Just A Regular Night with WindStream DSL

terminal-ping

I see this a lot

I pay $90 a month for 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up. It’s all I have available. I never get 1Mbps up, at least according to testmy.net. Ping responses take quite a while, no matter the geographical location of the box I’m pinging.

tyler@echo:~$ ping 8.8.8.8
PING 8.8.8.8 (8.8.8.8) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=1 ttl=49 time=1791 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=2 ttl=49 time=1941 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=3 ttl=49 time=1523 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=4 ttl=49 time=2028 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=5 ttl=49 time=1831 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=6 ttl=49 time=1846 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=7 ttl=49 time=2147 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=8 ttl=49 time=2228 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=9 ttl=49 time=2299 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=10 ttl=49 time=2350 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11 ttl=49 time=2252 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=12 ttl=49 time=2373 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=13 ttl=49 time=2247 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=14 ttl=49 time=2116 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=15 ttl=49 time=2069 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=16 ttl=49 time=2248 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=17 ttl=49 time=2162 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=18 ttl=49 time=2204 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=19 ttl=49 time=2148 ms
--- 8.8.8.8 ping statistics ---
21 packets transmitted, 19 received, 9% packet loss, time 20037ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1523.625/2095.396/2373.288/214.538 ms, pipe 3

Of course, WindStream support folks have me test with speedtest.net, which hangs well below the 1Mbps mark. Until the end of the upload, when it gets faster, and then that’s what’s used as the result.

It’s not this bad all the time, but it’s bad way more often than it should be.

I actually miss Mediacom Cable.

WordPress Tip: Specify a Primary Category using Advanced Custom Fields

acf

What WordPress custom fields should have been

I found Advanced Custom Fields (also known as ACF) about 6 months ago while working on a project for a client. They didn’t want to have to mess around with editing the Custom Fields that come native with WordPress, it just wouldn’t have worked as smoothly.

The client needed to require one image, one PDF, one year selection, and one category. The category consisted of two options, “Weekly” or “Daily”. If you’re wondering, it was a newspaper client who wanted to categorize their posts as being either a “weekly issue” or a “daily issue”. Makes sense for a newspaper!

Getting the native WordPress custom fields to play along well with files can be tricky, and probably not worth the effort, especially with a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields around.

So, enter the hero of this post, Advanced Custom Fields. I was able to set everything up with Advanced Custom Fields within about 20 minutes, and that even counts the time that I took to make various theme templates pull data from Advanced Custom Fields. The actual setup of Advanced Custom Fields took about 2 minutes.

I’ve since started using Advanced Custom Fields here at longren.io, too. Independent Publisher, the WordPress theme I’ve been using, likes to show one main category when you’re viewing a single post, even if it’s not the most relevant category. So instead of a post about WordPress having the Git category shown at the top, I can now specify which category I want to be shown. So, for a post like this, I would obviously choose WordPress as my primary category.

I’ve already added the necessary parts to my Independent Publisher child theme, and have sent a pull request to Raam Dev to get his thoughts. It’s a very easy thing to support in a theme, however, it requires that everyone using that theme use the same field name in ACF.

I named my field primary_category, since that’s exactly what it is.

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

After you’ve added your “Primary Category” custom field, you can then use the value of that field throughout your theme. I’ll have a short post later this week on exactly how you can display the primary category value in your theme. Or, if you want to know right now, you can see this pull request at GitHub.

As you can tell, Advanced Custom Fields is a beast of a plugin. I also love that Advanced Custom Fields is totally free, which is kind of amazing to me. I’ve come across many paid plugins that are nowhere near as polished and user friendly as Advanced Custom Fields.

Advanced Custom Fields doesn’t skimp on the documentation, either. Their documentation site is extremely helpful, I never once ventured away from it while getting familiar with Advanced Custom Fields for the first time.

You can download Advanced Custom Fields from the WordPress Plugin Directory, so you can also install it in just a few clicks, right from your WordPress Dashboard! Advanced Custom Fields is developed primarily by Elliot Condon, and can also be found on GitHub.

The great thing about this is that it can be applied to any theme, not just Independent Publisher. So, if you’re not using Independent Publisher, just setup Advanced Custom Fields as I described and make the necessary changes for your theme.

A follow-up post will have more details on using data from Advanced Custom Fields, no matter what theme you’re using.

Track JavaScript Errors Easily with Track:js

trackjs

I’ve been using Track:js for a few weeks now here at longren.io.

There may seem like a lot of GoogleBot-related errors at first glance. But, after deleting or filtering those out, you’re left with the errors that really happen most often.

Track:js has also recently added an option that will send you a daily summary of the JavaScript errors encountered, which is really handy, especially when you don’t have time to monitor the Track:js dashboard all day long.

A summary email can be seen below:
Track:js Daily Email Summary

I really enjoy the service, but I can’t see myself paying for it, at least not until I have a viable product of my own that is worthy of being tracked in such detail. Track:js starts out at $29.99 a month, which will get you 500,000 hits per month and 8 days worth of error history.

The guys behind Track:js are pretty awesome and seem to be pretty involved in the tech startup scene here in the Midwest. The footer of their site reads “Proudly built in Minnesota”.

How-To: Reset WordPress Database to Default Settings

wpdb-reset

Easily Reset Your WordPress Database

WordPress Database Reset is a WordPress plugin I recently came across that will at some point prove very, very useful to me.

It’s not often that I need to reset a production WordPress database to it’s default settings, but this plugin will make the task a whole lot easier. Chris Berthe, the author, describes the plugin like this:

WordPress Database Reset is a secure and easy way to reinitialize your WordPress database back to its default settings without actually having to reinstall WordPress yourself.

I can see this being crazy useful for WordPress plugin and theme developers. We frequently need a fresh database to work with, so I’ll be adopting this plugin in my WordPress plugin and theme development workflow from here on.

WordPress Database Reset requires WordPress 3.0+ and can be installed just like any other WordPress plugin. It’s in the WordPress Plugin directory, and can also be found on GitHub.

If you’re a WordPress theme or plugin developer, you should definitely check it out.

Copy.com Referrals Give Crazy Amounts of Free Cloud Storage Space

copy_bonuses

Lots of free cloud storage, 5GB for every referral :)

I use Copy a lot. I still maintain a Dropbox account for sharing files with friends who still use it, which is most of them honestly. But, I have such a crazy amount of free storage at Copy that I use it for absolutely everything.

All of my photos and video go there from my Nexus 4. On top of that, when my Nexus 4 gets full, I’ll just archive it to Copy, so I essentially have two of every photo and video in Copy. Dropbox holds just one copy of all videos and photos, I only have about 20GB of storage there, so that stuff eventually gets brought down to a local drive. Which I should probably just bring it local right off the bat and just skip Dropbox all together for that stuff. But I digress…

I’m currently using about 19GB out of 185GB available to me. It’s all due to this post I made back in August of 2013. It resulted in a bunch of referral signups, which gave me an additional 5GB each. I started out with 15GB of storage.

If you’re a blogger and want some decent amounts of free cloud storage, check out Copy. Drop your referral link in relevant posts and you’ll slowly start building up referrals and gaining additional storage.

Copy has clients for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, MacOS, and probably others. Just visit their download page. I’ve been very impressed with Copy and have been using them for nearly a year. They’re run by Barracuda Networks.

I dig Copy’s Fair Storage concept, which they explain like this:

We believe in a simple concept of fairness. Everyone paying for the same data they are sharing doesn’t work for us. We think that’s like going to dinner together and everyone having to pay the entire bill. People sharing content should equally divide the amount of storage being used. With Copy, you can split the bill. So a 12 GB folder shared between 3 people only counts as 4 GB per person.

Unless I’m missing something, that sounds as lot better than what Dropbox does. With Dropbox, if someone shares a 4GB folder with me, that’s 4GB taken away from my available storage, plus the other persons. So both of us ending up getting the 4GB taken from our accounts. Fucked, but that’s a topic for another post.

I still think you should check out Copy. I seriously recommend it, and that’s after I’ve been using it constantly for nearly the last year. I’ve a couple minor gripes about the Linux client, but I can deal with them.

Affiliate links are rampant throughout this post. If you don’t want to help me out, here’s a non-affiliate link for Copy, and here’s a non-affiliate link for Dropbox. Pretty sure you get extra space if you sign up from an affiliate link though, so, your call. Here’s the affiliate Copy signup link and the affiliate Dropbox signup link. :)