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The OTHER Acronym for HTML – How To Make Laughs?

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Or what about CSS – Comic Sheer Stupidity? How to make a successful online magazine from nothing and with nothing, particularly the first clue about computer language.

I am a website designer and web magazine editor. In fact, I prefer to think of myself, like so many other women, as a master of many skills and an exponent of none. That seems to be part and parcel of being a webpreneur these days, however most webmasters appear to have acquired far more skills than I’ll ever know about, let alone learn how to use.

But that DOES NOT make me a web nerd (and my apologies to any of you who consider yourself a proud member of that erstwhile club), a term so many of my former colleagues like to gigglingly refer to me as.

Yes, I DID design my own website (do the cracks show?) and yes, I DO have to write the bulk of it using the skills in HTML and CSS I have acquired since I fell into this whole three-ring-circus about a year ago, but for me, understanding the basics of HTML and CSS is a means to an end, not the end itself. I don’t want to be a web nerd – they sit in dark corners and challenge each other to computer games involving space ships and fire-breathing dragons.

In fact, that I have even managed to build a faithful and ever-increasing number of visitors is attributable to some factor I haven’t quite been able to grasp as yet, because along the way to getting to this point, HTML has come to stand for many acronyms it wasn’t originally intended for. Especially “T” for “tantrums”, and as for “L” for language – let’s not even go there!

But it’s all my own fault. I take full responsibility for every over laden “table”, every overdone “font” and every #color that by simply juxtaposing the letters turned from pretty pink to puce green. You see, in my previous life I was a magazine editor, a REAL magazine editor and we used REAL colors and REAL images with REAL models to display our products. We also had a swathe of advertisers whose revenue kept me in a job. But then, in a stroke of pure serendipity, I was introduced to the online world and I gotta tell you, I was hooked – line and sinker – from day one.

Here was my opportunity to own and run my very own women’s online magazine – a position I would probably only ever acquire by marrying into the Condé Nast dynasty (unlikely) or acquiring their wealth (even more unlikely).

But, whoa! I was absolutely clueless about the Internet, let alone how to set up or run a women’s magazine online. But was I going to let a silly little thing like that stop me? NO way! “I’m a woman”, I timidly told myself, “I can do anything!”

And that’s when the fun started. Did it even occur to me to have someone else design a website for me? No, of course not! I’d majored in Fine Arts at college – I could do it. What about paying for a pretty web template? No, I didn’t need to expend that sort of money on my meager budget! Someone (if I could remember who it was, I’d gladly shoot them!) suggested I purchase Microsoft FrontPage and do the job myself, and poor misguided fool I was, I did.

That’s when I discovered the Hellish, Temperamental, Maddeningly, Laughable world of HTML, and that if I didn’t learn how to use it – and fast – I didn’t have a chance of getting my website off the ground. So although you all know who you are, but I’ve long since forgotten (or erased it from my memory), I wish to thank every HTML tutorial website in existence for teaching a novice like me that the W3C guys who got together way back when to invent HyperText Markup Language were really having a joke at our expense and are probably all sitting back on their luxury yachts anchored somewhere off the Cote d’Azur tittering into their martinis.

Now, almost 12 months on, I can proudly say I’ve almost got the hang of both HTML and CSS, and as I continue to learn, my major blunders and blinders will appear less and less frequently. In the meantime, all I ask is that my willing and faithful readers bear with me and understand I’m a woman on a mission. Heck, at the speed at which the Internet is growing and changing, by the time I’ve really mastered the art of HTML, they’ll have come up with something new to replace it and I’ll have to start all over again.

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