If you have a WordPress.com blog, visit Users -> Personal Settings in your blog’s Dashboard and check “Enable experimental admin design (MP6)” now!
If you follow WordPress development, you may have heard that this was on the roadmap for WordPress 3.6, but was pushed back to WordPress 3.7. So, it will officially become the new Dashboard eventually, but there’s plenty of time to try it out, get to know it, and fall in love with it as much as I have.
MP6 was designed to be less cluttered and more readable with clearer fonts and better contrast, and it’s fully responsive across all devices. To sweeten the deal, MP6 also makes use of icon fonts to cut down on images, thus providing a slightly improved loading time.
I’m taking my first look at the revamped WordPress for Android app, with a new UI, and it’s a huge leap from where it was before this release.
It’s quick and extremely functional — even on my now-ancient Froyo build of Android.
If you blog at WordPress.com, or on a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, you absolutely need this app. Have multiple blogs on .com and your own .org sites? You can stuff all of those accounts into this app and work with them all.
Not only can you write and edit posts, but you can share just about anything you create on your phone (including photos) to a WordPress blog — and that ability to share content to apps continues to be a game-changer for mobile-focused OSes over their traditional desktop rivals.
Postscript: I started this post on my Android phone but am finishing it in the WordPress app for the Windows Metro desktop … more on that later.
I wanted to see if I could get the self-hosted WordPress.org software installed on an OpenBSD server — the devio.us machine that offers free shell accounts (though I’m not sure if they’re doing that at this exact moment).
It worked. And it did take 5 minutes.
I mucked around on the command line and broke it. Then I took another 5 minutes and reinstalled WordPress.
I broke it a couple more times. That’s what new blogs are for — breaking.
Since my “return” to WordPress.com and creation of this blog, the features I keep coming back to are the social ones: following other WordPress.com bloggers, and reblogging and liking their blog posts.
I like being able to do “social” things but not have to be in another system — Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus — to do it.
WordPress.com has always had a community feel. It’s always been easy to discover the work of other bloggers on the system and have them discover yours. But with the ability to interact with the social tools we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years, this connectness enhances the blogging experience.
I like being able to easily reblog or like a post and have that become part of my own blog. I feel a sense of “ownership” of my expression that I don’t get in Twitter, Facebook or G+. You can see all of my social activity right here in my blog timeline along with the rest of my blog posts.
The WordPress.com Reader is also a factor. The recent, planned demise of Google Reader doesn’t affect me because I don’t use it to organize RSS feeds. I do have Liferea set up in Debian, but I rarely use it. However, now that I’m in WordPress.com more often, I find myself using its Reader application to follow not only other WP.com blogs but also a bunch of sites that I tended to go to directly in the web browser — chiefly the Planet blogs for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and GNOME, (themselves aggregators of multiple blogs) with OMG! Ubuntu. I’ll add more as I go.
From what I know of Tumblr, social — liking and reblogging — is baked in, and it’s nice to see the same thing available at WordPress.com. Reader is just a nice convenience that gives me another reason to be logged in to WP.com.
Last time I looked, even though Mozilla didn’t seem totally in love with supporting Firefox 3.6.x, they still were. But it looks like WordPress.com, the Automattic-hosted mega-blogging service, was intent on leaving FF 3.x behind.
At least that’s the way it looks right now in Firefox 3.6.x for PowerPC Mac. Running TenFourFox — the Firefox 4.x code built for PowerPC Macintosh — seems to help.
I believe that it’s fairly easy to turn just about any Linux server into a WordPress installation. There is even a port of WordPress for OpenBSD. I thought that I’d try to run Movable Type on OpenBSD, but getting PHP and Perl working with the Web server looks incredibly difficult. If somebody else did this and laid out how they managed it (like How to Forge), I could probably follow along, but the difficulty of dealing with the chroot environment in OpenBSD’s default Apache Web server — which isolates the Web server’s files from the rest of the computer for security purposes — makes it extremely difficult for mortals to set up services in the Web server environment.
For a normal Web server with nothing but HTML pages (and no PHP, Perl/CGI), OpenBSD couldn’t be an easier system to use. It’s when things get more complicated that this that the non-OpenBSD geek is especially challenged.
But as I say, there is a WordPress port for OpenBSD, as well as WordPress packages for GNU/Linux systems such as Debian. I also seem to remember talk about a Movable Type package for Debian Lenny, and if it made the installation and configuration of the blogging system easier, I’d be all for it.
As it is now, between installing and configuring MySQL (or PostgreSQL), making sure PHP and Perl are running and getting all the directory permissions correctly set, putting together one of these blogging systems, even on Linux, is no trivial matter. The last time I set up Movable Type, all the MySQL issues I was having prompted me to dump it and use SQLite as my database software. At least MT gives you some options in this regard.