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Travel Website Options

  • BLOGs
    BLOGs are great as they are extremely easy and fast, and if you go through Blogspot, FREE!  You can use a BLOG instead of a website, or in addition too.  From our boat we can send a text email to our private blog email address, and the BLOG is then automatically posted for us.  This is a great way to keep “the world” updated from your boat (assuming you have some type of email onboard).  If you so choose, later (when you reach a location with faster internet access), you can easily add pictures.  All your postings are saved on your BLOG website, and can therefore be accessed anytime.  We highly recommend BLOGs, and think this is a much better solution then email lists.


  • Sailblog is another blog option which is obviously more sail orientated. they charge money but I really think it is worth the money. They also have a post from email option which is critical if you want to update friends/family from sea, when THEY are the most worried. Sailblog will also geo-reference all you reports so people can see where you where or where the journal/photo was located. It's similar to our site but without having to know anything about Google Earth, html, kml.. yeah get the picture, you don't want to have to know all that! A friend told me he was bringing his HTML book home so he could start to build a website, I showed him Sailblog and told him to throw the book away.


  • Host Site
    The big question is if you want to maintain a separate web site or is a blog enough. You can add photos to a log once you get to port and the website takes a lot of work and knowledge that isn't required if you stick with a blog. You’ll need to find a spot to host your website.  There are a number of hosting services out there, some free (with minimal disk space) and some at cost (usually w/ more disk space and added services).  Or, if you are lucky like us, you might have a family member or friend whose company can give you some free space.  Neoscape hosts are website via a sub domain:  www.neoscape.com/billabong we also redirect there from www.sailbillabong.com .


  • Microsoft FrontPage
    Once you have a host site, you’ll probably need help creating the website (unless you know html code).  We use Microsoft FrontPage 2003.  We’ve found this software extremely easy to use, and there hasn’t been any functionality that we’ve wanted that hasn’t been there.  You don’t need to know an iota of html either … it is pretty a much a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) … you type, edit, add pictures, etc, and FrontPage creates the html code for you.


  • Host Sites with Propriety / Built In Editors
    Many web hosting sites come with their own software, in addition to allowing you to upload pages created in other editors, such as FrontPage.  Unless these editors have a mechanism to be used off line (not connected to the internet) and then have the files uploaded later, we recommend NOT uses these editors.  Assume that you will NOT be able to connect (to the internet) your private computer/laptop when doing an upload.


  • Our Methodology & Tips for Uploading / Updating

    Organization
    Always assume you will NOT be able to connect your computer to the internet for an update.  Unfortunately this means that you will not be able to take advantage of the automated publishing feature of FrontPage (or other programs) that automatically update, upload, delete, and overwrite the appropriate files based on your latest changes.  To get around this and make life easier, we organize our website into many, many folders.  Essentially each new update/addition is contained within one or more of these folders, therefore I know exactly what files need to be added to the host for my changes to take place.  IMPORTANT:  avoid using spaces in file, image, and folder names – use “_” or “-“, but keep those spaces out.

    Method Example using FrontPage
    Without being connected to the internet (ie aboard our boat) we create an update, adding pictures and journal text. 

    When we’ve completed the update we use the “publish” feature of FrontPage to publish the site locally … meaning it is only being “published” or copied to a different file folder on our computer.

    Then we use the “Publish Log File” to see what files were published … these are the files we need to upload to the website host.  Because of our folder organization, the bulk of this update is contained in two folders “journal_4-20-06” and “pictures_kirabati. 

    Keeping the folder/tree structure in place, we copy the necessary files onto a USB stick, or CD-ROM.  We then take this media into the internet café and upload the files. 

    While this methodology is not as simple as using the Publish Feature directly, it ALWAYS works.  Many locations will not have connections for your own computer, and/or that connection will not work correctly (plus it is an added hassle and risk to carry your computer ashore).

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