Historical Notes

This site was originally (1993-ish) created and hosted by the University of Toronto's Instructional and Research Computing Group (UTIRC). It very quickly migrated to the University of Toronto main web server, at URLs beginning with http://www.utoronto.ca/ian/ and http://www.utoronto.ca/webdocs/.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine, at http://www.archive.org/web/web.php, lets you browse archived historical versions of these old Web sites. Unfortunately, the Wayback Machine only goes back to 1998 (not so way back, it seems!), so pre-1998 versions are now lost.

Colophon for this Site

I code this site using standard XHTML and CSS, with a smattering of JavaScript. I built and maintain it using simple text and (X)HTML editors, such as gvim, HTML-kit (the latter has a nice spell checker) and in the early days Nvu. HTML-kit includes the useful HTML-tidy tool (by Dave Raggett), which cleans up (X)HTML and checks for errors and standards compliance. I also use unix utilities (grep, sed, perl scripts, etc.) to batch process files: oiginally on Windows XP using cygwin to emulate a unix environment, but now mosty on Mac OS X.

As I now am using mostly Mac technology, I am now exploring tools that run on that platform.

For graphics and images I primarly use Paint Shop Pro 5 (Windows; old but good) and the gimp (Linux and Windows).

I also find Xenu's Link Sleuth (Windows only: free but not open source) very useful for checking for broken links.

Design Notes

I am a poor graphic and layout designer, so in spring 2007 I contracted Creative Creature to update the site design and layout. They were a great firm to work with, and I highly recommend them. Of course, they brought their own tools, including Adobe Illustrator CS and Photoshop CS, while all XHTML and CSS was written in TextMate and Coda on Mac OS X.


I chose a serif font for headings, and sans-serif for running text. My preferred heading font is "Baskerville," but as not everyone has that I suggest (via CSS) a list of alternatives: Palatino Linotype, Georgia, Times New ROman, and Times. What you see will depend on your computer and what is installed.

For running text I chose "Optima," with alternatives Lucida Grande, Helvetica Neue, Calibri, Franklin Gothc Book, Helvetica, Arial, and Univers.

The Older Stuff

Older stuff on this site is HTML and not XHTML. When I started this site - in 1993 - I used the vi editor (on DEC Ultrix systems, and then SGI Irix) for all text processing, and ImageMagick for image processing.

Valid XHTML 1.0 » Valid CSS