We’re Back…

…and we’re running WordPress. It’s been an unpleasant time.  We’ve had to get the RAM upgraded in our server, but we don’t really know what else has gone on.  In the process of the troubleshooting, we migrated the site from Drupal to WordPress, and I think we’ll be sticking with WordPress now.  Drupal was great, […]

Drupal Image Module – Server Falls Over After Uploading a Batch of Images

Update3: The problem never stayed away, and got worse. I tried upgrading to Drupal 6.x, but our hosting has such an old version of MySQL that we can’t run Drupal 6.x. I then tried a fresh installation of Drupal 5.x, fetching the current version of every module we need, and enabling things gradually. So far, things are pointing at the search module again, but I only stopped the problems by deleting the search module and emptying all the search tables. Disabling the module didn’t stop lots of locked processes updating the search_index table. We’ll see how things go from here, then.

Update2: Running without the Image module didn’t fix it – it happened again. We now have the Image module enabled again, and a few other modules disabled. PathAuto is included in this lot, as I’ve heard it can have performance issues with a lot of paths (we have over 1,000). If things stay stable this way, I’ll probably try updating PathAuto to the latest version and enabling it again.

Update: This turned out not to be the case at all. The next batch of images I uploaded were ok, but the next after that caused the same locking problems without the search module running. I’m just going to abandon the image module for now, and maybe have another go when we upgrade to Drupal 6.x.

A GoogleFood post – there’s probably nothing of interest here, unless Google has brought you to this page when you’re trying to work out why Drupal keeps making your server crash, run very slowly, etc, after you’ve added a batch of images.

Redesigning our Redesigns

Well, anyone who visits reasonably often has probably already noticed that we redesigned again a couple of weeks ago. I’ve finally put aside my dislike of fixed-width designs, and used one. It’s based on the 960.gs implementation, turned into a simple Drupal theme.

The choice of fonts was aided a lot by a couple of articles:

Putting these two together, we’ve picked fonts that should display well on all major platforms, and fail over to something reasonable on anything else.

We’re still experimenting a little with the ads. Just a little while ago, we replaced the big ad block in the top left with a random photo. We like the money they bring, but we don’t want to make the site unpleasant to read, either.

Hope you like it – if not, I hope it’s at least readable and not too objectionable.

Another New Look for PigPog

Another week, another new look for PigPog.

This time, it’s a completely new theme I’ve built, so there’s even more chance that I’ve broken something. It’s all a bit basic, but it feels a bit more like it’s actually ours. I’ve put all the navigation stuff in a couple of reasonably narrow bars on the right, so the content is the first thing on a page.

It’s readable, and shouldn’t be too overloaded with ads, which were two of the problems with last week’s effort. Anyway, as ever, let me know what you think – even if you don’t like it. When it’s a theme built from scratch, it should be a bit easier to change.

A New Look for PigPog

Ever since upgrading to Drupal 5.x, we’ve just stuck with the default theme, with just a colour tweak to make it ours. I finally decided to take a bit of time to look at other themes, and found one I quite liked – it’s called Channel Nine (no relation that I’m aware of to the Microsoft thing). I’ve made a few very small changes to the theme, mainly to change the colours.

The idea of a theme without the standard ‘masthead’ top section was quite appealing, and this one seems to cope nicely with different screen widths, too.

As usual, I’ve tried to check things, but I might have broken something – please comment here if you spot something I’ve missed.

Updating my Drupal (lack of) Knowledge

I finally got around to working out some of the differences between Drupal 4.x modules and Drupal 5.x modules. Not much of the differences, mind, just enough to get the few custom bits we wanted back on PigPog working.

  • The old semi-automatic ads we had that we pop in by just adding a tag or two have returned. OK, so I don’t suppose many people were waiting for us to sort that out. When we redesigned, though, we did go for a less intrusive set of ads generally, losing the big square that poked into the content, and that’s costing us a bit, because that one did get people going clicky. We don’t want it back, though, because the site looks better without it. Putting the little semi-auto ones back should help make up a bit.
  • We can now create new GuitarPr0n entries again (and Gary should be able to, too). We still intend to make a better home for GuitarPr0n at some point, but this makes things a bit more liveable-with until then.

The main difference, in case it’s of interest to anyone Google should drop here, is that modules now have to have a .info file as well as the .module file. They’re pretty easy to create, though, just copy and edit one from another module.

  • Oh, I’ve set the ads in the right-hand column to be text-only, too. Some of the animated graphic ads were kind of distracting and ugly.

43Folders Gets Drupal

43Folders has just relaunched using Drupal. It’s looking really good so far – Merlin drafted in a few people who actually know what they’re doing with Drupal, where PigPog just had me and a poking-stick to try to make things work. If you’re into productivity pr0n and GTD stuff in any way, I’m sure you’re already a big fan of Merlin’s site, but it’s certainly worth going and having a fresh look.

Big Changes

Well, that was certainly a day of big changes for PigPog. I hate doing upgrades to the site, because all it takes is something very small to go wrong, and there’s a lot at risk. It all went reasonably smoothly, considering how much was happening.

  • I upgraded Drupal to version 5.x.
  • I switched PigPog to use the new default theme, and customised the colour scheme. I always feel a bit bad about not making a real custom scheme, but this way is so easy, and I’d probably never manage to make anything that matches the default theme’s simple but pretty design.
  • I’ve moved the content we don’t want to concentrate on any more to a new section, so it’s not using space in the top bar any more.
  • I’ve installed a new Flickr module for Drupal, which makes it a little easier to add Flickr photos to posts, and lets us do a few things with blocks too.
  • I’ve tried to give GuitarPr0n its own theme back, but only with limited success.

We need to make a new logo still, and there’s a bit of work to do to make the feeds work as they should, but I’m pretty happy with progress.

Big Changes for PigPog

Summary: Expect PigPog to change around a bit over the next little while – some things will move, and it may start to look a bit different. It’ll probably take a week or so to settle down, but we’re doing a bit of ‘rebranding’. PigPog is becoming PigPog Visual Arts, and tightening its focus to concentrate on less things, but hopefully to cover them better. We’ll be trying to make it a bit more about us, too (Michael and Sam), and putting more of our stuff out there rather than just talking about it.

If you’re interested in why we’re doing this, and what’s likely to change, keep reading…

If you’re at all regular around here, you’ll probably have noticed that PigPog hasn’t been updated very much in recent times. There’s no shortage of things available for us to cover – anything creative is our area. We have reached the conclusion that this is probably our biggest problem.

The Problem

By focusing on such a wide area, we’ve given ourselves some difficulties: