The Truth about "Novel Theory"
Where Am I?

You've reached "Novel Theory" - The Homepage of James Curran, Gentleman Programmer. It's still quite the mixed bag, going off in all directions. But homepages are all the rage these days, and I am the hopeless slave to fashion, so here it is.

I have a few more ideas for it, but in the meantime, you can check out my professional life story, and sample some of my work programming in Java, C++, and HTML, plus some of my technical (and non-technical) writing. There's nothing particularly flashy here, as I prefer simple elegance, to the bombastic "Thrill-o-Ramas" that are in vogue for most Personal Web pages.  Well, that's not quite true.  It was it one time, and then I started added things to it.   DHTML turns out to be a great way to add flash.  However, there's still no animated GIFs, nor JPEGs of naked ladies.  And the whole site is still under two megabytes, and only a few pages require advanced browser features, so you can enjoy the site, no matter how old your hardware or software is. 

Of course, if you do have an up-to-date browser  plus a collection of ActiveX controls (We'll get to them in a minute),  you'll get to see (and hear!) all of the flash!

 

Why is it called Novel Theory?
Originally, the site didn't have any name at all.  It was just "The Homepage of James Curran"  As you can see, that was immensely boring.  Then one day, I heard the phrase "Novel Theory", and I said to myself, "ya'know -- that would make a great title of something".

So, not having a movie script or book or play that I could name "Novel Theory", I decided to bestowed in on my homepage.

The part that appeals to me is it's double entendre aspect - "novel theory" could be either a euphemism for "crackpot idea", or a rather intense college course ("English 305: Novel Theory - How to create a novel under laboratory conditions")

Shortly after I decided to name this site "Novel Theory", I was watching a rerun of Law & Order on A&E.   There, at one point,  the judge declared that the prosecutor's argument was a "novel theory" just before she accepted it, and allowed the contested evidence.

 

Why is it's URL http://www.NJTheater.Com/JamesCurran
There's a long story behind that--- You got time?

The first incarnation of this WWW site lived on the server space provided for me by CompuServe for my account with them.  However, this inspired comments like "Hey! Great WWW page, James, but you don't actually expect me to remember an URL like http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jamescurran, now do you? And how did you get such a lame-brain website address anyway?"

Well, as I see it, CompuServe needed to offer personal webpages, just so that they could hype it in their advertising. But, having offered it, and having hooked a customer because of that offer, they now have to actually deliver. But they really don't want to have to dedicate that much computer resources to this project. And they really don't want an active business site on their server, getting innumerable hits, and bogging down the whole system.

Hence, I assume, they decided on a simple plan -- Make it really, really difficult to actually use a Web page on their site, by making the URL ridiculously long.  Since the member homepages are the only thing on the "ourworld" server, the "homepages" in the middle of the URL is particularly pointless.  Add to that the fact that, beyond a simple hit counter, they offered no server-side scripting, CGI programs, or much of anything else.

Anyway, later on, I decided to create the NJTheater.Com site, and after two tries, found a Web hosting service I could live with, and built a Web site using Active Server Pages and scripts and all the fun stuff that I couldn't get from CompuServe.

Then, suddenly it dawned on me..  Since I now owned a reasonable domain name, and was paying rent on about 18MB on server space I wasn't using, why not move my personal Web page under my professional web page?

 

But, wait, it's not located under NJTheater.com. It has it's own domain.
  Yeah, well, you see, in the early '00's, domain name registration got really cheap. (You wouldn't believe what we had to pay for it in the 90's), as did web hosting.  So, I evetually created a separate site for it.
Ok, so now that you've got a cool name like Novel Theory for your website,  what are you going to do to live up to it?
Damned if I know.  I guess I really should beef up the literary portions of it.  I'm already adding all of the magazine and other artcles I've written (that I can find).  But to do it right, I'm probably going to have to dig out those old Science Fiction short stories I wrote in college. Stay tuned.

Of course, I wrote that paragraph eight or nine years ago, and still haven't out up those stories (though a couple years ago, I did find and scan them).

So, what do I need to fully experience Novel Theory?
Good question -- Glad you asked. 

Now, it's important to remember that 90% of this site (notably all the articles I wrote) can be viewed with just about any WWW browser there is.  

The next 5%, require a browser that can run Java applets.  That's either of the last two versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer or any of the last three versions of Netscape Navigator, plus any of the current browsers for Macintoshes or Suns.  If you aren't using one of them, I make no apologies for not being readable.

(This next section is so completely out of date, it would be impossible to correct --- the only way to fix it would be to delete it.  But I decided to leave it for it's historic/comic value  JMC/ 20-Aug-2008)

However, the final 5% goes a bit beyond that, and needed a few fancy add-ons.

bulletFirst, DHTML -- For this, you're gonna need Microsoft's Internet Explorer v4.0. Netscape will probably support it in their version 5.0, but until then, MSIE4 is the only game in town.
bulletNext, there's Microsoft Interactive Music Control.  This not really required, but with it, there's music accompanying the pages. (This is a fairly hefty download -- 700KB by itself, plus an optional 1.5 to 3 MB for the Microsoft Synthesizer).
bulletFinally, there's the Microsoft Agent also known as "The Genie" (although now there's also a robot and a magician).  Another large download with several parts, although all you really need is the basic control (about 300KB)  Actually, as I write this, the part of the website that uses it is still under construction, so you don't really need it at all.
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Copyright 1997 James M. Curran .
All rights reserved.
Revised: August 23, 2008.