About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Updates and Changes

Updates and Changes

If you're a regular visitor here, you may have noticed a few changes on the site over the last little while, and also, you've probably noticed that it's been a while since I've posted an update. There's been a lot going on lately, and there's been a lot of technical issues that I've had to deal with on the site, so let me explain.

Why the site changed

I really liked my old design, and based on the feedback I've received, lots of you liked it too, so it wasn't an easy decision to change the site. It wasn't just for a change though, I had to pick a different design because of some technical issues with Squarespace. Let me start at the beginning....

I currently run this site on Squarespace. I used to use Wordpress but I switched quite a while ago. I really like Squarespace but it's not entirely without its own problems, and one of these came up recently. I got an email from a reader who pointed out that my site was using a lot of cpu usage in Safari, even when its just sitting there. At first I thought that this must be some kind of mistake, but I checked it out and sure enough, with my site open in a tab in Safari, the cpu was using about 100% (on a mac). Funnily enough in Chrome this isn't an issue. I tried changing a few things to see if it was something I was doing, but I couldn't find a solution.

I emailed Squarespace's normally excellent customer service, and after a while and being told it was being escalated to the administrator level. Eventually I got an email back which was basically a brush off, saying that it was expected behaviour for the theme that I was using and that it required more cpu usage. They suggested that I was using lots of images and that I should remove some. This of course is total bullshit, because, it isn't using any CPU on chrome, and even on pages or blog posts with only a few images in the content, the CPU usage was still hovering around 100%. The comments about not using a lot of images also really annoyed me, because Squarespace actively markets itself as a solution for photographers, and my site was not doing anything out of the ordinary for a photography blog.

While this hasn't really been an issue before, and it was the first time anyone has contacted me about it, it's not really acceptable, and I can't exactly tell people to use Chrome, as If a site sad that to me I'd stop reading it, so I switched to a different theme.

The current one uses a lot less CPU power in safari, but it's still using a lot, even when just sitting idle. I checked out some other sites that I know use Squarespace too and they are also using a similar level of CPU usage. Incidentally, most Wordpress powered sites use little or no CPU when sitting idle. I would switch back to Wordpress, but I've so much invested in the current setup, and there's lots of hassles with Wordpress too, so I really don't want to.

The New Design

On the positive side, now that I've set it up, I actually like the new design. It's a little different but it has some advantages. The biggest one is that it puts a much better emphasis on the images in a post, and makes them the hero of any piece. I also like the way it works for long form pieces with mixed type and images. I've also gotten rid of the sidebar, meaning there's more room for the main content.

The homepage design is now sidebar-less too, and it's a mix of recent blog posts in a nice grid, as well as links to my presets, and other content and details of the site. There's also a little slideshow at the top, which I still need to put better images into. You can still easily access the various sections which are under the "Sections" menu, and I've kept a quick link to the Fuji X section as that's one of the most popular destinations for readers.

The design is a work in progress and It will evolve over time as I find things I'm not happy with and fix them. I'm not sure how long the old one was up for, but I hope I won't have to change it again any time soon.

Store Issues

If that wasn't enough, I've been having some issues with my download store too. It is still running on Wordpress, and I had recently changed the theme there to a fancier one. Well, I had to put that back too, because there were some compatibility issues with certain browsers, and if you had pop up blockers enabled. Anyway, for the moment I've restored the old theme, so if you were having issues they're hopefully resolved. I know some people have staff to deal with these kinds of issues, but I'm doing this all myself, and my knowledge of web coding and so on only goes so far, so it is frustrating when these issues occur, not just for you the viewer or reader, but for me too.

More to come

Now that that tale is out of the way, In the next post I'll let you know some of my recent photographic exploits. I've been travelling a bit, and so I have some travel shots to share. Stay tuned!

A Few Days in Berlin

A Few Days in Berlin

A Walk in the Garden

A Walk in the Garden