Happy New Year! the 2021 edition

2021 begins today, and while the new year is supposed to be about casting aside the bad things to focus on a bright future, it hardly feels that way in the midst of a global pandemic. But, writing these has been a tradition since 2013, and this doesn’t seem like a good year to break with any traditions.

Keeping with the theme, the top post here was Working From Home, written at the start of the lockdowns in the United States. I’ve been working from home for 10 years, and now most of us are, so I hope folks found it useful.

A quick list of favorites this year, I hope you enjoy them too:

This year especially, we’ll need more people sharing their voices and experiences as we navigate our lives during this pandemic, so please considering launching your own site with WordPress (and Jetpack) or WordPress.com, or start posting again if you already have one! If shorted content is your thing, take Tumblr for a spin. I didn’t think I was going to do much there, but now it’s a big part of my online presence.

If we work together and have empathy for not only one another, but also for those we lost along the way, we might just make it through 2021.

WordPress 5.6 Released

WordPress 5.6 has been released! Along with expanded layout controls and auto-updates for major releases, this release also introduces the new Twenty Twenty-One default theme. For specifics, check out the changelog.

605 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Josepha Haden, Chloe Bringmann, and Angela Jin. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.5 has been out for just a bit over 1 hour, and has already been downloaded 300,710 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 Jetpack Backup, 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!

WordPress 5.5 Released

WordPress 5.5 has been released! Along with speed and block editor enhancements, this update adds plugin and theme auto-updates, XML sitemaps, image lazy loading, and over 500 bug fixes. For specifics, check out the changelog.

805 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg, Jake Surlock, and David Baumwald. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.5 has been out for about 5 hours, and has already been downloaded 1,028,975 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 Jetpack Backup, 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!

On Social Networks – Tumblr

Back in November, I shared some thoughts on social networks. I had just joined Tumblr at the time, so I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. I think I’m getting the hang of it, so I thought it would only be fair to revisit it separately. Before I continue though, please take a moment today to ask Facebook to stop profiting from hate speech and misinformation.

Back in the old days of this blog, I’d post short content far more frequently. Photos, GIFs, videos, links to articles elsewhere, single-sentence remarks, usually multiple times per day. I didn’t have anywhere else besides my Twitter account to share these things, and Twitter isn’t really built for centralized consumption, so the blog here was a more natural fit. Over time though, this blog has evolved into much longer form content, leaving no room for frequent small shares.

Tumblr is much more centralized than Twitter though, so I have begun to post small frequent shares again at MacManX Aside. Not only is the experience of browsing an individual’s content similar to consuming a stand-alone blog, but the overall community seems perfectly suited for the things I want to share. It even has specific posting styles for text, photos, quotes, links, invitations to discuss, audio, and videos, all of the things I stopped posting here (for the most part). In November, I had no clue what to post there, but the light bulb went off rather quickly, and I’ve begun posting small things I love again quite frequently. Plus, that all auto-shares to Twitter, so that’s handy. Engagement there is still low for now, but to be honest engagement has always been low here too.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a post about social networks without me mentioning my absolute favorite social network, MLTSHP. I post similar things there, far more things actually, and it is quite simply the best, kindest, most supportive, and most diverse social network I have ever been a part of. Think of it as a highly curated selection of things we love. Plus, engagement is off the charts, and everyone feels like a friend from day one. Sure, it costs $3/year to join, but that’s because it’s entirely community funded (no ads or tracking), and that tiny $3 gate seems to keep the bad people out (there is an aggressively enforced Code of Conduct for any who gets through though). Did I mention it’s entirely open source too? Anyway, if you ever decide to join, please feel free to follow me there, or check out the publicly visible Popular page if you’re unsure.

With all that said, while posts like these are somewhat permanent, my views on social network usage are always in flux. Therefore, I am now keeping an up-to-date page listing which social networks I use.

(Photo by Merakist on Unsplash)

Earth Day, 2020

Today is Earth Day, a day to reflect on our home world, the only one we have, and a great day to start saving the environment for free, going carbon negative, and donating to Trees for the Future.

This is definitely an interesting Earth Day for all of us, with many of us under some form of a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is still out there, but it’s ok if it feels very different today than it did last year, we’re all coping differently. Please wear a fabric face mask (like this no-sew handkerchief mask or something more robust), and please reserve medical masks for medical professionals. The more of us who do our part to stop the spread, the sooner we can begin to get back to the way things used to be. (But, maybe with less pollution this time, right?)

Once equipped with a mask, try to spend some time outdoors, just make sure to stay 6 feet apart of people you aren’t sharing a home with. If you can’t make it outside today, or you’d rather not, please enjoy this video.