Centauri Dreams began as a website back in August of 2004. I’m startled to realize, looking through the stats that my site’s software provides, that in the subsequent nineteen years, there have been 4,659 posts, along with close to 100,000 comments. The irony is that I started the site simply as a research venue for myself, thinking to keep up with the latest news by building a collection of articles and scientific papers. It took about a year before I even switched on the comments function.
One of the benefits of publishing for such a length of time is perspective, as the interstellar research scene has grown and changed over the past two decades. But one thing I didn’t do is keep up with the software. Always focused on content, I’ve kept writing but have let too many generations of internal programming stay mired in older iterations. The dangers of this are obvious. A site with obsolete internals is all too open to hacking. And now, completely normal upgrades to some of the site’s functionality threaten to break some of the older software. Something has to be done.
What’s now happening is a thorough re-doing of the internals of Centauri Dreams, one that will solve the immediate problems and allow upgrades to some of the external programs I use. The most obvious change to readers will be the site theme, although things should remain pretty familiar. I want Centauri Dreams to continue with its basic layout, and that means no advertising, no pop-up windows, no annoyances to distract from the text. Behind the scenes, the site will be rendered more secure and also more efficient, with less chance of an errant move on my part bringing things down.
Please bear with me as the work proceeds. The new look comes with significantly tightened security. Work behind the scenes will continue on a number of issues I want to resolve. I’ll tweak the look and feel around the edges, but let’s get through the transition first. This should be done within the next day or two. If any late-arriving comments get lost along the way, I’ll get those restored as soon as I can. Anticipating problems – and they always turn up, no matter what – should help to deflect them.