about these pages

This is the web page of Graham Mitchell, a person. If you'd like to find out more about me, read the content found on all these pages. For demographic information and the like, see my bio. You can also look at a site map which lists all the files on the whole site and gives a description of each.

I've had a personal web page since the fall of 1994, with a major redesign in 1995, another in August 1998, and the most recent relatively slight redesign in February 2001. Originally these pages were hosted on my computer science account while a student at the University of Texas at Austin, then for four years by Onramp Access, an internet service provider in Austin, TX.

These pages moved to their own domain name (at that time, in February 2001, where they are currently hosted by the fine folks at LexiConn Internet Services, Inc., and the domain name is also registered through them as a result of their partnership with the Tucows registration service. I highly recommend them for web hosting services or if you want to register a domain name through someone other than the de-facto monopoly Network Solutions.

The domain name, freed from cyber-squatters who'd tried somehow to profit from it for nearly two years, was added to the family in February 2003. In February of 2005, the registration for was allowed to expire, so while for a couple of years they both worked identically for URLs and email, now the dot com domain is the only one I've got.

The main logo is inspired by the logo of, a group trying to create a free-alternative to the no-longer-free CDDB. Though they now use an image for their logo, they used to do it simply with some clever HTML. Mine still uses HTML since it's smaller that way and is more easily viewable on text-based browsers. In any case, the HTML I use is different than what they used to use, as I try to use style sheets wherever possible. When I was first creating it, however, I did look at their HTML to understand the technique they were using.

Searching the site is powered by the SWISH-E Search Engine. The JavaScript that makes the search box clear itself is copied virtually verbatim from Blue's News. I like the way their search box functions, so thanks to whoever of James "furn" Furness and Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is responsible. There's also just a little snippet of JavaScript on the FAQ page to show my correct age without me having to manually update it.

I write all my web pages by hand, using a simple text editor (vim). Back when I still ran Windows I occasionally used Notepad for quick things, but mostly used TextPad. For more information on these wonderful text editors, see the applications section of my links page.

This does not mean that I don't like to keep up with progress, or that this page won't look better on the fanciest new browser. As a matter of fact, this site validates as HTML 4.01 Strict, and uses cascading style sheets and JavaScript in ways that are just barely supported in all but the newest browsers. For example, if the "about" item in the navigation bar to the right doesn't look different than the other items, then you're not seeing this page exactly as I intended it.

On the other hand, I do my best to only use new language features that degrade gracefully. That is, my pages should still look fine and should be fully functional even if you're using an older browser. In fact, these pages should be easily viewable using a text-based browser like Lynx, or even when accessed using a text-to-speech "reader".

I design all my images myself. When I ran Windows, I did this using Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, version 4.14, and now under Linux I use The GIMP. I do the images themselves in 24-bit color, and then reduce down to at most 256 and often 16 colors, which greatly improves load times for these pages, while the reduction in image quality is barely noticable (assuming I did it properly).

Once the color depth is reduced as far as I'm going to go, I often hand-edit the palette to make sure I'm only using colors that Netscape can display without dithering (c.f. Netscape's color cube).

Finally, I save my images in PNG format where possible*, because it is an open format and no-one is required to pay any licensing fees or royalties for image decoders, as is the case with the patented compression algorithm used in the GIF format. I also get the best file size possible by using pngcrush on the completed images.

*Though I prefer to use PNG (which is really a better format than GIF, anyway, because it supports arbitrary bit depth for images), it seems that Internet Explorer refuses to properly support transparency in this format. So for transparent images, I'm forced to use GIF until Microsoft gets around to fixing their PNG display routines.

Of course, I didn't really design the program icons on the applications links page; they were designed by the authors of their respective programs. I did obtain the icons by using PSP's screen capture function, and then tweaked the palettes as usual.

All this talk about images is only about lossless images. For photographs, I use JPGs.

I'm sure some things on these pages would look nicer if I used some sort of page-authoring software, but it'd be at the cost of page size (often automatically-generated pages are more than twice the size of a comparable manually-generated one) and readability. Being the stodgy programmer that I am, I prefer to design my web pages the old-school way.

By hand.