Yesterday, the wonderful Doc Pop drew up a cartoon for Torque that made the rounds and got some attention from a few pals and ex-colleagues that work on the Jetpack plugin for WordPress.

Torque Toons: Where’s my Jetpack?

For some reason, this comic bothered me. Well, not the actual comic itself, but my reaction to the comic bothered me, which then further bothered me enough to publish this here.

I noticed right away that the man on the right pretty closely resembles Doc Pop himself, and so it’s safe to assume it’s probably literally him having drawn a reasonable facsimile of himself that he titled “Me.”

On the left are two women having a conversation about a lack of Jetpacks in their lives, and Doc has written them to be relatable, and really… normal.

But… I’m actually worried for Doc.

My recent experience with strangers on Twitter is developing into its own type of PTSD where I’m beginning to censor myself and change my behavior to try and continuously re-prove that inclusion and diversity are important values to me, ones I prioritize.

Then someone says “no they’re not because of that we’re true you’d do this” or “you’d do that” or “I’m offended because you used this word this way.”

And so an innocent comic from a creative acquaintance made me worried that his portrayal of two women as being “not as into tech as he is” would turn out poorly for him in a way that I know he doesn’t actually believe.

This is me having been bullied, and trying to protect someone from attackers that might not ever even exist for him, and so it’s completely irrational to intervene.

I’m not offended, and I know Doc didn’t intentionally draw his comic in a way that’s demeaning towards anyone but maybe himself and what he sees as his own quirky passions, but because I could imagine a very real threat, it became really hard to not interrupt other people’s conversations to say “hey look at this potential threat I’ve identified.”

The interesting thing about this realization, is what I just laid out IS the cycle. It’s exactly the way that the abused become abusers, and the bullied becomes bullies. Someone beats me down, and now I want to prevent others from being beaten down, but that’s impossible unless I become the person who mentions something first, making me the bad guy.

It’s a really complex problem that has me seriously considering giving up engaging on social sites like Twitter and Reddit entirely. I feel like I have an intimate understanding of these types of elements of human interaction (more than most?) and am really growing tired of people assuming that “you need to learn a lesson” or “you can’t possibly understand what I’m going through” when I know that I deeply do, more than most, am more willing and able than most to help, but the offer to help actually will make things worse for everyone somehow.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the comic is offensive because I know Doc didn’t intend for it to be. I don’t think it portrays anyone poorly. I don’t think it’s an issue. But other people might, and other people might be mad at me because I don’t feel how they feel. It’s all behavior that I don’t subscribe to, think is unhealthy, and try to avoid.

But, I wanted to write this out, and didn’t feel comfortable shouting it all over social media.

Got myself a Trek i3 last week. It’s a 3-speed, belt-driven, street-hybrid, and it’s really cool.

Keri and I have already gone on a bunch of bike rides around the village and down to the lake. Her new bike is a Zektor 2, but it’s basically the 16 speed version of mine because she likes to go fast.

My only complaint so far is that the seat isn’t very comfortable for the lean-forward riding position, otherwise everything else seems really nicely made, designed, and assembled.

For my entire life listening to music, this is the first time I’ve seen someone put beats to words instead of sampling words on top of beats.

(04/28 UPDATE): I’m now running my first-pass patch right here on my own site. 🚀

WordPress is an extremely flexible piece of software, and it comes with many different settings. Some are made visible to users via Admin > Settings and others are stored invisibly so users aren’t bothered by them, but all of them are saved in a single database table named wp_options. Today, it looks something like this:

The wp_options database table schema

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For most of my life, whenever someone would ask what kind of music I was into, I struggled to come up with a clear and obvious response. I’ve always enjoyed many different artists, songs, and genres, each for a myriad of reasons, and the one style of music that I consider “my favorite” isn’t one that most people can relate to.

And that’s really what the “what kind of music do you listen to” question is designed to do – relate. It’s like when someone asks “what is your favorite sports team” and you enjoy sports but aren’t passionate about any specific type or group.

Then you tell them you love jai-alai, and either have to explain why, or skip over the conversation entirely.

It’s really hard to relate to people when the universe has gifted you with a heart that craves the unrelatable.

I love hip-hop, old-school, funk, edm, d&b, electro, Miami-bass, and a bunch of other genres that most people would go “oh… cool.” without actually thinking it was cool at all, because they don’t know anything about them.

But late last year, I came to realize it wasn’t really any “kind” of music that I liked as much as it was the “instrument” used to produce individual songs. There was one specific sound that hooked me when I was 11 years old, and it came from the Roland TR-808 drum machine.

WordCamp Miami had an 80’s theme this year, and that’s really when the 808 found its momentum. During my presentation for BuddyCamp 2017, I mentioned 808 The Movie, which is as adequate of a history lesson about my favorite type of music as will likely exist in my lifetime, though the west-coast omissions of The Egyptian Lover, Arabian Prince, and a few others still leaves me a bit disappointed in how such a huge part of what influenced the 808 movement ended up totally missing.

Anyways…

It’s with a heavy heart I share the following post from Hip-Hop DX, which talks a bit about the life (and recent passing) of the inventor of the instrument that I hear in my imagination everyday when I play back my favorite songs in my head.

EXCLUSIVE: Egyptian Lover speaks on Kakehashi’s legacy.

Source: Music World Mourns Loss Of Roland TR-808 Drum Machine Inventor Ikutaro Kakehashi

Ikutaro Kakehashi, like Gunpei Yokoi, influenced my life in ways that they’ll never know and that I’ll continue to subtly share in the code that I write and the WordPress plugins that I release and help build. They are under-appreciated craftsmen in their respective fields of study, both talented and lucky, who were able to help invent entirely new cultures and movements around their creative visions, and I hope that I’m able to leave something similar behind someday. 💜

Last week sometime, I received a distressing Twitter DM from Chris Coyier (of CSS Tricks fame) – he noticed that the markdown in the CSS Tricks forums started behaving badly, and the shim they put in place seemed to have finally gave way… given way… erm… it stopped working, mostly.

I was on vacation with my wife Keri in Key West at the time, but she was patient and wonderful enough to allow me to – completely guilt free – write a quick plugin to help Chris and his users out. She’s great, FYI.

The problem, was that bbPress has it’s own backtick support for wrapping code in <code> tags, and that was conflicting with Jetpack’s Markdown processing (which is actually pretty cool, and looks to be a direct port of what was on WordPress.com all those years ago.)

Anyways, Chris was kind enough to write some really thoughtful words over on CSS Tricks (and share my latest WordPress experiment Plugins Loaded) and since I am suddenly a content marketer, I’m sharing Chris’s post here:

Plugins Loaded

January & February were very busy and eventful months for me, as I’ve been working full-time on WordPress Core & Community related endeavors thanks to two companies, and largely 2 individuals, who decided to take a bit of a risk and try something relatively new with me.

The scene is WordCamp US 2016 in Philadelphia, PA – the weather is surprisingly warm and the event is abuzz with close to 1800 WordPress fans in attendance. For me, it’s a reunion of sorts, because it’s only a few times per year I’m able to have in-person time with many of my ex-coworkers, current open-source colleagues, and friends I’ve made thanks to WordPress but maybe haven’t collaborated with yet.

I had several really productive conversations, mostly me pitching the idea of asking for financial support to “work on WordPress” in a way that does not place the burden on any one specific company, and Josh from Pagely and Josh from Pantheon both welcomed the experiment with open minds and were excited to get started.

January

I refer to the WordPress 4.7.2 release as “January” as I spent the majority of it reviewing & hardening several important security improvements to the core codebase (namely, the REST API and Press This.) In addition, I upgraded bbPress across all of WordCamp.org, and laid the groundwork for upgrading bbPress across all of WordPress.org in the coming months.

The security team also paired up with liaisons from almost all major hosting companies and CDNs to bring awareness to and monitor for any public exploitation attempts, and I was actively involved in on-boarding and expectation setting while we introduced an entirely new workflow for all of us.

Thanks to Josh & Sally Strebel at Pagely for supporting me and WordPress during this critical month. 💜

February

With WordPress 4.7.2 “January” out, things “settled down” and I switched to LoopConf mode where I gave a talk about how Unix Philosophies apply to WordPress development, and was interviewed by Brian Krogsgard of Post Status fame about the longevity of open-source software (I’ll embed that video below.) LoopConf was great, Salt Lake City was fun, and I’ll do a separate write-up about my experience soon.

I’ve also focused more the backlog of issues and nice-to-haves for the bb’s, largely related to how the WordPress.org Support team works with it as a tool. Working with other volunteer contributors like Boone Gorges, Stephen Edgar, Brandon Allen, and Sergey Biryukov again, has been a treat.

Thanks to Josh Koenig from Pantheon for an awesome groundhog’s day, happily looping for 28 days working on WordPress. 💜

March & April

I have 2 weeks “off” planned in March for WordCamp Miami and my wedding anniversary, and I’ll be speaking at CypherCon 2.0 in Milwaukee and I think a few other events that I can’t remember right now that I’ll come back and update later. Development wise, I suspect will be more of the same: security, on-boarding, WordCamp.org, and bbPress upgrades across WordPress.org.

I’m also going to help Pantheon with some marketing, which is something I’m excited to help with and learn more about, since I’ve spent most of my career helping build the things other people get to pitch to the world.

And here’s that Post Status video I mentioned earlier.