As some may remember, my favourite music service is Pandora (Deezer used to be a close second until they removed the "Hear This" feature). I listen to a lot of new music and discovery is important to me. That doesn't mean I want to explore a lot of genres I hate. There's a lot of good music in the world (in the sense of appealing to me) and I'd like to spend as much of my life as possible discovering those artists who will change my life for the better.
Pandora gets you there faster than anyone else. I'm currently listening to Carla Bruni radio. I only like Ms. Bruni's music about a 7 out of 10 but Pandora offers a mainly French female singer diet (way too much Ella Fitzgerald at first), leading me to discover four or five artists I didn't know. Pandora is also low-maintenance (it keeps playing without requiring adjusting playlists) and lets you tune your channels to your own tastes (no more Ella Fitzgerald much less Bossa Nova, lots more Indila, Andrea Lindsay, Thievery Corporation and Coeur de Pirate).
Recently we struggled with a difficult issue in WordPress Multisite. We take care of a network of sports weblogs. Each is for a different sport and not all the domain names sound the same.
We have a master install at say worldrecords.org (sample name, not our client's site). Logins only are SSL and all take place at worldrecords.org. An account at any site gets you access to all the sites. Hence login and password takes place at the master domain. Most visitors are not even aware of the domain switch during login.
When people would lose their password, the password reset email would not come from skatinggolds.org or lugegolds.org but from worldrecords.org. Many people would not recognise the domain and would delete the email without clicking and finishing the password reset. Worse yet the email might be considered spam by spam filters.
There's been a lot of talk and writing about radically revamping WordPress edit experience since the New Year. It's great that the conversation has been started and many strong ideas have been shared. Matt Mullenweg kicked off the discussion on 4 January with a Coleridgian description of a new editor. Like Kubla Khan's "stately pleasure-dome", the new editor should be a "miracle of rare device".
The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.
Any "post building experience" which aspires to make "writing rich posts effortless" has my full attention. What should this experience look like in practical terms?
At Foliovision, we like to stay behind a few versions on WordPress. This means our clients enjoy stable custom code for their complex membership and business sites. What it means in real terms is that a site usually stays on the major WordPress iteration on which it was released.
Staying on security updates enormously decreases a publisher's WordPress maintenance burden. We're really grateful to the core WordPress crew for continuing to post security updates for every WordPress release from 3.7 on. On the other hand, it's extremely rude of WordPress to constantly push small publishers to do major version updates without letting the publisher know security updates are available (1). Our BusinessPress plugin solves update anxiety. We lighten up the update notifications, give you more information about what version you are running and encourage you to install the latest security update. Most importantly, BusinessPress prevents clients from pushing through a major update accidentally and breaking their site. On the Christmas holidays for instance.
A year ago PHP7 launched. Those already using HHVM ran a bunch of benchmarks and came away with the conclusion that HHVM is much faster and is indeed the secret sauce of their superior pricey hosting. While scouting for hosting for a very high traffic site, I heard this from WPE, from Pressidium and from Kinsta. Out of the three principal advocates of HHVM, Kinsta's offer was the only one which made any kind of financial sense.
Since then, we've been using HHVM for that project with no end of grief in surprise collapses in the middle of the night or the middle of the weekend. Are the instability and incompatibilities worth it? For a smaller web publisher, certainly not. For a middle-sized web publisher (think top 2000 website in the US), probably not. For a very large sized web publisher (think Facebook or another top 100 website in the US) quite possibly. Here's why.
While out on Twitter today, I visited the Facebook page of the company of a new acquaintance also in the marketing trade. Silvia had decided to cite Gary Vaynerchuk. Pretty compelling statement. I really agree with it.
There is more junk created and marketed on the internet than in world history (there were some pretty weird elixirs hawked in the newspapers around the turn of the century in America so marketing excesses in the favour of poor product are not altogether unprecedented).
Anyone who owns more than two Macs know it's a real convenience to be able to use target mode for transferring files. You just restart your MacBook Pro and hold T down and you're in Target Mode. This lets you copy files on and off the target computer as if the disks inside it were external drives.
The issue lately though is that MacBook Pro's when in Target Mode make a terrific amount of noise:
I have a new Santa Rosa MacBook and when started in Firewire target disk mode, the fan runs at a high rate all of the time. This is even when there is no disk activity. Is this normal?
After moving a website from one server to another, it can be difficult to get the new site to show up immediately even with very low TTL (time to live) times on the DNS server. It’s usually because of DNS cache.
As we have to test with all kinds of OS and different versions, I’ve put together how to flush DNS on each major OS (and even on Google’s tricky Chrome which maintains its own DNS cache) in one place for our own reference.
We are adding comment ratings to our FV Thoughtful Comments at the request of one of our clients. He likes Disqus features but doesn't like entrusting his user generated content to a third party service and doesn't like Disqus page load slowdowns. A very smart guy and successful publisher.
We've experimented with Epoch and wpDisquz and have even donated to the latter. Unfortunately wpDisquz is not fast enough either on a really busy site (measured in both page views and frequency of comments).
Today's challenge is how to quickly turn this finished 5760 x 3840 10 MB photograph into a a high quality and compact web version:
For years I output my photos for web and email with Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Since Adobe went cloud only and non-purchase, I've been working hard to put together workflows which don't include any Adobe and work on 10.6 forward. Adobe Lightroom 4 (last version which runs on 10.6) already forces one to convert originals to DNG (data loss) to be able to use the latest cameras.
I wish Merry Christmas to all our team and all our clients! I hope you are enjoying a peaceful and rewarding respite to the daily toils of your work.
Here's a quick look at our Foliovision Christmas this year. Normally at Christmas we have either a Christmas dinner or a New Year's dinner (depending on the calendar). This year we decided to do something different and go to a concert as a team. Our dear Anna Dudasova couldn't join us for Christmas as she was dancing the lead role in the IMT Smile + Lucnica program.
In a conversation at WP Tavern (a Matt Mullenweg official property) about the problems with maintaining recent WordPress versions (say anything post 3.7), a very lively debate took place about whether major new features in WordPress should come enabled by default with no option to disable them.
The feature in questions was oEmbed this time but it could just as easily have been emojis or XML-RPC (which recently took thousands of WordPress websites down in a major hack exploit).
There's a wonderfully open conversation going on about the future of WordPress over at WPtavern.
It's amazing but Rainmaker can charge $1500/year for usable and secure WordPress. - and the fee just for peace of mind seems reasonable. That's how far off track core developers have gone.
If you've ever visited foliovision.com, you probably know I live in beautiful Bratislava/Hainburg region. Those who live here enjoy the Danube, great classical music, the lower Carpathians and are surrounded some of the most beautiful women in the world. I.e. it's a wonderful place to live. What we don't have since the sad demise of Last.fm's paid radio service, access to any high quality music discovery service. The last one standing is Pandora, which is US only.
Foliovision's office doesn't have air conditioning. Normally it doesn't matter. It's about one week or ten days per year that the heat gets up to the uncomfortable level. It seems to be more and more days each year as this year we are now into the third week of heat right now.
In any case, last week was the second hot one. We had a birthday party scheduled for our programmer Riso and designer Janette on Thursday night. We moved it out to the banks of the Danube, opposite Devin Castle. For many on our team, it was the first time swimming in the might Danube, as in Bratislava the Danube is too fast and after Bratislava and into Hungary, the river is considered too dirty for safe swimming.
Fortunately life is not just about disputes over the GPL and broken payment gateways. I’ve been a little bit too deep in bickering with Matt Mullenweg, Samuel Otto Wood, Jeff Chandler and Automattic about GPL in the evenings (a long post to come). During the day, we’ve been slaving to create a great Payflow gateway for RCP (Restrict Content Pro) as quickly as possible for a client on a deadline.
When last week our long time programmer Ivka got married, Lucia and I were delighted to attend. We had no idea just how wonderful Ivka and Mato’s marriage would be. Smolenice Castle is not far from Bratislava (home to Mato) and very close to Trnava (where Ivka grew up). It’s also one of the most beautiful spots in Slovakia.
Netflix only offers between 2000 and 6000 films available per market at any one time, but internationally there are about 14,000 feature films available. A good DNS redirection service gives you access to all 14,000 films. The difference between a VPN and DNS redirection service is that the VPN takes over your whole network, sending all data via the remote location. DNS redirection services send only the DNS data via the remote location, leading to much faster file transfers (in theory).
We've been slowly removing American cloud services from Foliovision, as the extent of American duplicity about privacy and industrial espionage becomes apparent. One of the services with which it was relatively difficult to part was Dropbox.
Regardless, with international state terrorist and Bush security czarina Condoleeza Rice on the Board of Directors, Dropbox had to go. To the Dropbox founders credit, the requirement to openly appoint Condoleeze Rice on the Board of Directors suggests someone felt that founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi needed very close supervision. I would love to have been inside those meetings, before and after. "Remain professional everyone. We all have a job to do."
We use a lot of software at Foliovision. What we like are stable reliable solutions which deliver what they promise. What we hate is hypeware which overpromises and underdelivers. Often hypeware is delivered by companies which look for successful niches, clone the existing software (easy enough thanks to Matt Mullenweg's and Automattic's insistence that all code must be GPL). Cloned code is generally vastly inferior to the original (most often coded by a passionate coder with a deep understanding of the problem he is trying to solve).
What those copycat coders then do is market the heck out of "their" new product, often making sales where better code is available free or outselling a less expensive and better solution.