Retina MacBook Pro

At Automattic we get to upgrade our computers once every two years or so, and a few weeks ago I got a brand new 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display. This was my first reaction:

Even large sites like Facebook and Twitter are not Retina-friendly, despite the fact that it’s now been well over a year since the first Retina MacBook hit the shelves. It’s like looking at low-quality JPEG.

Working with screenshots is very painful, because when you take a screenshot and then share it, the image you get is twice as large and also low-quality. Well, low-quality as in non-HiDPI. I guess that’s an annoyance I can live with.

I’m still getting used to the slightly larger font size, down to 1280 width from 1440 (13″ MacBook Air), although the Display settings allow you to configure that, and bring it up to 1440 or even higher, thus bringing quality down. Not something I see myself changing, unless it’s for testing purposes only.

Other than that, the Retina laptop is not too different from my older 13″ MacBook Air. It’s slightly smaller and weighs a little more, but the battery lasts much longer, which is perfect for travel. I haven’t really measured it, but I think the Retina MacBook generates a little bit more heat.

Overall I’m happy with my new MacBook, especially since I now have more room for WordCamp stickers :)

Publish up to 170% more posts with Color Schemes Roulette for WordPress

You know WordPress 3.8 has arrived, right? It’s got a total of eight new and beautiful color schemes for you to choose from, and another eight (at the time of writing) in an official plugin called Admin Color Schemes, so sixteen total. How do you pick one? Easy.

Meet Color Schemes Roulette — a brand new WordPress plugin, that will randomly change your admin color scheme every time you hit that Publish button. It’s also a great motivator, proven to increase blogging frequency up to 170% right after activation!

WordPress Color Schemes

Yup, this is my way to celebrate the 3.8 release. Although I haven’t contributed much this time, I’m still super excited to see it all come together. Thanks to Matt and the whole team behind 3.8, for making such a beautiful WordPress.

WordCamp Sofia 2013

A few days ago I attended and spoke at WordCamp Sofia 2013 which was a great deal of fun. Sofia is somewhat special for me, because that’s where it all began back in 2012 — that’s where I gave my first ever WordCamp talk, so this year’s event was like a little anniversary.

WordCamp Sofia 2013

My session this year was about Templating in WordPress: locate_template() and its derivatives, the template hierarchy and template-loader.php. I wasn’t too nervous about my talk this time, in fact I didn’t even have any notes, and I think it turned out pretty well (although fairly short):

So “страшен” here supposedly means “awesome” or “amazing”, which is what my Bulgarian friends told me, though maybe they’re just being too nice to me, because Google Translate says that’s “terrible.”

Quite a few sessions were in English this year, which was good for me, though not necessarily good for the Bulgarian community — I felt like most people were shy to ask questions in English. In any case, it was a pleasure to listen to: Ryan Markel, Joe Hoyle, Noel Tock, Marko Heijnen, and Brian Messenlehner.

The after party had some poker chips we could exchange for drinks, which is pretty smart. Beer, wine, whiskey and late-night WordPress chatter.

Contribute Day was new for Sofia this year. It was held at SiteGround’s office with pizza, drinks, ping pong and pool. Not too many people attended, but we did have small groups working on translations, docs and themes, which turned out to be fun, and a little exhausting too:

I stayed at the amazing Sense Hotel this time. They have cool light controllers in rooms, that let you pick one of several modes: TV, reading, relaxing, etc.; keycard activated elevators: you don’t have to pick a floor — they know; and a solid internet connection, which is always a huge win.

Overall, I had a really great time, so huge props to Mario Peshev for the well organized event and looking forward to WordCamp Sofia next year!

jQuery Russia 2013

Last week I attended jQuery Russia 2013 which was held at Digital October (my favorite venue) in Moscow. The conference was organized by a local HR company called ITmozg and they’ve done a fairly good job.

jQuery Russia 2013

Dave Methvin, President of the jQuery Foundation, gave the opening keynote and a session on javascript and jQuery performance, which was really good. He called out Facebook for a pretty bad infinite scroll pattern, one that causes a forced layout on every scroll event.

He also mentioned that people often refer to jQuery being slow, and most of the time it’s not even jQuery’s fault:

This is not jQuery being slow, it’s that bad jQuery plugin.

Which sounds very familiar in the world of WordPress, themes and plugins. Dave also did a quick javascript profiling 101 using IE11 (which looks pretty amazing) and Chrome’s developer tools.

The other noteworthy session was Eric Mann’s about web sockets, and a pretty interesting Menehune library for jQuery.

Overall, the event was okay. Not great! But okay. I guess I was expecting more out of a $400 conference, stuffed with sponsors (including the stage), or maybe I’m just used to WordCamps :) Anyway, I met a bunch of folks, a few old friends. I didn’t stay for the after-party, but I’m pretty sure it was good.

Will I attend next year? Probably not.