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Nick asked some great questions in a comment to my last entry. Since I know more people are looking for these answers, I’ll post my response here. Sarah,I noticed that the Chinese site looks nice and clean like yours. Is that one CSS too?If I was getting ready to work on some old html site but wanted to move it up into xhtml or better, css, do I need to review the html first or just begin learning how to convert it?By the way, should I never list an email on a webpage? When is it safe?Nick  Hi Nick,Actually, you’re the third person to ask me about learning XHTML this month. XHTML is definitely the way to go, but most tutorials on the web assume you already know HTML (because most of XHTML is HTML. It just has more rules). I wrote an XHTML tutorial for beginners over the summer, but haven’t put it on the web yet (thanks for reminding me that I should). I’ll email it to you if you’d like. Otherwise, yeah, you probably need to start with HTML.CSS resources, on the other hand, are plentiful. Have you been to CSS Zen Garden yet? It’s mostly a just-for-fun site, showing off how extremely versatile CSS can be. But you can also copy their techniques and incorporate them into your work.Most sites (like this one and newsinchinese.com) use a combo of CSS and XHTML or HTML. Some people use CSS for the layout of the site (like making columns), and some people just use it for the visual style (fonts, colors, etc). Either way, it needs to sit in an XHTML or HTML framework.If you’re writing the code from scratch, I’d recommend using XHTML for your layout because CSS layout can be quirky on some browsers. But if you’ve found a template that someone’s spent some time making stable with some intense CSS, go for it. Either way, you should definitely use CSS for your fonts and colors.So basically, you have to learn a bit of everything: HTML, XHTML, and CSS. But they build on each other, and it makes a lot more sense once you get rolling. Start with tutorials and you’ll build up an understanding quickly.Your other question: Should I never list an email on a webpage? When is it safe?Here’s the thing. If the webpage is indexed by Google, you can pretty much guarantee that at some point, that email address will get picked up by some robot email collector and put you on a spam list (or a hundred). A lot of people now obscure their email addresses by putting them in a different format, for example: sarah [at] sarahdopp [dot] com. But that’s a pain for readers to have to translate into a real email address, so it’s a catch-22. I’ve also seen people present their email addresses in graphics. They’re displayed correctly, but a reader can’t copy-paste them. If making it easy on people is your priority and you can suck up some spam, just list the email address. If you’d like to stay on the spam-free side of life and your audience is fairly tech-savvy, go with cryptic. But either way, you should offer an email address on your website. People need to email you!Good luck! And let me know how else I can help.Sarah

Heads up, this content is 18 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Whether you’ve studied Chinese or not, check out this site:http://www.newsinchinese.comMouse over any character and it gives you the immediate English translation as well as the pronunciation. You can basically read the whole thing in English if you let your eye follow your mouse. But what’s really neat is that it gives you an idea about how characters form words and words form sentences… which, to Westerners, starts off as a complete mystery.

Heads up, this content is 18 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I just took inventory, and it’s confirmed. I am a Web Community Junkie. What follows is a list of all the crazy community websites I’m a member of, as well as my gripes and raves about each.

  • Livejournal (personal blogs) – Excellent security settings and filters for talking to a specific audience.
  • Facebook (school-based communities) – Very good for finding people. Not useful for much else, though.
  • Friendster (general networking and blogs) – Also, really just good for finding people.
  • My Space (mini-websites) – Overloaded with ads and a very in-your-face design. But good for staying in touch with friends and pulling new people together. Many options.
  • Tribe (discussions and classifieds) – Excellent if you live in a city. Not quite so useful if you don’t. I think they need a more thorough system of email notifications so you can subscribe to specific discussion threads… but otherwise they’re very cool.
  • The Writ (writing workshop/publication) – Very cool for getting feedback on writing and for getting published. Needs forums and email notifications, but those are coming soon (I swear!).
  • OK Cupid (quizzes and people-meeting) – Similar to My Space in flashiness, but the best free source for late-night mind-numbing personal tests around. Also pretty cool for connecting with people, but very singles-focused.

Are there any big ones that I’m missing here? I need to solidify my status as Web Community Junkie by joining (and analyzing) every one possible.