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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Expression Engine blues

I realise that Samizdata is not really for this, but what follows is what is on my mind. The woes of politics, economics, life (i.e. other people’s lives), etc., can wait. My question is: does anyone know of an online source – preferably a blog – of advice about how to make a blog running on/under/with “Expression Engine” work better than it does now?

I offer no links in this posting, other than to the ailing blog in question, because links is what I want, rather than what I have.

My personal blog is now facing serious problems. First, I do not know how to make my monthly archives contain everything written during that month. You merely get the top few postings. And second, the process of uploading pictures has stopped working, without anything resembling an explanation:

A problem was encountered while attempting to upload your file.

Not helpful.

Third, in general, first really, the list of things you can tweak and twiddle when you look in the “Admin” section of the control/input system, or anywhere else in among all that stuff for that matter, consists entirely of things that could mean absolutely anything, and consequently, to me, mean absolutely nothing. Where do I find how to increase the number of postings shown in each monthly archive? It is impossible even to guess, and so far I have found nothing on the subject, despite several hours of looking.

Because the blog still is not working properly, I have not been able to get out of the “here is something silly just so as there is something up today” mode, and to start doing serious thinking and serious posting. I like trivia, from time to time. But not all the time.

My problems are caused by my opinions about how my blog should look. I think my blog should look good. I often write about the look of things, which is why I often want to put up photos, right next to what I have written. A blog that is one of those blog standard template thingies would not suffice for these purposes. I want something that looks a bit special, like the things I often like to write about.

What I really need to learn of is a blog where Expression Engine users ask each other questions and where clever Expression Engine show-offs or would-be Expression Engine paid consultants provide show-off and expert answers. Any Expression Engine experts in the London area would be especially useful to learn about. I do have someone helping me quite a lot, but that someone works funny and numerous hours at something else, and is not omniscient. A group blog just might be omniscient round the clock, as near as makes no difference. But is there one?

By the way, please (I cannot compel this but I can beg) do not turn any comments on this into an argument/celebration about how to upload photos to something else, like Flickr. My picture problem is uploading pictures into an Expression Engine blog posting. I want pictures on my blog. Pictures somewhere else as well is not now my problem.

If I cannot solve my problems with Expression Engine, which basically means finding a person or people who can help me solve my problems with Expression Engine, then I will stop using it. I only used Expression Engine in the first place because I was told that Samizdata was going to switch to it, which it has yet to do.

Bloggingwise, it has not been my year.

UPDATE Wednesday October 5th: Expression Engine is not to blame! Repeat: Expression Engine is not to blame! I am still confused by it, but I am confused by everything computational. I am now busy concocting a slightly longer version of this to put up at Samizdata, but meanwhile I attach this to the original posting. If you publicly denounce a product, and it turns out to be blameless, you must say so, and in a blog it is possible to say it right next to where you did the original trashing. So: sorry Expression Engine! Hope you are still in business. When I have done the longer posting, I will add the link forward to it from here.

10 comments to Expression Engine blues

  • There’s an expression engine forum on the pmachines site – but I assume you know this?

  • No I did not know that.

    I went to the Expression Engine website, and was immediately faced with the exact same problem I get when trying to manipulate EE itself. Where the hell do I go for my problem?

    This is why a blog would be better. I could start by explaining my problems in plain English.

    The thing is, I never got into anything Internetted UNTIL blogs, because blogs were the first Internetted things that made sense to me or appealed to me. The geek/human balance was, for the first time on the Internet, balanced the right way. Or so it seemed to me. Everything I have learned about blogging has either been through face to face contact or via other blogs. I have always avoided chat rooms or “forums” because they are overrun by people who don’t get how cosmically ignorant someone like me can be about software etc., or that has been my very limited experience.

    Anyway, thanks, if no better idea surfaces i will definitely try this. First I have to look at the 73 different places I might make a start at, and pick one.

    Put it like this: how the hell am I supposed to know whether I have a problem with my “modules” when I don’t know what a module IS?

    Hey ho.

  • It’s like trying to find a decent plumber.

  • Obandveritas

    Search engines such as Google are usually the first ports of call when one is looking for resources on the web. Or so I always thought.

  • Please check your email Brian — the file upload issue is not related to Expression Engine in any way.

  • I’d be quite happy to give you a hand, though I concur with the frogman in that the image problem is unlikely to be an EE thing. We’ve had these errors on a couple of our sites when the permissions were screwed on the target folder.

    What kind of template do you have for the monthly archive? Feel free to email if the frogman hasn’t fixed it already. 🙂

  • Kim du Toit

    Brian, email me and I’ll hand you off to my own Tech Support (The Mrs.), who knows as much about EE as any human being should know without being an actual pMachine employee.

  • Aegir H and Kim du T

    Many many thanks for your kind offers, but it turns out that the people who have already been helping me are now helping some more.

    The dissident frogman in particular was waiting for a reply from me, which I didn’t clock for some idiot reason, and I was waiting for the email he had already sent. Hence his comment.

    So it looks as if your kind offers are superfluous to requirements. But you (I) never know, and I will definitely remember your offers.

    I knew a blog posting would get things moving, but I admit to being rather amazed at how quickly the logs got unjammed.

    I am now trying to delete email from a heap of email which is so vast that there is no space to create a trash can. So, it refuses to delete anything.

    Bloody computers, I hate them.

  • Andrew Duffin

    But Brian, surely as a good free-marketeer the solution should be obvious to you.

    The product you’re trying to use doesn’t do what you want, and you can’t get any useful help from the Vendors?


    It’s not as if there is any lack of choice – this isn’t the National Blog Service yet, is it?

    Why all the fuss?

  • Andrew

    There are so many errors in your comment I hardly know where to begin, but put it this way:

    You don’t like your wife. So get rid of her and get another.

    Okay that’s a bit extreme, but it does capture a lot of the errors you are suggesting. And what you suggest would, it turned out, have been idiotic.

    Just as a for instance: it turned out that it wasn’t the fault of Expression Engine at all. It was the way I using my webhosting service that was the problem. Any other blogging software would have been clobbered by the same problem. And there was nothing wrong with my webhosting service either. I just had to use it better. Had I jacked in all my existing arrangements and bought new ones, the problem would have remained, but the turmoil would have been horrendous.

    I think the central folly of your comment is the assumption that computer use is always easy, and that if it occasionally seems hard, this is always easily corrected.

    Which suggests another analogy. You talk of computer use as if it was like getting rid of poverty in Africa. Always easy, and always easy to put right when it goes wong.