Category: Web

Server Change: Back Online

Phew, that was a fraught couple of days. Some of you may – or may not – have noticed the website has been somewhat intermittent over the last few days. This is because I’ve taken the plunge and changed server providers, leaving my long-term supplier for new pastures. I’ve wanted to do this for a year or so but have been put off by the risks and difficulties a transfer might entail from one server to another. This year I’ve done it and having moved all the simple websites/emails from the old server to new it was time for the big one. This one. Eat Shoot Fly.

This website is somewhat of a mongrel to be fair to it. The photographic side is all on SmugMug (get up to 20% off your own SmugMug account using this handy link!) , and they manage the storage and indeed sale of my pictures. This blog is hosted on my own server space and uses WordPress. My server also deals with the email. All simple stuff once set up…

I used to be pretty good at all aspects of the interweb, but it goes to show that if you don’t use knowledge it disappears from the grey matter. Quite quickly in my case, or that could just be down to advancing years. Much re-learning of such voodoo as FTP and DNS settings, and a whole host of other acronyms and at a glance all appeared normal again. But alas no! To top it all one little file which normally sits invisible in the background on the server didn’t transfer so while I thought everything was fine many of the links on the blog were broken. Being invisible it was the last thing I thought of checking after a frustrating few hours hitting Google and who knows where else for information. As with all the simple things they take some finding but I think I’ve gotten it all straight now and the whole site and server seems to be working normally.

For those who wanted to view the website, thank you for your patience. Normal service is now resumed (I hope!!!).

Spam! What is it good for?

I’ve been running this website and blog for almost 2 years now, and until 6 months ago it was a happy place with a small amount of visitor input (hello visitors!!!) and no unsolicited mail or anything troublesome like that.

That isn’t entirely true, WordPress sites such as this attract spammers like bees are attracted to pollen, but a neat little plugin called Akismet blocks them automatically. A recent check showed over 14,000 – yes, you read that number right – spam messages sitting in a folder, unseen by me or the normal human traffic which comes through.

Now though I’m getting an average of 25 spam emails a day, and I have no idea why that is happening. The server has a spam filter, but it’s nowhere near as effective as the Akismet one on WordPress. I don’t want a Louis Mutton handbag, I’m not interested in Alaskan Cruises, or even Russian Brides. Quite what these people, or more likely bots, think they are gaining from sending this junk out is beyond me.

I’ve already removed the “Contact” page from the website, but that hasn’t stemmed the flow – although it has changed the type of spam slightly. It’s also had the negative effect that people aren’t able to quickly send a message. I’ve increased spam filters on the server as much I dare, I may try even higher though.

Overall though it is the most frustrating and pointless thing ever. Spam. Nice fried, but not in your inbox. They surely can’t get anything from it so why even bother? Would save me a lot of time hitting delete.

Rant over, thanks.

Be social!

The internet is a social place these days, sometimes almost too much so. Facebook. Twitter. Google Plus (if anyone actually goes there). Tumblr. Reddit. Flickr. So many different social networks. So many ways to keep in touch, to get involved, to comment and like or even dislike an image. This website is just the same, although perhaps slightly more subtly than some of the big sites.

My aim is to get this site to be more social, to provoke thought and debate and comment on my pictures and musings. Facebook is pretty good for that – I get lots of comments on there which are all great. To see more comments on here would be even better.

You can comment on the blog or on individual images through this website, and the site provides links to share images or blogs that you like as well through traditional social media. On the blog it’s easy – the comment and share links are at the bottom of each post. On the main photo pages it’s a little more subtle though, because I’ve always wanted the pictures to fill the screen without too many distractions. As a result of this you have to dig a little bit deeper to find the links, and it really is simple…just look to the bottom of the image and the toolbar.

Social Media options on the Photo page

The toolbar has a variety of options. On many of my pictures will be a summary of the image, which is hidden until you click the up arrow by the title on the left. On the right are the social buttons. You can share to Facebook, G+ or Twitter. You can email the image or get a link to it to embed in your own blog or Facebook or Tumblr. Next is the Comments button, which will allow you to post a comment on the image – the dialog box pops up (shown above on the left). Liking images is a very Facebook thing, but works just as well here – just give it a thumbs up with the button.

Further information on the image is available with the Info button, and you can also view the various image sizes that are stored on the website if you want to see something bigger. Finally there is the Add to Cart button, which allows you to purchase the image. No obligation to do so, but I’d be very pleased if you did!

So, the website is as interactive as you want it to be. I hope you enjoy looking through it and want to be part of it, it’ll be a better place with more involvement from you all. Thanks for being part of it!

 

A new SmugMug?!

It’s only been a few weeks since the new Eat Shoot Fly website went life in all its black-backgrounded, full screen-slideshowed glory. Very pleased with it I was – and indeed still am. However, an email hit my inbox last week which sent a shiver down my spine: a new SmugMug is coming.

A NEW SmugMug? Set to launch yesterday the email promised a new look and interface and all sorts. Noooo…

We’ve been through this recently with Flickr, and it’s safe to say that went down like a lead glider with many people even though I quite liked it. I’ve always liked SmugMug although the gallery pages are looking a little dated to be honest -and these are pages that couldn’t easily be customised – so a change is probably good. But so soon after I’d made all the changes to my site? Who knows what will happen when I migrate?

The green button is sitting on top of my admin pages calling to me. They say there is a “Sandbox mode” where I can play with the new SmugMug layouts before revealing it to you, but it is still a big cliff to jump off – because once that button has been pressed I can’t go back…

Of course I’m going to have to hit that button. There is something new and shiny behind it, and I can’t ignore it. So I’ll have to press it and see what happens.

Wish me luck!

New beginnings

Eat Shoot Fly has a new look! Having been using the SmugMug web hosting for a year with my own very basic site design I thought my second year should have a new look – and an added feature, a blog.

With help from the guys at Fastline the website has a completely new look and a much cleaner feel to it. The homepage is now one great big slideshow of my Portfolio images, and looks great in my humble opinion. The Gallery pages are much simpler to navigate on the new site, while retaining the powerful SmugMug engine in the background which makes managing and purchasing images so straight forward.

The biggest change to the site is the addition of this page – a blog. I used to have a blog on a different site but it was used less and less and was eventually closed down. With more and more photography happenings it seems right to resurrect the blog and put it here on Eat Shoot Fly. WordPress is once more unleashed to power the blog, and I’ll keep the blog updated whenever I have anything interesting to add.

If you are interested in a SmugMug site of your own, using this link or quoting the coupon code uAWW7Fq04AnSc to get a discount on your first years membership.

I hope you enjoy the site layout and most importantly the content. If you have any comments or bugs you find on the site please drop me a message using the Contact link.