I created this site in 1998 and have made few style improvements since then. The frustration has been building as I've tried to maintain pointers to new essays published on SATN as well as this site. I also liked some of the style that Dan Bricklin used on that site but didn't want to build the style in.
This project also gave me a chance to revisit writings from 1998 as well as earlier writings, such as my Master's Thesis which was written in 1974. Back then there were no personal computers. In fact, there weren't even calculators. When I tried to tell people that computers were fundamental and useful I met, at best, incomprehension. Even in the 1980's the whole idea that normal people would use email, let alone depend on it, was strange.
Much of the writing on the site since 1998 has focused on the IP Infrastructure and related issues. While this may seem to be a narrow set of topics, it reflects underlying themes that have far larger implications. The Internet does serve as a very useful casebook study in how complex systems evolve and produce stable systems without any central authority guiding them. I do intend to write about these from a social and philosophical perspective but, it has seemed to be more effective to focus on public policy issues related to connectivity. But without the reader having the larger perspective the claims I see as obvious seem arbitrary.
The Site Itself
Since I'm the entire staff for this site any approach has to be low maintenance and also make it easy to publish documents and update the site. One reason for using blogger for SATN is that it provides me with a nice publishing capability but it doesn't provide me with the document management facilities I need.
I don't know of any tools that meet my needs and doing it myself is a great learning experience though often problematic. Whatever approach I take must leave the site operational at any point. The site itself is maintained on my own computers and then posted to the public site so I have one level of buffering but I don't have the luxury of being being able to run two sites in parallel. If things do go wrong I can fix it though not necessarily right away. The site itself is not pure -- older documents will continue to function and URLs reference the site should continue to work though some internal (#) pointers may not stay valid.
For Those Interested in the Site Technology
Aside from various stylistic improvements (such as the sidebar), I also wanted to assure that the site could be viewed by most browsers so the contents are generated server side with simple HTML for the clients.
The actual page is assembled out of simple pieces:
I'll write about this more later. But first I want to make sure that the site is ready for wider use.
Just some quick notes:
For now ...
These redesign comments represent another work in progress ... maybe I'll write more later.