WordPress 5.2 Released

WordPress 5.2 has been released! Along with accessibility and privacy updates, and new blocks for the editor, this release introduces a new Site Health system, which will help you debug common issues and help you collect crucial information for support requests. PHP Error Protection joins the party to help you fix or manage fatal errors, such as those caused by plugin or theme installations and updates. As of this release, WordPress now requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher. This is a big leap from the old PHP 5.2 requirement, but considering that even PHP 5.6 reached its end of life 4 months ago, it’s definitely a necessary move.

327 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and Gary Pendergast. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.2 has been out for about 1 hour, and has already been downloaded 147,717 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!

Earth Day, 2019

Today is Earth Day, a day to reflect on our home, and a great day to start saving the environment for free and donating to The Conservation Fund.

While you’re doing that, please ways you can help the environment yourself with just a few changes, like using LED light bulbs, walking or biking to closer destinations, 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, or enjoy this video if you can’t, and do your part to help our planet thrive.

A Search Shortcut For Any Theme

Sometimes you find a WordPress theme you love, like Twenty Nineteen, but it’s just missing something you really want, like a search bar at the top. I’ve covered my other Twenty Nineteen tweaks in an earlier post, but folks have asked about this too. Since it works for pretty much any theme, I figured a separate post would be more appropriate.

Since you don’t have a search bar in at the top of your site, you’re probably using WordPress’s built-in Search widget. The first thing you’ll want to do is right-click the widget’s title, choose Inspect Element (or similar, it depends on your browser) and copy its section ID. In my case, that is:

<section id="search-3" class="widget widget_search">

so, the section ID is search-3.

Now, edit your site’s menu. Here you’ll add a Custom Link to your menu, enter only # followed by the section ID as the URL, in my case #search-3 and enter whatever you’d like for the Navigation Label. I went with a magnifying glass emoji 🔍 , and if you choose an emoji too, please enter “Search” in the Title Attribute field so folks with Screen Readers know what the link is for.

(Photo by Francesca Tirico on Unsplash)

WordPress 5.1 Released

WordPress 5.1 has been released! This release introduces performance enhancements for the new block editor (formerly referred to as Gutenberg), along with a handy new feature that makes sure you aren’t running under an outdated version of PHP and that you won’t install any plugins which require a higher version of PHP than you currently have. This is a big deal, because while PHP is the programming language that powers WordPress, even finding out what version of PHP you’re running is often a mystery for many. Surfacing this in the Dashboard will go a long way to making more folks aware of their options.

561 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg and Gary Pendergast. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.1 has been out for about 2 hours, and has already been downloaded 301,045 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!

The Shadow in the Archive

I’m a fan of The Shadow. I have seen the movie, I have read the comics, I have an awesome Shadow figure, I tracked down some episodes on Spotify, and I loved Masks. You get the picture, I’m a fan of The Shadow. I just love his straight-forward-yet-somehow-mystical approach to fighting crime, it’s perfectly balanced.

I’m also a fan of The Internet Archive. I wrote a whole series on it, you should check it out, and then send them a donation.

I wanted to see what I could find for The Shadow in The Internet Archive, and I found days worth of content! If you’re interested in immersing yourself in The Shadow too, you’ll love this archive of almost half of the radio dramas! If you’re more of the reading type, enjoy The Five Chameleons, The Black Hush, and The Shadow Scrapbook. If you’re more of the watching type, enjoy The Shadow Strikes, Return of The Shadow, The Missing Lady, and The Invisible Avenger.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Shadow, all of that free content should be more than enough to keep you busy for a long time. If you just want a quick look into The Shadow’s world, and you prefer newer things, the latest movie is still too new to be in the Internet Archive, but it’s available to buy and rent on many platforms. It won’t be the greatest film you’ve ever seen, but I think you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

Overall though, I hope you enjoy The Shadow as much as I do!

Masks

The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.

Masks is a very interesting mini series from writer Chris Roberson and artists Alex Ross and Dennis Calero. The premise is basically “The Avengers, but with pulp classic heroes.” New York has become shockingly totalitarian, and the only ones willing to put a stop to it are The Shadow, Green Hornet, Kato, The Spider, Zorro, The Green Lama, Miss Fury, Black Terror, and The Black Bat.

The covers and the entirety of issue 1 are done by one of my favorite comic book artists, Alex Ross, of Kingdom Come fame. It must take him a long time to produce this level of photo-realistic art, so I can kind of forgive the fact that Dennis Calero takes over after the first issue. It’s disappointing to lose that level of art so soon, but it’s not a bad follow-up either. I can’t really put to words how great Alex Ross’s art is, so all of the images in this review are from his covers and pages.

The story by Chris Roberson is a bit of an interesting case, I can see why the reviews overall on this mini series are mixed. I’m a fan of old pulp serials and radio dramas, especially The Shadow, and that is exactly what this mini series reads like. Those old dramas weren’t really known for their deep characters, complex worlds, or believable plots, and to be honest, Masks won’t be known for that either. It feels like I’ve picked up a pulp serial from the 1930s, and I love it! I suppose you just have to be the type of person that craves that level of nostalgia.

I love the characters in Mask, I love the art, and I love the style of story it’s telling. It’s the perfect miniseries for me. I’d also love for it to be adapted into a film or a TV series, but the story will definitely need some changes for that to work with the average audience. If you love old pulp serials and radio dramas, you’ll love Masks too!

Happy New Year! the 2019 edition

2019 begins today, so it’s a great time to start using some basic privacy toolsmake sure your browser is up to dateupdate all of your passwords, and setup two factor authentication wherever you can.

This site’s top five items last year were Cloudup: Free File Sharing from AutomatticModern Aircraft Accident Investigation Equipment and TechniquesFix for Stuck Health App (iOS 8), Custom Fonts Without Plugins for WordPress Themes, and Automattic Meetup 2018, so I guess those old items really do have some staying power. 🙂

We’ll need more people sharing their voices and experiences this year, so please considering launching your own site with WordPress (and Jetpack) or WordPress.com, or start posting again if you already have one!

Now, let’s all have a great 2019!

Hawaii in December

This is the first year that Mom has lived on the big island of Hawaii, so Sarah and I decided it would be good to spend some of the winter break down there this year, mostly around the Kona district. We had a great time, and you know I love to take photos, so here are some of my favorites.

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 adds a simple separator between the menu items:

#menu-name li:not(:last-child):after {
content: "|";
padding-right: 5px;
color: #000;
}

.site-header.featured-image #menu-name li:not(:last-child):after {
	color: #fff;
}

You’ll need replace “name” with the name that you gave the menu. For example, if you called the menu “Main,” you would use “#menu-main” in the code above.

Props to Pascal Cescato for improving on the code that was originally here!

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. 🙂

Update: I figured the search shortcut deserved its own post.

For further help with Twenty Nineteen, please visit the Twenty Nineteen support forum.

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!