It's taken a little while for me to take it up, but I finally broke down and upgraded my WordPress install to the latest version. I'm only just starting to get to know this version. Still, it's pretty clear that the WP team has made some good additions.
Drag and Drop Media Upload
Right away, I noticed a simplified media upload mechanism. WP is getting smarter. It can now detect the media type you want to upload and sort it appropriately. Even more interesting is the drag-and-drop functionality for media uploads. I gave the tool a quick test drive by uploading a header image, a shot of my backyard pond, below.
Anyone who spends time with WP knows that the dashboard sidebar menu structure is a bit long. On a laptop, it's not uncommon to see the menu run below the fold, forcing a scroll just to locate the settings options.
Flyout menus changes all that. It's easy to see your menu options on hover, saving the extra click and streamlining the look of the text in the dashboard sidebar.
Good question. When is something good enough? I can't really answer that question. There are security issues to consider, of course, and the newest version closes some vulnerabilities. In all honesty, the security concerns weren't enough to move me to the upgrade.
I needed a little down time on my running sites to feel comfortable with an update. The semester break created that down time for me. (I didn't want to break course websites midstream.) But that wasn't even enough, really.
In the end, my desire to create an option for users to subscribe to Page updates through RSS led me down a path that required the update. RSS Pages for WordPress 3+ required an update to my WP 3. That update went well, although the plugin page indicates that it had not yet been tested with 3.3.1. Consider this a leapfrog moment. I installed the plugin and it seems to be working just fine.
As I suspected in the fall, Smith Preserve is a beautiful, local winter getaway. The trails are frequented by cross country skiers and hikers alike, and it is a beautifully quiet place to spend an hour or two. I strapped on snowshoes a couple weeks ago during a deep freeze. I found solitude, crisp air, and frozen streams.
This week I took another late afternoon/early evening hike in Smith. As I rounded the bend on a loop I've been taking an owl flew right across the trail, landing in a tree about 50' from the trail and 20' off the ground.
I dropped my poles and headed off into the woods to see if I could get a closer look. Amazing! The owl was both completely aware of my presence the whole time and undisturbed by my effort to get close. I stood under the owl and we stared at each other. I took about a half dozen pictures with my phone, though darkness was beginning to set in and so it was tough to get a nice shot.
Smith Preserve is proving to be a really sweet spot. It's halfway between home and office, and it's position on the commute makes it ideal for a quick trip into the woods.
My friend Daniel and some of his colleagues have been hard at work on a really important documentary about development in New York. Having done a lot of the hard work behind the documentary, they're now at a financial impasse. They need additional money to be able to purchase rights to some of the archival footage they want for their documentary.
To help generate funds for this important next stage of their project they've turned to Kickstarter, a really interesting crowdsource-based fund-raising tool. And they've created a trailer to both set up the context for their project and to solicit donations.
I have a really cool space in Kennebunk, inside a historic Masonic Hall. With 15' tin ceilings, massive windows, and an open layout, the space just breathes. After wrapping up my second week with the Masons, I'm starting to feel at home. It's a very quiet area, though the construction on Main St. starts at about 6 AM. (Good thing I'm an early riser!) And the people in the area are so friendly and helpful.
I met one of the individuals running the cafe downstairs (Jason), and took a brief bike ride around the Kennebunk neighborhoods to check out housing in the area. I was even able to unpack some research and do some writing. I'm feeling like this is going to be a great place to live, at least for now.