AFA on the Web: The First Year

By Malcolm Gibb

It is almost one year since I opened the Association of Falkirk Astronomers web site and in that time it has (hopefully) improved as I've added pages and tweaked it here and there. The original site had the Home page, About AFA, Newsletter page, This Month, Observing page and a Links page. Now we also have Glossary, Constitution, Gallery, Quotations, Notice Board, Roadshows and a page which has links to maps showing you how to get to the meeting place, dark site and Meggernie. There are also other pages devoted to specific events, such as the BBQ, the Exhibition etc.

The Gallery page has 4 sub pages at present with images from Russell, Walter Douglas and my own efforts. The Notice Board has news of forthcoming events and the This Month page is faithfully kept up-to-date by contributions from Russell. The Links page is the one where most alteration has happened. It originally had a dark sky background with twinkling stars but this took a while to load and the dark blue of the links did not show up well so it has been redesigned along with the home page which also took a while to load.

The newsletter page is now titled 'AD ASTRA' and has selected articles from the last 3 volumes of the hard copy version.(Now 4 volumes) I have tried to be selective in putting links to other sites in, and normally expect a reciprocal link. I visit each site and 'vet' it before making it 'live'. Some of the sites are very good indeed and well worth a visit. If any of the links do not work, please let me know!

There are 2 links which are not widely known. On the home page if you run the cursor over the right hand Saltire you can go to the home of the finest malt whisky made, Highland Park distillery in Orkney. The left hand Saltire will take you to my own personal site which tells you a little about me. If anyone has a site of their own and would like a similar link, again, let me know.

We now average 5 visits per. day and over the past year there have been visitors from Austria, Finland, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Poland, France, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, U.S.A, and of course the UK. There has also been 5 visits from the US Government, some enthusiastic civil servant no doubt!

The 'freedom to surf' ISP which we have used for the past year, has now finished the development stage and will now be selling web space, this is something I was always aware of. We will now have to buy the space and the committee has decided to do that. The main reason being that quite a number of visitors have 'bookmarked' the site and secondly we have had good service from f2s.

That about concludes the first years report, but any contributions, ideas or constructive criticism will always be welcome.