Mastodon Grows To Over 8,000,000 Users (and probably more)

Screenshot of two charts showing the growth in Mastodon users and posts. The top graph is a greenish-blue and the bottom is a reddish brown

Boom! About six hours ago, one count of Mastodon users crossed over 8,000,000 users! The latest hourly count of the @mastodonusercount bot as I write this is:

8,015,904 accounts
+2,333 in the last hour
+54,536 in the last day
+398,175 in the last week

It’s fascinating to watch the growth:

12 days to grow from 6 to 7 million, and then 15 days to grow from 7 to 8 million. How long will it take to grow to 9 million?

A key point is … this is NOT the total count of ALL Mastodon users!

As noted in the bot description, it is the "User Count Bot for all known Mastodon instances”.  The key word there is “known”. Mastodon is a decentralized network where anyone can set up their own Mastodon server. They don’t have to tell anyone. They don’t have to ask permission. They just gave to download the source code and set up their own server.

They can then choose to federate - or not - with other Mastodon servers. It is certainly possible that there are more Mastodon servers out there that haven’t been incorporated into this count.

Still, this is a “good enough” approximation of the user count to be able to look at the phenomenal growth. I’m excited to see where this all goes!

Congrats to all involved!

And of course you can find me there at https://mastodon.social/@danyork (or search on @[email protected] )


The Ongoing Twitter Migration is a Reminder That on the Internet, There Are No Permanent Favorites

Text: on the Internet, there are no permanent favorites

The ongoing Twitter migration highlights one of the characteristics of the Internet that colleagues wrote about back in 2012 in what they called the “Internet Invariants”:

There are no permanent favorites.

We remember MySpace. AltaVista. Friendster. And SO MANY others..

In their moment, they seemed THE place to be.

And then suddenly they weren’t.

Twitter will fade, as will Facebook/Meta, and all the others.

New things will emerge. In time, they, too, will fade.

The cycle continues.

 

[Originally shared on Mastodon - https://mastodon.social/@danyork/109347347499021562 ]


#100DaysOfBlogging - Let's Do This!

The words "100 Days Of Blogging" on a gray / blue background

Joe Brockmeier, who I’ve known from back in the amazing early days of Linux in the early 1990s, recently posted to his Mastodon account:

With the renewed focus on owning your content and DIY web / #IndieWeb ethos, I'd love to encourage folks to think about more long-form content.

Mastodon allows for longer thoughts than the birdsite, but I miss the days of blogrings, conversations in comments, and so forth. I don't think we're going to get back to blogging's heyday, but a revival would be great.

And with that, he announced he was going to do a “100 day blogging challenge”. As he writes, “let’s get those RSS feeds going again!"

He then invited others to join in on the creation of long-form content:

If you’re reading this, consider this an invitation to start or dust off your own blog and update it regularly. If 100 days straight is too much, how about twice per week?

So… okay, Joe, I’m in! Since I said way back on January 1 that I hoped to create more content this year… and haven’t really… let’s see if I can finish strong!

I’ve long wanted to start writing again on sites that *I* control, versus writing on the platforms and social sites. (See… POSSE … from four years ago! 🤦‍♂️)

Today is December 1 - a random site on the Internet tells me that 100 days from today will be March 11, 2023.

Let’s see if I can go that long. If so, hopefully it will then be back to being a “habit” that I will just continue indefinitely.

To be clear, I’m not going to commit to write here on THIS site alone for 100 days, although maybe that would be good. My goal will be to write across my various personal sites and other sites like CircleID and the Internet Society’s blog. I’ll also be scheduling content in advance, since I don’t expect to actually be writing on Christmas. We’ll see!

If you care to follow along, or just want to hold me accountable 🙂, you’ll be able to see my writing at danyork.me. In theory, that little calendar on the right side should show a bold date from here on out to March 11!

Care to join in? 

Let’s bring some more long-form content back to the Web! (Tip: you can use this site to find your end date.)


How To Use MarsEdit with TypePad in 2022

Marsedit and typepad

How do you configure MarsEdit to work with the Typepad blogging platform?  As I’ve started to try to get back into blogging more, I found that MarsEdit, the tool I’ve been using to write blog posts for 10+ years now, was no longer connecting to Typepad. And in a sign of how far the mighty (Typepad) have fallen, a Typepad blog can’t be auto configured by MarsEdit, and isn’t even listed anymore on the MarsEdit manual configuration page. And… there is nothing whatsoever in the Typepad knowledge base about external editors, XML-RPC, “Movable Type”, or anything else.

So for anyone still remaining on Typepad who wants to do this, here is what you need to do.

1. Get the blog ID from Typepad.

I couldn’t find this in any of the settings, but you can get it from the URL. Once you are logged into Typepad, and are in the settings for one of your blogs, the URL in your browser will be something like:

https://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a01d1212acd6e53ef00d12345de09f92/dashboard

The hex string that I show in bold is the part you need. (And that is not the actual value for one of my blogs.)

2. Add a new blog in MarsEdit

In the main MarsEdit window, press the “+” in the lower left corner of the app to add a new blog. Type in the name and URL of your Typepad blog and press “Continue”. The auto-configuration will fail, and you will be prompted to manually configure the site. Under Connection Settings, you need to use:

  • System Name: Other
  • System API: Movable Type API
  • API Endpoint URL: https://www.typepad.com/services/xmlrpc
  • Blog ID: <the hex string that you copied in step 1 above>

Here’s a screenshot of the preferences screen:

Marsedit connection preferences

 

3. Login With Your Typepad User Info

After you save those settings, MarsEdit will prompt you to “login” to your blog. This is where you enter your Typepad username and password.

Marsedit login

4. Start Writing with MarsEdit

Once this is done, you should see the MarsEdit interface load the most recent posts into the editor window. (If not, you may need to hit the refresh circle.)

That’s it. You should now be able to create posts in MarsEdit and publish them on a Typepad blog.

And really… 5. Figure Out How To Move Away From Typepad!

The complete lack of any information in the Typepad knowledge base about working with external editors does concern me. Add to that the fact that the “Everything Typepad” site hasn’t been updated with a new post since October 2021. And that the @typepad Twitter account only gets occasionally updated about trouble issues.

And.. that the Wikipedia article about TypePad notes that Typepad stopped accepting new signups as of 2020.

So they are really just existing for the people like me who just haven’t gotten around to moving our blogs to some other platform. 🙁

Perhaps this IS the year when I finally figure out how to migrate my 5 remaining Typepad blogs over to Wordpress… sigh… 


Most Nights You Can Find Me (Briefly) Streaming on Twitch and Editing Wikipedia

Wikipedia editing

Every night… usually sometime between 8:00 and 10:00pm US Eastern time, you can usually find me streaming on Twitch (danyork324) while … editing Wikipedia! 😀

If you’d like to learn more about Wikipedia editing - or just want to chat - you are welcome to follow me at danyork324. I am usually streaming Wikipedia editing… or occasionally recording a podcast episode or testing out new livestreaming software or equipment. I should warn you that I’m typically not on very long, often only 15-30 minutes. Sometimes an hour, but usually much shorter.

[Note: In 2021, I might try to move these streaming/editing sessions back to more around lunchtime US Eastern (where they first started last year). I’m also doing some research/thinking into how to sleep better.. and being online streaming right before going to bed may be something I seek to change.]

This all started back on March 20, 2020, as something I wanted to do to distract myself from the chaos that was unfolding then with COVID-19. The Governor of Vermont had just declared a state of emergency. He had just issued a “Stay at Home” order starting on March 17. The news was filled with crazy reports about the virus all around the world. Hospitals were gearing up for the disaster. 

In the midst of all of that, I decided I needed something to take my mind away from the emerging pandemic. 

So I looked at the various things I’d been wanting to explore. One of them was to dive in to Twitch to understand more about how it all worked. I’ve been livestreaming for years to YouTube Live, to Facebook, and to various other channels. But I’d never done anything with Twitch and wanted to give it a try. I also wanted an excuse to play with OBS Studio for producing live streams. I’d used other programs such as Wirecast, but never the free and open source OBS Studio.

So… what to stream? I haven’t (yet, anyway) spent any real time playing online games, which is a huge amount of what gets streamed on Twitch.

It turns out that there is a very large part of Twitch that was historically tagged “IRL” (In Real Life) or “Creative”. This includes people playing music, doing crafts, programming / coding, giving tutorials, and recording podcast episodes or talk shows.

None of that is anything I do consistently, except for occasionally recording podcast episodes.

But I thought of something I did want to explore more - the world of Wikipedia!

I’ve had an account on Wikipedia for over 16 years. But after making some initial edits in 2004, 2005, and 2006, I really made very few edits, and had lost touch with much of what had evolved in the Wikipedia community in terms of conventions, processes, etc.

It so happened that the Wikipedia community was looking for people to help update pages about the COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic - and not much had been done with the Vermont page yet. So I thought to myself… here’s a way I can: 1) help Wikipedia; 2) feel like I’m doing something to help provide info about COVID-19; 3) learn more about livestreaming; 4) learn more about Twitch; and 5) give me a consistent distraction during this crazy time.

And so… in 2020 I wound up making over 1,200 edits of various pages - and streaming that live on Twitch!

Remarkably, I’ve done both editing and streaming every single day since March 20, 2020! It’s just become part of what I do. (A couple of times I streamed something else (like a podcast episode recording) and then did the Wikipedia editing separately and not on a stream, but those were exceptions.)

I begin each stream with updating the Wikipedia page about COVID-19 in Vermont to have the latest stats from the Vermont Department of Health. Then I dive into my “Watchlist” of pages I “watch” and spend time making updates, finding edits from spammers (and reverting them), providing opinions on various topics, and welcoming new users to Wikipedia.

How long will I keep doing this every day?  I don’t know. Probably at least through March 20, 2021, to finish out a year of doing it. But perhaps longer since the pandemic seems to be continuing. It’s quite honestly become a fun thing to do and learn - and the daily consistency helps me keep doing it.

I realize I’ll never be in the “list of most-followed Twitch channels” 🤣, but I’ve learned a HUGE amount about Wikipedia and the community, as well as about Vermont and many other topics. I’ve met some other Wikipedia editors through the process, including a couple who stop by the Twitch chats and offer comments. I’ve also learned a HUGE amount about live streaming  - and about Twitch. At some point I’ll publish a post with some of what I’ve learned.

In the meantime.. you can find me there on Twitch each night.. helping in some small way to keep Wikipedia up-to-date.


Embracing the NaPodPoMo challenge a second time - 30 podcasts in 30 days

Napodpomo-2019There's something about November that seems to encourage people to take on challenges. Maybe for people in the Northern hemisphere it is because November is the grey, cold, rainy period between autumn and winter. Maybe the timing is just random... but in any event some people grow a mustache for "Movember" in support of various men's health efforts. And since 1999 there are hundreds of thousands of people who try to write a 50,000 word novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

For those of us interested in audio, there is instead "National Podcast Post Month" or "#NaPodPoMo" as the hashtag appears on many social networks. The goal is to produce 30 podcasts in 30 days, and hopefully to have some fun along the way.

With my "The Dan York Report" over on Soundcloud, I tried - and FAILED - to do the NaPodPoMo challenge back in 2017.

I only made it 11 episodes before fading out. :-(

As I explained in TDYR 347 on December 4, 2017, life caught up with me and while I had great ideas I didn't have the corresponding planning and research. I said that for me to do it again, I would:

  • Map out the month of episodes in advance
  • Prepare evergreen / backup episodes in advance, for when I'm unable to record
  • Do research in advance

Two years later I'm ready to give it another try! This time I've done all those things. I have 30 episodes at least planned out, and in some cases researched. I'm going to be doing recording in advance, and I'll have some backup episodes waiting in the queue.

I'm doing this just as a personal challenge because I enjoy working with audio so much - and I just need to get out there and DO IT!

You are welcome to follow along over at soundcloud.com/danyork/ It will be a mixture of topics. Some about podcasting... about Internet technologies... about how our society is changing... about some work topics... and so much more.

Let's see if I can get to doing all 30 days! 🙂

P.S. today's episode is already out...


"Hipster Ipsum" may be my new favorite Lorem Ipsum generator

Hipster ipsum

I may have just found my new favorite "Lorem ipsum" text generator - HIPSTER IPSUM!

https://hipsum.co/

For the longest time, my choice when I just needed some columns to fill in with filler text[1] was Bacon Ipsum, which is always fun. The companion to that is of course Veggie Ipsum

But now I think I may indeed use "hipster ipsum". I mean... I just smile when I read through the text. :-)

P.S. I noticed in searching today that there is a WordPress plugin (of course!) called "AnyIpsum" that lets you create your own lorem impsum generator.


[1] Why do I need filler text? When I'm working on a web design, it is often helpful to have some text in the columns and text blocks so that you can see what they look like with text in them. You can of course read more about the history of "Lorem ipsum" on Wikipedia.


Watch: the 2018 "State of the Word" from WordCamp US

Tonight in Nashville, Matt Mullenweg delivered his "State of the Word" presentation at WordCamp US. Not being there in person, I watched the live stream. The recorded stream has about 28 minutes of various quotes that were displayed. Matt starts at shortly after the 28-minute mark:

He shows some very cool ways that Gutenberg can work. Starting at around 54 minutes, Matt moves into showing what the next phases of Gutenberg will be. In a "Phase 2" during 2019, more of the admin interface will be moved into blocks. Phase 3 (2020 at the earliest) will be about collaboration, multiuser editing and workflows. Phase 4 (later) will be about having an official multilingual interface.

And then around the 1:12:00 mark, he mentions a fantastic statistic that over 57% of WordPress sites were using HTTPS (i.e. TLS):

Wordpress and https

Matt goes on with much more information about the WordPress community, more developements - and then finally concludes "The State of The Word" at around the 1:21:00 mark and moves into questions... of which there was about another 45 minutes of long discussions and questions.


Initial Thoughts on WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg

Wordpress 5 0

Yesterday (Dec 6, 2018) was TheBigDay when WordPress 5.0 with the Gutenberg block-based editor landed in all of our WordPress sites for upgrade. Some of the places to learn more about the launch include:

Changing the core editor over to Gutenberg was a massive effort over the past two years - and the launch this week was both an amazing accomplishment... and a very divisive event within the WordPress community.

I was very much hoping to be down in Nashville for WordCamp US this weekend, where parts of the community will be gathering. I expect it will be quite a passionate weekend! (Unfortunately some family medical issues kept me closer to home.)

I *really* like Gutenberg...

My initial reaction was... I really LIKE Gutenberg!

Now, I've been playing with it for much of the last year, and the more I work with it, the more I like it.

It really DOES enable more beautiful and powerful publishing with great ease.

I'm looking forward to doing even MORE with it and learning how far we can go with using Gutenberg.

... but it needs to work! :-(

However, after the upgrade to WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg editor didn't work on all my sites. For several of my sites, I had NO PROBLEM after the update. It "just worked." I was immediately able to go in and start editing with Gutenberg.

But on a couple of other sites, when I went in to edit an existing page or post - or to create a new one - I made all my changes and pressed the "Update" or "Publish" button and...

Gutenberg updating failed

"Updating failed" in a big red bar across the top of the screen!

Amusingly to me, some searching on the web brought me back to a Github issue I had opened back in August 2017.

All I had to do to "fix" the issue was this:

  1. Go to Settings -> Permalinks, and change it from "Month and name" to "Day and name" and press "Save changes". I received the message "Permalink structure updated."
  2. Change it from "Day and name" back to "Month and name" and press "Save changes". I received the message "Permalink structure updated."
  3. Switch back to the tab where I was editing the post and had the error message. Pressed "Update" and.. ta da... the updating worked perfectly fine.

I had to do this on two different WordPress sites (both running on the same WordPress multisite server). Strangely, other sites on the multisite server were fine.

While the fix was easy, it concerns me that I had to do this and that I didn't really do anything. But somehow my act of changing the Permalink Settings did SOMETHING internally to make things work.

That concerns me.

Now, someone in that ticket or elsewhere suggested that this particular issue was NOT a Gutenberg issue, but rather an issue with the REST API, which Gutenberg uses.

Regardless, my point was that I couldn't use the editor to make changes on my site.

And beyond my own issue, I see many other Gutenberg issues piling up on Github. Now, yes, these may be initial launch pains for launching such a massive change.

But I do hope the team of developers can fix these in the 5.0.1 release that I'm sure will come quickly.

I really DO like the Gutenberg editor - and I look forward to seeing all we collectively can do with it!


P.S. This post was NOT written using Gutenberg because this Disruptive Conversations site is sadly still over on TypePad. I look forward to migrating it some day so that I can use Gutenberg!


Have we given up on personal blogging? (In favor of social media)

Cemetary keene

Have we given up on personal blogging? Are we instead doing that all writing in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and similar services?

Is the personal blog dead? [1]

I had lunch this week with a friend who, like me, has been online since long before this thing we now call the “Internet” came into being. We were having one of those “back in the old days” conversations where we talking about the discipline that came from programming in assembly language, the challenges of early computing and networks, how the programmers these days no longer need to understand how things really work, how they write bloated code, etc., etc.

Along the way we talked about the changing nature of the Internet and the growing consolidation / centralization of so many key services. We talked about how so many people no longer host their own web servers (both she and I do (for some of my sites), but talked about the issues with that and how attractive it is to look at hosting options)… about how many people no longer run their own mail servers (I don’t, but she does)… and how people have just generally given up running their own services because the hosted services are just so incredibly convenient and useful. And somewhere in there she just tossed in a comment along the lines of:

“… and then we’ve given up on blogging in favor of Facebook…"

It was just a throwaway comment in the midst of a longer discussion that went on into the rise of CDNs, overlay caching networks, cloud computing and more. (It was a great conversation!)

But that comment stuck with me… and as it rolled around inside of my brain, I sadly had to conclude that for the most part[1]...

she’s right.

My Own Example

I look even at my own writing. Despite my post in September about “Returning to POSSE - Writing on my own site, THEN on Facebook, Twitter, etc.”, the truth of the matter is that I haven’t been writing on my own sites.

If you take a look at my danyork.me aggregator site, you’ll see that I’ve been writing for the past week, but if you go back beyond that, or use the little calendar on the right sidebar to look at past months, you’ll see there is very little activity.  And what there is of my writing is most often on the Internet Society websites, rather than my various personal blogs.

For example, when I wrote on my Disruptive Telephony site on Monday, it was my first post there since March 2017 - that is 21 MONTHS!

Some of my other sites are worse.

Now, you could argue in my case that this just a matter of changing priorities. I don’t work as much with voice-over-IP or messaging, and so NOT writing on Disruptive Telephony makes sense. The site chronicled by activities in the VoIP world when I was active there. Now maybe it’s time to just park it and leave it alone. I could make similar cases for why I haven’t written on other sites.

And this may just be the consequence of my choice many years ago to spread my writing across multiple topic-focused sites, instead of just writing about a wide variety of topics on a single site such as danyork.com.

And it may be that it’s just me with everything else going on in my life over the past year.

The Directory Dilemma, Again

Or maybe not.

My lunch companion mentioned the challenge of finding where companies have their main information. Are their hours of operation most accurate on their website? Or on their Facebook page? 

And the same is true of personal blogs and sites. 

How do I find where people are writing?

Back in the early days of blogging (mid-2000s), of course,  many of us used RSS readers and got our feeds from sites that way.  We found new feeds from references, from searches, from different directories. But while I’m still one of those dwindling number of people who use a RSS reader, the vast majority of people do not. 

How do you find writing?  Well, usually through mentions in social media. It’s the “syndication” part of POSSE.  

But if you are using social media to distribute and promote your writing… it’s not a huge step to simply just write in the social media platform because it’s so easy and distribution is automatic. I know people who have moved all their writing to LinkedIn, for instance. Or people who are writing long threads in Twitter now that the site supports longer tweets and threading.

It’s another version of the Directory Dilemma - it’s easy to find content within those nice hosted walled gardens.

Running Servers Takes Work

And let’s be honest - running your own personal website can be a bit of a pain. If you use a self-hosted content management system (CMS) such as WordPress (as I do), you find yourself pretty much constantly needing to apply updates. Updates to the core… updates to the plugins… updates to the theme.  And then of course possibly updates to the underlying operating system if you are running the CMS in a virtual machine.

And then if you want to set up TLS certificates to support HTTPS, that can be a whole adventure! And if you mess it up, your sites are offline.

It’s enough to make you say… "<expletive> it, I’ll just go write on Medium!” … or hosted WordPress.com … or… to just write inside of Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn.

After all... I just want to write! 

Every minute I spend doing system admin or applying plugin updates is a minute I could be doing more writing.

Add in that all of those social sites have very easy-to-use mobile applications. It makes it so easy to just start writing inside those pretty walled gardens.

In contrast, many of the blogging and website hosting services have a less-than-stellar mobile UX. WordPress does a nice job with its mobile apps... but others? Not so much.

So is personal blogging dead?

Wellllll... no. There will always be some of will write on their own sites.

And I'd like to hope not for the larger independence of the Web. I'd like to hope many people will continue to embrace the “POSSE“ content publishing model from the “IndieWeb” movement:

Publish on your
Own
Site,
Syndicate
Elsewhere

I am going to continue to try.

But I also understand why some give up on it. The sweet convenience, ease-of-use and simplicity of the social networking platforms is extremely seductive. And they encourage consumption of content (because that helps get them the ad eyeballs they need to get paid) - and finding the balance of consumption and creation is hard!

What about you, dear reader? Have you given up


[1] Realizing that there will always be outliers in terms of very active personal blogs - and people who just choose to write on their own - but are personal blogs no longer of interest for the vast majority of people?

Photo: an image I took in the Woodlawn Cemetary in Keene, NH


WordPress 5.0 now targeted to launch on.... Thursday! (Dec 6)

Printing blocks unsplash raphaelphotoch

The news out of Matt Mullenweg last night was...

THURSDAY!

That day, December 6 (2018), is the next target release date for WordPress 5.0.

If you have been paying attention to WordPress, or listening to any of my reports into the For Immediate Release (FIR) podcast over the last, say, year or so, you would know that WordPress 5.0 is a huge departure from all previous WordPress releases. The big change is the replacement of the default text editor with the new "Gutenberg" block-based editor.

Personally, I'm rather excited about the change. I've been using Gutenberg on a number of my sites and really like how much you can do with it.

But... reaction within the WordPress community and ecosystem has been decidedly mixed.

Matt's post has more info.

We'll see if it happens! But if you are a WordPress site operator, get ready! 5.0 is coming soon!


Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

WordPress.com Offering free .Blog subdomains for new sites

 

The good folks over at WordPress.com are doing something interesting - they are giving free .blog subdomains for any new sites created on WordPress.com.

Now, to be clear, this is not ANY subdomain under .blog. For instance, I was immediately curious if I could get “danyork.blog”, but no, they are giving away for free third-level subdomains under the following second-level domains:

  • art.blog
  • business.blog
  • car.blog
  • code.blog
  • data.blog
  • design.blog
  • family.blog
  • fashion.blog
  • finance.blog
  • fitness.blog
  • food.blog
  • game.blog
  • health.blog
  • home.blog
  • law.blog
  • movie.blog
  • music.blog
  • news.blog
  • photo.blog
  • poetry.blog
  • politics.blog
  • school.blog
  • science.blog
  • sport.blog
  • tech.blog
  • travel.blog
  • video.blog
  • water.blog

So I could possibly get “danyork.tech.blog”, “danyork.news.blog”, “york.family.blog”, or “Vermont.travel.blog”. Basically, a free domain underneath that set of domains.

When you create a NEW site (and that is important because this is currently NOT available to existing WordPress.com sites), you will have a chance to claim one of these subdomains in this process.

Now, for most of us who are more serious about this, we may already have a domain. Or at least will want to get our own.

But for someone just starting out, I could see this being a useful way to get started without having to buy a domain, get it set up, etc.  Cool move by the Automattic team behind WordPress.com!


How to Run WordPress in a Docker Container, Part 1

Wordpress docker installation

Here is a quick 3-step process for launching WordPress in a Docker container. You can use this to easily launch a new WordPress instance on your local system to test out new versions, new plugins or anything else.

First, though, you need to have Docker installed on your system. The simplest way for Mac and Windows users is to install Docker Desktop. This desktop download also gives you Docker Compose, which you will need. If you are running Docker on a Linux system, you will need to manually install Docker and Docker Compose.

To run WordPress, you also need a database running. The steps here use Docker Compose to launch TWO containers: one for WordPress and one for MySQL.

Three steps

Step 1 - Create a directory (a.k.a. "folder") and install the docker-compose.yaml file found in this Github repository. You can get the file three ways:

The key is to have this all in a separate directory because your WordPress installation will store some plugins there (see the notes below).

Step 2 - In a terminal window[1] type 'docker-compose up

This will launch the two containers and link them together. You will see logging to your terminal window. You can press Ctrl+C to stop the containers and get your command prompt back. To launch the containers in the background add a "-d" option:

docker-compose up -d

Step 3 - Connect to your new WordPress server at http://localhost:8080/

That's it!

Wordpress installation 660px

Now you simply go through the normal WordPress installation process and within a few screens your new site will be fully active.

Next you can update WordPress to the latest version, install whatever plugins you want, etc.

For example, I installed the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, went into its settings and turned on "Bleeding edge nightlies", performed an upgrade... and now I'm running the very latest WordPress 5.0 build. Perfect for the testing I want to do.

Credit for the simplicity of this approach is due to Github user "wglambert" who answered a request I made about help using the WordPress Docker container. Thank you!

Notes

  • Stopping the containers - do 'docker-compose stop'. This will stop the containers from running. Doing 'docker-compose start' will start them up again.
  • A 'wp-content' directory is created is created inside the directory in which you put the docker-compose.yaml file. Any plugins or themes you add will be stored here. This allows you to do a reinstallation and have all the plugins and themes available.
  • WHEN YOU ARE DONE and want all this to go away, just type 'docker-compose down' and the services will be stopped and the containers removed.

There are many more things you can do with docker-compose. The command-line documentation can help you learn more.

Next parts

I labeled this as "Part 1" because I'm planning to write about my own ongoing testing with Docker and WordPress. In future parts of this series, I intend to cover:

  • How to load in an existing site for testing
  • How to save your changes in a Dockerfile (so you don't have to start at the very basic installation each time)
  • ... and other things I learn along the way.

I also expect I may update THIS article over time as I do more with using WordPress and Docker.

I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to leave comments here (unfortunately I have to moderate due to spam, and so comments will not appear immediately).

I also welcome pointers to other "WordPress and Docker" tutorials that people have found helpful. If you want to follow along with some of my other experiments with Docker and containers in general, I'll be writing about that over on Code.DanYork.com.


[1] or "command shell" or "powershell" or whatever you call it...


Returning to POSSE - Writing on my own site, THEN on Facebook, Twitter, etc

Sheriff posse flickr tom kelly

Over the past few weeks as I’ve been grappling with colon cancer, it has been soooooooooo tempting to just pop open the Facebook app, write a story in the box and press “Share”.

Simple. Easy. Done!

Or inside the Twitter app… or LinkedIn… or… or...

But here’s the problem with that...

All the stories get LOCKED INSIDE A PLATFORM!

They are there living on the platform’s servers, inside the platform’s systems.  Maybe they are visible publicly, maybe they aren’t.  Maybe they will be around in two years, maybe they won’t.  Maybe people will find them, maybe they won’t.

The future of your stories is entirely at the whim of the platform.

As I wrote about on the Internet Society’s blog earlier this year, one of my own guiding principles is “POSSE“, a content publishing model from the “IndieWeb” movement:

Publish on your
Own
Site,
Syndicate
Elsewhere

And so over these past few weeks, I tried really hard to do that with my journey through cancer: the diagnosis, followed by the recovery, followed by the results.

But it’s HARD. It was so insanely tempting yesterday when I got the great news just to pop open Facebook and share it with everyone.

But when I do that… it’s shared ONLY within Facebook’s shiny “walled garden”. It’s not shared with people I know who choose NOT to use Facebook. It’s not shared with the communities I’m in on other social networks.

The “open Web” on top of the “open Internet” is really the only way to do that. But it’s hard. There’s extra steps involved for me right now with the way my various blogs are set up.  I want to work to make that easier and simpler… but doing so will take time… which is challenging to find.

But if we don’t find ways to OWN OUR OWN STORIES then they will stay locked away in closed, proprietary walled gardens.  And maybe that’s fine for some of those stories. Maybe they are small and mundane… “in the moment” stories that we don’t really care about. But even so, we feed the platforms. We help them to grow.

 I’ll keep trying to follow the POSSE rule… and I’ll be writing more here about that.


Image credit: Tom Kelly on Flickr CC BY NC ND


Revisiting a Not-So-New Rule - No Social Media Usage Until I Have Created Something New

Being a writer not being distracted

I woke up this morning frustrated that I simply haven’t been writing across my various sites. In theory I am a “writer”, but I haven’t been writing! And as I wrote in My 3 Words for 2018: “because if I don't write... the stories build up inside of me until they want to explode like a pressure cooker without a relief valve. Writing is my relief valve. I need to do it.

So I said to myself- I know, I will impose a new rule on myself... no social media usage until I publish something new! A blog post, a podcast episode (such as my The Dan York Report short audio segments), an article on some site (ex CircleID), a longer update on a social site... something.... anything.... BEFORE I get sucked into the vortex of social media updates. 

And I will start with a blog post like this one...

Except... I discovered I WROTE THE EXACT SAME POST TWO YEARS AGO! July 24, 2016, to be precise.

And... I noted that on day #2, July 25, 2016, I had already failed. ☹️

So this morning’s great idea turns out to be nothing new. 

In fact, I can go back 10 years ago, to a post in September 2008, where I wrote about Jeremiah Owyang’s “Pay yourself first” philosophy. Or may many other posts about struggling with consistent writing.

Now, maybe this rule is like the “no sweets today” diet rule that turns out to be an aspiration that just doesn’t happen. And maybe EVERY day is too high a goal. Maybe every other day. But I have to do something, or consumption will win over creation. 

Unless, of course, I want to reframe my own perspective and think of myself as an “occasional writer”... and just accept only writing now and then  

I am not quite ready for that. Let’s see how I do this year!

 


Heading to Belgrade This Week for WordCamp Europe 2018 (WCEU)

Wceu 2018

If any of you will be at WordCamp Europe 2018 this week in Belgrade, Serbia, please do say hello. I'll be there starting this afternoon and am greatly looking forward to learning from many of the people involved deeply in the WordPress community.

In particular I'm looking forward to the Developing for Privacy and Data Protection session. Based on the work done in the community to help website operators comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this workshop will look at what comes next. I'm personally very interested to see where this will go.

I'll also be going to some accessibility workshops and checking in on topics such as caching, security and mobility that are always of interest. I also have some meetings with partners and others.

Anyway, if you're there at WCEU 2018, feel free to drop me a note.


Beginning NaPodPoMo - 30 Podcast Episodes in 30 Days

NationalPodcastPostMonth NaPodPoMoCan I publish one podcast episode each day for the month of November? That's the premise of "National Podcast Post Month" or "NaPodPoMo". Similar to the idea of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where writers sign up to write a novel in a month, NaPodPoMo is a way for podcasters to get in on the action for the month of November.

For me, I decided to do it just as an incentive to see about getting back into more content creation. As I explained in The Dan York Report episode 333, the last 10 months of my life have been focused on the launch of the Internet Society's new website. That's consumed a HUGE amount of hours... and left me with very little time for all the normal writing and audio production that I've done.

The Internet Society website launched on September 14, and in that TDYR episode 333 I naively thought the work was close to done... and that I'd have more time for content creation.

The truth is that there's been a great amount of work still to be done on the website - and so I have NOT been able to return to creating content.

But now we're getting closer... and my internal NEED to create content is driving me crazy.

So this NaPodPoMo is just an incentive to help me get back into the swing of creating more content.

I'll be publishing new episodes at my SoundCloud account at https://soundcloud.com/danyork

You're welcome to follow along this month! We'll see how I do!


Facebook Adds Stories to iOS/Android Apps to Try to Kill Snapchat

Facebook stories

Facebook truly DESPISES Snapchat!

As documented in a blog post today, Facebook has now added "Stories" to their main mobile apps. Just like Snapchat, these stories:

  • expire after 24 hours
  • can be either images or videos
  • have all sorts of filters and effects you can add
    • this includes a "masks" feature similar to Snapchat "lenses" that can change someone's face
  • can also be sent directly to one or more of your friends
    • and just like Snapchat, the recipient can view the photo - and then view the photo once more in 24 hours
  • can be created by simply swiping to the right to rapidly access the camera

If you reload your iOS or Android app today, you should see that the top of the app has changed. You now have:

  • a camera icon in the upper left corner that lets you open the camera
  • a "Direct" icon that gets you to images or videos sent directly to you. (Yet another messaging inbox.)
  • a bar of icons of all the friends who have posted Stories so far

And, as mentioned before, you can now swipe to the right to access the camera. If you don't have this feature today, you should within the next day or so.

Cloning Snapchat again and again...

Adding "Stories" to the main Facebook app comes as no surprise. It's been clear for a while that Facebook was jealous of all the people using Snapchat and wanted to bring them back inside Facebook's shiny walled garden. Facebook had already rolled out "stories" in their other Messaging apps:

  • Instagram Stories
  • WhatsApp Status
  • Facebook Messenger "My Day"

Of these, Instagram Stories has been viewed as successful. The WhatsApp and Messenger launches have been very recent and so it's not clear how many people will use them.

How will Facebook differentiate from Snapchat?

In their blog post, Facebook notes that:

Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera. Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new ways to connect with friends, family, and your community.

We hope that with the new Facebook camera, Stories and Direct, it will be easier than ever to see the world through each other’s eyes

While it is possible in Snapchat to create a custom "geofilter", this teaser from Facebook sounds like a great bit more.

Facebook, of course, has a huge userbase. As I wrote in my "Directory Dilemma" post a few years back, users will use an app for messaging if the people they want to communicate with use that app. And the reality is that Facebook is the center of many people's communication.

So on one level, Facebook doesn't need to differentiate from Snapchat. They simply need to provide this functionality... and hope that this keeps people from opening up the yellow ghost app.

And of course, Facebook still supports regular text posts, photos, links, all of which last longer than 24 hours. They also have Facebook Live video streaming.

This is just really a way to bring "ephemeral messaging" (messages that disappear after a period of time) inside of Facebook's walls.

How many places can people post "stories"?

The question to me is really:

how many places can people realistically post their 24-hour "stories"?

Right now people have at least FIVE major options:

  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • WhatsApp

... and any other apps that are copying Snapchat right now.

The reality is that users won't post to all of them. They'll choose one... maybe two... and that will be it.

Many people will probably choose to stay right inside of Facebook's walls and use that. Or, if they are already using Instagram Stories, they may stay there.

But what about Facebook Messenger?

One curious aspect of this announcement is bringing direct messaging BACK INSIDE the Facebook mobile app.

Facebook has spent a couple years now moving messaging OUT of the "Facebook" app. They have forced people to use Facebook Messenger to send and receive direct messages on a mobile device.

Now using the "Direct" inbox, we can send and receive messages inside the Facebook app again.

Granted, the messages can only be viewed twice within 24 hours - and they are in the form of images or videos. But we do have messages in the Facebook app again.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook evolves these many different messaging and "stories" channels they have.

Which will YOU choose?

If you have read this far... do you see yourself using the Facebook Stories?

Or will you stay with Snapchat? or Instagram Stories?

Or are you using WhatsApp Status or Facebook Messenger "My Day"?

Or do you just wish this whole "Stories" format would go away? ;-)

Please do leave comments here or wherever this article appears on social media.


P.S. There are many other stories about Facebook Stories appearing today.



Big News! 360° photos now available for any WordPress site via JetPack plugin

360 photo

For those of us experimenting with "360-degree photos", last week's announcement of Jetpack 4.5 had a hidden but awesome feature: you can use a shortcode to embed your 360 photo or video into ANY WordPress site (that uses the Jetpack plugin).

Here is why this is so huge - up until last month, the only sites that would display 360 photos were either:

  • Facebook
  • Google StreetView

That was it. Two effectively closed walled gardens of content.

As I mentioned in my reports into a couple of For Immediate Release podcast episodes, my concern was that only Facebook users would really get this benefit. I wanted the ability to display 360 photos on any website.

On December 15, 2016, WordPress.com announced that all hosted sites could embed 360 photos or videos. This was a great step forward in bringing 360 photos out to more sites.

Then just last week version 4.5 of the JetPack plugin was released and, somewhat bizarrely, while the announcement contains no mention of this awesome new feature, an Automattic staff person confirmed the inclusion of the support in a comment.

You can read all about this new capability here:

Now, since this Disruptive Conversations site is sadly NOT on WordPress, I can't show you the features directly here. However, I've gone ahead and embedded 360 photos on two WordPress sites I have:

Those were both taken using the Google Street View application on iOS. (And yes, sometime I need to write or record a tutorial about how to do this.)

I have included the shortcodes in the blog posts so that you can see how easy this is to do. You just:

  1. Take the 360 photo using the Google Street View app on your smartphone. (This will save it to your camera roll on an iPhone.)
  2. Upload the image to your WordPress site.
  3. Use the appropriate shortcode in your blog post.

That's it!

Of course, you need the Jetpack plugin installed in your site, but that's all.

Many thanks to Automattic's Jetpack team for bringing out this capability so that we could set our 360 photos free of the walled gardens and bring them to any WordPress site!

What do you think about this? Will you try some 360 photos now?


FIR Episode 68 Available Now - Artifical Intelligence (AI), fake videos, PR trends, blockchain and much, much more

Fir68 shel 660px

Yesterday I had an incredibly fun experience starting off 2017 - and now you can share in that: For Immediate Release (FIR) episode #68 is available for listening or download at:

http://firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-68-us-actually-say/

Host Shel Holtz (in the big picture above) brought in C.C. Chapman, myself and former FIR co-host Neville Hobson as the panelists and we had an outstanding conversation that ranged widely. As noted in the show notes, the main topics included:


  • The incoming press secretary for President-Elect Donald Trump has warned us not to expect business as usual when it comes to the administration’s relationship with the media. What does that bode for the press’s ability to hold the administration accountable — and will the philosophy extend beyond the White House to business?
  • Some businesses have begun preparing for unexpected criticism from President Trump while others have already had to respond. Crisis experts are advising companies to add presidential jabs to the list of potential crises for which they must prepare.
  • Five industries are under threat from technology, according to the Financial Times: travel agents, small component manufacturers and distributors, auto insurers, financial advisers, and auto repair garages. How can they prepare (or can they)?
  • Artificial Intelligence will soon make it possible to create fake video with little effort. Think fake news is a problem now? Just wait.
  • Edelman Digital is out with its 2017 trends report. Among the issues the report raises, the panel was particularly interested in bots and conversational experiences, blockchain, and over-the-top entertainment.
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asked users what they wanted to see Twitter improve or create in 2017. He got answers (including one from longtime social tech leader Anil Dash). In the meantime, does Twitter know yet what it wants to be when it grows up (and will its recently announced live 360 video make a difference)?
  • Apple has published is first Artificial Intelligence paper.

It was fun to be part of the panel participating live versus the usual "tech reports" that I record each week for FIR episodes. And it was fun to have the kind of dynamic exchange that Shel, C.C., Neville and I all had. We've all known each other for a long time and so it all flowed quite nicely.

Speaking of a long time, this episode also marked the start of the 13th year of the FIR podcast! That's a remarkable bit of longevity for any podcast - and congratulations are really due to Shel for keeping it going as long as he has.

Next week I'll be back to presenting my tech reports. I continue to enjoy doing so and will keep at it in the years ahead.

Meanwhile... please do give this episode 68 a listen - and please do send in any comments to the show.