NB: Google have changed the way their maps worked and the guide I
produced may now have limited use. I have not had chance to look into this
All information on this
site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.