Intended purpose for this site

Initial evolution

This domain and website was initially created to advertise John Steele’s services as a freelance contractor. It expanded its scope to add collected technical information from what was then a flourishing selfhelp support group known as Gerrards Cross Computer Club (GXCC). John was an active member and provided, together with other members (both professional like John and experienced amateurs in various aspects of computing) technical support and advice to enthusiastic amateur members who were eager to learn more about computing.

While the club did have its own website there were good technical reasons why updating the club site could not be opened up to other people directly contributing to it so John added some technical material to his own site. This was mainly links to programs and other supporting material that John collected over the years with contributions from other GXCC members.

John, and others, also gave regular presentations in PowerPoint format and these were usually published on the GXCC club site as a means of advertising to the world (and especially to people local to Gerrards Cross) that we did have access to skilled and experienced professional expertise as a means of encouraging local people to join the club. As a matter of principle these were all made publicly accessible.

Next stage of evolution

The original creator of the club website was a professional freelance web developer and trainer but, for good technical security related reasons associated with his business, he was unwilling to give access to other parties to maintain it. Maintaining the club site in a timely manner was, for many reasons, becoming increasingly difficult for him so John offered to take over the maintenance of the site but that required the site to be migrated to another platform which was successfully acheived.

John revised some of the layout and made some cosmetic changes, based on his experience with his own web site, to make it very easy to maintain by anyone with with very minimal knowledge of web page structure. The principle being that all changes could be made and tested offline and then uploaded to the website with a mouse click. Changes could readily be tested before being uploaded.

John then retired from his IT contractor business and migrated his own website to the same platform as the GXCC site. His vision was to merge his existing technical support material to the club website which would make all technical content he had collected accessible under the GXCC website.

This offer however was vetoed by the GXCC committee, and then overtaken by a change of approache. They made the decision to migrate the club website from a very the very simple (but, by design, very easy to maintain) HTML only site just like this one, to a WordPress based site and to hide all technical material behind a members only paywall. As about 75% of the existing technical material already published had been written by John, with the explicit intention being to advertise the club's technical expertise, and hopefully to encourage new members to join, John protested about this decision. He could not see the need for the complexity, and huge overhead, of WordPress, and did he not believe the claim that members would routinely want to contribute any material as proved to be the case. He would also not permit his material to be hidden behind a paywall as it was always intended to be publicly available to encourage new members to join.

The new GXCC club WordPress website was about 10 times the size of the simple site and, despite the claim that WordPress would make it so easy to maintain, was only updated once or twice a year. When John was maintaining the original HTML version he updated, at least the essential future events, each month which took all of 30 seconds! Uploading presentations might have taken up to a couple of minutes mainly to create the descriptive entry in the table – hardly an onerous task. The new site was also VERY slow to load when compared with the previous simple site.

Current state of affairs

John transferred all of his currently relevant material (presentations and guides), and prvided links to many other programs and other external technical support material to this website. John was not prepared to give any more talks to GXCC meetings if his presentation material would not be published as a public download and, with much regret, terminated his membership. Numbers of members have since apparently fallen (not helped by COVID) and GXCC is now closing. Their entire website content has been removed.

The future

This website will continue to evolve and some reformatting and reorganisation will take place over time.

If you find any out of date information please let John know. If you have any suggestions for additional material, or even some to contribute, that will also be welcome.