What I’m Reading: The New York Times, apparently

I’ve read 200 New York Times articles in the past 30 days. Since The New York Times set up their paywall, they’ve apparently much been more diligent about tracking what I read, since their recommendations page shows me this number broken down by section. This number is actually low. Sometimes my session ends (on both devices I use) and I don’t notice until I’m nagged about the paywall 20 articles later. (RescueTime suggests I read at least 350 pages on nytimes.com during this time period.)

I received a notice today that my complimentary subscription to nytimes.com expires December 31, so it looks like I’ll finally have to succumb to paying.

My top sections: U.S. — 69, Sports — 24, World — 21, Business Day — 21, Opinion — 14, Technology — 14, N.Y. / Region — 9, Science — 5, Magazine — 5, Arts — 3.

When Did You Last Blog? A Fresh Start

You know it’s bad when the most influential people in your life have all ganged up on you.

My best friend Ben Balter wrote a script called When Did Nacin Last Blog (don’t worry, it’s on Github).

My girlfriend planted the “When did you last blog?” question at WordCamp Richmond last month.

My own father called me in October while I was in Seattle to quiz me on when my last blog post was (“April 16,” I knew off the top of my head), after which he pointed out I was also in Seattle then.

My boss recently sent me a friendly reminder letting me know it’s been 229 days since my last post. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt used Ben’s tool.

It’s not that I don’t post to blogs. In the last 233 days, I’ve posted 19 times to the WordPress development P2, 16 times to our translators blog, and three times to the WordPress Blog.

And it’s not that I don’t write. I use Twitter as a microblogging tool to share links and ideas. And since April 16, I’ve posted more than 2,600 comments on the WordPress bug tracker, and opened 81 tickets. (Exactly one-third remain open.)

I think the problem is two-fold. I don’t make time to blog, even though posting to a personal blog might as well be a job responsibility for me. I truly love blogging and web publishing, it’s just that after spending 60 hours a week on building, testing, and using web publishing software, I typically want to take a break. Second, I find other ways to publish most of the content I would publish, whether it’s on our bug tracker or on Twitter.

I’d like to change both of those things. So I’ve done some things to prepare for a change in routine.

I’ve switched to the Twenty Eleven theme using the one-column layout. I probably prefer Twenty Ten visually, but Twenty Eleven supports a number of post formats that I hope to leverage while microblogging. I have a feeling I’ll continue to tinker with this blog’s appearance — I’ve liked the designs and blogging styles of a few good friends.

Just a month ago, I finally acquired the nacin.com domain, which I’ve wanted for many years. Until this weekend, the site resided at andrewnacin.com, but given that nacin is my identity both online and in real life (I’m called Nacin more than Andy or Andrew), it was symbolically important to me. (Thanks Pete Mall for being my proxy for negotiations.)

I have been keeping a list of potential essays to write, and started to draft a number of future posts. With the final release of WordPress 3.3 is just around the corner, there are a number of tutorials for cool new APIs I could probably cover. There’s a lot more I can write about — in the last nine months, I’ve worked on both coasts to get open source in newsrooms and government agencies. I’ve attended meetups in New York, Seattle, and of course D.C. I’ve evangelized WordPress at nine WordCamps, a PHP conference, and a BBQ festival.

I’ll also be posting links, quotes, and ideas that would normally go straight to Twitter. Lots of WordPress, yes, but you’ll likely see an infusion of non-WordPress things I find interesting, particularly in the areas and intersections of technology, open source, journalism, and politics (based on some of my recent tweets). I last blogged 233 days ago. It’s time this has changed.

WordCamp Seattle

I’m here at WordCamp Seattle, and wanted to post my slides and a few other notes. I’m giving two talks today, one in the development track on best practices for plugin development (“Y U NO CODE WELL”), and an Ignite talk on contributing to the WordPress community.

First, during my development talk, I was asked for five tips on writing secure code. In return, I pulled up a recent email I wrote where I provided 10 tips:

Never trust the user. You need to assume that all user input is insecure, and that all output is unescaped. The primary points are:

  1. Always escape attributes, URLs, and text on output.
  2. Always sanitize, scrub and validate input.
  3. Always prepare database queries.
  4. Never trust the user.
  5. Never output anything that is unsanitized or unescaped.
  6. Never store anything that is unsanitized.
  7. Know the difference between authority and intention.
  8. Never trust the user.
  9. Always use the many helper functions — we make it easy to write secure code.
  10. Never trust the user.

Best Practices for Plugin Development


Ignite Talk: Ask Not What WordPress Can Do For You


Help the WordPress DC Community

After a number of very successful meetups over the last year, the local WordPress community in Washington, D.C., is growing fast in both size and strength.

The group offers some great education and networking opportunities, and the local community is becoming very involved. We’re very proud to have some great local sponsors and supporters, including Graph Paper Press, Site5 Hosting, Accessibility DC, and our hosts Fathom Creative. Next week, somewhere around eight local users and developers are presenting lightning talks. Not only are we typically seeing 40 or more at every meetup, we live-stream and record our events, too.

We’ve hosted some prominent community members, including Mitcho Erlewine, GPP’s Thad Allender, Theme Lab’s Leland Fiegel, and of course, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. We want to host more awesome events, and we also want to become a strong resource for the community.

While co-organizer Aaron Jorbin and I have worked hard to organically grow a community with local roots, the two of us are also heavily tapped into the WordPress community as a whole, and we hope to bring some of that awesomeness to D.C.

How can you help? Here’s some ideas:

If you’re coming to town, let me know. Our meetups are typically the second Tuesday of the month, but we’ve scheduled special meetups when awesome people are in town, and want that to continue. We’ve done all sorts of formats: presentations, town halls, demos, lightning talks, and social gatherings. Well, social gatherings happen after every meetup, but we’ve done those standalone too.

Send along a book: I’m giving away a copy of Professional WordPress Plugin Development next Tuesday, and the winning developer will be asked to review the book. There are a number of relevant and awesome books I’d love to offer to our members.

Send along some swag: While my more than two dozen WordPress shirts helps my stated goal of wearing a different one to every meetup, I’d love to spread the love a bit. Other items are welcome, too.

Send along a product or promotion: Lots of premium themes, plugins, and services are out there. Ideally, if we’re giving away a free product, I’d like to be able to also offer a promotion to everyone there. Contact me if you’re interested in supporting the community this way.

Provide a micro-sponsorship: Thanks to the amazing generosity of Fathom and others, we don’t have much in the way of costs. But we’d like to provide pizza and beer when possible, since not everyone has time to grab a six-pack on the way over to restock the Fathom fridge.

That’s about it for now — please contact me if you’re interested in anything. And seriously, don’t forget to let us know if you’re ever coming to town. We have a great group.