Twenty Nineteen Tweaks

The Sorbet theme has served me well for a number of years, but it doesn’t have full support for everything that the new editor introduced in WordPress 5.0 offers, so I figured it was time to move on to the new Twenty Nineteen default theme.

Twenty Nineteen is a beautiful, simple, and clean theme, but there are a few things I didn’t like, so I figured I’d share how I handled them.

Accent Color

This site has used the same shade of blue as its accent color for the past 14 years. Twenty Nineteen has a built-in color slider to choose your accent color, but no way to specify a particular shade. This is because Twenty Nineteen’s color slider only includes shades that are easily visible against the white background and black text. This is definitely a worthy reason to finally change, so I just used the slider to pick the shade of blue that most closely matched my logo.

Square Logo

Speaking of my logo, I love it, it was designed by José Marques, and keeping it contained in Twenty Nineteen’s circular crop was absolutely not what I wanted, so I added the following via Customize > Additional CSS to remove that circle effect:

.site-logo .custom-logo-link {
    border-radius: 0;
}

Props to Kathryn Presner for reminding me how to do that since my CSS has gotten a bit rusty lately.

Menu Separator

Twenty Nineteen’s menu simply includes space between items, and that just didn’t look right to me. Was “About Categories” an About page, a Category page, or was it a page about categories? This quick addition via Customize > Additional CSS added a simple separator between the two:

#menu-item-2177:after {
	content: "|";
	padding-right: 5px;
	color: #000;
}

.site-header.featured-image #menu-item-2177:after {
	color: #fff;
}

You’ll need to find the ID for the menu item that you want to add the separator after, and put it in place of “2177” above. To do that, right-click the menu item, choose “Inspect Element” (the wording will differ depending on the browser you use), and look for “menu-item-[number]” inside the source there (you may need to look one level higher or lower in the source if you don’t see it right where it drops you).

That’s all I’ve done to Twenty Nineteen so far, but I never stop messing with the themes I’m using, so I’m sure there will be more tweaks to share later on. 🙂

WordPress 5.0 Released

WordPress 5.0 has been released! This release introduces an entirely new editor (commonly referred to as Gutenberg), along with the new Twenty Nineteen default theme!

423 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.0 has been out for about 5 hours, and has already been downloaded 1,054,064 times!

All users can safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using VaultPress, which you really should be.

If you run into any problems, stop by the known issues first, and please let us know if it’s not covered there!

Automattic Meetup 2018

This year, Automattic went to Orlando, Florida for our annual Grand Meetup. We had almost 800 employees spanning the globe, suddenly just spanning 1 hotel for the week. It’s great to build things in person with people you usually only communicate with via text. Sure, it’s a little bit overwhelming, but I always walk away with a few new friends.

We built and learned quite a bit this week, and though there are no specific announcements yet, please watch the the Jetpack Blog, the WordPress.com Blog, and the WooCommerce Blog for exciting news. As for myself, I have a few photos to share:

In case you’re wondering, those last few photos are of our very talented band of Automatticians.

For more photos, stop by the a8cgm tag on WordPress.com and on Instagram too.

If any of this looks interesting to you, we’re always hiring!

Star Wars: Thrawn

Chiss do not make idle boasts or promises. Once they set their minds to something, they succeed, or die in the attempt.

When Disney removed decades of Star Wars Expanded Universe content from canon, fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn was on of the few characters who managed to stay onboard. He is the only non-human officer in the Galactic Empire, rising from nothing all the way to their highest rank, and considering how racist the Empire is generally portrayed as, that’s saying a lot already.

Thrawn fist appeared in the Star Wars universe in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, and to the relief of many fans, they took the opportunity of the canon reset to give Thrawn a far more fleshed out origin story in 2017’s Thrawn. A year later, it was adapted by Marvel Comics as Star Wars: Thrawn. I usually don’t review adaptations, but as anyone would, I’ll make and except for the Grand Admiral.

The story opens with an Imperial patrol finding the Chiss exiled on a barren planet. He claims to have vital information of the horrors that await the Empire in the Unknown Regions. He is quickly escorted back for an audience with the Emperor, who quickly takes a linking to Thrawn and has him put through the Imperial Academy.

Thrawn is not alone on his journey. Eli Vanto serves as his translator and quickly becomes his protégé, and Arihnda Pryce helps Thrawn navigate the Empire’s treacherous politics. Thrawn’s prowess and unique approach to strategy, illuminated by a fascination in his enemy’s culture and art, propels him through the ranks, shocking naysayers, and leading him towards his first appearance in TV’s Star Wars Rebels.

As with many adaptations, the art is no Kingdom Come. It can be flat at times, but the shadows really come through when it matters. The real highlight is Timothy Zahn’s story, which has far more layers than most comics on the market today.

The adaptation preserves almost the entirety of the Zahn’s story, and you’ll strongly feel all of Thawn’s frustrations and victories, arriving at perhaps the most satisfying understanding of a main villain you’ve ever had. Though, is Thrawn truly a villain in service of the Empire, or does he have an anterior motive? Time will tell. 

LA County Fair – 2018

Yesterday, Sarah and I went to the LA County Fair, a childhood tradition of mine that I hadn’t been to in around 18 years or so. It was great to see all of the familiar sights, mixed in amongst entirely new things, and I’m really glad to see that the contest winners are still displayed prominently throughout. I took a few photos, and look forward to taking a few more next year.

Vader’s Story

Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, I’ve already written about why I didn’t like Attack of the Clones, but above all I have been a life-long fan of Star Wars. In the original trilogy, Darth Vader only appears on screen for a total of 34 minutes, yet he’s one of the most iconic villains in film history. For the majority of the original trilogy, Darth Vader is largely a one-note villain until the very end when he (spoiler alert) saves his son’s life. This redemption story is so important to the character that it even survives alternate universe takes on the series.

The prequel trilogy threw that one-note approach on its head by focussing on Anakin Skywalker, the man who would become Darth Vader. Suddenly, a one-note villain became the Star Wars character with the most depth, further expanded by additional TV shows, books, and comics. You see an ambitious boy grow into a hero, that hero begin to question things to the point that he falters from his path and becomes the villain, and you see that villain realize at the end how far he’s fallen. You may not believe me, and that’s fair, but this short video should put all of that into context:

The next time you watch Star Wars in its entirety, I recommend following this order, and keep in mind the journey of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader and back to Anakin Skywalker.

Ice House Canyon Trailhead

Yesterday, Sarah and I stumbled across the trailhead for the Ice House Canyon Trail on Mount San Antonio. Well, we didn’t really stumble across, we just drove a bit further than planned, it’s actually not hard to miss. We took a few photos, and since it’s roughly an 8-mile hike, we plan to be back for more when we’re better equipped. 🙂

WordPress 4.9.6 Released

WordPress 4.9.6 has been released, and it provides new tools to assist with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The update is recommended for everyone, because the GDPR protects all European Union citizens, regardless of where your site is based.

All users can safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using VaultPress, which you really should be.

The release post will offer some how-to information, and more info will appear in your Dashboard when you update WordPress. Also, if you are a theme or plugin developer, do be aware that there are some important notes for theme and plugin developers.

The tools provided by WordPress only cover the data that WordPress itself collects. All of Automattic’s products have a general page for GDPR info, and WooCommerce has a very helpful guide on managing your store in compliant with the GDPR. If your theme or plugins collect any data, you should definitely check with their documentation or support for specifics on GDPR compliance.

Overall, these tools only assist you with compliance. It is up to you as your site’s owner to take the steps required to be compliant with the GDPR and any local variations that may be introduced.

Earth Day, 2018

Today is Earth Day, a day to reflect on this planet we call home, that means today is a great day to start saving the environment for free and donating to The Conservation Fund.

While you’re doing that, please take the time to consider ways you can help the environment yourself with just a few changes to your routine, like switching out your lights for LED bulbs, walking or biking to closer destinations rather than driving, taking a train or bus whenever possible, planting a tree or two, and even something as simple as properly separating your recyclables from your trash.

Please spend some time outdoors today, or enjoy this video if you can’t, and do your part to help our planet thrive, at least as long as we still have to live here. 😉

Desk Army

I work from home, so keeping an entertaining desk is pretty much a must. Over the past few years, I’ve been collecting figures and toys that have some sort of meaning to me in order to build what I call a Desk Army. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve already seen these, but since I’m starting to slow down a bit, I figured it was a good time to post about it here.

Soldiers in the Desk Army have been recruited, retired, replaced, and wounded over the years, but the current version embedded below is as follows from top-left to bottom-right: an X-wing from Star Wars, Astolfo (Rider of Black) from Fate/Apocrypha, Artoria Pendragon (Saber) from Fate/Zero, Yuuki Asuna from Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan, a TIE/sf from Star Wars, Mega Man X from Mega Man X, Ruby Rose from RWBY, the tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, Optimus Prime from Transformers G1, Jack Harkness from Torchwood, Oliver Queen from Arrow, the Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels, Wolf Link from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Boba Fett from Star Wars, the Green Lion from Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Donald Duck from Disney.

Desk Army 12