Disable session cookies in Pods

Pods sessions can interfere with caching, but there is a config that can fix that.

We were having trouble on a site that has a lot of traffic, with PHP timing out, and the web server not recovering. It was odd, because the site doesn’t have very much interactive parts, and in mostly served from the cache… except it wasn’t being cached at all!

The site makes heavy use of Pods for custom post-types, and that is hardly an issue, but in this case Pods was setting a session ID via cookie, which of course meant each time a page is visited it is “new”, and bypasses the cache. Suddenly our high volume of traffic is hitting the database and rendering each page on every load, and honestly I was surprised it survived for as long as it had.

My research turned up two issues that were relevant: Replace all session and session_id usage #2237 and 2.4.3 prevents browser caching #2542.

#2237 refers to a change that could possibly fix this issue, but is ongoing. #2542 contains the fix, though I wasn’t able to track where it came from, as it wasn’t provided in the referenced conversation.

define('PODS_SESSION_AUTO_START', false);

Because I couldn’t source this seemingly undocumented config, I hopped on the Pods Slack instance, where Jim True and Bernhard Gronau verified that it was exactly for this use case. Pods has a feature I don’t use, wherein one can produce a front-end form to submit content directly into a Pods-created post-type, and the sessions are a security feature.

Turning off the sessions did the trick, and soon the site was being delivered from the cache.

Bonus tip

In discussing the Pods forms, I mentioned I used Gravity Forms, with the Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types plugin. They recommended Pods Gravity Forms Add-On. When I asked about the difference, they explained the Pods add-on can handle relationship fields. That is very cool! ^_^

Guild Wars 2 – Living World Season 3: Out of the Shadows

Oh, I am excited for the new Living Season coming out next week for Guild Wars 2! They dropped a trailer for it recently (some spoilers for the game!):

I am all updated and looking forward to this! I love taking a break and coming back to explore a whole new portion of Tyria! Normally I log in for a few hours every couple weeks, but I am betting I will be on there nightly for the next few months. ^_^

Remember, I have a safe, inclusive guild on there, so drop me a message if you want to party up!

maiki asks: do you prefer real-time notable posts, or digests?

Heya! I have a question, so please leave me a comment sharing your thoughts. Here’s the deal: I get a lot of notable ideas and stories crossing my mind every day. I don’t use micro-blogging, where I think a lot of folks would share such things. I am deciding if I ought to do so here.

I was trying to keep a digest, collecting stories to share at the end of the week, but my weeks don’t end on Friday; in fact, I am often busy on Friday and Saturday because folks like to give me work that needs to be done by Monday (gah, is that a niche? Is it one I want?!). Also, it doesn’t feel entirely natural. I mean, what if something is worth discussing, or multiple items?

But on the other hand, I don’t want to spam folks, and make them tune out. That is likely missing the point, as I don’t have a large audience, and most of my traffic comes from informative posts I’ve published that remain useful over time and I am not going to stop making those.

But I thought I would ask, since if you are reading this, it might affect you. ^_^

Humble Bundle DRM-free promo sale

I don’t normally mention sales, but I do like to point out DRM-free artifacts, and Humble Bundle is running a promo in their store right now.

I won’t be picking up anything from there because I have more than enough games to last me a lifetime (maybe more…), but I know there are a few gems on there.

Any Trine title, and Her Story are definite pickups! Any recommendations for folks looking for DRM-free games? ^_^

WordPress 4.6 Beta 1 and feature freeze

New version of WordPress coming down the pipe, and two big features I am excited about: Font Natively and Shiny Updates.

Hey! WordPress 4.6 is cranking along, and a feature freeze and beta has dropped.

There are two big sub-projects in this release: Font Natively and Shiny Updates.

Font Natively reverses what I’ve always considered the mistake of linking to Google Fonts in the WordPress admin pages. One of my essential plugins has always been either Remove Google Fonts References or Disable Google Fonts, to remove those links. I am very happy this embarrassing mistake is being fixed.

Shiny Updates make the experience of updating themes, plugins and WordPress core a more enjoyable and straightforward process, in line with expectations for modern software. This is polish, follows WordPress’ principles of “designing for the majority, and striving for simplicity”. It will also make it a slightly better experience for those of us that run updates habitually (though I’ve largely moved to using Advanced Automatic Updates or WP-CLI myself).

This will be a fun update! Do you have any wish(list)s for future WordPress releases? I am always curious what folks are looking for. ^_^

WordPress Theme Review Team revising review process

WordPress is an amazing volunteer project, with real bodies working to keep the Theme and Plugin repositories online, as well as the support forums humming along. With so many users on the web using WordPress, it is a big job.

The Theme Review Team knows they are behind in reviewing new themes, and have a (action!) plan to reduce the queue. There is a revised workflow presented, as well as a plan to develop a theme check plugin on GitHub.

I am very grateful for this work to be done, and I’ve considered joining the theme review team myself. I’ve heard it is a good way to learn decent theme coding standards, and I intend to release a theme to the public repo (eventually, no timeline for that!).

If you are interested in theme development and how the WordPress infrastructure supports it, follow the Theme Review Team make blog. ^_^

GNU/Linux desktop usage may have hit 2%

GNU/Linux have approximately 2 percent of desktop marketshare. Why not more?

Linux Desktop Marketshare Just Passed 2 Percent, or so one study claims. That article goes on to explain that the numbers are not reliable, but generally folks believe it hovers between 1% and 2.5% of marketshare on desktop computers. Also, I am guessing “desktop” in this instance includes laptops.

I am surprised! I thought it would at least be around 10 percent or more. But of course I live in a (apparently tiny) bubble. Even though I have three “desktop” computers, two of them run GNU/Linux systems.

Of course, it is close to the inverse for servers, and anyone visiting a website is likely using a Linux-based system in that moment. Still, ~2% desktop usage is kinda depressing. I figured we would have shown more folks the usefulness of their computers by now.

Are the same market forces at work here? Of course Android is technically Linux, so if it just folks moving away from desktops that caused adoption to stagnate? Or maybe the old standby of practically no marketing budget going into it? How do we get more folks into GNU/Linux?

Saisei

This post will eventually live at https://iki.am. In the meantime, it will live on https://interi.org.

Okay folks, big decision here: I am splitting my blog. Again. But this time I know what I want, not just what I feel.

The gist is that I need a place that I can talk about me, opine and share really horrible traumatic stories. And this site, interi.org, is not that site. Because I also need to generate interesting content, and push the boundaries of publishing online as a professional and fulfilling part of my life. And those two drives, the need to be vulnerable and raw, professional and researched, they don’t mesh in my brain, and they don’t match what I want to do online.

But that is okay. I’ve been fairly depressed recently, and while I can never claim to be coming out of it with any certainty, I feel a lot… okay, right now. And this may help me in the future.

See, the thing is, I often feel broken. And for my entire life I’ve created some really complicated and profound coping mechanisms. And as I find success in my life and “career”, my coping mechanisms don’t hold up to the issues I am dealing with. So I go in deeper than I am used to, and my systems get neglected. But I don’t want those systems to be neglected, I want them humming along as I process, because I am not actually broken, and my systems, my routines, my communications, those are really important to me.

A fundamental part of my relation to the web is that it saved my life at the time it could have really gone off the deep end. I’ve never fully told that story, because it is the story of my life, and now I want to tell it. But not here. Because even I can only take so much of my hurt in one place. So I want to surgically remove it, and place it somewhere I can express it well, with the write tools. We’ll return to that in a moment.

So what do I want this place to be? That is a question I’ve been answering for a decade, scribbled in notebooks and text files scattered across my physical and virtual places. It is my magnum opus, but as a iterative process: the grand experiment of creating knowledge artifacts while exploring the developing open web. At the end of the day, that is something, perhaps the most important thing I care about.

That doesn’t mean it is going to be classy. And by that, I mostly mean I am going to talk about video games. A lot. But also webcraft, the sharing economy, blockchains, social dynamics, tea, and Oakland. Most of those are givens for anyone ever visiting here or meeting me, though Oakland is a new dedication, in part because in dealing with my personal issues I realize that I am afraid to like the place I live, but Oakland matches my self-image so well, I might as well embrace us for what we are.

I will be super meta each step of the way, but as a highlight of what’s to come, think kind of like a magazine/playground. I want to model how creating valuable content can be presented in a way that makes sense for people and a producer. And that means structuring it more than a blog, which has been my modus operandi forever. I am going to clean up the categories and do some solid IA, while also expanding into a weird docs section. And then I will be testing assumptions for possible web projects here before spinning off interesting ones into their own sites or whatever.

As I clean up my categories, I will also be systematically migrating content out of this site into the other one. All the posts about my pain, or childhood, or about parenting from my perspective; all of those are going to live at ikiam. Why? Because they don’t fit the tone of this site, and I think tone is important as a context clue. Because I know how I learn from the long tail of content, and I don’t want to dilute that with unrelated information that was created for a very different purpose.

Oh, and the new site? Yeah, totally configuring it differently! This has been a big pull for me, because I have some practices to test about increasing the discovery of interi, but I don’t want to increase the discovery of my personal stuff. I am not hiding it (because I could easily keep a non-public account of my thoughts). But I am not going to put forth the same effort to broadcast it to anyone stumbles upon it. For instance, it is important to me that public records be archived, but ikiam will have a robot.txt asking to not be indexed, and I won’t have WordPress auto-ping other sites. I am doing the things people warn new bloggers against, because I know what I am doing, and I want a non-publicized, public space, on the web.

I am starting at the beginning of my archive, which is around 1,600 posts. I will have completed the process when this post is no longer at interi, but published at ikiam, instead. So if you are one of those folks that hold a personal interest in me, https://iki.am is the place to check out for your subscription/stalking activities. I may never mention it on https://interi.org again. ^_^