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John Patrick's Photo GalleryI offer my apology for the photo gallery problems on my website over the past week. I am in the process of changing my hosting partner and the transition has been a bit more difficult than I expected. In retrospect I should have done more planning and testing. I am getting things under control now. There are still a few loose ends, but most things are now working. I really appreciate the feedback from people, such as Chuck Brownstein at CNRI and Jean-Yves Stervinou, Consultant en Nouvelles Technologies Web, who have pointed out specific broken links or errors. Over the years I have been very fortunate to get this kind of input to keep me on my toes!  Building and managing a website is a continuous learning experience.

The ibm.com/patrick site came to life in 1995 and it was quite crude in those early days. Then along came a product from Lotus called Internotes and it provided a way to make the site much better. Frankly, it was so difficult to use that I was totally dependent on my staff at IBM, even to make simple changes. I was too busy and not familiar enough with the details to manage it. I have always written 100% of my content and made design decisions but in the early days it was a great team of people at IBM who did the graphic designs and made things work. After I e-tired at the end of 2001, I decided to move the site to Dreamweaver (later Dreamweaver MX) and takeover all the technical details. This has been quite an education. I occasionally still need help on a php script or a server issue but I have become mostly self-sufficient. I really enjoy learning more about the inner workings of Internet technology and deploying it is quite satisfying. I do still need help from a colleague when it comes to graphic design. No amount of study will make me an artist.

The Photo Gallery started out as part of ibm.com/patrick from near the beginning. Having a photo gallery is commonplace today but back in 1995 it was somewhat unique. Sharing pictures with my family, friends and colleagues from around the world has always been rewarding. The original gallery was fairly crude until Dipen Mehta, from the IBM webAhead team, created a Lotus Domino gallery that was fairly easy to use. Then Dipen moved on and nobody knew how the gallery worked! I searched high and low for a simple way to manage a large group of digital pictures (more than 3,000) . After experimenting with various galleries, the best one I could find at the time was Gallery. Gallery is a very slick program — free, open source, and loaded with features. The management is all via the web except for a Java applet for rapid uploading of pictures. The whole process is quite intuitive and easy to use. This could potentially be my long term solution for sharing photos — as long as they continue to improve it. It took me quite a while to get all the pictures converted initially and now it is taking a long time to get them moved to my new server. However, I think it will be much easier to add and maintain pictures from now on. Thanks for your patience and your feedback during these transitions. I hope you enjoy the Gallery.