Author Michael McCallister
Author Michael McCallister

Hi! I’m Michael McCallister, but you can call me Mike. I write about technology, software, and the open Internet from the viewpoint of the user.

Do you (or your readers) want

  • to get more out of WordPress and the open Web? I co-authored WordPress in Depth and currently write for WPMUDev. I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress and IndieWeb communities. I can help you too.
  • better access to the power of Linux and free, open source software? I’ve been running Linux since 2000 and wrote openSUSE Linux Unleashed. I can help.
  • a better understanding of modern social media and building a writer (or business) platform? I co-authored Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules. I can help.

I believe that personal computing and the internet are the most powerful tools ever developed to empower people and advance democracy. Click the Metaverse tab above to see Notes from the Metaverse, where I offer news and analysis of these topics. I’ve spent the last few decades learning to master these tools, and helping others to do the same. If you find it interesting, please Follow!

Click the links to learn more about me and my life, buy my books, and read some thoughts on the writing life. You may see some additional tweaks of the site in the coming days. If you’re missing something you think should be here, do say hello!


Also on:

I’ve got a new tutorial on Elasticsearch up at WPMUDev. If your WordPress site is incredibly large, and your users complain about it being difficult to use search to find things, this cloud-based search tool can speed things up.

You’ll learn how to set up Elasticsearch and configure two plugins (ElasticPress and Fantastic Elasticsearch) to connect your site to the search engine.

Using Local by Flywheel

Preparing tutorials and plugin reviews like this one can be hard, what with switching things in and out to see what works, and how. I’ve been using the new free development site builder from hosting company Flywheel, called Local. They use VirtualBox to create a virtual machine for WordPress. After installation, you can set up any number of WordPress sites. Big plus: When you launch any of your configured sites in a browser, you login with the credentials you provide to Local. When you’re done with your testing, just delete the site and get on with your next project.

Local is an interesting product and easy to play with. While it really was created for plugin developers to see how their tools work in a real environment, it’s good for folks like me who like to test a variety of other people’s themes and plugins too.

Setting up WordPress test sites is easy with Local by Flywheel

By the way, I’m always looking for new WordPress story ideas. If there’s something you’d like to learn about WordPress, leave a public comment here or use the Contact page to connect privately. I aim to answer all emails I get through the website.

Hey folks, my latest WPMUDev blog story posted over the weekend. It’s a summary and preview of HelpHub, the upcoming home for’s user documentation site.

WordPress logo blue
WordPress logo blue (Wikipedia)

I really enjoyed writing this, as it combines two of my primary interests, WordPress and technical communication. I also got to poke around both the Documentation team’s area on Make.WordPress, and its Slack channel. Yes, I somehow found that fun.

What is HelpHub?

HelpHub has been in the pipeline as a potential replacement for the WordPress Codex since 2015, and the project is (at last) nearing the finish line. The hope is that HelpHub is more like other knowledge bases, a bit more useful to the average WordPress user, and will be easier to search.

The HelpHub Staging site
The HelpHub Staging site

The team could always use some help, so if you have some technical writing skills (and I know you’re reading this!) and some volunteer time to share, click that Documentation Team link in the second paragraph.

I am looking forward to seeing this new documentation site go live in 2018, even if I’ll miss the Codex just a little bit.

Next up: ElasticSearch

In the next couple weeks, I’ll have a tutorial in WPMUDev on enabling ElasticSearch on WordPress. ElasticSearch is a faster, more effective search engine than the default WP search. I’m playing with it now.

Have a few choice words about the current state of WordPress documentation? What would you like to see in the new HelpHub? Anything I  should know about ElasticSearch before I write this story? Feel free to drop a comment here. Try to keep it clean, though!