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My unremarkable story of becoming a WordPress core contributor

My story of becoming a WordPress core contributor is a big deal for me but very insignificant to anyone else. Nonetheless, this is how it happened and why you can now rest in the knowledge that WordPress uses standard terminology for “front end” and “back end” and a WordPress post embed won’t cause an authentication dialog box to show up in certain situations. You’re welcome.

It has been a goal of mine to become a WordPress core contributor for a few years now. I’ve tried on a couple of occasions but made more of a concerted effort last year.

I was aware of the Good First Bugs list and started there at the onset of the WordPress 4.5 development cycle in January 2016. I opened each ticket to see whether a patch had been submitted. I found a couple where patches were not present and where not much in the way of changes were required in order to put forward a suitable patch, thus increasing my chances of putting forth an acceptable patch. Continue reading “My unremarkable story of becoming a WordPress core contributor”

A broad overview of British politics

Despite our similarities, the political systems of the UK and the US are markedly different in a variety of ways to the point that I thought it was worth pointing out some of those differences.

It takes living in two countries, or a fond fascination with politics, to get to the point of analysing two different political systems. My personal motivation for doing this was to:

  1. Educate myself about a political system different from the one I was used to, especially since my daily life was going to be influenced by this system, and
  2. Enable myself to respond to inquisition about my own system from those around me such as my new family, friends and colleagues.

I moved to the States from the UK in 2006 and since then I’ve lived through 2 (and a half) presidential elections and 2 general elections. In this time, I’ve noticed that even though we’re two Western democracies, we’re vastly different. Continue reading “A broad overview of British politics”

Ichicoro – delectable Korean food in Tampa

Today I had the pleasure of enjoying my third visit to Ichicoro – a fairly new Korean restaurant in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Tampa: Seminole Heights.

It’s quite small inside – there’s maybe only 30 or 40 seats – but it’s intimate, modern and hip.

The menu is quite simple: I think there’s only 8 items on the menu (at least for lunch), of which only 1 is suitable for a vegan, but I’ve been happy to have the same dish all 3 times that I’ve been there. I could quite easily eat it once a week, week after week.

The dish I have is the Veggie Miso Bowl which consists of a miso and tomato broth, corn, seasonal vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, scallions and sesame seeds. I also add nori and their spicy sauce for a little extra. It has such a fresh, unique, delicious flavour that I’ve never experienced anywhere else, which makes me eager to keep returning for more.

I’ll happily keep coming back for the delicious food, cosy atmosphere and nice people.

Wikiwand – a much better way to read Wikipedia

We all use Wikipedia, perhaps many times a day. But the layout and functionality hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years. That’s where Wikiwand comes in, to add a fresh coat of paint and add in some features that make using Wikipedia that much easier.

Where would we be without Wikipedia? How would we settle those instantaneous curiosities without the de facto encyclopedia always available in front of us and in our pockets?

Without a doubt, Wikipedia is a crucial piece to our everyday lives for many of us. But why does it have to be so damn ugly!? Am I right!?

To a certain extent, it makes sense: it needs to meet the needs of billions of people without distracting them or turning them off; it needs to be easy to read to accommodate those with disabilities; and it needs to be lightweight to not be a drain on the resources of the end user or the Foundation.

However, for those looking for a more immersive and beautifully designed layout, look no further than Wikiwand. Continue reading “Wikiwand – a much better way to read Wikipedia”

Get a short URL from YOURLS in Zapier

With the incredible Code by Zapier app, getting a short URL for any URL you have is very easy using the API in YOURLS. I used this strategy to promote new content from my websites on social media using the item’s short URL.

I love automating things. For a few years now I’ve configured my site using Jetpack’s Publicize module in conjunction with Buffer to automatically post new content to my social networks. However, there’s a couple of limitations with that approach:

  1. Publicize seemingly won’t let you use the post’s short URL,
  2. You have little control over when these posts go out on social media.

With my new found love of Zapier, I sought to rectify both of these issues. Continue reading “Get a short URL from YOURLS in Zapier”

Automate your life or business with Zapier

Zapier is in the business of connecting over 500 of the most popular online services by connecting triggers (such as new Stripe transactions or new Instagram posts) and creating actions from them (such as publishing tweets or entering transactions in QuickBooks) which can make predictable, repeatable business and personal tasks much easier by automating them.

It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of automation. I’ve previously discussed how to create items on your To Do list from form entries and how to automatically track all of your deliveries in an iPhone app. So when I decided to move my accounting to QuickBooks and employ my mother-in-law as my accountant to maintain my books, I sought to overhaul how my books were managed and to make the process as easy as possible for my new accountant.

This is where Zapier comes in. I had long known about Zapier since it was a fledgling service, aiming to join up the mountain of online services which provide and/or receive information but don’t necessarily speak directly to one another. For example, you might want to create a new tweet every time you posted a new image on Instagram or create a new message in Slack whenever you received an email matching a specific set of criteria, such as a new statement notification. Continue reading “Automate your life or business with Zapier”

A common sense approach to prosecutions

Putting people in jail, particularly if they are young, poor or a minority is the American standard for dealing with even the pettiest of crimes, which has a lifelong and devastating impact on these people’s lives. Adam Foss is taking a different approach by helping them out of their bad situations and creating contributing members of society out of them.

You’d be hard pushed to deny that there’s an issue with America’s justice system. Prisons are overloaded with young, petty, minority offenders and it’s costing us a lot of money. John Oliver has made a few videos now highlighting various issues within the system:

Continue reading “A common sense approach to prosecutions”

Don’t skydive for charity

On a recent episode of QI, Stephen Fry made a very interesting point that should have you rethinking doing a skydive for charity.

A study found that over the course of 5 years, 174 people injured themselves doing a skydive for charity. The total cost to the NHS from these injuries was £600,000 or about £3,450 per person. The average amount of money raised per person was just £30 so for each pound raised, it cost the NHS £13.75 (includes money raised by people who didn’t hurt themselves).

To add insult to injury, most of the skydives (70%) were raising money for services provided by the NHS, so as well-meaning as people may be, the skydives actually cost the NHS money instead of raising funds for it.

So, the moral of the story? Don’t do a skydive for charity.

Children, shopping and tantrums

No one likes being around a screaming child so what do you do when you’re out with your kids and they start having a tantrum? A recent story about such an event in the UK highlighted the issue for me so I thought I’d weigh in now that I have kids.

A couple of weeks ago, a story ran on BBC News about a woman who was asked to leave a John Lewis store in Manchester because her 16-month-old daughter was having a tantrum.

Previously, I felt disqualified to talk on such matters because I didn’t have kids but now as a parent of 2 I think I get to have my say.

Frankly, my position hasn’t much changed since before I had kids. If you have children, my first position if that you should avoid taking them anywhere where they can be disruptive in the first place. In general, Marti and I avoid going to restaurants with the kids unless we have a good degree of certainty that they’ll be well-behaved. Continue reading “Children, shopping and tantrums”

Wait But Why – inside the minds of procrastinators

Tim Urban from Wait But Why gives a TED talk that details what’s in the mind of a procrastinator that causes them to make such poor decisions sometimes. Spoiler alert: it involves monkeys and monsters.

I’ve been reading Wait But Why for a while now ever since stumbling upon Tim’s excruciatingly-long dissertation on how cars came to run on fossil fuels and despite the best efforts of the oil industry, electric cars can and will prevail.

A brief history of fossil fuels, climate, cars, batteries and Tesla

What is Wait But Why I hear you ask? It’s a website by a guy called Tim Urban who is an extreme procrastinator, like I can be. When something intrigues him, he researches it until he’s read all there is to read about that subject. Then he digests and regurgitates that information for us to consume. Continue reading “Wait But Why – inside the minds of procrastinators”