I remember my first time on the web.
It's been a while, but I can still recall the thrill of
realizing that I was "surfing" on Mosaic (an ancient
version of Netscape), and the web page I was looking at
was on a computer sitting across an ocean in a country where my
native tongue was not theirs. Suddenly, for me, the world
got much smaller. But it took me a whole evening in front
of my Macintosh IIsi (with a modem so slow you wouldn't even consider
it for faxing these days) to figure out how to get there, because
I was learning several software packages all at once that night.
You, too? Did the slang terms seem silly at first,
or maybe you were too embarrassed to ask what baud was, a DNS
number, dial up, and all of the other vocabulary we geeks have
been using for years?
It was a bit intimidating, even 'though I was quite comfortable with computers and I've been using the 'net for over a decade for email. I had the luxury of being an academic at Virginia Tech, an excellent science and engineering university, with plenty of technically-trained friends to assist me. Well, don't worry. You've come this far, so you already have most of the skills you need to "surf" with the best of them (and if you want a refresher on using your Mac, we have that, too. Click Here) I don't want to assume anything -- and this page is meant as a introduction (or reminder) of some simple skills you should know to get the most out of our website. Use the scroll bar to see more of this page below. It's the vertical bar with the arrows in it to the right of this paragraph -- click (and hold the mouse button down) on an arrow to move the page up or down --->
That's the first lesson. Most of our pages here at the After Hours website will be viewable on a standard monitor (14 inch or larger). But some pages will require that you scroll down to read information that may not all fit within the window you are now viewing.
Here's a diagram of a typical page:
Note the top of the picture, the part with the back, forward, & home buttons. This is the navigation bar of your browser, 'though yours may look different depending on the name of the browser and version number. Something to keep in mind: browsers usually keep track of what you view on the web, and the order in which you have viewed pages. This feature can be kind of handy. By using the buttons in the navigation bar, with a single click you can select to view the previous page (back), or go to the next page (forward) or return quickly to your home page (home). Most browsers let you print the page you are viewing, along with plenty of other features, but these items are left off for clarity.
Since our site is basically for information, we don't have a lot of pages to visit. The main ones are underlined in blue at the bottom of each page. These blue words are called " links "; a single-click on the link will take you to that topic's page (except in this example). Each page has a different topic, with some giving access to yet other useful pages, tables, diagrams or companies. Since ours is a support service, we also have some files you may download (save a copy to your computer's hard drive) for future reference. These files are in a special format, and may require that you download a special utility to open them or read them. Such files are explained in the web page where they are available -- and you may need to visit a different website to get the required utility.
Our site is broken up into "pages",
where each page holds a particular kind of information. Here
is a guide to our available pages:
Support pages may be available for each topical page listed above. A navigation bar is available at the bottom of each page to select any of the above links.
A SiteMap is available, which displays all pages and files available from our website.
Netscape users, please note: Due to recent reports of file problems with Netscape and downloads compressed with Stuffit 5.0, we would like to remind you: (1) If you have trouble downloading a file, you may need to use the Option key: hold the Option key down while selecting the link to save the file to your hard drive. (2) Most of our files are converted (or "encoded") into a format called BinHex. Files with this format will have the extension ".hqx" at the end of their names. These files generally download with fewer problems, but the format will bloat the file between 20 and 40%. We apologize for the inconvenience of handling binhex files, but this helps insure your download will proceed with the fewest hitches. You may use software such as HQXer or Stuffit Expander to decode this formatting. Once decoded, the file should behave like a normal Stuffit file. (3) Downloads may show up on a system's desktop erroneously as text files -- if they end in ".sit", treat them as a Stuffit file and be sure to open it from within the latest version of Stuffit Expander -- do not simply double-click on the file to open it or corruption of the file's contents may occur. If you have additional trouble, visit our FAQs page and read about file handling techniques.
Stuffit files: most download files on our site are compressed using Stuffit Deluxe v5.0. Due to changes in how Stuffit compresses files from previous versions, folks employing Stuffit Deluxe 4.5 or earlier, or versions of Stuffit Expander or Aladdin Expander (Windows) prior to 5.0 may get an incorrect "corrupted file" message. The file is not corrupted, but you will need to visit the Aladdin website to download the latest version of the free Expander to properly decompress the file for your system. The Expander is available at www.aladdinsys.com.
Adobe Acrobat users: some viewable or download links reference Adobe Acrobat PDF files. To properly view these files, you should install Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free utility, on to your system. The reader is available for free from Adobe's website, www.adobe.com.
It is also possible to send us an email directly from our website, if you have the proper software loaded on your computer. To do so, you would select the underlined email address in our page called "Contact Us" or a similar address link. For Netscape users, Netscape will normally open a new window for composing your email message. Internet Explorer users normally will see IE open Microsoft's email client, called Outlook Express, to help compose the message. Of course, there are so many possibilities, we can't cover them all here -- and your experience may differ. Review your preference settings for your browser or the Internet control panel (OS 8.5 and higher).
America Online users: AOL has instituted a number of changes to their firewall and proxy servers, which may prohibit the normal action of our email address links. Unfortunately, we are not aware of a proper workaround for this situation, and recommend that AOL users carefully examine any outgoing messages to us prior to sending them. Our address links will couple automatic subject headers, which may appear as odd extensions to our email addresses. E.g.: the normal webmaster address link should give an address such as: AfterHoursConsulting@att.net with an automatic subject header such as "AH website problem reported from home page". AOL users may see no automatic subject line, and the improper address line as: AfterHoursConsulting@att.net?subject:%20AH website problem reported from home page%20 or something similar. This, of course, will not reach us and AOL users will have an error message returned to their email software. We recommend carefully monitoring and editing such email messages to avoid this problem. Our address ends with the "att.net", and nothing should follow.
How to avoid AOL problems: America Online's browser will not properly image many sites, nor work properly with on-line forms and other features. If you are an AOL user, we strongly encourage you to use the latest Apple Safari, iCab, Mozilla, Netscape Navigator, Opera or Internet Explorer rather than the built-in browser to circumvent these AOL problems. Visit our Links page for links to Apple or visit Versiontracker.com for an installer.
That's really all you need to know to take advantage of our site. I hope that you find the After Hours website useful. More so, I hope you feel comfortable enough to hire us in the future to help you with your computing needs. Ultimately, we need you far more than you need us -- and this site is one way of showing how much we value you. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. The form on our Contact Us page will let you email us directly. Selecting any of the links below will take you to that topic or page. Thank you for visiting.
- Paul Vail, Owner, After Hours