In the last couple of weeks I have stripped this site down to the minimum in both theme and plugins. Just a bit of spring cleaning really and allows me to look at adding things as I need them or want to test them. I had nearly 40 plugins installed and activated and have stripped this back to an essential 6 or 7. As this is my personal site and blog I have often used it to test different things, hence so many plugins.
Twitter has just launched there official WordPress plugin so as a Twitter user I am interested to try this out so will initially test here.
OK I am not the first person to say this and many have tried and failed to fix it.
Before looking at why email could be broken it is worth looking at why it is so popular and useful (and yes it is useful):
- It’s quick and easy
- You can send to many people at once reducing any duplication of effort
- It’s cheap
- It’s private
- There is an expectation of an instant response
Now let’s have a look at some of the reasons why email is not so great:
- It’s (too) quick and easy, too easy to send an email when may another method of communication may be better (e.g. a telephone call).
- You can send to many people at once reducing any duplication of effort, this can often mean that multiple people can be included who often do not need to be. Of course if you are on the first email of the chain you are probably on the last reading each one just to check that you were mentioned or required
- It’s cheap – that’s why we have so much spam! 2 millions emails sent who cares it’s cheap.
- It’s private – two main disadvantages a) some people may say things that they would not say in public but funny when gets sent or forwarded to people you may not expect. b) more importantly much of what goes on in emails, in organisations and projects, would benefit many others hence why so many emails are forwarded
- Expectation of an instant response – many of us are stuck constantly checking email because we thing that an instant response is expected.
So what’s the answer? Clearly email is not going away any time soon and neither should it but I think we would benefit from changing our attitude to email and reducing the amount of email we send and finding better communication platforms. Email coming in from externals is often to be welcomed especially if it is from customers and prospects but what about internal email. The larger the organisation the more of the email that can be generated internally with multiple cc’s (and probably more bcc’s than is good for us). Even in SME’s internal email can blight your inbox with either irrelevant information that very few people need or very important information that everyone needs to see but can’t because it is in your email.
In the last 10 years we have seen Social Media become a formidable public communication platform. I would imagine that a lot less email has been sent because of Facebook (there has to be some upside) and thank goodness it has reduced the dancing cat videos in my inbox.
So could Social Media platforms reduce email in organisations. Clearly much of what is said (typed) is not for public consumption, mainly for boredom reasons as much as competition, but there are many private social media platforms for corporates. It is great to hear that Automatic has no internal email at all, as all in-house communication (which is across many countries) is done on P2 a WordPress blog which is customised for that very purpose. There are also many other platforms out there with Slack (great name) possibly leading the field with a corporate twitter-like microblogging platform.
So next time you are about to hit the ‘send’ button, with multiple cc addresses, stop and think is there a better way for me to communicate. I for one think that ‘yes’ maybe the answer.
Released this week WordPress 3.2 is another step forward in usability, functionality and speed for the worlds most popular open source publishing platform
Before upgrading you may want to use the WordPress Requirements Plugin as 3.2 changes the minimum requirements for both PHP and MySQL. WordPress 3.2 will require PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0
It’s also worth noting that support for some older browsers has also been dropped. If using any modern analytics package you should easily be able to see the browser versions you visitors are using to see how much of an effect this may have for your site. In Google Analytics From the Visitors menu select Browsers and then you can click on each browser listed to see the version number visitors are using like this:
In WordPress 3.2 the browser’s no longer supported include Internet Explorer 6 which is still used widely around the world. To encourage people to keep their browser up to date WordPress also have their Browse Happy campaign:
I have had a many WordPress blogs over the years installed on shared hosting and have had little problem installing and managing them. I used a great auto upgrade plugin before automatic upgrades came to WordPress in version 2.7 (I think). But even with automatic upgrading of versions and plugins, having many blogs, it still took some manageing to make sure all my blogs were up-to-date and secure. So I planned for the what I saw as the Holy Grail of a WordPressMU (now Multisite option) install on a virtual server to combine all (or at least most) of the blogs I manage onto one server therefore one time upgrade of versions and plugins.
For reasons better none to me at the time and partially explained on this post I started from LAMP configured Ubuntu 10.04 server install (my server of choice). After some initial issues problems were solved the WordPress 3.0 with Multi Site install, with the domain mapping plugin appeared to be all configured correctly. Not till slightly later did I find that I could not upgrade the plugins automatically (one of the prime reason for having the WordPressMU configuration). The error message I got was as below but basically it appeared that there was an access/permission issue.
Enabling Maintenance mode…
Updating Plugin Akismet (1/1)
Downloading update from http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/akismet.2.4.0.zip…
Unpacking the update…
Installing the latest version…
Removing the old version of the plugin…
Plugin upgrade failed.
An error occured while updating Akismet: Could not remove the old plugin..
After much googling I was still left scratching my head, although there were many forum posts on a similar subject they, for the most part, would go the same way:
- WP user complains of not being able to upgrade plugins
- Many other WP users chime in with similar issues
- A helpful soul says its not a problem just set every file and folder (and the kitchen sink) to have permissions of 777 (read, write and execute access for everybody and his passing dog)
- Then a very sensible WP user advises this is incredibly fool-hardy and insecure and you should never do this
- Finally the forum posts end without any real answer
I did temporarily set all folders to 777 to see if this would solve the problem and it had no effect for me what so ever. What did initially appear to be the issue was that my virtual server did not have FTP access as nearly all shared hosting has. But by following this very useful blog post from LornaJane I knew this was not the issue and completely agreed that I did not want to have an FTP server (another vulnerability) if I did not need to.
I was getting closer to my answer in the post and comments from LornaJane with the command to make the apache user be able write to the WordPress directory as follows:
chown -R apache:apache
But wait, as the my default Ubuntu server does not use the user/group apache but instead uses www-data the command I finally used via ssh on my remote server was:
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www
And as if by magic my auto upgrades worked. Hopefully this may help someone else as well.
I recently installed WordPressMU on a virtual server and had problem with the permalinks. Much Google searching followed with little success at first but after some persistence I found the answers I needed.
I will try and write this up for three reasons:
- So hopefully it could benefit someone else with the same problem
- To try and better understand it myself
- I will no doubt forget for next time and need to refer back.
The bulk of this post is taken from a fantastic post on the Drupal site (http://drupal.org/node/332318). Although I had done lots of Google searches I struggled to find the answer for quite some time until I hit the post above. I think this is because the key to finding the right answer for a problem is finding someone with the same set-up. Saying this I found the solution to my WordPress problem on Drupal site although the issue was with a common problem area of ‘mod_rewrite’ on the Apache web server and in particular the Apache server running on Ubuntu. Ubuntu has a different way of storing apache settings (e.g it has a blank htppd.conf and uses apache2.conf) and holds modules in an ‘enabled’ folder not in the main settings file. This may well be better way than the ‘other’ ways but it can mean that a lot of the mod_rewrite ‘solutions’ on Google are not relevant if they are not specifically for Ubuntu.
Just quickly for this project my setup was:
Virtual Server Provider: VPS.net
Base install: Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) x64 LAMP*
WordPress 3.0 (with Multisite enabled)
* This was a preconfigured Ubuntu server with LAMP already instated and my experience may have been different if I had taken a clean Ubuntu install and installed LAMP myself. VPS.net do a offer a fully preconfigured WordPress server in Ubuntu which I am sure would have not had these issues but I wanted to install WordPressMU and this requires the install to be on the www root (VPS.net install it on a folder called WordPress) and the latest version. In my way of thinking I would prefer to install from scratch on a clean webserver than upgrading/moving an existing install – OK I like to learn the hardway.
Anyway the solution to my problem:
1. First we need to check if the rewrite module is installed. I was connected to my VPS server via SSH but either in a Terminal or via SSH type (or copy from below):
This should show a list of Apache modules. Rewrite_Module should be there (as it is a default in Ubuntu 10.04) but if not check with your FTP client or in your file browser that /etc/apache2/mods-available contains a file called rewrite.load. If it does not then you need to fix this before you can carry on.
Presuming it does exist then we need to create a symlink (Symbolic Link on Wikipedia) between mods-enabled to mods-available. Again in the Terminal/SSH type or copy:
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/rewrite.load
2. Now we need to check that rewrite module rewrite.load is in the mods enabled folder (/etc/apache2/mods-enabled). The easiest way is to have a look at that folder with your FTP client or file browser.
3. Presuming you are still OK then then the final and very important stage is to ‘Enable AllowOverride All’
In the folder /etc/apache2/sites-enabled you should find a file called 000-default and you need to check that all permissions are set to read & write not just read only, easily done with an FTP client (right click file>File Permissions in Filezilla)
In 000-default it will probably say AllowOverride None in several places. Find the one for where you’ve installed WordPress , and change it to AllowOverride All. e.g if WordPress is installed at var/www/????? then it may be under the Directory “/var/www” grouping.
Finally, dont forget to restart Apache from the terminal:
(now corrected see Keith’s comment)
if you don’t restart none of the changes will take affect
That worked for me and hopefully will work for somebody else. A big thanks to the Drupal site for the post but I thought it was worth regurgitating for WordPress users as I am sure it could affect a few.
Just a few of the great links from this weekends WordCamp UK. A lot of great plugins etc mentioned by the speakers.
This widget has everything you’ll ever need to show posts on your site without touching code. It’s like having a WordPress developer ready to do your bidding all wrapped up in a widget. All you need is a theme that’s widgetized, which I believe is pretty standard these days.
The Members plugin is a user, role, and content management plugin. Its purpose is to make WordPress a more powerful CMS by giving you fine-grain control over the users of your site
Post Control from WordPress CMS Modifications gives you complete control over your write options for every user level/role. It not only allows you to hides unwanted items like custom fields, trackbacks, revisions etc. but also gives you a whole lot more control over how WordPress deals with creating content
The White Label CMS plugin is for developers who want to give their clients a more personalised and less confusing CMS.
You have the ability to choose which menus appear. We have 3 CMS profiles of Website, Blog or Custom so you can modify the menu system to suit the CMS purpose. These only apply to user role of Editor and below.
The simplest way to turn your WordPress website into a Social Network comparable to Facebook or LinkedIn. Mingle makes it easy to create a social network for your family, church, business or even a premium membership site! Mingle uses your standard WordPress website and standard WordPress theme to create your Social Network instantly. So go ahead and try it out–give your users a more social experience on your website today
This plugin adds 15 plugins to TinyMCE: Advanced HR, Advanced Image, Advanced Link, Context Menu, Emotions (Smilies), Date and Time, IESpell, Layer, Nonbreaking, Print, Search and Replace, Style, Table, Visual Characters and XHTML Extras.
WP Geo is a Google Maps plugin for WordPress which enables you to easily attribute a location and map to a post or page.
GigPress is a powerful WordPress plugin designed for musicians and other performers. Manage all of your upcoming and past performances right from within the WordPress admin, and display them on your site using simple shortcodes, PHP template tags, or the GigPress widget on your WordPress-powered website.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
After the Deadline helps you write better and spend less time editing. Click the proofread button in the visual or HTML editor toolbar to check spelling, style, and grammar.
Welcome Pack is a BuddyPress plugin bu Paul Gibbs that enhances the new user experience. When a user registers on your site, Welcome Pack lets you automatically send them a friend or group invitation, a Welcome Message and can redirect them to a Start Page. You can also customise the default emails sent by BuddyPress to ensure that they match the brand and tone of your site.
BuddyPress Links is a drop in link and rich media sharing component for BuddyPress 1.2.x
The easiest way to share your favorite content from sites like YouTube, Flickr, Hulu and more on your BuddyPress network.
oEmbed for BuddyPress utilizes WordPress’ own oEmbed class, so by default, you can share content from the following site
This site is a default installation of BuddyPress that should hopefully give you a good idea about how it works out of the box. Please register for an account and test out some of the features. If you have any questions, please send a mention to @andy .
This site also acts as a place where users can test and find bugs. If you do find a bug with the site, please report it as it will help make each release as stable as possible. You can report bugs at http://trac.buddypress.org/newticket/ – you can log in with your BuddyPress.org or WordPress.org account.
Looking for an emailing solution for a newsletter or email campaign? MailChimp is an excellent mass mailing solution which also has a plugins for the WordPress blogging and content management system and Magento the open source e-commerce software. Links below to the two plugins:
I am always interested in reading information and advise on business blogging and I came across this book on scribd which I thought was quite good (below).
I have setup and used many blogs with blogger, livejournal, tumblr, .mac etc. As much as I enjoy writing blog posts I like to play with the technology and see how the different services work. I had a main blog for a few years at outserve.biz a yahoo hosted wordpress blog. Due to work commitments outserve.biz became little more than my delicious tags being automatically posted everyday (not a great idea if you re not posting anything else).
As part of rationalising my blogs I have completely deleted outserve.biz and cancelled my hosting plan, which at 5.99 gave little value (sorry yahoo but I think you have bigger problems than that at the moment). I have also tried to streamline the blogs that are left, which are below and all running on the latest version of WordPress.
philipoakley.org – I intend to keep this as my personal blog to add my own personal comments on anything i feel is interesting although I am sure that that most of it will be tech related. I am not looking to put a lot of family stuff, photos etc as I have other placces for that. I also intend to use it as a space to test themes, plugins and widgets as thats what I like doing.
– A relatively new site where I wanted to talk about software that
could be used on Windows, Mac and Linux. I use all three platforms and
like to use software that can run on all 3 (e.g. Firefox). I find it useful to be using similar software across all machines and to be able to share files with the same format (e.g. OpenOffice).
I also think that using this software offers more freedom to the users
it does not lack you into one operating system provider and can
facilitate moving to another os e.g. windows to linux. Although it is
not a prerequisite a lot of the software will no doubt be free and open
flosbus.com – (Free Libre Open Source BUsiness Software) now one of my older blogs I set this blog up to do mini reviews of open source business software such as ERP, CRM, BI etc. I am looking to expand this site to include news and anything that is relevant to this topic.
I have a few more domain names but will just look to point those as the existing blogs above. I am trying to keep the blogs to a sensible number (4 or less) but already have another 3 ideas for 3 more.