About

Welcome to Peter’s Place! Whether you’re a first-time visitor, or you used to visit the old version, I hope you enjoy the site.

Peter’s Place was established July 19, 1995, as part of a project when I was in high school, and a member of the “Explorer Post 500” at the US Air Force’s Rome Laboratory in Rome, NY. Back then, most people (myself included) didn’t have internet access in their homes. The site was hand-coded, and what started as a “SimCity 2000 Tip of the Week” eventually grew into one of the most popular SimCity fan sites on the web.

Of course, it wasn’t long before college and “the real world” followed.  After a major redesign in 2001, the site was literally untouched for six years!  Thanks to some freely available software that makes website maintenance much easier than the old days of hand-coding everything… I revived the site in 2007.  Hopefully you enjoy many of the new features, including the photo galleries, auto-updating news links, and the ability to leave comments. 

That’s right, you can post comments on ANY article on the entire site.  Whether you have questions about something I wrote, or you want to agree/disagree with me — please do!  You don’t even have to “register” for an account or anything.  As long as the “engine” behind the site doesn’t suspect your comment might be spam, your comment will appear immediately.  (Even your comment is blocked, I usually check the spam filter every day just in case, and I will approve it manually.)

If you want to get in touch with me and it’s NOT a comment (ie. a question or suggestion pertaining to the site itself), you can e-mail me at pnaw10 <at> pnaw10 <dot> com.

What’s Under the Hood?

As I mentioned, the site is built upon some freely-available software.  If you like what you see, here’s a list of the programs I am using.  For the most part, I’m using the default installations on my web hosting provider’s server, with little or no “custom” coding involved.

  • WordPress – The “guts” of the entire site.  Just like any piece of great software, it can be as simple or complex as you like.  You can run a website with WordPress alone, and it would still look pretty decent.  You don’t even need a hosting provider — WordPress has a website where you can set up your own free site.  However, you might be limited as to what you can do with the “standard” setup they have for free websites.
  • K2 – That’s the “template” I am using for the site.  It’s the main reason my website looks considerably different from the “standard” WordPress-based website.  K2 also makes the “random title graphic” at the top possible.  It includes even more toys, which I’m not using at the moment.
  • Gallery2 – This is the “guts” behind the entire “Peter’s Pix” section.  In fact, if photos are all you have, Gallery2 can run entirely on its own.  You don’t need WordPress to run Gallery2.  However, there are some nice “plug-ins” available to make Gallery2 and WordPress to work together — as I’ve done here.
  • Akismet – This is a “plug-in” for WordPress that helps to block spam comments.  Because there are so many automated “bots” out there trying to post spam comments on websites, it’s dangerous to just let comments appear without any safeguards.  Akismet is used by many, many websites, so it almost always “knows” whether a message is spam.  Of course, it lets me see what it has “caught,” just in case it accidentally trashes a legitimate comment.
  • FeedBurner – WordPress generates RSS feeds on its own, but they’re pretty basic.  FeedBurner is like a “middle man” that makes the feeds more accessible to more people.

As I said, WordPress alone is all you need to get started.  The rest of these programs are “optional” but free.  If you’re pretty basic with computers, all those extras might be a bit overwhelming.  Even if you follow the installation directions to the letter, you could run into problems.  Not every web hosting provider is the same, so you need to know enough to be able to “adapt” the directions to your own specific setup.

Even though I got this far, I make no claim to be an “expert” at this… so if you’re looking to start your own site, I’m afraid I may not be much help if you have specific questions.  I may not be able to answer simply because most of the setup is stuff you only have to do once and then you move on… so I may not even remember all the specific steps I had to take.  But thankfully, there are plenty of forums and other websites where you should be able to find the answers you seek.
Thanks for visiting!
Peter N.