Hire Tom
Mostly Mozart


Frequently Asked Questions
Posted September 25, 2007

Doubly revised, but still outdated, low acid edition.

Are you the same Tom Clegg who...

Is part man, part machine? Seems to know things about networks? Keeps the servers alive at KICS, KCR, and various other places, mostly starting with K? Seems to live at the diner? Used to teach at Selkirk College and share a phone line with a cat? Yes.

Directs movies? No.

Empowers leaders to climb the height of their dreams? No.

Ran with the bulls in Spain as a teenager? No.

I need a web site. Can you design one for me?

Probably not. Look at this one. You call that "design"?

If you don't design web sites, then what do you do?

I'm not allowed to say.

You came up first on Google. How can I do that?

Mention your subject at the top of the page. Continue to mention the subject throughout the page. You've probably already done that, if your page really does have a subject.

If your web site is the authority on a particular subject, then search engines will do their best to put you at the top of the list when someone searches for that subject. After all, that's what makes search engines useful.

Go to and give it your web site address. Wait a couple of months.

Why do you have such a plain web site?

I figured you would already know what a fancy web site looks like.

What is the internet?

It's an advertising medium. People prefer it to TV because new technology is so exciting. Coincidentally, it also has other uses: publishing information, sharing computer resources, communicating with people in faraway lands, etc.

It's just a bunch of computers, software, and network cables. And all kinds of people with conflicting interests. The only thing they all have in common is that they want it to work.

What is UNIX?

It's the best known design for a general purpose operating system.

Which operating system should I use?

I use FreeBSD and Ubuntu.

Use Ubuntu if you want lots of company. When you have problems, Google will help you find other people who have the same problems. Debian and Red Hat are worth trying, too.

Use FreeBSD if you want better performance and reliability. It's got less baggage than Linux.

Use OpenBSD if you want the only Canadian operating system.

On the fourth day, use NetBSD. It's probably good too.

Which UNIX software should I avoid?

Avoid BIND. Djbdns is far easier to use, and does a better job.

Avoid sendmail. Fiddling with "configuration files" like /etc/mail/ is worse than editing C source code! (see excerpt) Qmail is smaller, faster, more reliable, more secure, more stable, easier to use, and easier to customize.

I have 5 years to kill. Is there a UNIX tool I can learn in that time?


Oh. Never mind. Which HTML editor do you use?


What HTML editor should I use?

Any text editor. WYSIWYG takes the fun out of it.

Most HTML editors produce horrible HTML anyway. Even if it's not just plain wrong, it's always ugly.

But I'm not a programmer. Am I capable of learning HTML?

HTML is a great way to start programming!

Start with text. If you want your page to say "Hello," type "Hello."

If you want to insert a paragraph break, type <P>.

If you want to show some words in bold text, put <B> on the left and </B> on the right: <B>like this</B>

If your page is called "Chicken," and you want the word "Chicken" to appear in your title bar, bookmarks, and history lists, put this at the top of the page: <TITLE>Chicken</TITLE>

If you want to use the < character, type &lt; - if you want to use the & character, type &amp;.

It doesn't get much more complicated than that. Find a web page with a good design. Click "view source." Make your own page. Repeat.

Learn about graphic design, publishing, and user interfaces.

OK, never mind that...

Your Name Here

web designer

Which email address should I use: or

You can't use either of them. They're mine.

It doesn't matter which one you send stuff to; either way, your message will go to my mailbox. Don't bother sending to both; if one copy isn't enough, I'll write back and ask you to send another.

Oops! I sent a message to both addresses. Are you angry now?


Why ""?

Why "Clegg"?

Why ""?

Tuvalu wanted too much money for

How do you feel about spam?

Spam proves that cynicism is appropriate.

Don't buy herbalife products.

This virus will destroy your hard drive! It is the most dangerous virus ever!!

Please don't forward any of those viruses that claim to be virus warnings.

(If you're worried about viruses, you should use a mail server that has a virus filter, like gmail or kics.)

Why do you charge so much?

It discourages you from asking me to do work.

Why don't you charge even more?

That would be greedy.

That reminds me: why do you hate Microsoft?

There's not much point in hating imaginary entities, even if your government does call them "people."

Microsoft products are frustrating to use. They're not even designed to work as well as possible. They're designed primarily to make people send their money to Microsoft. Duh...

I don't like TV shows either. They're not designed to entertain or educate me. They're designed primarily to make me stay in front of the TV long enough to watch some commercials. The commercials make me feel like a psychology experiment.

What do you like about Microsoft?

They have created a huge market for fast computer hardware. As a result, fast computer hardware is cheap.

You didn't answer my question. Can I submit a FAQ?

You got this far, and you still think you're reading a FAQ?