WordPress 3.7 with Background Updates

WordPress is actively being developed by great developers. I always tried to keep my WordPress installation updated by running update process — which is very easy. But, right now, I want to write down about the latest release. Not that every update provides an improvement, new features, or bug fixes, but this version 3.7 (codename: Basie) has few good things offered.
The first useful feature is the background updates. It means that you do not need to worry about having an outdated installation when a new release is available. So, if your self-hosted WordPress-powered blog is not yet upgraded to 3.7, it’s a perfect time.
WordPress 3.7 Updates
Having an automatic upgrade is good, it’s a worry-free situation. Of course, there might be some bugs or features that you will not be familiar with. But for me, having everything updated is a good thing. If you’re using some plugins, they might not compatible with the latest updates. Not always, but it might happen. Since I don’t have critical plugins installed, having some broken plugins should not be an issue. I just simply disabled them.

How to turn off automatic updates?

You can, but you have to maintain your updates. Or, if you don’t care about this updates (or worse, you don’t care about your blog), you can just ignore it. The easiest solution to disable the core updates is by modifying your wp-config.php file. It’s located at the main root directory. Add these following lines:

# Disables all core updates:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );
# Enables all core updates, including minor and major:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
# Enables core updates for minor releases (default):
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );

If you want to for some details, go to Make WordPress Core website.
Some others features introduced in this updates includes the password strength checker. Do you always have a not-easy-to-guess password? The other one is about a better search. Since I’m maintaining some WordPress-powered sites, I think I will update them all right now.

Photon: WordPress.com's Content Delivery Network

Dealing with side loads for heavy-traffic website sometime can be painful. But, of course there are some common practice to deal with this kind of situation. For example, you can take advantage of cache system, offload to other service to reduce server load/bandwidth, or using CDN (Content Delivery Network).
For WordPress-powered sites, you can take advantage from its Jetpack. This free plugin offered lots of handy features to help you work with your WordPress installation. One of them is a featured called Photon.

Give your site a boost by loading images in posts from the WordPress.com content delivery network. We cache your images and serve them from our super-fast network, reducing the burden on your Web host with the click of a button.

That’s right. You should see some big hints there: content delivery network, cache, super-fast network. To activate this feature, just hit the “Activate” button, and you’re set. All your uploaded media files will be served using WordPress.com infrastructure. After having this feature activated, all image URLs in your posts will be modified. For example:

  • Original URL: http://domain.com/dotsios300.png
  • New URL: http://i2.wp.com/domain.com/dotsios300.png

If you are interested, here is an example of the image header served from WordPress.com network.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Cache-Control: public, max-age=63115200
Content-Type: image/png
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:06:28 GMT
Expires: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:06:26 GMT
Last-Modified: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:05:27 GMT
Server: ECS (sin/47C6)
X-Bytes-Saved: 8597
X-Cache: HIT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-nc: HIT iad 90
Content-Length: 46456

WordPress 3.3: It looks great!

WordPress team just announced that the new version of WordPress is available. It’s WordPress 3.3 “Sonny”. Matt posted some notes about this release. I have WordPress for multi-site installation, and since the previous upgrade went smoothly — except some minor issues — I had no reasons not to upgrade. It was easy, just took few seconds.
I like the way WordPress greets me with useful information. You will get information about new features. You know what your WordPress installation can do. Nice.

I need some more steps to upgrade since my blog is a network-blog. It took only few extra clicks. When I go to post creation page, I got a tiny  tooltip telling an information about what I can get from this installation. The media uploader is improved now. It’s drag-and-drop now. If you have problem, you can still use the basic uploader. And, it also supports additional files (.rar and .7z).

This release is also great for those who wants to start blogging using WordPress because “Help” provides more details about the current page — yes, it’s depending on the context.

If you want to read all details about this WordPress 3.3, go to WordPress Codex. For me, these are some to highlight:

  • Drag-and-Drop Media Uploader
  • Post-update About screen — After upgrading, you know what the new features are.
  • When inserting a Gallery to be ordered by Date/Time use the post_date field for ordering rather than ID

 

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Missing WordPress' Jetpack Statistics Data

I have been using WordPress Stats plugin for long time. And when Jetpack  was introduced, I had it installed right away. Everything works great. What I like about WordPress statistics data — from this plugin — is that it can give me some useful insight about my blog traffic. It’s not as detailed as Google Analytics, of course. But, it’s useful.
Yesterday, I made some modifications on the blog theme. I was not sure whether this problem has something to do with the issue or not. But, when I logged in to my WordPress dashboard and hit the Stats Page I found an error. Something regarding the invalid token.
I disabled Jetpack plugin, and had it enabled again. I did it using the standard procedure: install, connect to WorPress.com account, and configure.

All works. But, not the statistics. All statistics are gone.

I have some statistic profiles under a single WordPress.com account. I checked the other sites, and they’re all working. I’m still looking for a solution for this. I feel that all the statistics are stored at WordPress’ server. I think I will try to contact them. For now, I think I will use Google Analytics data and server log.

about.me offers free email for its users. Do you use it?

I decided not to use it.
I’m using about.me service to create my personal splash page. You can see mine at about.me/thomasarie. It looks good, and very useful to display multiple online profiles like Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram. Everything works great.
Few days ago, about.me users received an email informing about an offer to get more personalized email address. Yes, another mail service! Last May, Nokia did the same step by powering its mail service called Ovi Mail using Yahoo! Mail features. Since about.me is now part of AOL family, you will get AOL Mail-powered email. Just a reminder: AOL bought about.me back in December 2010.
I claimed my email address. Yes, I have now thomasarie [at] about.me, powered by AOL. If you want to get yours,  authenticate yourself at about.me website, and you should see “Offer” menu under “Dashboard” menu on the top navigation.

The setup was easy. You only need to give your date of birth information. I use Google Mail — Google Apps for domain — as my primary email service right now. I also keep my Yahoo! Mail account checked on regular basis. They offer a good service until today. AOL Mail did offers some features, but I haven’t found any features other mail services don’t have. So, I decided not to use it. If you send your email to thomasarie [at] about.me, it will go to my inbox. But, I’m not sure whether I check it regularly or not.
And, this is how the the email frontpage looks like. Sorry, I just need ’email’.

Klout Adds Five New Networks

If you like to analyze influence using a service called Klout — or, you like to analyze your own Klout score — this might be a good news. Klout just added five new services to build (hopefully) better scoring. You can now add services like Tumblr, Instagram, Blogger.com, Flickr and Last.fm.
The additional services try to cover popular services for blogging, photo sharing and also audio. Those services make internet users become more connected each other.
I’m curious whether other popular services like WordPress, Smugmug and Google Plus will be added there or not. Google Plus does not have its API right now. Okey, we’ll see. How’s your Klout score?

Moving a WordPress-powered site to another domain: The Permalink

Yesterday, I needed to move a self-hosted WordPress site to another domain. The process was easy because it’s like copying all files, edit the configuration file and editing internal links in all posts. All process only took less than 15 minutes. But, that’s not the only thing. One of the important things needed is to maintain the article links — known as “permanent link”.
This is important because I don’t want to send the visitors coming from other sources (links in blog posts, shared link on Twitter or Facebook) to missing pages. It’s called “permanent link”, right? So, having the permanent link broken is not a good idea.
I came up with a simple solution: using .htacess. After moving all files and checking all configurations I put these lines in the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^.*olddomain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

So, when visitors visit olddomain.com/path/to/article/, the browsers will go automatically to newdomain.com/path/to/article/. Easy!

Are you using WordPress' Post Formats feature?

If you have upgraded your WordPress installation to the latest version (right now, it’s Version 3.1), you can take advantage of its “Post Formats” feature. So, what is it anyway? WordPress Codex explains:

A Post Format is a piece of meta information that can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post. The Post Formats feature provides a standardized list of formats that are available to all themes that support the feature. Themes are not required to support every format on the list. New formats cannot be introduced by themes nor even plugins. The standardization of this list provides both compatibility between numerous themes and an avenue for external blogging tools to access to this feature in a consistent fashion. In short, with a theme that supports Post Formats, a blogger can change how each post looks by choosing a Post Format from a radio-button list.

This feature might be useful if you want to “format” your blog posts, especially when you want to have different output format from your WordPress theme. Just think about Tumblr service. Tumblr is very easy to use when you want to make a kind of item collections. Sometime you want to embed a video, post a link, make a regular blog post, or even embed an audio file. If you want to create a new post, you will have something like this:

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