Pseudo-diary of a site
Around November 97, after almost two years of experience in multimedia, we were considering the idea of realizing a larger scale project so as to prove that we may stand any comparison in this field without any inferiority complexes. So far, our overseas partners have constantly been reluctant to the idea of trusting any important Web projects to a firm that has such a small design team.
But so it happens that we are questioned about our capacity of doing "something" to promote the tourism. "You just make up a plan, list up a minimum of necessary devices, evaluate the costs and we take care of the rest".
Thats it! We introduce the idea of a touristic web site and of a CD-ROM, which would include a bit more information. Another team is to elaborate a printed pocket-guide. It was thus intended as a product destined to tourism, meant to cover all the mass media. The idea is accepted. The project is approved and we are thrilled that we can do something that satisfies our desires.
The deadline is on 31st of May 1998; it is a bit tight but we are counting on a good collaboration and are hopeful that everything will go along just fine
On the New Years Eve, the sites structure is done and we are contemplating different style and design approaches. Our intention is to promote an elegant, modern style together with the newest Web facilities (CSS, Flash); everything is to be optimized to insure a maximum speed transfer, to function on different platforms and so on. We made up innumerable plans and sketches on paper; we changed several times the colors combination, the form of the NavBar and the fonts
It is certain that, around February, a version, convenient from all points of view, was ready. The only uncertain thing was the receiving of the funds. The bureaucrats are always on duty! There is always one more paper to be asked for
Our equipment demand was for a P232, a video capture card, necessary for the videoclip, a 17 " monitor and a "decent" graphic card. Some considered that it was an extravagance to ask for a "graphic station". But how many of them would spent 8 hours drawing on a 14" monitor? Anyway, we were determined to bring this project to an end. We have already received the copyright for some splendid images from Mr. Dan Neculuta (D.O.R Kunsthandel GmbH) and it would have been a shame to abandon everything right now.
We receive the text, which has to be approved by all illuminated minds of the city, then checked, and translated. Everything runs extremely slow but the project is actually developing. We are receiving the first expenses, out of which we pay our telephone bills, which turned out to be a terror. We keep on waiting for the requested equipment. Meanwhile, we work with the two P90, those "oldies" with 32 MB of RAM, now in an agonizing state. Lacking the authorized translations, we start to translate in German at "Altavista Systran". The people from Germany told us that our translations were really funny. Now these translations are corrected.
But again, we have to take a pause.
We were planning to be done by April, so that we could have time to correct the bugs and to test everything thoroughly. The equipment is late. The scanner, the CD-recorder and the printer arrive. Only that the scanner is unable to scan slides (actually, he does it poorly) therefore we waste days processing them. We still have an imperative need of images. We call our friends and acquaintances and so we come to complete our gallery of images; we discover that sometimes the passionate amateurs overpass the professionals of art photography.
21/04/98. We receive the PC. Disappointment! The monitor is out of order. We send it back. Another one will arrive, one week later. We assemble everything in a hurry and move along to the video capture. We make a 3 minutes film out of a 30 minutes one. We create the design for the CD-ROM covers; they are coming out just fine but for the time being we still do not know if we can print them somewhere. Thats O.K., for now well make copies on the color printer.
30/05/98. We are ready! We upload the site on the lancomp.starnets.ro server. During the night, we "shoot" the first CD-ROM. Were on time, just as we promised. But its not quite that simple
More pains. The printed guide is late. The publishing house cannot respect the initial prices, I dont know why. As about us we cannot find a server in Europe where to install our server for a year, where to have a domain name and a ftp access in order to keep the site "alive" and which would cost us less then 600 $ (and this because the prices in Europe are double, compared to the United States). Most likely, we will find a way.
So, the story is not over yet. Only that Sibiu has now a Web representation that is worth visiting. It is not like "This is London" (www.thisislondon.com), accomplished in nine months and with a cost of almost one million pounds. It is a five-month project supported by a few people who shared of their experience and talent so that something might change in Romania; the Internet might represent a chance of overcoming a handicap to which some burlesque politicians have condemned us.
Armand & Liviu Niculescu : LemSys/Digital Vision :