QuizBank Link Library Sinatra Sleevenotes Press Office Poetry Corner Free Software Games Room Music Room


Originally created 17 May 1997, the site was re-launched with frames on 9 June 1998.

The original site contained Hot Off The Press, The Sinatra Sleevenotes, Games for You to Play, Rogues Gallery, Software to Download, Poetry Corner, and Where Do You Want To Go Today?

The re-launch introduced Feedback and Response forms, and Links Centre replaced Where Do You...? At the same time, The Fly, and Notebook were added to the software library, joining the legendary Reminder 97, and Quick Currencies which had been written in Autumn of 1997.

On 9-10 July 1998 I decided to redesign the site once again. This time it was just the navigation that I focussed on. Making better use of frames and small javascript elements, I made trundling through my site an even greater pleasure.

A week later I had a look at the pages with Netscape Navigator and had a shock! I'd only been testing it with Internet Explorer and the whole thing was a mess in other browsers. Well, I worked out how to get it looking good in both, and then put more cosmetic changes into the main navigation, replacing text with images so that they wouldn't be affected too much by people using different font sizes.

18 July 1998 the site was christened "Come Browse With Me!" It was a tribute of sorts to the great Frank Sinatra, and appropriate, I think, to the general scope of the content.

A major change occurred in January 1999. The site was moved from Virgin Net to Freeserve. The design was streamlined into five "channels" - Software, Entertainment, Information, Gavin and Feedback. Content was subdivided into those channels. A java menu applet was installed but was unsuccessful, being slow to load and awkward to navigate (serious disadvantages for a menu!). A redirection facility was used to make it easier to remember my address: welcome.to/gjrcomputing. The title GJR Computing Online was resurrected.

In August 1999, Cascading Style Sheets were introduced to the site. At the same time, The Sinatra Sleevenotes and Links Centre were added to the list of channels. This was partly because they had their own folders in the site structure, and partly to encourage visits to those areas. The Feedback channel was improved, with Feedback, Bug Report, and Software Suggestion forms. Task List was added to the Software channel. Fast Launcher had been introduced earlier in the year. As if that wasn't enough, a search engine from FreeFind was added to the site.

On 3 September 1999, an Active Channel was created as an experimental feature.

Early in 2000 my music database was web-enabled, and placed on the server of a new (for me) ISP - UK Online.

Another re-launch occurred on 2 July 2000. At this point the new domain name www.gjrcomputing.com was introduced. The name pointed to my Freeserve pages. At this stage, complaints about the lack of colour on the site were addressed. I also removed frames from the site, after finding a way to mimic their functionality with tables and Microsoft FrontPage features.

Frames can be incredibly useful but I ditched them for two main reasons. First, because a significant number of the sites I link to are not frames-friendly - they either have JavaScript functions that expect their page to be full-window, or their page layouts are too wide to comfortably fit in a frame. Second, frames made direct access to many pages difficult. You can now bookmark any of my pages without any problem, and the FreeFind searches will also work much better.

Yet again, my channel organisation was modified. The Active Channel was scrapped as I can't really make good use of it. The new channel list became this: The Sinatra Sleevenotes, Poetry Corner, Press Office, Free Software, Games Room, That's Entertainment, The Library, Your Computer, Travel Agency, Shopping Bag, Good Things, Meet Gavin, Feedback, and Help. Most of the contents remained the same, but this format allow some more room for expansion. No doubt yet another relaunch will be due by Christmas 2000!

Slightly later than expected, in August 2001, the site was moved to 1&1 WebHosting. For the right price they hosted my domain name and gave my sufficient space to include all the content from both my old locations, with plenty of room for future expansion.

Over the next two years worryingly little was done to the site, and it began to stagnate. This was due in no small part to new demands of family life and increased pressures of work.

But in June 2003, invigorated and refreshed, I started to give the site another massive makeover. I created a clean, fresh design, and incorporated content from partner sites such as Amazon to make a visit to GJR Computing Online an even richer experience. At the same time, I converted the site to ASP, and made use of dynamic, database-driven pages to add flexibilty both for myself in creating content and for viewers reading it.

The main channel line up was reconfigured as usual. In line with the clean look, the list was reduced to Links Library, Sinatra Sleevenotes, Press Office, Poetry Corner, Free Software, Games Room, Music Room and Meet Gavin.

June 2003 also saw the demise of "Animan". The name may be unfamiliar to you, but this character had watched over my site, and indeed had been the emblem of GJR Computing from day one. Six years, one month and eight days later, his presence started to slip as the new logo - ironically more animated than Animan had ever been outside my imagination - started to make its way onto the site. Fear not, Anifans. Animan will return - somehow, somewhere, someday.

In April 2004, QuizBank was introduced. A novel 'community' quiz concept, that has yet to catch on, but is definitely worth investing some time in.

January 1st 2005 saw some slight refinements to the site. First I limited the width of pages to 760 pixels, ensuring that anybody with an 800x600 or better screen resolution (virtually everyone nowadays) would be able to see the whole picture as intended. To prevent this from squeezing my content, I moved the main menu to the top of the page from the side. More navigation options and information were placed at the bottom of the page.

A link was also made at this time to a new Weblog - The Slug Trail - that I created on MSN Spaces at the end of 2004. It was hoped that this would provide a more regularly updated 'annexe' to the main site.

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