Problems with the Fuji X Weekly Website — A Message from the Webmaster

“I seem to have trouble loading your site and posting comments… Most comments never got through.”


I’m not a web designer. I’m not an IT expert. I’m not a programmer. Yet, here I am, playing each of those roles.

I’m a photographer. That’s what I want to spend as much of my time as practical doing. I’m also a writer to an extent, which is something else that I enjoy doing. The Fuji X Weekly website is my outlet for both. I like helping other photographers, and am truly honored that my Film Simulation Recipes have had such an impact on so many and even the industry at large—it’s far more than I ever imagined!

Sometimes, though, I have to set my camera down, and be the Fuji X Weekly webmaster. Who came up with that name, anyway? Webmaster sounds so dramatic. Was it on Peter Parker’s shortlist, and after a coinflip he went with Spiderman instead? Surely it was an IT guy—his office was probably in a dark corner of a basement and he felt really under-appreciated for all his hard work maintaining some large company’s website—who coined the term, so that he might get more respect and maybe a pay raise.

Arizona Sunbeams – Glendale, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – 1976 Kodak

When I first enrolled in college many, many years ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted my career to be. A lot of adults advised me to major in a technology field, like coding or engineering. So that’s what I did. In the very first semester I took this class called Computer Basics, which was mostly about how to use Word and PowerPoint and the internet, which was fairly young at that point—DPReview wouldn’t launch for several more months, and Ken Rockwell wasn’t even on the scene yet. The final project for that class was to write a simple DOS program, something like if you prompt it to answer 1+1 it would give you 2. I struggled so much, and passed the introductory-level class with a C. The very next semester I changed my major to photography.

Problems with the Fuji X Weekly website have been ongoing since it first launched on August 21, 2017. I’ve had to learn how to design a website, and to an extent how to code. I was suddenly a webmaster. I didn’t feel much like the master of the web, and I still don’t. I’ve learned so much about it over the years; however, I’m far from an expert. Mostly, I limp along, and hope that Google has the answer to whatever problems I’m trying to solve. YouTube University has been invaluable!

Lately, though, the problems have grown. It started several months back when I needed to upgrade hosting, because I was pushing the upper limits of the plan I was paying for. Unfortunately, what should have been a seamless switch wasn’t, and I was suddenly experiencing both small and big issues. Next, because my expenses expanded—for both the website and apps—I brought back ads, but through a different company that promised a better experience. That’s been a huge headache, and it hasn’t exactly gone well. I’m fighting to get the ads to be minimal, unobtrusive, relevant, and appropriate (yet cover the expenses)—it’s been a battle, and we’re still not there. I’m on the fence on how I’ll move forward with this. I’ve almost pulled the plug several times on the ads—and I still might—but I’m hoping to get it right at some point soon. I appreciate your patience with this.

Dramatic Sunset behind Saguaro – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – 1976 Kodak

Some of the website problems are definitely significant. Probably the biggest one is that some people are experiencing an error, and the page won’t load. The message is “too many attempts” or “too many redirects” or something like that. I haven’t found the root of this issue, but clearing the cache and cookies has sometimes resolved it (so try that if you’re experiencing this problem). I don’t know why some people get this error while most don’t, or why clearing the cache is sometimes the fix. If any of you know the answer, please reach out to me, because I’d love to fix it.

Another issue that just recently came to my attention is that a lot of comments aren’t coming through. There are two aspects to this. First, I moderate the comments. Someone who has never commented before, or who has included a link to a website, will often get flagged for moderation. I get a lot of troll and spam comments that I don’t want published because it ruins the experience for everyone, so moderating these are important. This is my website, so I have the authority—and, really, obligation—to do this. Comments held for moderation haven’t changed as far as I can tell. The second aspect is that WordPress will flag obvious spam comments as spam. I get probably 100 of these type of comments each day, sometimes much more than that. Unfortunately, many non-spam comments are getting flagged as spam for some reason. I dug through the spam folder, and found intermixed with all the spam comments a handful of clearly not-spam comments, some by regular readers who have commented many times before. There are so many spam comments that it’s not practical to go very far back looking for the few non-spam that got flagged, but I know that I need to dig through it daily now. I’m really sorry if your comment didn’t come through. I don’t know why this happened or even when, but hopefully I’ll be able to find and approve all of the non-spam and non-troll comments going forward.

Are there other issues that I’m not aware of? I hope not, but I’m certain there are. Whenever I put on my webmaster cap, I do my best to fix them, but I cannot fix what I’m not aware is broken. If you’ve experienced some sort of issue, don’t hesitate to let me know—it’s greatly appreciated whenever someone does. And if you know how to fix the problem, please share with me the answer! I might technically be in the IT field, and I’ve certainly learned a heck-of-a-lot over the last six years, but I’m still in over his head on some of this stuff. Besides, I’d rather be out with my camera, capturing photos for next Film Simulation Recipe—especially during golden hour, when the light can be magical.

FXW Update: New Day, New Home, New Office

Pink Bougainvillea – Buckeye, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm – “Fujicolor Pro 400H

As I type this, I’m in my new office in my new home, which is in Arizona and not Utah. I called Utah home for six years; however, I just moved to Arizona. I used to live in Arizona—it’s where my wife, Amanda, and I met over 20 years ago. It’s where my oldest two kids were born. In a way it was already home before we even arrived. It’s good to be back, I think, and I believe some really good things are just around the corner.

I captured the picture above, Pink Bougainvillea, about 10 minutes ago in the side yard. You can see these flowers through a window from my new office. The views aren’t quite as good here as they were from our house in Utah (which were just incredible… I loved watching the changing light on the Wasatch mountains), but there is still a lovely beauty that I hope will be inspiring as I type out new articles for this blog… and get caught up on all the other work that I’m way behind on.

Fujifilm X-E4 as captured on my iPhone today using the RitchieCam App

I have been a nomad for the last two-and-a-half months, traveling all around—going in circles, really. We went through Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, before arriving in southern Missouri to experience the Ozarks, which were more beautiful than I anticipated—amazing place, with water and trees everywhere! Then we went to Arkansas, which, again, was more beautiful than I had expected. We returned to Texas to spend a couple weeks in the Lone Star State, before traveling through New Mexico (again) enroute to Arizona. You might think we were done once we arrived in the Grand Canyon State, but we only paused to look for a house. Once living arrangements were squared away, we continued on—first to the central California coast, then to Utah (because we still had some stuff in a storage unit) by way of Nevada and (briefly) Arizona. It was a quick turnaround back to Arizona, and today is Day 1 in the new place (although I’m still waiting for our Pods with our furniture and stuff to arrive). Still lots of work to do while simultaneously trying to catch up on all that I’m behind on. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

It’s a new day in a new house, working from my new office. I’m both sleepy and extremely excited. Now I just need to get some coffee, because I’m running on about six hours of sleep. I have a whole bunch of content that I hope to publish in the coming weeks, plus other projects and such, that I haven’t had the time to complete (or, in some cases, even start…)—hopefully I can now. I’ve got to go, but I’ll be back soon. Before I go, I just want to give a quick reminder that the next broadcast of SOOC will be live this Thursday at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern—I hope to see you then!