51 Cats Journal (Part 2, Page 1)

Note: The following is a journal chronicling my journey to get 51 cats online. Think of it as a continuation of Part 2 of our story.

Part 2: The Sanctuary Hope – Continued

April 6, 2010

I’ve just spent the past few weeks preparing cat photos for inclusion in our 51 Cats story. Our digital camera is an old hand-me-down, given to us six years ago, which we are very grateful to have. But it is older technology that produces poor quality photos, the majority of which benefit greatly some form of post processing. I did what I could, but some still turned out a little blurry.

We decided to display a row of four small photos for each cat in our story. With so many photos to choose from in our digital library, selecting only four per cat turned out to be a somewhat arduous task, but not in the way that you might think. Sure, some people might have difficulty limiting themselves to only a few cute photos of an adorable pet because — well — they’re all just so darn cute! But in my case, I consistently experience difficulty determining levels-of-appropriateness whether it be selecting clothing or photos, or pretty much anything for that matter.

Making subjective, emotionally-based decisions about “which is the best” creates a great deal of stress for me. (I’m uncertain if this is a symptom of autism.) So I opted instead to process only those photos that were of acceptable quality and composition, a rather lengthy procedure. Then, I asked my wife to select the best four of each cat, which she was able to do quite easily. — Yea!

April 9, 2010

I have taken our 51 Cats story, which is stored in a plain-text file, and I’ve hand-added all the HTML code necessary to turn it into one very long web page. I had to learn a bit about CSS in order to make it look the same on screen as it does when printed. I also had to learn enough javascript to give viewers the ability to pop-up larger versions of the photos just by clicking on them. I hope it works well on all the different web browsers out there.

I figured that my next step would be to find a free, stable place online to park the story. I’ve spent the past couple of days researching free web sites, most of which are advertisement supported, and I’ve come across many user comments that have left me feeling apprehensive about picking one. Apparently, there are a variety of underhanded practices that free hosting services can employ to motivate users to pay.

For example, a free site might frequently go offline for maintenance or upgrades and when it returns to service, some of your files will be missing. The site administrators may claim they know nothing about any missing files, but will insist that if you choose their pay service, your files will then be guaranteed safe. I would really like to avoid unscrupulous lovers-of-money who lure the unsuspecting into situations where they can be manipulated for profit. But how do I determine who to avoid?

I’m also concerned that the aggressive placement of advertisements may prevent visitors from printing a nicely formatted version of our story from their browser. This ability is important to me. Not everyone who might be interested in reading our story knows how to surf the web. It would be nice if somebody they know could bring them a clean paper copy. I think I will try to include a downloadable version of the story which visitors can print at there leisure.

While contemplating my new distrust of free web sites and my intense dislike of online ads (especially something called ad.yieldmanager.com which often prevents web pages from loading through my modem), I found myself wishing that we all followed the Golden Rule all the time as GOD has asked, not just some of us at Christmas. Then I wouldn’t have to work so hard trying to determine who if fair and trustworthy. This got me to thinking. Maybe our story could find a safe spot on a Christian web site. I did some googling and I was only able to find one that is free with no ads.

Their site states “We are here to help all Christians…share their testimony…” so I looked up the word testimony. Among other definitions, it also means a public recounting of a religious experience. Now, I’m not a religious person, but If a spiritual experience counts as testimony, then I think our story has that, doesn’t it? I decided to email them and ask if they would consider hosting our story.

May 2, 2010

Well, I’ve not heard back from that free Christian web site. I know people have lives and get busy, and I don’t want to be a pest, but it’s been almost a month with no word. I decided to email them again.

Although it may be some time before we have our sanctuary and can officially call ourselves a nonprofit, we are headed in that direction. so I went searching for a free web site whose primary focus is nonprofit community-organizations and clubs. I managed to find one without ads and sent them an email explaining my situation, asking if they might consider playing host to our story.

May 23, 2010

It’s been three weeks. Still no word from that free Christian web site or that free community web site. I have a sinking feeling that I will never hear from either of them. I don’t understand why they haven’t been courteous enough to respond. Our story hardly takes up any space. I guess I’m back to choosing from all those ad-supported free web sites. There are just so many! How do I pick?

OK, I found one free web site that so far has fairly good reviews and will let me choose where to place each ad on my pages. I went to their site to join, but they are temporarily closed to new members until the beginning of next month. I’ll wait until then.

May 25, 2010

I created a Gmail account today. Gmail is ranked best of the top three web mail providers according to consumersearch.com. Although I don’t really need an email account yet, I think I created it just to feel like I’m makeing some progress — any progress.

May 30, 2010

I’ve been thinking. As we make friends who are willing to offer us advice, experience, wisdom and technical knowhow, and are interested in collaborating on the design of all the sanctuary and cat-specific systems, I will need a way to keep all our online conversations effectively organized and accessible to everyone. I think I need to create an Internet forum. I’ve been looking into free forum sites. It appears there are just as many ad-supported free forum sites as there are free web sites. I need to find a quality review to help me choose, but so far no luck.

June 2, 2010

I checked back with that free ad-supported web site and they have delayed their reopening. I’ll juat have to wait a little longer I suppose.

June 15, 2010

Well, still no word from that free Christian web site or that free community web site, and that free ad-supported web site which I had been waiting on has decided to change their policy. They will now only accept new members by invitation. Can you believe that! I really know how to pick ’em! Since I don’t know anyone who could personally invite me, I guess that’s strike three. I think I’m done for awhile.

The landlord has asked me to clean and show one of his rental homes again. I’ll just concentrate on that for now.

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