About this site

This site originated in Fall 2002 when I needed to build a web site as part of the last course (Multimedia and the Internet) in my Master's program at University of Maryland University College. I had been thinking about doing a caving web site so my choice of topic was easy. I had also just taken over the membership function for the Potomac Speleological Club so I was thinking about resources for new cavers. The end result is this site and its focus on the beginning caver.

After I finished the course I didn't do too much with the site, though it did manage to get linked to the PSC web site and indexed by some of the search engines. Since my university accounts get deleted at the end of 2003, I decided to rehost the site, give it a much needed facelift, and try out some new web design tricks I have learned on the job.

In building the site, I have tried to keep it as usable for as many people as possible, though ultimately I'm doing it for my own personal satisfaction. Some of the things I try to keep in mind are:

Browser compatibility — I routinely test against current versions of the major standards compliant browsers — Microsoft Internet Explorer , Mozilla (the basis for the latest version of Netscape ), Mozilla Firebird , and Opera . I have also been trying to keep the site usable with Netscape 4.7x, but this is becoming increasingly frustrating so that support may end soon. All my computers are Windows based so I haven't tested against Macintosh, Linux, etc. browser versions — if you encounter any compatibility problems let me know.
Web Accessibility — I make reasonable attempts to incorporate the recommendations of the U.S. Government's Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative . If you encounter any specific accessibility issues please let me know.
Privacy — This web site has no commercial purpose or affiliations. No attempt is made to collect individually identifying information, However the web hosting service does provide server access logs which include information such as web browser identification and IP address. The forum feature uses cookies to manage user permissions and history (so it can tell you what is new on your next visit). It should still work with cookies turned off, but not as conveniently.

Some of the resources used to build and host the site include:

  • Domain registration — Go Daddy.com , an economical registrar with a good reputation.
  • Web hosting — Lunarpages.com , also economical with a good reputation for performance and reliability.
  • Search engine — Atomz Search , a nice, free search engine for smaller sites like this one.
  • Development Tools — Macromedia Studio MX (primarily Dreamweaver MX and Fireworks MX), along with Adobe Photoshop 6.
  • Discussion Forum — phpBB is an open-source bulletin board package, which Lunarpages provides as a one click install along with the MySQL database.