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15 October 2009
1.52am
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Joe
Pepperland
Admin
Forum Posts: 4392
Member Since:
31 March 2008
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Hi MJB. Thanks for dropping by, and for your comments. Like you I'm a total Beatles nut, and it's always good to meet fellow fans.

I'm glad you like my site, and I'm sorry for the slow loading times. I'm aware of the problems, and hope to do something about it in the nearish future.

In web geek terms, here's the issue. The site is hosted in the US (although I live in the UK) on shared hosting. This is a cheapish option for people without the funds for dedicated, faster hosting, and essentially means it's on a server box with a load of other people's sites. If one site decides to run a resource-heavy script it can slow down everyone else's, so it's not ideal.

Point two: the site itself uses a content management system called WordPress. This keeps all the content in a database, and builds pages when people demand them (ie if you click on the Rubber Soul article, it'll be built from scratch, compiling the header, main content, widgets on the right-hand side etc). I've enabled caching to pre-compile pages, so that when someone clicks on a page, it should be stored for a set amount of time, speeding up the load times for other users.

Unfortunately certain pages, including the whole of this forum, can't be cached due to the way they're set up. Additionally, although the site is largely text-based (ie not complicated), there are certain aspects, like the Google maps, which can take a while to bring in. The more functionality that's added, the slower the site can be to load.

I've spent some time trying to optimise the code, and it's a lot faster than it used to be in the early, experimental days. The only real solution, though, is to move to a faster host. I've got plans to do this, but I've just moved house and I'm not really in a position to spend a weekend troubleshooting a new server! When things settle down I hope to get on it though - in the meantime please be patient...

Joe

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

15 October 2009
9.40am
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Joe
Pepperland
Admin
Forum Posts: 4392
Member Since:
31 March 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thank you! It's great to get feedback, positive or negative, but it's really nice when people appreciate what you do. I have spent many hours on this - the big push was to get the articles on each song written. That took some time - about six months, and I did at least one every day. My poor wife got a bit fed up with me slaving over the computer with Beatles books strewn everywhere.

Over time I've revisited, redesigned the site, added bits and pieces, but there's still loads to do. I do hope it becomes the definitive fan site in time. At the moment I've done key dates up to 1969, but I hope to eventually have a full blog detailing everything that The Beatles did day by day, right up to the present day if I can find the information. But there's so much else to do - I want to do full discographies for any countries I can find out about, expand the photo gallery (at the moment it's quite sparse), come up with some interesting features and do whatever else I can.

Unfortunately I have a day job which gets in the way. My background is journalism so writing content isn't a problem, but there's always *loads* of server tinkering to do. Which brings me to the avatar problem. It's a known bug though I wasn't aware of it before. I'll upgrade the forum to the latest version and see if that fixes the problem. Back in a minute!

15 October 2009
10.18pm
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joe2
Here
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
15 October 2009
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OK. It does work. Here's the deal (it's been a bit of a learning process for me too).

Firstly, the forum software needed updating so that avatars could be uploaded. The previous version had a bug.

The latest software restored some default settings. One of them was that it would look for a person's Gravatar (.com - a globally-recognised avatar that can be used across a number of sites) before the uploaded one. Obviously that's not ideal, so I've switched it around so that:

This forum searches and selects a member avatar in the following sequence until one is found:

  1. Uploaded Avatar
  2. WordPress Avatar Setting
  3. Forum Default Avatars
  4. From Gravatar.com

If you go back to your profile page and browse for an image (it doesn't have to be less than 80x80px - it resizes larger ones) it should upload the pic to my server. When it tells you the upload is complete, you then need to save your profile again. There's a little button below it to do this. All being well you should have your chosen avatar.

The pic of the back of George's head is a standard one I've set up so that when people post comments on articles etc, if they haven't got a Gravatar it's the default pic. It's number two in the list above.

I can't work out how to fix the post, reply etc buttons so they're a bit more obvious. I think there's something missing from the admin area but I won't fix it tonight - it's late and there's a glass of wine calling my name. Laugh

PS one other thing: I found it wouldn't save my settings until I'd added a first and last name in the Personal Identity section. I might disable this - frankly I don't really care what people's real names are, as long as they're polite and don't flame other people.

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