From the EditorDear readers,
I had plum forgotten a few months ago to declare the fifth anniversary of the Loveland Schools Press Online. I’m sure you know by now that LSP Online is defunct — after all, the last update was last February — that is, February of last year. Why? Although I stopped work on this news website abruptly, it had already served its purpose well.
You see, LSP Online is an online version of the long-dormant print version. You can still read the first print issue under the Loveland Schools Press moniker, meticulously authored in Microsoft Creative Writer, version 1.0, still, in my opinion, the most innovative piece of productivity software Microsoft ever created. (Obviously, I've never tried Bob.)
You can download the free trial of version 2.0 to view the file as it is supposed to look, or you can just view it in Notepad, but it’ll look like plain text, with a ton of wierd-looking formatting information below it
The very first version of LSP Online was hosted on free space that my ISP, Fuse, provided with my account. I remember the first time I showed the site off to my classmates for the first time at my school’s computer lab, filled with Apple Macintosh System 7’s. It generated plenty of oohs and ahhs. I was the first student in my class, and probably one of the first in my school, to create my own website.
And it was more than a personal site like those that everyone else would later create. Mine had regularly (albeit infrequently) updated content. Students I knew began treating my website seriously. For example, a group of classmates once created their own startup company, MENC (named for the initial members), which delivered essential goods such as candy and Jelly Rolls to their customers — quotes on demand. MENC e-mailed me, asking me to place a banner advertisement for their service on my website. I was more than happy to.
LSP Online soon grew out of its humble beginnings, and required a shorter URL than the one Fuse gave me. So I signed up with WebJump, a seemingly obscure web hosting company. Such was my strategy: I would sign up with then-obscure hosting companies, which would differentiate my website from those of my peers.
WebJump served me well, for a while. When they began placing advertisement right and left, and redirected my visitors to their paid customers after a minute or so, I got worried and setup a mirror website at a then-obscure company called Netfirms. You may be familiar with that website.
Once WebJump was bought by a larger website and eventually went out of business, I switched completely over to my Netfirms website and redesigned. You may be familiar with that design.
During the transition from WebJump to Netfirms, a classmate of mine asked to join me as the Sports and Entertainment Editor. He authored one article — part of his Oral Communications homework.
For a long time, I had dreams (figuratively) of automating LSP Online with a blogging system such as Movable Type and handing it over to a student who actually attends one of the Loveland City Schools. But I’m hesitant to do so, because of a probable lack of interest and/or knowledge in anyone.
So this may be the last update I ever publish at this website. Shed your tears now.
Publishing and maintaining LSP Online has taught me many things:
- Don’t claim you cover school-related news when you really only glean headlines from national news outlets. (Evidence)
- A “Top Headlines” section with only headlines, on your front page, is ineffective and boring. (Evidence)
- A “Weather” page with only a large Weather Underground weather sticker looks amateurish. Same with a Weather.com weather banner. (Evidence)
- If your website is under construction, say so, especially if the construction is ongoing or — gasp! — permanent.
- If you’re redesigning parts of your website and ignoring other parts, call it ”construction” anyways. (Evidence: 1, 2, 3)
- Even if no one in your audience has a sensory handicap, caring about website accessibility makes navigating your website easier for everyone.
- People will stop caring about your website if you have only one original article, and regurgitate two dozen other articles from respectable websites such as CNN.com, CommunityPress.com, and ZDNet News. (Evidence)
- People will stop caring about your website if you only update on random days, spread far, far apart.
- Developing for MSIE for Windows and a standards-supporting browser is a real pain. I choose to support mainly standards-supporting browsers for that reason.
- If you’re going to hire someone or ask someone to help maintain your website, make sure they’re going to be committed to doing so. a-hem Brad a-herm
And there are more, so, as you can see, I’ve learned many a great web designing lesson. So, my wonderful, time-consuming LSP Online, happy fifth… and counting, perhaps?Sincerely,
Minh Xuân Nguyễn
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