Twitter Ain’t Therapy*

*Or at least it shouldn’t be used as such

Due to this straightforward way of thinking, ENTJs tend to have the greatest difficulty of all the types in applying subjective considerations and emotional values into the decision-making process.
-From the Wikipedia article on ENTJs

I’ll be up front: I’m an ENTJ.
Anyone who has ever taken a Keirsey Temperament Sorter or an MBTI type assessment knows that the usefulness for truly revealing deep insight into one’s character of these tools is somewhere between “nicely illuminating” and “not much better than this morning’s horoscope”. There’s very little causation chocolate in that correlative peanut butter, at least in my opinion. However, there are some valuable nuggets that can be used for self-introspective purposes.
For instance, check that blockquote above. What that basically means is that ENTJs tend to be black and white thinkers. What it also means is that they tend to have difficulty in empathizing with others’ emotional positions. This (can) lead to three decided downsides for both the ENTJs and those who have to deal with them:

  1. We don’t understand why others, when given the exact same set of facts, come to conclusions other than the ones we draw
  2. We tend to have a poor sense of how our words and tone are likely to be perceived by others
  3. We tend to get caught up in our own decision-making process, assume others make the same leaps of logic as we do and then get frustrated when things don’t work out according to our plans (either because of simple logistics or the active “failure” of others to read our minds)

Practically, this can result in me making decisions whose logic and expected outcome make perfect sense to me, yet leave others either scratching their heads or actively insulted. If I manage to succeed in these endeavors, the slights tend to get forgotten (for the time being), while if I fail, my previous shortcuts tend to make a bad situation worse.
I’ve been blessed to have a wife who is an INFJ and who is willing to call me on my failings, albeit in a loving way. “Do you know how you came across when you said [X]?” is a common refrain from her and, while probably a good 75% of the time the answer is “No, I don’t know”, I am getting better at grokking these situations in aggregate.
So how does this apply to Twitter? I’ll tell you: the frictionless ease with which one can share one’s thoughts on Twitter means that I can say insensitive stuff and insult people in real-time all across the world and not even realize it. To top it off, I’m even less sensitive to others when under stress and/or short on sleep. Given that

  • I have a brand new infant
  • I have a two year old who wakes nightly between 2:30 and 4:00 AM
  • I’ve gotten wrapped around several political axles recently

yesterday was probably a day I should’ve simply taken off vis-a-vis Twitter. Alas, I didn’t, and I managed to tick a few people off when trying to forcefully advocate for my own positions.
Thus, to those I have previously offended: I ask your forgiveness for any insult I have caused. For those I will undoubtedly offend in the future: I’m not asking for a license to insult, but please realize that I probably don’t know how I’m coming across to you, I probably should’ve taken a moment or two before shooting my mouth off, I will (almost certainly) feel bad once I realize what I’ve done. So, please, know that if I insult you, it’s probably because I didn’t take enough time to truly recognize the fact that you’re another human being and not a Risk piece to be influenced, a severe character defect that I’m trying, with God’s grace, to stop doing.

Sweep The Sleaze

I came across this article over on iA (via @gruber, I think), and was really struck by its thesis, namely:

Promising to make you look wired and magically promote your content in social networks, the Like, Retweet, and +1 buttons occupy a good spot on pretty much every page of the World Wide Web. Because of this, almost every major site and world brand is providing free advertising for Twitter and Facebook. But do these buttons work? It’s hard to say. What we know for sure is that these magic buttons promote their own brands — and that they tend to make you look a little desperate. Not too desperate, just a little bit.

Be sure to read the article in-full.
I was struck by the article and so have swept the sleaze from Literal Barrage. No more Share This/Stumble This/Tweet This/+1 This boxes at the bottom of my posts. Hopefully this helps reduce the clutter and makes reading content here just a bit more enjoyable.
Let me know if you agree.

My WordCamp Philly 2011 Presentation: “Adding A Social ‘Stache To WordPress: BuddyPress, bbPress And Beyond”

The official WordCamp Philly blog has it right: #WCPhilly 2011 was a great success. We had awesome speakers, awesome sponsors, great volunteers and a ton of very enthusiastic WordPress users turn out for a wonderful weekend.
My presentation is embedded below. Warning: contains dangerous levels of mustache.

Tips For The Crew That Attended The Philly WordPress Meetup, August 11, 210

Bonnie Vasko has already posted a brief summary of Wednesday night’s “inaugural” Philly WordPress Meetup, so I thought I’d simply take a moment to document some of the resources we talked about in the “advanced”/developer session. Hopefully some of the other attendees will find them useful.
We talked briefly about

I’m sure there are some other things I’m forgetting to mention, so if anyone has anything more to contribute (or further questions), please just drop a comment.
I’m looking forward to the next meetup!

I’m Speaking At WordCamp Philly

Write down the date — October 30, 2010, the day before Halloween, I’m due to speak at WordCamp Philly down at Temple University in Philadelphia. I’m incredibly honored to be given the chance to speak on a topic near to my heart: Making WordPress Work AT Work. I plan on posting a series of articles over the next few months that will act as the foundation for my talk.
In the meantime, browse the #wcphl website and (after getting your tickets, of course) be sure to check out the other speakers that will be presenting.

Lessons Learned At WordCamp NYC 2009

Or: Britney Spears’ Lack Of Underwear Is Matt Mullenweg’s Go-To Example For Information He Doesn’t Care About
Based upon my Twitter stream from this past weekend, one could easily enough have guessed that I spent Saturday and Sunday up in New York City for WordCamp New York City 2009. I had a great time overall, as did pretty much everyone else, at least those that I spoke to.
The recaps of the weekend have already begun to trickle in, of both the written and visual varieties and, while I took some decent notes (and some horrendous iPhone shots), I think the summations are actually better left to those other folks.
Instead of a true summary, I thought I’d rattle off a bunch of impressions and Lessons Learned from the weekend, presented hereafter in no particular order.

  • There are still many, many folks that don’t understand the implications of GPL licensing, some of whom have developed business models based upon these flawed understandings. As you can imagine, significant drama has resulted (needlessly, in my opinion).
  • Mark Jaquith is tall, and unexpectedly so at that. His Twitter avatar simply does him no justice. (Also, Jane looks nowhere near as much like Tina Fey as her Gravatar would let on…)
  • Elastic is stone-cold awesome. I don’t know that it’s the “future of themes and a replacement for parent/child themes” as was claimed, but it is a highly impressive piece of work. It’s a little raw, but it shows some serious promise.
  • Matt jokingly refers to a blazer over an open-collared dress shirt paired with jeans as his signature look. You’re likely to get ribbed if you’re similarly attired in his general vicinity.
  • There are a lot of folks out there who willingly spend money on plugins and themes without realizing that much of what they’re looking for can be had for free. When confronted with this evidence, many are still willing to pay.
  • Non technically inclined folks are willing to pay for someone to be a “Personal Technology Coach”.
  • Non technically inclined folks are also now looking to perform installations of WordPress on their own (with maybe some help from their PTCs…). This, in professional wrestling parlance, would be known as getting “over” with the crowd.
  • When will WordPress finally dump PHP4? When usage goes to sub-10% levels. According to Matt, 14% of users whose hosts report back are still saddled with it. Almost there.
  • The walk from 23rd and Broadway to 25th and Lexington can be made to seem twice as long as the walk from 23rd and Lexington to Penn Station through the simple addition of a nice soaking rain.
  • Stephane is every bit as affable and nice a person as one could ever hope to encounter.
  • BuddyPress is hot, very hot (from a client and developer interest standpoint). The majority of the non-techy types at the camp were very excited by it, as were a goodly number of the techies it seemed.
  • The commuter NJT trains are double-deckers.
  • Folks talk about using “theme frameworks” or “parent/child themes”. What they actually mean is: “I use Thematic for everything, took a look at Hybrid once and actively scorn what the Thesis folks are doing”, all of which speaks extremely well for the effort Ian has put into Thematic. Seriously, most other options beyond Thematic seemed to get mentioned almost as afterthoughts and, well, see the point about GPL issues above in re: the reception for Thesis.
  • If I ever volunteer to help run a WordCamp or even volunteer at one, I am likely to be enlisted as a bouncer/security.
  • bbPress continues to be the red-headed step-cousin of the WordPress family, though the ease with which BuddyPress integrates it may well be its salvation.
  • Matt is personally looking for apps coded on top of WordPress that
    1. Create a record/LP catalog that allows for collection management (an “iTunes for records”, if I recall his phrase correctly)
    2. Function as note-taking/mind-mapping software, allowing the collection of seemingly arbitrary bits of information and then the categorization of said info later (I almost thought of it as a plea for a Yojimbo/DevonThink-style app).

    Enterprising developers, take note: I seem to recall him offering to buy dinner for anyone that came up with successful implementations of either of those ideas.

  • Matt Martz aka “sivel” is an incredibly decent human being and should be bought a beer, if ever the chance arises. (If we’re both at WCNYC next year, Matt, mark me down for one.)
  • I am never attending another conference in which I do not drop my luggage off at the hotel prior to attending. Seriously felt like a Bedouin tribesman for the better part of two days. Tangential point: all my luggage must have wheels from here on out.
  • If there’s any justice in this world, canonical plugins will come to be, and sooner rather than later. Also: “canonical” is a bit too value-laden and perhaps pejorative. Suggestions for another name for the concept are welcome.
  • The “rivalry” between Six Apart and Automattic in no way, shape or form extends to Anil Dash and Matt Mullenweg. Anil compared it to how Nas and Jay Z rip on each other on their albums yet stay friends behind the scene — people always want to see a little bit of drama, a little bit of tension. (I compared it to faces and heels in the WWE, a concept which he agreed, if only in part. *grin*) No word on who gets to be Nas and who gets to be Jay Z in this scenario.He’s also fairly worried about what Tim O’Reilly is calling The War of the Web, which also plays into the GPL vs. pro/premium/pay/non-free discussions.
  • As has been rumored, one of Matt’s prime goals for WordPress 3.0 is to retire WordPressMU and integrate its functionality with the core .org product. The MU functionality will likely be hidden by default and enabled by an addition or tweak to wp-config.php.
  • Day-parking in New York is apparently cheaper than in Philadelphia. Thanks for nothing, PPA.
  • People continue to be excited about WordPress and are using it in really cool and creative ways and it’s very hard, if not impossible, to not get excited right along with them.
  • Microsoft is willing to show their metaphorical face at a WordCamp. They even brought t-shirts and X-Boxes.

There’s a ton of stuff I’m forgetting at this point, but if you really had to take a few simple things away from #wcnyc, let them be: Elastic is awesome, everyone is using Thematic, no more MU past WP3.0, and if you’re a developer looking for paid work, get familiar with BuddyPress, STAT.
I’m already looking forward to 2010 (assuming that Jane and Steve have fully recovered by then… *grin*)

Blogging, Or Lack Thereof

So it’s readily apparent that my blog output has been woeful as of late. I could come up with a litany of excuses as to why this is so, but truth be told, it’s been a case of my heart not being in it.
Suffice it to say that Real Life Concerns have been weighing heavily upon my time, some of which I will discuss later, some of which I probably never will be able to.
Long and short of it, though, is that I’m still alive and kicking and hope to return to blogging form some time very soon.
In the meantime, may I offer you these exquisite LOLBirds for your consideration and edification?

Traffic Surfing

So last week was fun, traffic-wise. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds posted a link to an older entry of mine on the same day that he opined about the prevalence of “Can’t connect to database” errors that WordPress-powered sites tend to throw under load. Fortunately for me, I had anticipated just such a meteoric rise to Cylon-powered stardom and installed Donncha’s WP Super Cache plugin, and lo!, all was well. Unfortunately, as the above graph shows, few of those inbound links resulted in follow-on visits. Ingrates! Trespassers! Users! Fie!
The link resulted in my single highest day’s traffic and my single highest week’s aggregate traffic, which is definitely nice, considering my highest-trafficked pieces to date have been my contributions to Teh Internets’ vast archive of Scottish Slang. So, you know, net benefit and all that.

Apologies For The Virtual Mess

Regular readers will no doubt have noticed that this site is undergoing some visual changes. I had grown tired of the old look and thus am undertaking a bit of a rehabbing. There are all sorts of nits to fix (the archives page doesn’t work correctly, for instance) and I felt that I needed some inspiration.
While the code underlying the site is still going to be the Elbee theme I have been working on (forever!), you should notice a bunch of different visual tweaks to that code in the coming days and weeks. I’m by no means wedded to the black and white, high contrast look, but I felt that I needed to strip the site down to its essential visual “bones” and then add things back in, give myself a chance to figure out what works, what doesn’t, what needs to stay, what needs to go, etc.
So, thanks again for your patience and I’d love any feedback you might have on the subject.