My 1% Pledge

pledgeIn 2014, Atlassian co-founded the Pledge 1% organization, which is a commitment by a company to donate 1% of its time, equity, and product to charity. This was announced broadly by Atlassian at Summit 2015, along with Adaptavist’s commitment to join Pledge 1%.

As part of our 1% pledge, staff at Adaptavist can work with a charity of their choice, and I have been working with Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) this year. I visit a few prisoners a month and spend an hour with each, just talking and getting to know them. One of the things that I like about PVS is that there’s no real agenda or ulterior motive; I’m not there to proselytize or try to get the prisoners to join up or do anything in particular. I’m just there to spend time with them.

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SilverPen Goes Mobile With WPTouch

As you may or may not know, I’ve been going ’round about mobile browsing on the web for some time. I was almost convinced once that I had found a mobile solution for my WordPress sites, but it just didn’t work that well. The main problem was caching: WordPress, for those unfamiliar with it, can become bloated pretty easily, which makes loading a site very slow. Using a plugin to cache your pages helps compress them to speed up load time. Unfortunately, sometimes the regular version would be cached and served up to mobile devices, and sometimes the mobile version would be displayed on the desktop. Admittedly, this was more an issue with the caching plugin I use, but if it’s got to be one or the other, caching is necessary and a mobile view is not.

And then I stumbled upon WPTouch. This WordPress plugin came completely out of left field for me. I had been looking, trying out, beta testing, and giving feedback on different mobile solutions for a while before I gave up, but I had never even heard about WPTouch. All of a sudden it was there, I installed it, and it worked. No real configuration needed, no tweaking, no fiddling with cached pages or having the mobile view show up in desktop browsers. Everything Just Worked.

So I’ve been using it for several months now. It’s on both my site and on our work site, and I am confident enough in it to recommend it to you. If you self-host WordPress, there is absolutely no reason your site shouldn’t have a mobile view, and WPTouch provides that free of charge and very simply. Now that I’m finally comfortable with it and settled, I’ll be making a donation to the fine folks at Brave New Code for their great work. Give WPTouch a try, and if it works for you, I encourage you to do the same.

A Bit More About WPTouch

SilverPen Publishing on an iPhone in Mobile Safari

Mobile plugins for WordPress have one primary function: serve up a different theme to cell phones than to regular web browsers. This means that if you visit my site in Firefox on your computer, you see one thing, but if you visit on your iPhone or other smart phone, you’ll see the mobile version. The mobile version is much simpler than the regular one, which makes it much smaller. This means it loads faster, which is important on mobile connections like Edge. Even on 3G, you’ll have significantly faster load times with a mobile version of a site. In addition, text and such is reformatted to fit better on a smaller screen.

The previous plugin I tried, WordPress Mobile Edition, is built on the Carrington framework. Though very shiny, I found it to be too much. It was bigger than necessary, which slowed load times. In addition, it slowed down my site overall. I’m not a programmer and can’t claim to know how, but WordPress Mobile Edition contributed .5-.7 seconds to my site’s load time by itself. Half a second might not seem like much, but it can make a lot of difference in perception of a site’s functionality and reliability.

WPTouch doesn’t negatively impact my site overall, and it’s very quick to load on mobile browsers. It also has a very polished menu system that can be customized through the WordPress Admin Panel. It should be said that the developers are very responsive as well–there was a problem with the menu a month or two ago where it wasn’t loading right, and they had it fixed pretty quickly even though this problem wasn’t happening on all sites. They seem very committed to this product and doing a good job, hence the donation.

Check it out. It’s free and available at BraveNewCode.com.

Herbert the Trillionaire – Chapter 2.03

“They’ve told me a bit about who I am,” Herbert replied, gesturing at the committee all around who looked rather aghast. “How much money would it take to find a cure?” he asked.

“I… I don’t know,” the doctor replied.

“Here, there’s a checkbook in my pants over there,” Herbert said, gesturing impatiently at the contents of a chair, where a suit that cost more than most people make in a month had been dumped unceremoniously.

A startled committee member, a brunette woman with a navy blue skirt and matching jacket, found herself the center of attention. She was nearest the chair, and anxiously met the gazes of her committee members, some of whom seemed to be suggesting she ignore the request and others who were urging her to hurry with their eyes. She nervously picked up the pair of pants and, with two fingers gripping them by a belt loop, passed them to Herbert.

Herbert searched the pockets and pulled the checkbook out. Handing it to the doctor, he smiled.

“You know more about all this to me. Just make it out for something and I’ll sign it,” he said.

“You can’t… you can’t be serious,” the doctor replied, mouth open, adam’s apple moving like a piston.

“Why not?” Herbert asked. “She’s important to you, and she needs help. If research will help, and research takes money, well, maybe I can do something about that.” With a casual wave of his hand, Herbert gestured for the doctor to get on with it and hopped off the table. The committee averted its eyes.

“I think I feel quite well, actually,” Herbert asserted with a grin at the aversive committee, and began to get dressed.