(From the Chaos Manor Web Guy – updated 12 July 2011)
Whenever I type the word “Tour”, I think of “Gilligan’s Island”. Which might indicate my age.
But this “Tour” will take just a few minutes. It will introduce you to the various parts of Jerry Pournelle’s new Chaos Manor site. Some things will be familiar to those of you who visit other WordPress-based blogs.
Views and Mail
Jerry writes very interesting “Views” — his view and commentary on various issues. His “Mail” section is quite varied, and sometimes includes his comments about the mail.
The main page shows the latest posts — a post is either a “View” or “Mail”. A new View or Mail (let’s call them “Posts”) is usually published once a day. Some days get more posts; at other times, there may be a day without a post. The main page always shows the 10 latest posts, whether they be Mail or View.
The Title of each post is shown in blue underlined text. It is a link to the display of that post only. When you look at a single post through the link of the post Title, links at the bottom of the post will take you to the previous or next post.
Under the post Title are two date/time stamps. One shows when the post was originally published. At times, Dr. Pournelle might update a previously published post, so the second date/time stamp will show the latest published date/time. You can use those date/time stamps to alert you to newer content.
After the post Title is the actual post content. For Views, it will be Dr. Pournelle’s commentary on one or more issues, with quotes from outside sources. For Mail, you will see a reader’s mail message (perhaps edited a bit for length). Dr. Pournelle may comment on the message; these comments are usually red text. Each Mail post may have many different messages from readers; and the Mail post may get updated more than once a day. It’s all up to Dr. Pournelle.
So, the main page shows the last 10 Mail and View posts. Links at the bottom of the page will take you to the previous 10 posts.
But What About the Weekly View?
One of the features of the old site was that all Mail/View pages were organized by week, with posts in weekday order (Sunday through Saturday). That was because Dr. Pournelle used his site as a “Day Note” site — his daily observations and commentatry. Remember that his ‘blog’ has been around for a very long time, and was ‘built’ before the current practice of creating entries several times a day — or being read by visitors several times a day.
With the change to the WordPress platform, entries are normally shown ‘last in – first out’, in reverse date order. Some visitors miss the old ‘weekly’ view.
So, we’re working on that. And, Weekly views are done. Take a look at “Mail – Weekly” and “View – Weekly” on the Mail or View menu. That will take you to the current week, with posts in date order (Sunday to Saturday). And you can use the Next/Previous links to get to other weeks.
Huzzah for the Weekly view!
The Rest of the Menu
The menu bar across the top has other choices. “Home” is the main page. “View” and “Mail” are pages with just “View” or “Mail” posts. “Reports” are usually extended commentaries on issues.
The “Contact” page presents a simple form to send mail to Dr. Pournelle. Just enter your name and email (required), a Subject (recommended), and the text. The mail will be sent directly to Dr. Pournelle. Be aware that any submitted mail may end up in View or Mail pages, so include any ‘non-publication’ information in your message. If your mail is used, your name may be included, but your email address will never be included when your message is publicized. Use the “Contact” page for discussion of issues, new issues, or comments about anything (including this site).
Dr Pournelle has published many books — fiction and others. His advisor’s group is working on converting those books (where copyright allows) as ebooks. So the ‘eBook’ page will show you all of the currently available books. The eBooks are available in Kindle and ePub formats as shown.
The “About” section is about Dr. Pournelle; and the “Books” page lists all the books written by Dr. Pournelle. Links are available to purchase these hard-copy books, usually at Amazon.
“Chaos Manor Reviews” takes you to Dr. Pournelle’s site that is a continuation of the columns he wrote for Byte magazine before they ceased publication. And the “New Design” page discusses why the site changed to this new format.
The “Subscribe” page is important. Dr. Pournelle spends a lot of time with these pages. Subscriptions help with his income so that he can also work on new fiction, as well as pay for the infrastructure of this site. Subscriptions work on the Public Radio concept — Dr. Pournelle will occasionally have a subscription drive just like Public Radio. Subscribers get a few extra benefits, as described on the page.
The Right Side
The “Latest Posts” section shows the last 10 post titles. Click on any of those links to get to that post entry. The “RSS Feeds” area gets you an RSS link to use in your RSS reader. You can also enter your email address to get an email when a new post is published.
The Calendar is where you can get to the posts for a specific day. This is useful if you have missed a few days of posts, and want to catch up. And, finally, a Search area where you can search within the posts for specific content. Note that the search will only include posts in the new format. For searching the prior format’s items, your favorite search engine is probably best.
The Tour Concludes
See, it didn’t take three hours. Nor were you stranded on a deserted island with six goofy people.
If you have any questions or comments, use the “Contact” form. That will go directly to Jerry, who will bug the Web Guy (that’s me) for the answer.
Thanks for the support! (Remember “Bartle and James”?)
If you are interested in the “man behind the curtain”, here’s info on this site.
It’s hosted at Bluehost, which allows for unlimted domains, storage, bandwidth, and MySQL databases. They advertise 99.9% uptime, and have an excellent quality data center and infrastructure. And a very reasonable monthly cost. Email accounts are protected from spam by the Postini add-in. All of Jerry Pournelle’s domains are hosted at Bluehost.
The blog itself is based on WordPress 3.1 (soon to be 3.2), using the Atahualpa theme (very customizable). There are some additional plug-ins, like “Contact Form 7″ for the Contact form; and WP-Stats for keeping track of visitors and page viewing.
And some customized CSS styles and PHP programming to display certain pages.
All of this - hosting and domain management, the entire WordPress installation (with customized themes and add-ins) was put together by Rick Hellewell. He can be contacted via the Contact page, or at www.cellarweb.com .