WordPress upgraded to 4.2

We’re now running wordpress 4.2.1, the latest and greatest from Automattic. This is a minor release change from the previous version we were running.  It does incorporate some new features, like new character sets (including emoji!) but mostly it is a necessary update because of security fixes.

This release is code named “Powell” in honor of jazz pianist Bud Powell.  For more info about the new features in this release, check out Automattic’s news release.

WordPress upgraded to 4.1

We’re now running wordpress 4.1, the latest and greatest from Automattic. This is a major release change (as far as version numbering goes, but not necessarily in UI and compatibility goes) from the previous version we were running.  This version adds many improvements along with many useful features and a new Automattic theme, Twenty Fifteen.

This release is code named “Dinah”, in honor of jazz singer Dinah Washington.  For more info about the new features in this release, AKA “Dinah” check out Automattic’s news release.

Homepage update

As you may have noticed there are some updates to the theme of the blogs homepage. This is our new look – I hope that everyone likes it. Please explore around, there is some exciting new functionality that we hope will lead more browsers farther into the great content that all of you create. There may be some oddly displaying pages, and if you do see one, please let us know in the Contact Us page.

Theme updates

Along with plugin updates we updated the themes that had updates available.  Some themes that users have are what are called ‘child themes’, so even though you may not be directly using a theme that was updated you may see new features.

  • Updated the twentyten theme
  • Updated the twentyeleven theme
  • Updated the hemingway theme
  • Updated the northern coders theme
  • Updated the okami theme
  • Updated the p2 theme
  • Updated the pool theme
  • Updated the tarski theme

In addition to updates we also added some new themes.

  • Added the responsive theme
  • Added the spacious theme
  • Added the virtue
  • Added the twenty twelve, thirteen and fourteen themes

And like always, the old cobwebs have to get cleaned out.

  • Removed the banana smoothie, blue green, fresh bananas, girl, green marinee, greenery, gridlock, hoofei, iceburg, leto prime, manga, roundflow, sandbox, sunburn, supposedly clean, sweet blossoms, twilight, twenty-eight thirteen and vermillion christmas themes.



New plugins. Old plugins.

As many of the users of the blog service may have noticed, there have been some changes made.  Most noticeable in the recent past was the update to WordPress 3.9.  Now that we are up-to-date the next items to tackle are the smaller internal parts.

We have updated 7 plugins to their latest versions and added 9 plugins to increase the functionality of your blogging platform.  We think you will like the new features that these plugins bring.  Please check the list below for quick details – more in-depth posts on some of the new plugins may be upcoming.

  • added all in one favicon plugin
  • added the jetpack plugin pack
  • added the category specific rss feed menu plugin
  • added the plugin easy fancybox
  • added the plugin mathjax latex
  • added the plugin nextgen gallery
  • added the plugin post types order
  • added the plugin related posts
  • added the plugin slidedeck 2
  • added the plugin tinymce advanced
  • updated the creative commons plugin to v1.5.2
  • updated the bad behavior plugin to v2.2.15
  • updated the live comment preview plugin to v2.0.2
  • updated the multisite dashboard feed widget plugin to v2014.01.27
  • updated the sociable plugin to v4.3.4.1
  • updated the wpmu theme usage info plugin to v1.9
  • updated the wordpress importer plugin to v0.6.1

And since we are talking about new plugins, we have to talk about some of the older unsupported and stale ones.  These need to be removed as their functionality is limited and their support in the new versions of WordPress is over.  Most, if not all of the features that these plugins provided has been replaced with some of the new plugins that were added.  Please transition your blogs as these plugins will be removed 6/1.

  • removing the older v1.2 of the category subscriptions plugin
  • removing the del.icio.us for wordpress plugin
  • removing the lightbox 2 plugin
  • removing the rotating tweets plugin
  • removing the pandora widget


WordPress Upgraded to 3.9

We’re now running wordpress 3.9, the latest and greatest from Automattic. This is a minor release change from the previous version we were running but adds many improvements and visual changes. This release is code named “Smith” in honor of jazz organist Jimmy Smith. For more info about the new features in this release, AKA “Smith” check out Automattic’s news release.

WordPress platform upgrade waiting in the wings.

We are always working to stay current with the WordPress blogging software releases – both for security and to provide the latest-and-greatest features – as such we’ll be upgrading our WordPress installation in the coming week. We have been busy testing the compatibility of existing themes and plugins as well as new ones that will be installed after the upgrade.

WordPress 3.8 is functionally identical to what we’re running now and shouldn’t cause any problems or confusion on a technical level, but there have been many changes made to the interface styling.

As the upgrade is a necessary step, we wanted to make sure our blogging community was aware now of the upcoming change. Because the management interface is styled differently it will be a noticeable change, or as it was put in a previous post on the same topic: “Probably better, but definitely different.”

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Removing the slimstats plugin permanently . . .

We are removing the slimstats plugin entirely because:

  1. It hasn’t functioned properly since we implemented the frontend page cache ages ago,
  2. It has always been inaccurate and slow,
  3. It requires a huge amount of space in the database, and
  4. You can enable and install google analytics to keep track of visitors to your blog.

We will not be retaining the old slimstats analytics data, it was wildly inaccurate to begin with and even more so after the page cache was put in place. We will work to implement the open source piwik analytics for a completely free alternative, but we don’t have a specific deadline yet.

Thanks for your understanding!

Site Blackout plugin

A site blackout plugin has been installed on blogs.law. We had several requests for this feature from bloggers. However our creation of this blackout plugin does not constitute an official endorsement of a specific cause or policy. Bloggers on blogs.law always have complete control over the messaging on their blogs. Please consider this plugin another tool to increase the impact of your voice.


  1. As a site administrator, enable the “Berkman Site Blackout” plugin under your sites “Plugins” menu.
  2. Configure the plugin under your blogs’ “Settings” -> “Site Blackout” page. Feel free to use the text from my site.

The options should be fairly self-explanatory, but to clarify:

  • “Page title” is the large text that appears “above the fold”.
  • “Page link” is the URL that this text links to.
  • “Message” is the message text – be sure to include a link to a site that a visitor can take action from.