The New Design

From the Chaos Manor Site Web Guy

You may have noticed (actually, it’s probably obvious) that things look a bit different around here. Dr. Pournelle’s Chaos Manor “blog” (although he’s not really thrilled with that term) has been around for quite a few years. In fact, it may be one of the first blogs. It is certainly unique – there are wide-ranging topics, lots of participation, and it’s all interesting – often thought-provoking.

All of this is a bunch of work for Dr. Pournelle, including the behind-the-scenes parts.

For many years, this web site was hosted by two of Dr. Pournelle’s advisors – Greg and Brian. They provided the actual servers and technical expertise to make these pages available to thousands of visitors a day. In that time, web hosting has gotten a lot easier, with many different web hosting services available. And, eventually the servers and operating systems have to be replaced. Greg and Brian decided that their days of hosting should end — there were other projects that beckoned.

So, the “Chaos Manor advisors” – a small group of technical advisors to Dr. Pournelle – discussed moving the hosting of this site. Someone needed to do the ‘heavy lifting’ to allow Dr. Pournelle to use his time providing the content for this site — for that is the reason you visit. There has been some discussion over the years about a redesign, but the work involved (plus training the good doctor on how to adjust to a new process) was a bit more than anyone wanted to do. Redesigning a large site such as this is a big undertaking. And it’s not like there’s a pile of money to throw at the process.

But the need to move hosts gave us (the advisors) an opportunity to move to a design (and process) that would keep the content as before, but provide additional benefits like social networking. We decided that a WordPress-based design would be easiest to implement, and would result in an easy process for Dr. Pournelle to create and upload his content. It would also allow us to start adding additional benefits to the site – like RSS feeds that work, using social networking to share content, and more.

The result is what you now see — which we will be able to change and enhance as needed. We made the content creation process easier for Dr. Pournelle. Rather than using an old version of Front Page, he can use Microsoft Word to easily create the content, and a simple “File, Publish” command will get the content to the web site.

The RSS feed (which is now “subscribable”) is automatically updated. There are Facebook “Like” buttons that you can use to share the content with others. There are (and will be) other social networking links to use. You can see the latest content at all times, or use the calendar to get to a specific date. And it’s easier for you to contribute to the site via the Contact Us form. (One of the major features of this place is all of the user interaction in the Mail area.) And Dr. Pournelle can publish content at any time — even multiple times per day.

All of the prior content is still available — use the “Prior Content” link up at the top of the right side of the pages. And we hope that you are able to contribute to the funding of this place (see the “Subscribe” links).

For more info about this new place, take A Tour.

We’d like to know your opinion of the new place. You can use the Contact Us link to let us know – the mail will go directly to Dr. Pournelle. We are open to constructive suggestions – or even complaints.

And we appreciate your continued visits. Thanks!

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