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 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 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 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.

WordPress upgraded to 3.3.1

We’re now running wordpress 3.3.1, the latest and greatest from Automattic. This is a bugfix release of the 3.3 release, AKA “Sonny”. About this release. . .

New Plugin – Custom CSS

We’ve installed a new plugin to let you use custom CSS styling on your blog. Have fun!

Keep in mind some CSS features are sanitized/removed for security’s sake, including:

  • HTML code
  • @import rules
  • expressions
  • invalid and unsafe code
  • URLs not using the http: protocol

Google analytics plugin installed

We’ve installed a google analytics plugin – you should see a “Google Analytics” choice under your “Settings” menu in the wordpress backend.

We’ve also installed a network-wide google analytics code to let us see activity on a broader basis. This doesn’t disclose any information to the tech team that isn’t already available in the web server logs.  We may not keep this network-wide tracking code in place permanently, depending on how well it jibes with our internal site-wide analytics.

Thanks for your patience, a lot of you have been waiting for better analytics for quite some time. updated to WordPress 3.2

Short and simple – we’ve updated to WordPress 3.2. The video on this post about the new release goes through the new features pretty thoroughly.

Thanks for blogging!