11. The making of Radio Corner

There are thousands of radio collectors' sites found on the World Wide Web nowadays, but most of them do not have as many pages and as much much information as offered by Gerard's Radio Corner. In this short note you can read about how I maintain the site.

History of my Site

I have started collecting radios in October, 1994, and aired my first Radio Site under the name of Gerard's Radio Collection, late 1994. To my surprise, many years later I found my site being listed as the world's first Antique Radio Site. Of course I don't know if this is really true, but if it is I am very proud of it. Please send me an email if you know of any Old Radio site that was opened before mine, that is, in 1994 or earlier. Otherwise, if you are not going to waste my proud, you can share the fun we had at the tenth anniversary celebration party (local link).

How I make my pictures

In June 2000 I wrote the following about making pictures. Many site administrators use digital cameras to produce JPEG images directly, but I am a very old fashioned man and still use chemical photography. Almost all pictures in Gerard's Radio Corner were shot with the Practika M3 shown on the right.

There is still an advantage of chemical photography, at least as compared to the results of some cameras: the picture quality is better. Of course I realise that this will not last for long anymore. There is also a big disadvantage: the delay caused by having to shoot an entire roll before the film is developed and printed. With 12 or 24 shots on a roll, and given the rate in which I obtain radios, it takes up to two months sometimes before a new acquisition can be displayed on the web. This is a pity, because I am always very eager to show my latest radios especially if I need some help in the restauration.

I don't find the cost of chemical photography a problem. Did you ever realise the cost of ink cartridges for your printer? Speaking about printers, mine is an HP office Jet which has scanning capabilities as well, and it is the final stage in obtaining JPEG digital images of my radios.
In spite of the opinions mentioned above, in November 2000 I did buy a digital camera, the Agfa ePhoto1680. The main reason to buy it was that I would be able to produce the pictures faster. But now that I have it, I find the pictures are of better quality also. Especially the colors are brighter, but also the sharpness is excellent. It is also easy to control the exact size of the pictures (in pixels). Meanwhile, many of the older pictures have been replaced by pictures from the Agfa. In December, 2003, the Agfa was replaced by a Canon A40, and in January, 2005, this was succeeded by a Canon A60.

In the first years of adding photos I aimed at a resolution of 640x480 pixels, but in 2005 I switched to 1024x768 because bandwidth is less of a problem nowadays. Also in 2005 I started to add a Sounds archive to GRC, with recordings of the actual playing sets being made with the Canon camera.

How I make my HTML

In the earlier days of my site I used a template file containing the basic HTML constructs that formed the layout of the radio pages. For each new radio I copied the file and inserted the specific information for the radio into the file with a text editor. The main problem with this approach is what must happen when you want to change the layout of your HTML files. What I also found a problem was that I found myself maintaining information in various places: I had my collector's administration on paper, and the web pages besides that.

That is not the way to go in the twenty-first century. What we demand now is a single place where information is maintained, and can be used in various ways. Now I have my administration in an Excel workmap, and the same workmap also contains sheets and programs to generate the radio descriptions, and aggregated information like the For Sale list, Wanted Parts list, Sounds collection, etc. SiteBuilder has its limitations, but for generating many pages of similar structure with a common layout it is excellent (as you can see from the radio descriptions on my site). The same principle is used in Gerards FotoAlbum.

Sponsor of Gerard's Radio Corner

This site is hosted by the Institute of Information and Computation Sciences of Utrecht University. Just take a look at their website (100.000 pages of information, so you won't be bored!!), especially if you are still looking for a nice IT job or you don't yet know what academic study to choose.

Gerard Tel