Decline in WordPress Wow Factor? I’d Be Happy for a Duh Factor

WP Tavern has an article–now with dozens of comments–arguing that the wow factor in major WordPress release is getting few and far between.

Because of WordPress’ maturity and the short development cycle, major features are getting few and far between. By looking at the Beta tab on the WordPress plugin directory, visitors can view projects that may end up in future versions of WordPress. The only project on the page that excites me is the Front-end Editor but based on how long it’s been in development, I’m not holding my breath.

Please excuse me while I throw up in my mouth. The self-hosted version of WordPress is one of the most widely deployed pieces of software on the web, and yet in 2016 users still have to track down a plugin if they want to do something as basic as rate limit logins to prevent brute force password attacks.

At this point, the lack of such a basic feature has to be put down to extremely poor leadership and vision. WordPress is deployed by a lot of novices, and not only should there be a rate-limit feature, but it should be enabled by default.

But hey, what’s minimal security features in a world where the admin UI needs to be redesigned repeatedly or basic features in the editor need to be removed for no good reason?

My Pokemon Go Kit

Like a lot of people, I’ve been playing Pokemon Go pretty intensely since its July 6 release. The game is addictive, but also a major drain on my LG G4’s battery. I need to keep playing the game, but I also need to keep getting texts, phone calls and the stray Slack notice. So I put together a kit via Amazon that I’ve been using to make sure I’m not caught with a dead battery (links go to Amazon, but there are not affiliate links and are simply what I purchased after a couple hours of Google and Amazon searches).

1. Topoint Water Resistant Running Waist Bag

This is a thin waist bag designed for running that has a total of four pockets. There is a velcro pocket on the left, perfect for extra cell phone batteries, and a zippered pocket that fits the external battery pack I selected. Above the two front pockets is a zippered pocket that runs the length of the bag, where I store a USB cable compatible with my phone. Finally, there is another zippered pocket that runs the length of the bag on the back side of the bag, where I stick my wallet and cash while I’m out looking for Pokemon.

The other nice thing about this bag is that it is small enough that it can be worn over your shoulder so that the bag portion stretches across your chest diagonally. And that is how I use the bag exclusively.

Topoint Water Resistant Running Waist Bag

 

2. Extra cell phone batteries and external charger. Typically I try to buy Anker replacement batteries, though I did go with a couple Trendon batteries for my LG G4 since they got such good reviews. A couple batteries and an external charged should run you about $25-ish depending on the phone. This is one area where most Android phones really shine over iOS.

 

Trendon LG G4 Batteries

 

3. Anker PowerCore+ 10500 Portable Charger

This is a compact, 10000mAh portable charger that goes for about $33 on Amazon. The “500” in the model number apparently indicates that it is compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 systems. This is a method of quickly charging some cell phones including my LG G4. Before you spend the extra money on a Quick Charge 2.0 compatible charger, you need to check and make certain that your phone implements the technology.

This is small enough to fit into the front zippered pouch on the Topoint. It stays fairly cool while charging, and I was able to recharge my LG G4 3 times from 5 percent to 100 percent without a problem. The fast charging worked as advertised. The only downside is that, as you can see in the photo, there’s just a single USB port. So you’re only going to be using this to charge one device at a time.Anker PowerCore 10500

4. Nylon Braided High Charging Speed USB 2.0 Cable

I love these nylon braided USB cables from iSeeker. As the name suggests, they can accommodate the Qualcomm quick charging feature, and I ljust happen to prefer them aesthetically over non-braided cables. A pack of three is $11. (If you’re into iOS, I like and use Mribo’s nylon-braided Lightning cables.)

Nylon-Braided USB Cables

 

 

Pokemon Go / Google Fitness Conflict?

Since 2011, I’ve been using an Omron Pedometer to measure how many steps I take. I’ve resisted buying a Fitbit or similar device largely because I hate the idea of wearing something on my wrist, and from what I can tell the Omron is still the most accurate device out there.

Unfortunately, it has also been discontinued by Omron and the replacement models are unimpressive. So recently I started using Google Fit on my phone to measure my activity. It doesn’t seem quite as accurate as the Omron pedometer was, but it is close enough. It also let me eliminated yet one more device I needed to remember to replace batteries and carry around with me.

So all was good until Pokemon Go came along. So Pokemon Go also appears to measure the steps you take in order to track how far you’ve walked before an incubating egg can hatch.

Which would be fine, except Pokemon Go and Google Fit do not work well together. If I’m playing Pokemon Go, then Google Fit simply will not record any steps I take. I’m assuming that Pokemon Go accesses my phone’s sensors in a way that precludes other apps from doing so as well.

I’m not sure if this is due to a poor implementation by Niantic (which would not be surprising at all given how buggy Pokemon Go is), or some sort of limit to how the sensor data can be accessed. I suspect the former, as I’ve noticed something similar with apps that access the microphone. I have an app that records audio from the microphone. While it is running, some apps that also rely in microphone input will report they cannot run because the microphone is already in use, while other apps will have no problem accessing the mic audio and acting normally.

Knowing very little about how Android works, I would assume that there are APIs for accessing sensor and audio data on phones, and that apps would access these APIs rather than trying to access the devices directly. But it appears that some apps may, in fact, use the later method which is a bit head scratching.

Twitter Tells Users Being Harassed to File DMCA Takedowns

Crazy story at Medium by a woman who was being harassed by anti-vaxxers. The harassers got hold of a photo of the woman’s baby that she had posted online, and began tweeting out copies of the photo.

When she contacted Twitter, they suggested that she file a DMCA takedown notice for the images. For fuck’s sake. That is such bad advice on so many levels, not the least being that DMCA notices are generally going to result in the contact information of the individual or organization filing it to be shared with the person being served the notice.

And that’s what happened. She filed the DMCA notice which led to the image disappearing almost instantly from Twitter, but now the people harassing her were handed her personal contact information.

This is not the first time Twitter has suggested to users that they send DMCA notices to deal with harassing content without providing notice of what doing so entails.

There are so many things that Twitter could do to curtail abuse on its platform, and many of its heavy users have laid out in detail what they’d like to see change. Most of the suggestions by John Scalzi’s What I Want Out of Twitter would significantly dial back the level of abuse that individuals are exposed to:

1. Timed mutes.

2. Mutable phrases/hashtags in the web/mobile Twitter UI.

3. Make mute/block lists native to Twitter and shareable across clients.

4. Make mute/block lists easily shareable through Twitter between followers.

5. Robust filtering. [by account creation date/# of followers/account icon]

6. Muting in Notifications and Direct Messages.

7. The ability to see only replies/notifications from those you follow/whitelist.

8. An optional tab where muted/blocked account replies can go.

Unfortunately, Twitter seems completely uninterested in implementing these sort of suggestions. It seems to see Twitter as solely a link sharing/news service (hence the execrable Moments “feature”) rather than a discussion platform, and doesn’t seem to care about improving its system for those of us who use it for the latter purpose.