Educational system

The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on – because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.
– Noam Chomsky


Have a nice day

We came across this chipped and faded painting on a side street in Shelby, NC. It seems like almost every Coca-Cola painting I see like this is in an alley off the main streets. I can only imagine what the lady’s face looked like when the paint was new. The weathered surface has left her with a somewhat sinister look.

Cleaning up behind the WordPress SEO plugin

The WordPress SEO plugin by Joost de Valk, a.k.a Yoast, is undoubtedly a great plugin. But, one thing that bothers me about it is the amount of stuff it adds to the WordPress admin interface. For me that’s not really a problem. I can easily ignore, remove, or hide the features I don’t need, but for people who are beginners or who pay others to handle SEO, the features can be overwhelming. Another issue is that some sites don’t want contributors or authors handling SEO. They give that duty to editors.

Some of this stuff can be turned off by the users, but if you’re handing over a site to beginners they won’t know how to do that and could easily become overwhelmed by all the stuff they’re seeing. Let’s face it, WordPress alone has enough stuff for beginners to deal with. Adding more on top of it only adds to the total cognitive load.

For these reasons, over time I’ve written various plugins that remove certain aspects of the plugin’s output for users who don’t have the responsibilities of an editor. I’ve also found several other people on support forums looking for solutions to this problem, so I’ve decided to put this all together in one plugin and publish it here to help.
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Identifying new comments since your last visit

The other day I was reading the discussions taking place in the comments on a relatively interesting blog post. I didn’t want to subscribe to comments via email because I hate littering my inbox with that stuff, so every now and then I’d flip over to that tab in my browser, refresh the page, and read the new comments. This worked ok up to a couple dozen comments. I had to step away for a few hours, and when I came back there was three dozen or so new comments. I couldn’t tell what was new and what wasn’t. So I didn’t read any of them.

Then I realized something I’ve known for a long time and never really paid any attention. Discussion software sucks. There are lots of reasons, and people have tried addressing these problems in a number of ways. And while there are many different types of platforms for discussions – forums, blog comments, Facebook groups, etc. – each with its own set of problems, there’s one problem that’s almost universal: the inability to identify new comments since your last visit.

Naturally I wondered if anyone had created a WordPress plugin that highlights new comments, and a quick search turned up nothing. But I did find a blog post by Natko Hasic that laid out an interesting way to highlight new comments.

I decided to turn his solution in a plugin. Comments Since Last Visit is a simple WordPress plugin that highlights new comments made on posts since a person’s last visit.

Right now it’s very simple and has no options for controlling the color, spacing, or other CSS. It’s better suited for developers or tinkerers who’d want to modify it to their own liking. Check it out and let me know what you think. And if you know a better or more interesting way to do this, please share.

In web development, it’s never enough

It’s not enough to know HTML, CSS, MySQL, and PHP.

It’s not enough to know JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX.

It’s not enough to know LESS, Sass, Stylus, and the CSS preprocessor du jour.

It’s not enough to know Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

It’s not enough to know iPhone, Android, and God help us, Blackberry.

It’s not enough to know Linux, Apache, and Nginx.

It’s not enough to know Ruby, Node Package Manager, and Grunt.

It’s not enough to know SublimeText, PhpStorm, and Coda.

It’s not enough to know SFTP, WordPress admin, and cPanel.

It’s not enough to know Git, SVN, and Mercurial.

It’s not enough to know XML and JSON.

It’s not enough to know Composer, Capistrano, Puppet, and Vagrant.

It’s not enough to know WordPress and all its classes, functions, hooks, filters, and template hierarchy.

It’s not enough to know the different coding standards for each language.

It’s not enough to know…

When it comes to this web development thing, it’s never enough. There’s always something changing, and it’s not all progress. Web development is a fool’s errand, yet we’re attracted to it like an addict to a crack rock. Because it feels good to take that hit.

Just know if you take up web development as a job, you’ll be the fat guy on a treadmill with a pork chop dangling in front of your face, and all you’ll ever get is a whiff. Because the pork chop doesn’t get closer and the treadmill never stops. But it sure smells good.