New Stamp Photo Gallery

Posted By on May 28, 2013

I just added a photo gallery link/page to the page for Scott#1 (see http://www.coneysstamps.com/content/stamps/0-299/00002pg.htm)

I plan for a page like this to be attached to individual stamp pages. The gallery pages will provide additional views of the stamp.  Different conditions, colors, formats, proof’s, specimens and other interesting shots. As I continue to develop it, I will use this as a template to create a photo gallery for each stamp as I upload that issue’s page.

Jeff

Still Experimenting

Posted By on May 26, 2013

I’m still experimenting with stamp page content and layouts.  Take a look at:

http://www.coneysstamps.com/content/stamps/0-299/00001.htm

I’ve added a menu for page contents.  I realized that some of the pages that I am developing get pretty long so I thought it would be helpful if I added a menu of shortcuts at the top of the page linked to sections further down on the page.

After it is kicked around a bit and perfected, this layout will be the standard for stamp pages.  A similar arrangement will be used on other pages.

Contact me if you have suggestions, see something that I missed or don’t see something that you would like to.

Jeff

FORUM & Guestbook Issues

Posted By on May 26, 2013

We have an issue with the FORUM on the site.  There is an upgrade available and I will be moving to the new version as soon as possible.  If you have tried to sign up for it and were unable to, please wait for the new version and retry.  Likewise if you planned to, please give it a few days.

The FORUM has been over-run with bots and spammers. The current version is supposed to be blocking them but isn’t.  So at this point I get so many new registrations I can’t weed out the legit ones from the spammers.

The Guest book, is not as bad but has also been hit by spammers and although measures are in place they seem to have found a way around them.  I have to clean out 6-8+ spam messages a day.  I will also be investigating upgrades or other changes to counter the problem.

Sorry for any inconvenience,

Jeff

Email Trouble – Last Year

Posted By on May 26, 2013

A general apology to readers who may have emailed us last year.  We had a some difficulty with our email server/configuration and was forced to move to a new one.  The transition did not go well and email that was received during the transfer was queued and archived to a folder.  This took place intermittently over several days.

We just recently became aware of these archived messages and have started reading and replying to them.  This should take a couple days as there is quite a list of them. I promise that future email replies will not take months!!!

If you sent an email to me last year and never received a reply, you should in a few days.  If you don’t please send me a note!  I’m now wondering if there were gaps during the transition when emails may have just disappeared.

Incidentally, our host/service provider (IMHosted.com) is great, the problem was with another provider.

Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused!
Jeff

Web Content and Development Status:

Posted By on May 24, 2013

I am currently preparing to upload the bulk of the US 1800’s issues, including variants and a few other items.

The basic issues and major varients of the 1800’s should be complete and uploaded between late-July and mid-August (2013).  After that I will work on the following: 

  • Identification guides/pages for individual issues and their variants,
  • Photo gallery pages for additional examples of individual stamps, varieties, errors and various conditions.  Eventually, I hope to include examples of all major color variants side-by-side as a color study.
  • Subject information… including items such as biographies, associated stories and related articles. 
  • Pre-1847 information and identification.

When I have the 1800’s content at a reasonable level, I will turn my attention to the ‘Resources’ and “Computing” areas of the site for a short time before I turn my efforts to the US issues of the 1900’s. 

Jeff

Credits and copyright permissions requests.

Posted By on May 24, 2013

On the top menu under “About Us” I have added a “credits” page: http://www.coneysstamps.com/content/admin/credits.htm This list all the people that have helped with this website and I included a sections for people/organizations that have granted me permission to use their information.  Such as:

  • Amos Publishing / Scott’s for the use of their numbering system
  • Smithsonian Institution – National Postal Museum (Agago.si.edu) for use of some of their materials, particulars stamps graphics that are hard to locate or are simply way out of my price range.  I was told that they see no problem but will give an official word in a few days.

Should you ever need to ask permission to use someone’s work, particularly copyrighted material than you can follow these simple directions: http://www.coneysstamps.com/content/articles/reprintpermission.htm.

Jeff

Equipment and software

Posted By on May 11, 2013

I was recently asked what equipment and software I am using for the development of this website.  I generally use or make use of the following:

First lets talk software.

For web development: Adobe CS3  (particularly Dreamweaver) – I know it’s an old version but so am I… I got a legitimate package for free and splurging on 2 thousand+ dollar updates isn’t in the budget right now. I also have a large repository of scripts and add-in tools for CS3 which make things a little faster for some tasks.  For search Engine work I use “Zoom Indexer”

For DB work: I use “PHP Magic Pro”, “MyPHPAdmin” and I stage data in “MS Excel” and “MS Access” before importing to SQL. I also keep track of some content/data in “MS OneNote”.

For Web Captures: I use “Inspyder web2disk” and “SnagIt 8”.

For graphics: I use “Photoshop”, “MS Picture Manager”, “3D Box Shot” and “Fireworks” (once in a while).

For file management: I use “Windows Explorer”, “Richcopy 4”, “Bulk Rename Utility”, “DupDetector” and “PaperPort”

For project management: I use MS Project to track tasks and to-do’s.  Visio to diagram pages and relationships (internal links). MS One Note for web dev tips, scripts and how-to notes.

For article / content writing: I use MS Word.  Although I don’t use Word to author content in HTML.  Word builds real dirty code and stuff it full on extraneous crap that is unnecessary.  After composing the content I cut and paste into Dreamweaver as unformatted text then I format it.  I also have a Word add-in to save files at PDFs when I need to. I also have Adobe Acrobat Pro. 

MS Onenote, excel, word, etc… are all part of MS Office Pro.  Project and Visio are sepreate. I managed to get MS Office Pro, Project and Visio through a HUP (Home Use Program) via where I work for under 30 bucks. 

For scanning: I use HP’s software and I also use Paperport.

For Backups: My sever automatically backs up my PC and has RAID for data drive protection. Otherwise, I generally just write backups to  CD/DVDs with “Nero” or drag-n-drop through XP.

Operating System: Linux rules but… For this type of work, I prefer Windows XP but will more than likely be forced to move to Win 9 by the time it becomes available because XP support will have been stopped by Microsoft.  Win 7 is OK but still has printer drive issues that bite me. I don’t like win 8.  We bought the kids laptops last Christmas and they came with it pre-loaded.  Even MS has backed off of 8 and admitted grievous errors. 

For Computing Hardware…  I’m a IT geek professionally…

I have a custom built PC,  with a 24″ flat screen, a 27″ flat screen and a 19″ CRT.  A home network with an HP Server, hardware/software firewall, 24 pt (full gig fabric) Router, etc.  For imaging I have a digital microscope bought new on eBay, a HP 8390 work-group scanner (dual head ADF scans both sides in one pass) which was bought used on eBay and a HP 7525 Multi-Fiunction Machine (scan, print, fax, copy).  I also have UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) on everything.  For photography I use my wife’s SONY a300 Digital SLR with a variety of lenses.

For Printing: I occasionally have access to a size-E plotter at work, which is OK as long as I buy my own paper and don’t use it often.  At home, I use a networked black and white HP4+ laserjet with duplexer (22 years old and still works like a charm) and a local color canon 4550 for larger paper but it needs replaced, it’s slowly dying. I’m thinking about getting an Epson R series that takes the optional 13″ rolls as I also do geneology research (family tree maker V11) and could make use of it for family tree charts. 

Some of this (such as the server and UPSs) was bought when Circuit City went out of business and in the last days, they were really chopping prices down to move the products.

I talk about some of this on the website and I won’t bother going into detail on stamp equipment as I really do cover that on the website.

I hope this answers the question, if not send me a note.

Jeff

Back at it again.

Posted By on May 11, 2013

Hello, This project has been dragging on and on… Sorry for the slow and few updates.  This past week I’ve refreshed my project plan and have been working on stamp pages and links.   My work and family take precedence and this past couple years have been very busy. 

Among other things my brother and our oldest son helped me build a 600sf in-law suite addition to the house for my mother who can’t really handle steps these days.  I also added a first floor mud and laundry as a perk for the wife and family.  The only thing we had to farm out was electrical connection and breaker box installation.  The rest was a family project and other family members pitched in too. For example my brother-in-law is a HVAC guy.  He got me a great deal on the seperate system for the addition and put it.

OK… what’s going on with the site:   I’ve added Scott’s #1 and 2 and a page for 1847.

I’ve also put temp pages up for Scott’s # 3, 4, 948, 1474, 3139a and 3140a.  As you can guess for each year that I add, I will work on the related stamps and up dates to pages that link to each.  These temp pages will be replaced with in a couple days. The technology is easy, putting the pages together and adding the data is the easy part. Pictures are what slow me down; as I rework graphics/pictures of each stamp.

Finding or scanning a good high res photo then adding the black background and the Scott’s number, then combining year sets into group photos with numbers and adding map overlays so they are click-able is the time consuming part.  

Not an excuse or a complaint just a fact when dealing with 10’s of thousands of photos/scans. By the time I get this website up to my standards I’ll be ready for retirement or at the very least a long vacation! But the community will have a very nice and complete web resource…. that’s my goal.

I recently added a few new pieces of equipment to my home office and expanded my library too.
Jeff

It’s been a year!

Posted By on July 5, 2012

It’s been a year since any substantial work has been done on the live portion of this site and I’m getting anxious to get back at it!  I have several new items that will be coming on line and a lot of new data, articles and interesting links.  Unfortunately life and work keep getting in the way. 

As most of you know this is a labour of love for me, not a commerce producing product.  It, by necessity takes a back seat to activities which put bread on the family’s table.

My family and friends have had some serious challenges of the past year, we’ve lost 8 of them since December to cancer, old age and everything in-between.  Work has been busier than ever, and work on our home has too.  We’re just wrapping up a new addition to the house, an in-law suite for my mother and we’re in the process of settling up the estate for my in-laws including a HUGE railroad memorabilia collection. 

We rented a warehouse in town and are currently in the process of inventorying and cataloging everything as well as setting up a non-profit organization to manage it.  It’s holdings are actually larger than the railroad museum’s here in town.  Eventually we’d like to crate a “museum on rails” and house most if it in a passenger/freight train for viewing by the public.  The URL for it will be www.transitspecialties.com and .org.  Those site will not come to be until Coney’s Stamps has been brought completely up to date with all features fully integrated.

Anyways, back to the site.  I’m planning to complete the site and all its data repositories in early 2013.  I know that sounds a long way off but its going to take a good 6 months for me to break clear of all that we have going on now.

In addition to completing the items on the features list posted on the site, I will be adding a few items including a new software tool that we’re quite excited about around here.  We’re hoping that tool will be ready by early to mid-2013.

I’ll try to post specifics more frequently to keep regular followers informed.

Thanks, Jeff

Somebody must be looking!

Posted By on June 25, 2011

Wow, someone must be looking at my website because my numbers have gone way up.  My web hose offers a variety methods and stats collection on website traffic and use.

The numbers have gone way up in the past few months!  In April the site saw 280, 926 hits! And had 4791 unique visitors that spent more than 5 minutes… some stayed for over an hour surfing from page to page. May and June have high numbers and it’s too good to ignore! Year to date the site has received 808,364 hits and 21,677 unique visitors what viewed 591,717 pages!

I haven’t even submitted the site to any search engine, list or spread the word about the site in any way (except for a flyer at one stamp show)

This does NOT count spiders and bots.  Stats for them are kept separately.

 Most seem to surf the site on Friday and Saturday evening, although Wednesdays have a good showing too!

 It’s also good to see that someone does pick up the flyers at a stamp show.  I attended the stamp show in Tyson’s Corner Va. on Friday, June 10thand dropped a stack of flyers off on the table.  Stats for that weekend spiked up nicely!

 This is also giving me the motivation and justification to set a priority to complete my current tasks, that will take about 3 weeks. Then I have set aside a solid month for development, upgrades and uploads to coneysstamps.com! Obviously you’re looking so I’ll put a priority on it!

Thanks for looking! It makes me realize this is worth the effort!

Jeff