Hi! You have reached the online home of Michael McCallister. I write about technology, software, and the Internet in a variety of venues. At this site, you can learn more about me and my life, buy my books, find where you can see me at any given moment, and read some thoughts on the writing life. My main blog, Notes from the Metaverse, continues on at WordPress.com.
This site is not-so-new anymore, but you’ll see changes in it from time to time, with a big one coming down the road. Watch this space! I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress community. Any errors on this page are mine alone. Spot something? Contact me.
By the way, if you’re looking for the former CEO of Humana Health, that’s someone else. I’ll stop there.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
Webmentions and Annotations are ideas that come out of the IndieWeb movement. This is an effort to remind all of us that the Web doesn’t have to be dominated by a few gigantic companies, and that we are – and should be – in control of our own online content.
Read my story to learn more about these two new standards, and how to add them in WordPress.
Coming soon: an “indie-fied” site
As an aside: Very soon, you’ll be able to respond to items on this site from your own site using the Webmention standard. Annotations will be easier too. As part of a general facelift and rethinking of how I can best serve you, the reader, this site will become a part of the IndieWeb.
I am very excited about this redesign, and I hope you will be too.
Will Webmentions and Annotations help you communicate with the larger Web? Do you have any ideas for improving this website? Do leave a comment!