[WebContent] Intro for Alan Winston

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Wed Oct 12 16:38:11 PDT 2011

Gang --

I'm Alan Winston, a dance caller (contra, English, Regency, Victorian, Early
American, english ceilidh) in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I _still_ don't have
a caller website of my own, despite having been a web server administrator
since 1994 (and author of a book on running web servers on the OpenVMS
operating system published in 2002).

I've been a member of the web services committee for the Bay Area Country Dance
Society for a long time, and have written or tweaked a bunch of CGI scripts to
support automatic display of calendar information from a database.  (While I'm
a long-experienced and pretty knowledgeable OpenVMS system manager I'm an
untrained and dangerous Linux sysadmin.)

BACDS.ORG gets used to host mailman mailing lists, Apache with a custom module
or two, and a zillion subsidiary sites for BACDS camps and special events.  The
infrastructure was designed in the early 2000s by server geeks (as distinct
from web designers) so it makes fairly good use of CSS and is reasonably
legible and reasonably standards-compliant, but also boring as hell.  The site
is useful for people who already know they want to do contra or English dancing
- we do get people at our dances who found out about them by Googling and
getting to the website - but isn't terrifically visually appealing.  And we try
to do way too much on the front page.  I typically edit pages with a text
editor and code up HTML by hand.

Professionally I work on a Java-based application and work with CSS developed
by somebody who knows what he's doing.

I'm here in hopes of learning about useful content, links, and layout ideas for
BACDS.ORG, and for inspiration in getting my caller site together.  (This year
I've been getting private-party gigs every couple of months, and I'd like to up
that a bit.   My lackadaisical publicity plans - give out business cards -
founder on not getting the cards made because I don't have a website to put on
them, and yet I get too busy to make any sustained effort on the personal
website.  And I'd rather call dances than spend time tinkering on a caller

-- Alan

 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025

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