Sunday, April 04, 2004

Silver Surfing

Despite their living in rural Suffolk, and our living in one of the outlying villages within walking distance of Cambridge (and its high-tech industries), my parents have managed to get broadband access before I have. So I spent a while yesterday getting them all set up - ZoneAlarm for the firewall, then the obligatory visits to Windows Update, and Symantec Live Update. Then to get e-mail setup.

That was a palaver - the only information on the letter from Tiscali was the e-mail address/userID for the account and its default password. And the helpful note that further info would be sent to that address. So, it was the good old bootstrap problem - needing to be able to read the e-mail in order to set up e-mail...

Much hunting around the Tiscali site for the support details eventually turned up a web-mail interface, and then being able to read the promised mail then did get a pointer to information about the exact names of the POP3 and SMTP servers, so I could set up Mozilla as the one-stop-shop, and Mailwasher to filter.

I expect to have to do a bit more hand-holding until all the day-to-day sysadmin tasks (keeping everything updated) become routine, and to help with any web site that my Dad eventually publishes. In the latter case, to do something about the particularly naff looking pages that he has prototyped in Serif Page Plus - another DTP program which misuses CSS positioning to make pixel-perfect layouts without regard to the underlying document structure, with screen order and file order of each separately placed paragraph entirely disconnected. And despite the misuse of CSS, the pages otherwise look like they were "My first home-page c.1993" - could, should, have just been HTML 2.0 with a lot of <img> and <p> tags.

I've pointed him at web page editor/browser, that I use - Amaya from the W3C, which is what I use after I've hand-crafted the CSS, in the vain hope that he might use it. We'll have to see.

And now he's on-line, if my Dad reads this, he's free like everyone else to add a comment.

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