For the first time in… many years, WordPress.org has a new home page. What’s on the page today actually isn’t that important, even though it’s better in many ways, the key is that it’s changing again, the stone has been unstuck and can now keep rolling.
One of my favorite new .blogs is The Dongle blog, at dongle.blog. I think it’s mostly meant to be funny, but I really agree with this post pointing out you really need something that lets you plug in your lightning headphones to your laptop. I’ve been trying out the Audeze EL-8 and they only have a lightning connector.
Later today (3:45pm ET) I’ll deliver my annual State of the Word speech, which I’m very excited about. If you’d like to watch remotely, this year live stream tickets are free and you can tune in here.
Joseph Rosensteel has an outsider but savvy perspective on the updates and technology around Apple TV. Definitely a worthwhile read. I’ve experienced a lot of this frustration myself — I have a large library of things bought through iTunes, I like the interface of the Apple TV (though I liked the old one a little better), and Airplay is handy, so I want to love the Apple TV. The market is so bad right now that most review sites like Wirecutter recommend Roku, which for me came with a branded remote button for a service that is out of business (Rdio) and has an interface that feels DOS-like.
Wired has a fun and informative look at How to Rig a Presidential Election in 1000 Easy Steps. Basically it’s impossible — I hadn’t really thought of this before, but every precinct has its own officials from both parties that certify everything, there are just a ton of people involved at every step of the process. All that said, I would love if voting platforms were completely open source software and had paper receipts that could be verified manually.
Also speaking of politics getting dirty, the San Francisco State Senate race has had a ton of falsehoods and attacks from Scott Weiner, someone I’ve met before and previously thought was a nice guy, but the latest mailers I’ve seen have just been deceitful (especially considering the Guardian actually endorsed his opponent, Jane Kim).
I went back for a Round 2 answering follow-up questions from Tim’s readers on the Tim Ferriss podcast. About an hour long and covered a wide range of topics. One of these days I need to start podcasting more directly. In the meantime, please give it a listen! Already some great tweets and responses have started to come in.
I’m still catching up with things after the Automattic Grand Meetup, but excited today to be included on the Fortune 40 under 40 list, which I’ve graduated to after being termed out of the under 30 lists. I came in at #20 and it’s great to see lots of friends on the list as well.
The first-party premier Simplenote native apps for Android, iOS, and macOS are now fully open source. I’m very proud of the team for this, and excited that the broader Simplenote community can now see behind the scenes of how things are developing with the app, which remains one of my personal favorites across every platform. What’s Simplenote? It’s the easiest way to have your plain text notes synced instantly across every device and browser you use.
I’m really happy about the feature in today’s new 4.1 release of Jetpack that streamlines logging in with your WordPress.com account. When this is finished it’ll completely protect you from brute force attacks (and server load), and you can secure one login with two-factor for all your sites rather than maintaining dozens of user/pass combinations for all your WordPresses.
Posted from the WordPress.com Mac app.
Jenna Wortham has a good piece on How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History, bringing together some interesting threads from Keith Haring to quantum mechanics. This is part of the reason I’ve been fascinated by the inter-planetary file system, which I mentioned on stage at WordCamp Europe on Friday.
Anker has come out with a pretty cool new USB charger that also supports USB PD, which is the USB-C power delivery standard which means it can fully power a Macbook. So you can take the USB-C cable that came with your Macbook and use this instead of the white brick that Apple makes and other things as well, so fewer things to travel with. It will of course charge any USB-C devices like your Nexus phone super fast as well. I really hope everything uses USB-C PD in the future
Marco Arment has a great take on how the decentralized nature of podcasting is a feature, not a bug, and Apple being more proactive there would be harmful to the ecosystem. As an aside, since I’ve been in Houston more recently, which means driving a lot, I’ve been really loving his app Overcast and I opted in to the optional paid subscription for it. I just need to get in more of a habit of listening to podcasts outside of Houston.
Today the Jetpack plugin turns five years old. Who woulda thunk it? It’s one of the most popular plugins in WP history, and sites that include it as part of their WordPress install are more likely to to have engaged and active users — we’ve even seen it reduce churn on major web hosts. While there’s been a lot that’s happened in the Jetpack plugin so far, what’s around the corner has me even more excited. 😀 🚀 P.S. Check out that new domain.
One of my favorite movies is Thank You for Smoking, the Jason Reitman’s film that looks at the world through the lens of a tobacco lobbyist. It’s fiction, though. This real-life Rolling Stone look at what is going on with rooftop solar in Florida and the big utilities has quotes that could have easily been in the movie.
Facing an amendment that would open up one of the sunniest states to solar power, the utilities created a competing amendment called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” which, as you might imagine, is extraordinarily unfriendly to anyone who wants solar panels on their home. Why the confusing title?
Bascom insisted there was no intention to mislead. “It would defy all logic,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Why would we confuse ours with one that does not have public support?”
When we chose Philadelphia to host the first ever WordCamp US, it was actually for two years, they’ll be hosting again this year December 2-4. We’re going to pick the host city and group for 2017 and 2018 in the next few months, though, and in fact the applications are open and closing in a few weeks. If you think your city and team have what it takes to wow the world with the best WordPress event, please put your hat in the ring!
The Atlantic does an in-depth look on why it’s much less pleasant to have phone calls than it used to be. It’s true, but there are also some great alternatives that I’ve been having luck with recently. Facebook Messenger has a built-in audio (and video!) calling system that is okay. Facetime isn’t just for video, you can also make audio calls with it and they sound amazing (something I learned from Kanye, true story). Many times I’ll try a phone number in Facetime first just in case the person uses an iPhone. And finally Skype still works pretty well even if its clients are a bit heavy. If I’m able to be at a computer (all of these work on computer as well as apps), this Sennheiser USB headset sounds great, blocks background noise, and people say that I sound clear.
One of the areas where Automattic and its products like WordPress.com have the most room for growth is in the area of marketing. It’s also an area our competitors are spending heavily in, with Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Web.com, and to a lesser extent EIG and Godaddy, spending over $350M this year in advertising. (Of course marketing is much more than just advertising, but their spend is still significant.) We’re hiring for a number of positions in this area to build up our team, including a CMO, a performance marketing specialist, marketing-oriented designer, and a role focused on events. If you know of anyone who would be ideal for these roles, or if that person is you, please read about Automattic on that page and follow the guidelines for the role to apply.
One area that’s been unloved for a bit on WordPress.org is the testimonials page, it was almost funny because they were so old they talked about things people don’t even know what they are any more. Well today is a new day, on the new page we’ll be embedding snippets from WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook of people saying what WordPress has meant for them. Post with the tag #ilovewp and it might show up there. 🙂 Think of something that you love about WP that would make someone who hasn’t heard of it or is on the fence about using it compelled to try it out.
LetsEncrypt is available as a beta so everyone can have free SSL, and PHP7 is released which will double the speed of many PHP apps, including WordPress. And it was the first day of WordCamp US, if you missed it definitely livestream tomorrow. (I’m doing the State of the Word at 5pm ET.) A pretty awesome day for the web.