kristarella.blog http://kristarella.blog Happiness Engineer at Automattic, lover of knitting, crochet, sci-fi and more Thu, 09 Feb 2017 02:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 https://i2.wp.com/kristarella.blog/wp-content/uploads/KRISTARELLAshoe.png?fit=32%2C32 kristarella.blog http://kristarella.blog 32 32 75424607 Gamifying Life http://kristarella.blog/2017/02/gamifying-life/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/02/gamifying-life/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 21:54:18 +0000 http://kristarella.blog/?p=5296 I’m not good at building new habits, especially good ones. My husband is amazing at building new habits, and I’m not sure how he does it… It seems like he decides to do something and he just does it, day after day, never forgetting, never making excuses. As a society we spend much on motivation, […]]]>

I’m not good at building new habits, especially good ones. My husband is amazing at building new habits, and I’m not sure how he does it… It seems like he decides to do something and he just does it, day after day, never forgetting, never making excuses.

As a society we spend much on motivation, but motivation is not some magic thing that you have or you don’t, nor is it something you can wait for. Sometimes you have to make your own motivation, and while the feelings come and go, you need to just persevere with the activity.

We do things for one of two reason; either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Research shows that we’ll do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.
Andrew Beatty

I’ve noticed recently that there are a few things I have been doing every day. I’m a little embarrassed that the main thing that has kept me going is the way these things, these apps, have gamified the act of a daily task.

I find myself not wanting to go to sleep each night before I make sure I’ve done my games, French practice, or bible reading for the day. I don’t want to break my streak!

Part of the way these streaks are motivating, at least in the case of Duolingo and YouVersion, is that they can be seen by other people. Accountability, or at least the potential for it, seems to be a much better motivator than my own satisfaction at doing a task. I think that supports the quote above: that we avoid pain (the shame or embarrassment of failing) harder than we seek pleasure.

Despite it being a bit embarrassing, if this is the way I can get things done that I’ve been wanting to do, I’ll take it! Now, what else can I apply this to?

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Knotting things http://kristarella.blog/2017/02/knotting-things/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/02/knotting-things/#respond Wed, 01 Feb 2017 23:28:46 +0000 http://kristarella.blog/?p=5283 I am really enjoying knots and learning to tie new knots! I even figured out a knot that I couldn’t find anyone having written about! It’s #785 in The Ashley Books of Knots. I posted how to tie it on knots.blog: Long Crown & Diamond Knot (ABoK #785)  ]]>

I am really enjoying knots and learning to tie new knots!

I even figured out a knot that I couldn’t find anyone having written about! It’s #785 in The Ashley Books of Knots. I posted how to tie it on knots.blog:

Long Crown & Diamond Knot (ABoK #785)

 

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The future is everyone http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/the-future-is-everyone/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/the-future-is-everyone/#respond Sun, 22 Jan 2017 21:14:34 +0000 http://kristarella.blog/?p=5273 Let me start by saying I am in support of the women’s marches. It’s important that the women of the United States feel united, strong, encouraged to not despair over a president that so far seems to be not only sexist, but a bigot to boot. That said, I keep seeing this phrase, The future […]]]>

Let me start by saying I am in support of the women’s marches. It’s important that the women of the United States feel united, strong, encouraged to not despair over a president that so far seems to be not only sexist, but a bigot to boot.

That said, I keep seeing this phrase,

The future is female

and I don’t get it.

The future is female, sign at march
image credit: Matt Weigand, The Ann Arbor News
Is it like Black Lives Matter, where yes, everyone else’s life matters too, but black lives are the ones in danger? I could appreciate that, but Black Lives Matter, just like everyone else works better than The Future is Female, and everyone else

According to otherwild.com who sells the t-shirt that helped make the phrase a current sensation,

The original “The Future Is Female” T-shirt design was made for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City, which was opened in 1972 by Jane Lurie and Marizel Rios.

The owner of the online shop printing the shirts told the New York Times,

The shirt is about a reaction to a misogynist and patriarchal culture that affects a lot of people. People are recontextualizing it: trans women, men, moms who have sons.
Rachel Berks

So, I appreciate that the phrase has a historic context, that’s cool. However, I feel that it still embodies my least favorite side-effect of feminism: the denigration of men.

The future is everyone. People of every walk need to be heard, counted, supported…

Instagram Photo

If I have learned anything during my journey on Planet Earth, it is that people need one another. The presence of other people is essential; caring people, helpful people, interesting people, friendly people, thoughtful people. These folks take the grind out of life. About the time we are tempted to think we can handle things all alone, boom! We run into some obstacle and need assistance. We discover all over again that we are not nearly as self-sufficient as we thought.
Charles R. Swindoll, Laugh Again

If you like slogans there are plenty about equality, the power, determination, and strength of women, “no one is free when some are oppressed”, “liberty and justice for all”. Let’s not reduce the importance of men in the world because some men have done wrong.

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WordPress is mobile 📱 http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/wordpress-is-mobile-%f0%9f%93%b1/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/wordpress-is-mobile-%f0%9f%93%b1/#respond Sun, 15 Jan 2017 01:42:31 +0000 http://kristarella.blog/?p=5267 WordPress has had a mobile app for a long time, but you might not realise just how much it has improved! I find myself using it more and more to write posts, especially when I’ve taken pictures on my phone that I want to include. Check it out! This is on iOS. The layout is […]]]>

WordPress has had a mobile app for a long time, but you might not realise just how much it has improved!

I find myself using it more and more to write posts, especially when I’ve taken pictures on my phone that I want to include.

Check it out!

This is on iOS. The layout is a bit different on Android, but I hope the features are the same.

  1. You’ve got your three dots for more options, in which the post preview and post settings live.
  2. The media handling has gotten so much better! You have access to your phone’s library and all the albums, as well as your site’s media library. To access other albums (than camera roll) or the site’s media library just tap the drop down at the top middle of the media screen.
    • You can also adjust the settings for an image after it’s been inserted by tapping on the image to get the edit icon (pencil), then tap a second time to be able to change the title, caption, size and link.
  3. There is a visual and code editor (originally it was just the code editor)!
    I hope in the future the visual editor might include a “more” button to access things like headings and nested lists, but it’s pretty nice anyway.

You can use the app with self-hosted WordPress.org sites, with or without Jetpack installed, and WordPress.com sites.

Above is just the post writing screen, but you can also moderate comments, customize your site (if hosted on WordPress.com), and view stats (for WordPress.com and Jetpack sites).

If you have never used it, or haven’t tried it for a while, download it now

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kristarella dot blog http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/kristarella-dot-blog/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/kristarella-dot-blog/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 03:37:53 +0000 http://kristarella.blog/?p=5227 This site has had a change of domain! kristarella.com will continue to direct here, but in support of the launch of .Blog and because this has always been a blog, even when I was running a business, kristarella.blog is going to be my main domain now. As I mentioned in my 2016 review, Knock Knock WHOIS […]]]>

KRISTARELLA.blogThis site has had a change of domain!

kristarella.com will continue to direct here, but in support of the launch of .Blog and because this has always been a blog, even when I was running a business, kristarella.blog is going to be my main domain now.

As I mentioned in my 2016 review, Knock Knock WHOIS There launched the .Blog top-level-domain in November. It was an interesting experience! There’s lots of facets to it. The part that I was involved with was the registrar get.blog where we are trying to make the experience of owning a domain smoother and jargon-free. I might write more about that at another time.

knots.blog

I also happen to own knots.blog to document my recent affinity with knot-tying 🙂

If you want your own .Blog domain you can register one at get.blogWordPress.com, and your other favourite registrar might offer them too.

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Org vs. Com http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/wordpress-org-vs-com/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/wordpress-org-vs-com/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 07:29:19 +0000 http://kristarella.com/?p=4936 The eternal debate confusion decision: do I want WordPress.org or WordPress.com? Many people think the answer is always WordPress.org, and I used to be one of them. I have come to appreciate this is not necessarily the case. For those that don’t even know what I’m talking about: WordPress.org is the community website that provides the free WordPress software that […]]]>

The eternal debate confusion decision: do I want WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

Many people think the answer is always WordPress.org, and I used to be one of them. I have come to appreciate this is not necessarily the case.

For those that don’t even know what I’m talking about:

WordPress.org is the community website that provides the free WordPress software that you can install on any server and where you can use custom themes and plugins and basically do whatever you want.

WordPress.com is a hosted service for WordPress where WordPress is pre-installed and has a bunch of features built-in; they also provide support and manage software updates etc, but doesn’t allow 3rd-party themes and plugins to be uploaded.

It’s explained in reasonable detail in this support document, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. I also have a slide in one of my presentations summarising some of the differences:

WordPress.org compared to WordPress.com

I work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, and my primary role is supporting WordPress.com customers. Some pretty common things I hear are:

  • Where do I upload the theme I bought?
  • Where do I install plugins?
  • How do I get a refund? I didn’t realise I needed WordPress.org.
  • This platform is so limited, it’s frustrating!

That last one, especially, can make me pretty sad because I think our platform is great, and we help produce excellent sites. However, it’s also true that WordPress.com is not for everyone.

As Uncle Ben said,

With great power comes great responsibility

Sometimes, the flexibility you think you want in a site comes at too high a cost. That could be: a security cost: when installing your own site, you are primarily responsible for the security of that site; a management cost: you need to keep your software, plugins, and themes up to date, backed up; and you may need to figure out how to do things without much help from your web host.

On WordPress.com we take care of the hosting, upgrades, backups, security, and we have live chat support (currently 24/5, and US business hours weekends, working up to 24/7).

There is a middle ground, and that is WordPress-specific hosting (such as Pressable and WP Engine). Usually, these combine the flexibility of WordPress.org with the benefits of WordPress.com that I’ve already mentioned, but for some people, these too will come at too high a cost… that is, the price tag. I think these services are actually great value, but they do cost more than cheap hosting.

There have been some great info-graphics on this subject before, but I think most are out of date, so I’ve made another for you!

Download PDF
Download PNG

WordPress in any format is an excellent publishing tool, but not everyone wants to use it the same way, and that’s why these different platforms exist! The other good news is that you can always transfer your content from one to the other if you find wp.org or wp.com isn’t working for you and you want to try the other.

Yay for freedom!

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Fixed my WordPress MySQL charsets http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/fixed-my-wordpress-mysql-charsets/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/fixed-my-wordpress-mysql-charsets/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 21:58:48 +0000 http://kristarella.com/?p=5105 Nerd alert: I’m posting this in case anyone finds themselves with the same issue and needs a fix; if you don’t care about databases feel free to skip this one 🤓

For a recent post I wanted to use an emoji. I also wanted to use emojis in a post ages ago and wasn’t able to… but WordPress supports emoji! So, what was up with that?

As it turns out, my database encoding and charsets were all over the shop. This is understandable; when I first created this site I knew little about databases and the default charset for most MySQL databases (at least those created in phpMyAdmin) was latin and the collation was set to latin1_swedish_ci.

I remember changing these to utf8 a long time ago, but that was before utf8mb4 (a better implementation of utf8 in MySQL; the previous one was limited). I also only changed my database and tables, not each individual column.

In order to get proper emoji support happening I wanted to update everything to utf8mb4. I’m not a whiz with SQL queries, so I ended up just going through each table and changing the encoding and collation. Sequel Pro makes this pretty easy and only slightly tedious.

As I was doing that I noticed that some columns (those with data types of varchar, enum, and also the post_content and post_title columns) kept their encoding despite the change to the table. I guess that’s so the data doesn’t get messed up, which is good, but annoying for my purposes.

An article from Atlassian , MySQL Collation Repair, was great for fixing most of the columns, but for post_content and post_title I kept getting the following error.

Column ‘post_content’ cannot be part of FULLTEXT index

I’m not sure where I found the following code, but basically you have to change any column that are in the FULLTEXT index at the same time, otherwise they won’t budge. The following queries worked for me.

ALTER TABLE `wp_posts`
MODIFY COLUMN `post_content` longtext CHARACTER SET binary,
MODIFY COLUMN `post_title` text CHARACTER SET binary;
ALTER TABLE `wp_posts`
DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8mb4,
MODIFY COLUMN `post_content` longtext CHARACTER SET utf8mb4,
MODIFY COLUMN `post_title` text CHARACTER SET utf8mb4;

Side note: props to this post for making me smile. While the solutions proposed didn’t quite fit my situation the alternate title of The things we do to store U+1F4A9 PILE OF POO (💩) correctly was bang on!

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The 2017 plan http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/the-2017-plan/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/the-2017-plan/#respond Thu, 05 Jan 2017 07:26:22 +0000 http://kristarella.com/?p=5087 – I have part of a plan – What percentage of a plan do you have? – I dunno… Twelve percent? Guardians of the Galaxy So this isn’t much of a plan right now, but something made me not want to use the words resolutions or goals; resolutions just get broken, but I guess these are […]]]>

– I have part of a plan

– What percentage of a plan do you have?

– I dunno… Twelve percent?

Guardians of the Galaxy

So this isn’t much of a plan right now, but something made me not want to use the words resolutions or goals; resolutions just get broken, but I guess these are goals, and the start of a plan.

2017…

  1. Calendar the 💩 out of it
    I use my Google calendars pretty heavily, but I want to do even better at it this year, without a single double-booking or forgotten event.
  2. Bullet Journal the rest
    I started a Bullet Journal last year and found it quite freeing. I didn’t write in it all the time though, and I’d like to write nearly every day, if not actually every day. I’d also like to use signifiers and modules more.
  3. Read Bible
    I’m great at reading with others, but by myself I’m terrible. I’ve printed out the Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers and put it in my journal… now to actually read!
  4. Lose weight
    So many reasons to do this! Including trying to avoid breast cancer and type 2 diabetes, stop snoring, maybe get some more energy, enjoy clothes again. I went to Weight Watchers all of last year, but lost very little weight. The program works, and I’ve done it before, but unlike last time I have found it difficult to make a habit of writing down what I eat, which is basically the key, and perhaps the motivation just hasn’t been there, or hasn’t been stronger than my desire to eat at cafes and drink beer at meetups. I’m really not sure how to make that motivation stick.
  5. Work well
    That’s a bit of a lame one on the surface, but it covers a bunch of smaller things I’d like to achieve with work:

    • Figure out my baseline and do at least that much work consistently
      Or, if there’s a dip in my work try to identify the cause so that I can either avoid it or plan around it.
    • Be a powerhouse of support
    • Track and document
      Communication is a big theme in our company. I could definitely do this better, but also if I track and document things along the way it should make my communication all the more informative.
  6. Blog
    I want to post regularly, but I also want to keep up maintenance on plugins and generally contribute to the WordPress community. All of those things I’m putting under “blog” in my journal and my goals.

What are your plans for the year?

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My 2016 http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/my-2016/ http://kristarella.blog/2017/01/my-2016/#respond Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:41:21 +0000 http://kristarella.com/?p=5004 Last year was a pretty big year for me, including more travelling than I’ve ever done, more WordCamps, heaps of knitting and crochet, one bunny died and a we adopted a new bunny to be friends with our remaining rabbit. Nearly every month I ran and/or attended WordPress meetups in Sydney, in the CBD and north […]]]>

Last year was a pretty big year for me, including more travelling than I’ve ever done, more WordCamps, heaps of knitting and crochet, one bunny died and a we adopted a new bunny to be friends with our remaining rabbit.

Nearly every month I ran and/or attended WordPress meetups in Sydney, in the CBD and north of the Harbour Bridge.

Here’s an overview of my year by the month.

January

At the end of January I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona for my first work team meetup. We did fun things like walk in the desert, eat mac & cheese, and tacos, drink margaritas, and play cards (as well as some work stuff).

wooden bridge and cactus

February

Following the meetup my Mum flew to Phoenix to meet me for a one week road trip. It was Mum’s first trip to the US and my first time driving there. It was a great trip, with every stop being memorable and beautiful in some way.

March

I’m sure March was mainly recovering from February and getting back into the swing of life and work. Possibly most notable was The Royal Easter Show, which is held in Sydney around Easter every year. I remember going several times as a child, but I don’t think I had been since I was a teenager, and I didn’t remember partaking in many of the more rustic events like wood chopping. I went with my friend who gets member tickets each year, and her daughter; they showed me the ropes of an Aussie-experience Easter Show, sans showbags (which is the main thing I got excited about as a kid).

Instagram Photo

 

April

On the 10th I turned 30. I had a nice brunch with family.

One of my favourite birthday presents

May

May 11 was my one year anniversary working full-time time at Automattic. It was uneventful, but nice to note. It was also a good month for bunnies and yarn crafts.

I also spoke at WordCamp Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia).

June

In early June our nephew was born.

Later I flew to Prague for a few days holiday and sight seeing before WordCamp Europe in Vienna. I really enjoyed Prague, and particularly liked my day trip to Cesky Krumlov.

I volunteered at WordCamp and was really busy. It was huge, and interesting, and I’m volunteering again this year, in Paris!

July

July was apparently the most “normal” month. I had my usual WordPress meetups, bible studies, crochet/knitting group, and dates and meetings with friends.

August

A similarly normal month. I did happen to organise music and play guitar for a women’s day at church, which went really well.

September

September was particularly jam-packed. It started with Postmodern Jukebox at the Enmore Theatre, which was fantastic. I think my favorite artists on the night were Casey Abrams (who is my favorite anyway) and Melinda Dolittle.

My best friend gave birth to her daughter!

Very soon after that I flew to Vancouver for a few days of touristing before the Automattic Grand Meetup in Whistler. Vancouver was nice, not my favourite city in the world, but I particularly enjoyed Stanley Park.

Whistler was fantastic, and the Grand Meetup was great. The restaurants, shops and activities were fun, and the mountains beautiful. The meetup involved spending time with workmates that I usually only interact with online, discussing work, the world, and life, and learning and teaching new things. It was intense, but very good.

Then the day after I returned home we had WordCamp Sydney, which I helped organise!

While I was returning home from Canada, our rabbit Kaylee died. It was a shock and very sad.

October

It took a while to recover from my trip and WordCamp. There was also some accounting to be done post-WordCamp.

It was my husband’s birthday, and not too long after that we adopted our new bunny Zoë. It was hard work getting Monty and Zoë to become friends, but thankfully we got there before November!

At the end of the month we saw Arj Barker, a comedian. It was a fun night out.

November

My final trip of the year was to Singapore for a team meetup. We did some intense live chatting to share tips, techniques, and test out some theories about how best to staff live chat support. Our main activity other than work and shopping was a visit to Gardens By The Bay, which was quite lovely.

On the 21st we launched .Blog domains. It was a learning experience to say the least, but apart from a couple of hiccups, I think it was a success.

December

The end of the year was very busy and rather stressful.

The month started with me catching gastroenteritis. We attended the funeral for my husband’s grandmother. And we saw Bill Bailey at the State Theatre. He is hilarious and laughing made my tummy hurt (more than it already did).

Beyond that, I was preparing to run a holiday sailing camp for kids aged 9-12. Actually preparing for camp takes a lot longer and starts earlier than December, but with camp being the week before Christmas, December was crunch time, and then camp time. And then, of course, Christmas time.

Wowza! That’s all for now. I’ll write about my hopes & plans for 2017 soon.

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Automattic Grand Meetup 2016 http://kristarella.blog/2016/09/automattic-grand-meetup-2016/ http://kristarella.blog/2016/09/automattic-grand-meetup-2016/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:43:36 +0000 http://kristarella.com/?p=4769 The GM Each year (nearly) everyone at Automattic gets together for the Grand Meetup (GM). The GM is essentially a company retreat. We work, we train, we develop, we discuss, we play, we eat, we drink… it’s an amazing time of getting to know each other better and working and planning towards better products and better […]]]>

The GM

Each year (nearly) everyone at Automattic gets together for the Grand Meetup (GM). The GM is essentially a company retreat. We work, we train, we develop, we discuss, we play, we eat, we drink… it’s an amazing time of getting to know each other better and working and planning towards better products and better support for our customers.

This year the GM was at Whistler, which was beautiful! And as nice as it is to be home, I’m already looking forward to going back next year. Working remotely is great, and maybe our company’s distributed nature is what makes the GM even more special: we like to work from home, but sometimes conversations and activities in person are really productive and excellent bonding time.

Take a look at that company photo! It’s pretty interesting wrangling nearly 500 people into one photo; props to Donncha for getting it done. Gold star if you can find me 😉

Activities in Whistler

We do actually work while we’re at the GM, but we do other things too. There is so much to do in Whistler! Even when it’s not the ski season (which it isn’t in September) you could spend so much time there. Some of the activities we could choose from were:

  • Escape room
  • Beer tasting festival
  • Zip line
  • Photo tour
  • Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • Mountain biking
  • Virtual Reality room

Not to mention the activities run by Automatticians, like

  • Swing dancing
  • Knitting & crochet
  • Magic the Gathering
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Yoga
  • Running workshop
  • Night photography

I only had a chance to do a few of these, which is why I’m already keen for next year!

DnD

I wasn’t planning on playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I ran into a team mate one evening who suggested I play. What fun! It was my first DnD, and we won. We inadvertently killed this sketchy dwarf who was planning to turn on us in the end, had he survived. Mwahaha.

Night Photography

I managed to find an evening where I didn’t have meetings and could roam around the village for a bit of night photography.

Peak 2 Peak

The Peak 2 Peak gondola goes between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It holds several Guinness World Records including,

  • World’s longest unsupported span for a lift of this kind at 3.024km.
  • World’s highest lift of its kind at 436m above the valley floor.

It is very beautiful up there. At this time of year, you can see a bit of snow on the mountain tops, and below there are lush green trees, lines of autumn color (the deciduous trees tend to grow in lines along the sides of rivers and trails), rivers and sometimes you may be in the midst of the clouds.

Mountain tops

The Peak 2 Peak ticket also grants you access to wander the tops of the mountains and ride the other chair lifts. It was beautiful and darn nippy up there!

Please clear the unload deck quietly

Photo Tour

I also went on a photo tour where we saw forest, river, lake, waterfall, and a bear!

The (GLOW) Party

On the last night of the GM we have a pretty amazing party. A bunch of musically-inclined Automatticians practice all week (and sometimes for months preceding) to bring us a pumping set, in which there is much dancing, and jaw-dropping at their skillz. Then there is more music, dancing, drinks, and photo booths!

All in all it was amazeballs 😀

I’m going to be posting some more photos on my photoblog, and if you’re keen, here are some posts by other Automatticians.

  • by Pyjammy (I was sitting next to her on the chair lift in those videos!)
  • a beautiful Thank you Automattic from a team mate that has had way too much bad news this year
  • Sandy McFadden mentions the night we all pitched in to crack down on the big support queue that inevitably builds up when we’re away
  • explore the hashtag #a8cgm on Instagram

p.s. We’re hiring 😉

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