what happened to cghm?

What’s going on here? There’s an extra step to get to the website?

I know. The regulars will hate it – at least initially. But the new, lovely CGHM Home Page is actually a great idea. Let’s allow a friendly Q and A to tell us why.

Q: What’s the point?

A: First and foremost, it’s a celebration of the 10th anniversary of CGHM Networks. Yes, something needed to happen. Many things don’t survive ten years, especially not in the technology realm. Founded in February 2000, CGHM actually predates Facebook (2004) and Wikipedia (2001), even if it’s not quite as successful as those Internet behemoths. A nice visual home page is a great birthday present.

Q: Yeah, but what does it accomplish?

A: One could argue that information was more accessible before this change. I would argue that this actually improves access to what CGHM now has to offer. The truth is that it’s been years since CGHM was all about the individual websites and not focused on CGHM itself, namely the articles. This home page will highlight the different sections of the site and give more exposure to things that would go overlooked if only the most recent article was up there.

Just type in something to search for and prepare to be wowed. Or follow one of the big links on the left. Or wait for a recent article that sounds interesting to appear at the bottom.

Q: But why is this really happening?

A: It’s no conspiracy. But there’s some truth to the fact that I haven’t been able to keep up the pace of the articles, and probably won’t be able to in the future, so this will serve as a way of directing people to what already is here, rather than having them sit and wait for what is to come.

Those answers should suffice for most people, but if you’re really curious, there are more after the break.

Q: What’s so special about this thing?

A: Take a look at the original CGHM page (still viewable at Angelfire). Although handwritten in HTML, it used a template and “borrowed” tips from other sites. It’s pretty laughable by today’s standards.

Now look at the new page. It’s simple, and beautiful. Unlike the original home page, it was all written by hand (with the exception of the specific blocks of Google Search and RSS feed code, although those were extensively hand-modified). It’s fast-loading (the page itself is only about 6 KB, exclusive of the background image and some CSS calls). It was my first attempt at writing for the modern web, using proper alignment and formatting and not utilizing outdated commands. As a result, it’s fully valid XHTML 1.0 – something no other hand-made CGHM page could come close to claiming.

Q: What are the limitations of the new page?

A: It’s not exactly formatted for cell phones. It displays fine on Android devices and, I would imagine, most Apple products, but browsers that do not display scroll bars may have trouble navigating the in-page search results. I may be able to figure out a way around this.

Javascript is also required to get the most out of it, and it doesn’t look as beautiful on screens with very low resolutions.

The “WoW” (Words of Wisdom) portion of CGHM was never intended to be a permanent solution. If you recall, CGHM Networks itself began as a hub for all the CGHM affiliate sites, most of which were small and/or uninteresting. The CGHM Home Page would, at that point, display news from the various sites, and was only updated once every few months. There was really nothing to do there.

At least this way there’s something to see. And, if you really just cannot stand it, just set your bookmarks to www.cghm.org/wow or wow.cghm.org instead of simply cghm.org. Or you can use an RSS reader (like Google reader) to see the article and/or comment feeds.

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