New website features

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So, some of the most exciting things that are happening right now have to do with fixing some of the things that have been bugging some loyal customers.

Shortly after releasing “Maybe” to Symposium members first (You have joined the online Symposium, right?), some users started to have issues checking out. In particular, the “spinning wheel” loading icon wouldn’t stop spinning, nor would the checkout process complete.

Any problems with Alijam Music are generally either server-based (my end) or browser-based (your end). Problems on my end generally result in a white-screen-of-death “500 Internal Server Error” (if I’m unaware of what’s happening), Cloudflare displaying the Internet Archive’s latest snapshot of the site (also if I’m unaware of what’s happening), or a Maintenance Page (if I’m aware of what’s happening and am trying to fix it without keeping the website operational). Server errors can also result in erratic behavior, like menu items not going where they are supposed to go, or getting a different product than the one you ordered. Sometimes these are directly my error, sometimes, these are caused by the website’s theme or plugins.

Now that I’m in more control over the server, I also have more responsibility. I can’t just send a support request to the webhosting service anymore. I get to Google what’s wrong and try the solutions I’m given.

Browser-based errors tend to result in things like “stuck” pages, or wrong images being seen on pages, or old information being seen, like prices from the day before when they’ve been changed on my side.

The easiest and first solution you can try is to press function key F5. This is a keyboard shortcut for doing a “hard reload” of a webpage. This causes the browser to toss any information it kept about the website and get all the information fresh from the server. You may have to input purchasing details again, but the page is more likely to work.

If that doesn’t work, you could try deleting all the cookies and cache from your web browser. This usually signs you out of most websites (including Alijam Music), but it also forces your browser to get everything from scratch once again. Sometimes it is more effective than the F5 approach, but it requires going into your browser settings to delete cookies and other website data.

If THAT doesn’t work, it is possible that your browser may not be working correctly. It might not be updated to the latest version, or, in rare cases, you’re using a browser that is known to have some issues with the website. Safari, in particular, seems to be a troublesome browser to use; you might have better luck downloading and using another browser for Alijam Music, like Firefox or Chrome or Opera or Brave.

If you’ve gotten to this point and still are having issues, then it’s time to contact me and let me know what’s happening. You can help me when you tell me about a bug in the website by telling me what browser and operating system you use (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome), and by telling me what error message, if any, that you’re getting. I may ask some follow-up questions to help me narrow down what to look for in the logs: one of the great things about learning how to manage an internet server is that I understand more of what the logs are describing, which makes it easier to find a solution.

Given that I had to tell people about refreshing their browser window or trying a different browser, I found this really cute floating FAQ/Troubleshooting plugin and have populated it with several of the more common questions I’ve been asked recently. I’ll keep adding to it as more common questions are asked.

As always, I cherish value each and every one of you that has chosen to use some of the music I’ve composed and arranged. It is an honor to create for you.

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