I don’t normally like to talk about these sorts of things, but I am not only getting older, I am also mortal. So I just wanted to put out there that if something does happen to me some day, I wrote a blog post expressing my final wishes.
When I made the move to WordPress a few weeks ago I had a lot to learn, both in terms of functionality that WordPress had to offer, as well as plugins that I could install and which of those plugins actually worked well!
So I’m going to spend this post sharing what plugins I found the most useful so that anyone else who is getting into WordPress can have an easier time getting started.
Even if you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, chances are that your visitors do and they share your content on those sites. So this plugin is probably the most important plugin of the entire list, because it adds the appropriate meta tags to ensure that when your content is shared on either service, it is rendered correctly.
Furthermore, the Open Graph plugin allows you to set a default image and override it with other an image from the post itself or one uploaded separately:
Again, I cannot stress it enough–if you want your content to look presentable on social media sites, you need to use this plugin. Otherwise, you are passing up a huge opportunity.
One of the neat things about WordPress is that when you upload an image and then include that image in a blog post, you can decide where that image links to. The image can link to nothing at all, the raw image, or an “attachment page” which contains that image and a caption.
That said, something that has caused me grief for out of the box WordPress builds has been the image on the media page being really small. Take for example, this picture of a freeloading cheetah. When I upload the picture, the attachment page looks like this:
Just look at that. A tiny image and a bunch of the page being completely unused. Disgraceful. Surely we can do better!
As it turns out, tweaking a single line of code can be used to change the size of all images on media pages.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the Twenty Seventeen theme that ships with WordPress, but one thing that really drives me crazy is that whatever cover image you upload takes up nearly 100% of the entire web browser when viewing on a desktop or laptop. I find it darn near infuriating, because I have to scroll down just to click on a menu link or see content. That ain’t right.
Way back in 2005, I converted my website (and its predecessor) over to Drupal. Drupal has served me well for the last 13 years, but due to the direction in which Drupal as a product has moved, I do not feel it is the right choice for me anymore.
So I instead checked out WordPress, and was rather happy with it. It does one thing (blogging) really really well, instead of trying to be the “kitchen sink” like Drupal. As of this writing, I’ve ported over just about all of the content I wanted to port over, and have since switched www.dmuth.org to point to this WordPress Install.
Along the way, I learned some thing about how to set up and configure WordPress, let me share them with you:
TL;DR If you are comfortable with Docker and Docker Compose, you can go straight to the GitHub repo and get started. For the everyone else, read on…
When I stood up this website, I wanted to do so in Docker, but I ran into an issue: the official WordPress Docker image runs Apache. Apache is a nice webserver for small amounts of traffic, but it does not scale well. As more concurrent connections come into a server running Apache, more copies of the httpd process are forked, which causes RAM usage to go up. Having RAM usage regularly go up and down is not ideal.
Fortunately, there is a better way. The Nginx webserver, combined with PHP running in FPM mode scales much better as the memory usage is more constant, which means that peak loads on the server won’t cause you to thrash the swapfile. Encryption would also be nice, so I wanted to have some SSL going as well.
I couldn’t find any existing solutions, so I built one! In this post, I’m going to walk through each piece of the puzzle.
This page is here so that if something happens leaving me in a state where I am no longer able to run my websites, people will know what to do.
While I have no plans of buying a farm anytime soon, sometimes accidents and sudden illness happen. That also means that if I am in a persistent coma of some kind, or have a terminal condition, please don’t keep me on life support for months or resuscitate me–just let me pass on peacefully.
Designation of Executor
I designate Samuel C. Conway, PhD as my virtual executor to organize such things. In the event that Sam is not available, then I designate Tom Geller as virtual executor. They’ll know what to do, or know people who will.
All my websites – Including (but not limited to) this one, IsSeptaFucked.com, and SeptaStats.com, Sam (or someone he designates) should be the new webmaster/site admin. Please keep the websites operational where possible. Where appropriate, pages should contain a note about what happened. Please update this page with a link as well.
I would prefer that my social media be kept in situ. If you don’t speak Latin, that means “leave it the hell alone!” My Facebook security settings allow anyone to post on my wall, and having had a few of my own friends pass away in recent years, it was really nice reading comments and notes left by their friends and loved ones. I’d love if my friends did the same for me on my Facebook wall.
Anything that is publicly available on my GitHub account should already be available under an open source license. If it’s not, please assign the copyright to the Free Software Foundation. They seem pretty chill about letting people use their code.
Funeral, Grave, and Memorial Service
My family has a series of plots purchased in a cemetery, I will leave it to them to bury me there. I expect something about cheetahs written on my tombstone. I mean it! While friends are welcome to come to my funeral, I’d rather there be a Celebration of Life held weeks/months after my passing so that friends can travel from further distances to attend. A hotel would be an ideal spot for this. Having alcohol on hand for guests would be a really good idea. I expect my friends to laugh, cry, and damage their livers while talking shit about me.