WordPress 2.6 Easter Egg

This is new to me, even though others have known about it for months. There’s a Matrix Easter Egg in WordPress 2.6 and in the betas of WordPress 2.7. To activate it:

  1. Edit a post.
  2. Scroll down to the revisions section of the page and click the latest revision.
  3. On the next page, scroll down again and select the same revision for comparison.
  4. The Matrix has you..

Danger !
Self-comparison detected.
Initiating infinite loop eschewal protocol.
Self destruct in… 3
2
1
Wake up, Donncha…
The Matrix has you…
Don’t let this happen again. Go Back.

WordPress MU 2.6.5

The beauty of Burnham Beeches

WordPress MU, the multi blog version of WordPress that runs on such sites as WordPress.com has been updated to version 2.6.5 to address an XSS vulnerability in the feeds offered to users.

More details will be forthcoming but for the time being, there’s also the WordPress.org announcement post.

This release also has a number of bug fixes, including a fix and improvements to rss caching. This is a required upgrade, so please install it as soon as you can.

After you’ve upgraded, check out the nominations for the 2008 WPMU Awards and vote for your favourite!

In related news, a new version of WP Super Cache is also available. This version hopefully fixes:

  1. Issues with clients seeing compressed pages incorrectly
  2. Cache clean up
  3. Warnings if Apache modules are missing
  4. Better support for WordPress MU. The wp-content/cache/.htaccess rules are now displayed on the admin page
  5. Better documentation on file locking
  6. WP Cache files are written to a temporary file first
  7. Use WP_CONTENT_URL in mod_rewrite rules generator

It also adds a number of filters:

  1. “supercache_dir” filter so the supercache directory can be manipulated. “wp_cache_key” cache_action to modify the key the wp-cache file is named after. Using both of these should make it easier for plugin authors to manipulate the cache based on user agent or other criteria. ie. iPhone theme? Unfortunately .htaccess rewrite rules will have to be updated manually.
  2. Added “wpsupercache_buffer” filter so the current page can be manipulated before being stored in the cache.

State of the Art by Spaceballs

This Amiga demo blew me away when I first saw it. There are better ones out there but I think the dancing figures were such an unusual feature at the time it struck a chord with a lot of people.

Check out the follow up demo, Nine Fingers and other releases by Spaceballs. Of course, you should grab the original disks for State of the Art and 9 Fingers and watch on a real Amiga rather than watching a low quality Youtube video!

Skimming the web

The way I see it, there are three stages to web browsing:

  1. The web is new. You visit the blogs of friends and colleagues every day. You use Gmail or Yahoo mail and check in on your favourite sites a few times a day.
  2. It quickly becomes tiring visiting websites every day that may not have any new content. You discover feed readers and play around with a few of them. You find that Google Reader is a pretty good one and you start subscribing to every single interesting blog or feed you find.
  3. Not long after you suffer feed fatigue. There are just too many blogs. Too much noise, too much chaff. You discover Stumbleupon, Friend Feed and Twitter (I’m ‘donncha’ on each of those if you’d like to subscribe/follow!). Now the feeds or sites you read are recommended by your trusted circle of friends. You’ll still dig into your feed reader but it seems to happen less and less and that unread items count keeps going up and up.

Now if only I had time to check out Friend Feed properly. I find I’m skimming through the web these days. If I can’t scan a blog post and understand the main points of the page within a few seconds I’m gone. It’s a sad state of affairs.

If you’re time poor, how have your web surfing habits changed? (paradoxically, if you have time to comment here, you’re not that time poor. What a bind!)

Irish girls denied cancer vaccine

I haven’t been listening to the news much of late. I’m not sure when that started but even if the news is on in the background, the droning voice of the newscaster usually goes in one ear and out the other.

Unfortunately for the Irish Government, and Mary Harney in particular, Red Mum is making sure that everyone hears about their disgraceful refusal to administer a vaccine against cervical cancer to every 12 year old girl in the country. More on the Irish Times website:

Minister for Health Mary Harney this evening said the economic situation had “rapidly and seriously” deteriorated since the plan was announced in August. The vaccination against strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) would have cost an estimated €9.7 milliion annually.

The decision was immediately criticised by the Opposition and by the Irish Cancer Society, which asked Ms Harney to make a clear commitment to restore the vaccination scheme “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Gavin has a clip taken from TV3 news featuring John Crown, a cancer specialist denouncing the decision:

So what can you do? Join the Facebook Group or send Mary Harney, the minister for health, pictures of your daughters. Blog about it, contact your TD and tell them you’re very unhappy with the situation. 9.7m Euro is pocket change in the budget of a country, even one in a recession.

While on the topic of vaccines, my wife was told that the area we live in, Blarney, is overrun with cases of childhood measles and mumps. I’m glad my little boy was vaccinated with the MMR.

Stix Bar in Beaconsfield

For lunch today we went to Stix in Beaconsfield. It’s a lovely restaurant in a picturesque area outside London, with a car park right next to it.

Before I go any further, the owners are related to Matt so I could be accused of being biased. Still we had a great lunch there. I ordered a burger, the others ordered various tapas portions and Adam had chicken goujons, chips and peas and hasn’t been as relaxed in a restaurant since he was a tiny baby and slept through our excursions to a local restaurant in Blarney.

If you’re ever in Beaconsfield, make sure you visit Stix and say hi to Suzy, Steve and Dan!

Styx Bar

Styx Bar

Styx Bar

Styx Bar

Make your WordPress plugin talk AJAX

This morning at BarCamp Cork I gave a short talk on how to add AJAX functionality to WordPress plugins.

Here are the example scripts I used during the talk. Rename the files to .php and install as you would normal WordPress plugins.

  1. helloworld1.txt – very simple and basic “Hello World” plugin.
  2. helloworld2.txt – script that will display the text “Hello World” using an AJAX request to get the text from the server.
  3. helloworld3.txt – script that displays “Hello World” text, and an “update” link that increments a counter via an AJAX http request.
  4. helloworld4.txt – script that displays a simple form. The form has one text box, a “Random” button and a “Save” button. Clicking the “Random” button makes a request to the server to get a random number. “Save” sends the number to the server.
  5. helloworld5.txt and rate.txt – “Rating” script to rate a post (Originally from here). Makes an AJAX request to the server with the rating. Server returns randomly generated stats on rating. Place rate.php in wp-content/

All scripts that operate in the Settings page in the Dashboard use a nonce for security and access admin-ajax.php when making AJAX requests. The wp_ajax_$POST[ 'action' ] hook is used to execute the actual code that does something useful.

The rating script uses wp_enqueue_script() to load the jQuery class.

If you’re an Irish O2 user, and use Twitter you might like to install the new Tweet Tweet WordPress plugin. Thanks to Enda who let me use his O2 account briefly, I created a plugin that sends Twitter sms notifications using the free O2.ie web texts. That means Meteor, Vodafone and O2 are now covered. Anyone want to contribute a plugin for 3?

PS. I was very proud that Automattic was able to sponsor BarCamp Cork, and hopefully most of the WordPress badges found good homes! Conor says 116 signed up for the event, with just over 100 showing up. That’s a great number to pull in for a Saturday tech event!

IMG_4625

IMG_4724

More photos can be found on pix.ie and flickr. Looks like Phil hasn’t uploaded any of his shots yet! Can’t wait to see what came of his afternoon photo session. I had to leave early and missed it unfortunately.
Discovered photos of my presentation. Yes, I used Vi (or Vim if you want to be pedantic) to give my talk!