Guide to the Compass DeRose

The Compass DeRose is a series of guides that provide easy, accessible information on how to do things that often seem complex. I'm convinced that most things are nowhere near as hard as they seem, and with these pages I try to prove that for a small selection of things I've gotten around to.

This series started with my guide to CAT5 wiring. At the time, I wanted to network my house but I couldn't find any online documentation of simple things like which wires went on which pins of the connectors, rules for running the wires to avoid interference, and so on. I got Barry Allbright, the sysadmin at Brown University's Scholarly Technology Group, to explain it all; then I wired my house; then I wrote up the pages to help others. I added a few simple graphics by setting parts on my flatbed scanner. Eventually it became popular, so I've felt encouraged to write more along the same lines. I also find a certain personal satisfaction in making hard-seeming things easier.

This page was last updated 2008-02-22. For information on rights and permissions of use, see below.

A Red and Green Compass Rose, logo for the Compass DeRose Guide Series.The Compass DeRose Series

Complete or nearly so

In process (available but incomplete)


Warnings, Notes, and Rights

Warning: My expertise is in computer science (particularly formal languages, IR, markup systems, hypermedia, and standards), formal linguistics, and to some extent Biblical theology. It would be fair to say I'm "handy" at a lot of other things. I am not a professional in most of the fields I touch on in these guides. I am neither a physician, nor a lawyer, nor a network installer, nor an electrical engineer, etc. I have gathered the information here from a variety or Web, printed, and oral sources, and from limited training in some of the areas. Before you try applying any of this information in a situation that could affect life, health, or property, consult an appropriate expert.

I have done my best to weed out poor sources, but not being an expert, I may not have correctly picked the best information. All information on this website is provide on an "as is" basis, with no warranty of any kind, including warranty of accuracy or fitness for any particular use. Nothing I say here (or in any of my web pages or guides) should be taken as professional advice, particularly of a legal, medical, or other licensed professional variety. Even in areas where I may be an expert, a general description on my Web page should not be construed as professional advice, in part because it cannot take into account many factors that vary from case to case. You are responsible for any use you may make of this information, and for using it safely and responsibly.

Trademarks: I've indicated things I know to be trademarks when they are mentioned in the text; they are of course the property of their respective owners. I may have missed some; if so let me know and I'll add the appropriate indication.

Rights: All information here is copyright 1998-2008 by Steven J. DeRose.


Documents that state "All rights reserved." may be viewed online but not copied, printed in over 10 copies, distributed, sold, or used as the basis for derived works.

For all other documents, permission is hereby granted to copy, distribute and/or modify these documents under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being all sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A full copy of the license is available at

Linking: I very much welcome links to this site or any portions of it (and I disapprove of the basic idea of restricting what people are allowed to link to). However, please do not mirror the information onto other public sites instead of linking to it -- at least without asking first. I ask that you exercise this voluntary restraint, not because I want the information locked up, but because I change it on a completely irregular schedule, and I do not want incompatible or obsolete versions to accumulate.

Acknowledgements: Most or all the graphics on this site were drawn using ConceptDraw™, a great drawing and charting program that is also cross-platform and has excellent technical support. All work done on Apple Macintosh™: Think Different.

Why "Compass"?

A Red and Green Compass Rose, logo for the Compass DeRose Guide Series.It occurred to me that the goal of this series is to provide very simple, easy to use guidance or directions for many tasks -- similar to what a navigational compass does for route-finding. Then the idea of a "compass rose" as logo occurred to me; then "compass d'rose"; and hence "Compass DeRose" or "Compass DéRose".

You can look up "compass" here. The most relevant meanings are as a verb:

  1. To make a circuit of; circle: The sailboat compassed the island.
  2. To surround; encircle. See synonyms at surround.
  3. To understand; comprehend.
  4. To succeed in carrying out; accomplish. See synonyms at reach.
  5. To scheme; plot.

Back to home page of Steve DeRose or The Bible Technologies Group. or The Bible Technologies Group Working Groups. Or, contact me via email (fix the punctuation).