Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Time to call the Geek Squad

I'm planning on setting up a website and I have very few computer skills. So little I think I only use half the buttons on my keyboard (well, sometimes I use the Z but otherwise only half) and I don't have a clue what the F buttons do. I said F, not f'in. F1, F2 etc. So I probably have no business doing a website but I thought I'd give it a try. Can I do one without having to actually learn anything about computers or programming or that kind of stuff?

I did a search on Amazon for a Websites for Dummies book but there were so many hits I was frightened. And the more I read the titles the more I thought they were talking about WEBSITES for dummies, not website designing for dummies who don't know how to do websites. I don't want to build a website for dummies. I AM the dummy and I want to build a website.

Anyway, now that I got that straightened out, has anybody found a simple way to do this? I have an old graphics program that has website design v.1 on it but it's very, very limited. For instance, it has two views, actual size and 50%. Yeah, that's helpful. When I really want to look at something I reduce it. NOT!

I just want the basics. I want to have images, text, links. None of that flashy stuff or shockwave or anything. Just info, photos, and links. I know nothing about security - this one has to be secure. Haven't decided whether it will have message boards (it is not a glass site, message boards would be more for comments and direct questions). It's going to be for informational purposes only and will need to be constantly updated. It just needs to be something that's easy for me to maintain without spending two years at ITT Tech.

Any suggestions on easy-to-read books (don't forget the dummy part) or easy to use programs, especially if they're cheap? And easy.

I set up a family blog and it took me three days to figure out how to add a link. Well, they didn't specifically say to just copy and paste the info already provided and just 'insert name here'. That's the part I mean about dummies. Give me something tangible to build and I'll get it done and look good doin' it. Throw something like this at me, especially if there's any math involved, and don't expect to see a completed project in the forseeable future.

Here's how my computer experience got started, back in the 80's when computer typesetters were first introduced: The manual said to insert the Floppy Disc into the slot (A:) and Format the disk. So I would. Then I'd happily type in all the info I needed for a program I was writing for a gallery show. I'd get halfway through and it'd be time for lunch. So I'd Eject the Floppy and Turn off the machine. I'd come back from lunch, Reboot the machine, Insert the Floppy into slot A: and Format the disc. Then I couldn't find all the stuff I saved. It was literally DAYS before I finally figured out YOU DON'T FORMAT THE DISK EVERY TIME YOU USE IT! So that's the kind of computer literacy I'm dealing with here. I need a program that is very specific with easy to follow steps. I don't think I'm capable of weeding through all the info that's out there on my own so I'd appreciate any guidance... especially if someone would offer to just do it for me! No, not really, but I do need to find a simplistic approach so I'm hoping some of you folks who actually know a USB port from a BUS stop can give me some advice. (I still refer to the second Law and Order show as Law and Order SUV.)

Any takers?

Thanks in advance.