Sneak peek of NewsFrame 2.3

NewsFrame version 2.3 is a complete rebuild of NewsFrame using Foundation 5 (the old one is built on Foundation 3) and Automattic’s Underscores frame. Demo the new version The aim, of course, is to make NewsFrame better, and I think I’ve accomplished that with 2.3. Numerous new features were added, including: Infinite scroll (no JetPack necessary) Three layout options for archive pages (blog-style, two-column and three-column) Sticky Foundation 5 top bar New widget areas and menus Post format support New…

Major updates to Bartleby theme

Bartleby was one of my first themes and was badly in need of updating, so I rebuilt many core aspects of the theme and recently an update: Bartleby 2.0. In addition to a few minor styling tweaks, I’ve also: Re-built the theme options panel using the Settings API. Added three layout options: blog style, three-column grid and two-column grid. Added default infinite scroll capability, with an option to disable Added logo and default thumbnail upload buttons Added custom background support…

New plugin released: Nifty Related Posts

As I mentioned in my last tutorial for displaying related posts without a plugin, I’ve been finishing up my own related posts plugin, Nifty Related Posts. Nifty is minimally styled for maximum theme compatibility. It’s lightweight, does what it’s supposed to do without trying to do too much, and can be fairly easily customized by users via the Settings panel. Check out my Nifty Related Posts page here for more info, or download from the WordPress repository.

Cracking my hometown newspaper’s paywall

I hate newspaper paywalls with a burning passion, which is why I released a paywall cracker for The Florida-Times Union’s website (jacksonville.com) last year. Now I’ve written another paywall cracker for my hometown newspaper, The News-Star (thenewsstar.com). The News-Star moved to a paywall sometime after I moved to Jacksonville in 2010, and I’ve had to resort to Chrome’s Incognito mode to get around its max-article limit (for visitors without a subscription). But now that’s no longer necessary. Kudos to Gannett…

Introducing Staffer: Staff Management for WordPress

A handful of my clients over the past year have requested clean, organized ways to manage their sites’ staff listings. Some of them were using posts, and some were using staff static pages with custom code for formatting.  In my opinion, neither of these methods are sufficient for businesses using WordPress as a CMS. Out of the aggregate of this work comes Staffer, my new plugin that provides staff management and individual staff profiles. It’s not an overly complex plugin. Upon…

WordPress XMLRPC exploit causing problems

For the past 48 hours or so, I’ve been dealing with extreme server load issues, causing drastic slowdowns and ultimately causing my VPS to crash multiple times. I found this was due to a DDoS attack on WordPress sites that exploits WP’s post/ping system, which is explained in more depth here. The interim fix is to disable/redirect XMLRCP via htaccess or, if you’re running CloudFlare, to increase the level of security. I presume (hopefully) that an upcoming WP release will…

Bdelloid rotifer digestion in action (video)

This Bdelloid rotifer (Philodina sp.) was found in water collected from Little Fishweir Creek in Boone Park (Jacksonville, FL). This class of rotifers is most interesting for three reasons: 1) It reproduces asexually 2) it’s capable of long-term dormancy as a cyst (following desiccation) 3) It may be capable of horizontal gene transfer when “waking” from cyst mode. This species’ mastax appears to consist of two-churning discs which help break down its food (primarily algae). The discs are in near-constant…

WordPress sites under attack again

Another large distributed attack on WordPress sites appears to be underway according to the good folks over at WordFence. The peak reached 40,000 attacks per minute earlier but now looks to be around 30,000. For comparison purposes, this more than a ten-fold increase over “usual” activity. I personally have been issues with brute-forcers lately as well, and it hasn’t really subsided between the last large-scale attack and this one. Site owners should not ignore this threat, but should take some…

Released: Chrome extension to work around the Florida Times-Union’s paywall

The Florida Times-Union’s paywall has been getting on my nerves all year, so I wrote a little extension for Google Chrome that lets users freely browse the member’s section of the website (members.jacksonville.com) by disabling the paywall pop-up. I’m sure the Times-Union will eventually patch it, so enjoy it while you can. Consider it my Christmas present to the city of Jacksonville, who, like myself, are probably tired of not being able to read the local news without a “premium”…

Did the NFL’s anti-intellectual environment get the best of Jonathan Martin?

Dolphins’ offensive tackle Jonathan Martin has taken a leave of absence from the team, reportedly because of bullying by his teammates. Details are fairly sparse at this point, but it appears Martin has been subjected to “persistent bullying and teasing” since he was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012. Martin, who protected Andrew Luck’s blindside at Standford, majored in classics (ancient history). Both of his parents are Harvard grads, and a CBS scouting report from 2012 claims “there is still a…