Chet Aero, an Old Site with a New Look

It’s been a long time in coming, but chet-aero.com–the site dedicated to my family’s adventures in both sky and sea–is now a WordPress “blog.”  It’s overdue, but some explanation about it is in order.

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The original chet-aero site dates from 2004, first published around the time of another contentious American presidential election.  At the time, I had had many years of maintaining the other sites, vulcanhammer.net (with its geotechnical and marine downloads) and Positive Infinity (more of an opinion site.)  In digging through the family archives, it was clear that my grandfather’s aviation career was not only of interest to us but a fascinating piece of American history.  Moreover, it was my desire to move my web design forward.  At the time I was moving from Microsoft Front Page (remember that?) to Adobe GoLive.  Unfortunately, when you maintain a site for a long time without changing locations or basic formats, you get a great deal of legacy crud in the code.  chet-aero.com (which was both the URL and the name for the site) was to be a new effort with a new look.  (Additionally it was the first site done completely from my Mac, to which I had switched two years earlier.)

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Although I’ve made many contacts and associations through the years, chet-aero.com never quite “went viral” the way I wanted it to.  There are several reasons for this.

The first is that it was a static site (with active elements) in a era when the long migration to active sites and platforms (such as WordPress) was under way.  This was the time when the blogosphere was in full swing (as Dan Rather found out the hard way.)  I was slow in adapting to that: Positive Infinity didn’t start its long march towards an active site until the following year and only adopted WordPress in 2006.

The second is that the downloads section–which put vulcanhammer.net on the map–never carried the site the way it had elsewhere, probably due to the specific subject matter.

The third relates to the second: the subject matter, although an interesting part of American history, is a small one.  Adding the yachts in 2010 didn’t really help that much.

In going to WordPress, I’ve been able to address many issues that badly needed it:

  1. The site is “mobile device friendly,” an integral feature of WordPress blogging.  That’s important now that search engines prefer mobile-capable sites.
  2. The photos–probably the strongest feature of the site–are much better handled by WordPress’ fb-style elements and slide shows.  Traditional HTML was clumsy in that regard.  That also enabled me to ditch the old Flash elements–which were one of the nicer things about the site when they first went up–for the WordPress slide shows.
  3. The menuing–something I was never satisfied with in the old site–is automattic.
  4. The old mov videos are finally a thing of the past.
  5. I’ve corrected spelling numerous spelling errors, some of which go back to the site’s infancy.

So take a look at it.  The URL chet-aero.com will soon point to the site; for several reasons it won’t be fully activated here.  Thank you for your support in the past and God bless.

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