wordpress playground

WordPress Playground – A Cool Tool for Learning WordPress

The folks at WordPress have launched an innovative tool call WordPress Playground. Essentially WordPress Playground is a browser-based, fully functioning clean installation of a WordPress website. Barebones, no plugins or themes, simply what one would expect to encounter after installing WordPress on a server or development environment.

The Dashboard is fully accessible. One can make posts and pages while accessing all of the built-in tools and features. From the website:

WordPress Playground makes WordPress instantly accessible for users, learners, extenders, and contributors. You can:

wordpress playground environment

For developers, there are some nifty features listed above. However, many of these tasks feel more simple and straightforward when done with a tool like MAMP, or the extremely user-friendly Local by Flywheel.

Where WordPress Playground really shines is in its ability to provide a hands-on, carefree environment for learning WordPress without the need to spin up a new installation, while eliminating any fear about mucking up a live website. For inexperienced users or those brushing up skills, this is the perfect playground for practicing or learning WordPress.

Managing a WordPress website is not for everyone. However, publishing content on a WordPress website just got a little more accessible with WordPress Playground.


Cal.com – An open source scheduling app

After years of scheduling appointments with Calendly, I’ve moved on from my “beta” testing and made the leap to Cal.com. The verdict? So far, I’m pleased with the toolset, interface, and ease with which Cal.com works. To be fair, Calendly is a solid product. It has served me well over the years. The decision to migrate to Cal.com was initially a financial one. All of the features that I need for scheduling appointments is included in the free plan of Cal.com, whereas I was paying for these services with Calendly.

Cal.com is open source and their team is committed to supporting this model. I’m all for that. The company is actively supporting their platform and the integrations with third party apps continues to grow. Are there any downsides? My only issue, and it’s a minor one is the API request time could be a quicker. Things just feel a little slower than they should with the user-interface. Again, only a minor issue and one that their team is aware of and working to improve. The service is supported on multiple platforms and devices, and offers both enterprise and self-hosted options.

chatgpt poetry

Beneath the spreading canopy of trees…

At a loss for words for your next sonnet? Needing quick inspiration? Of humanity’s many realms where ChatGPT continues its unabated march, the loveliness of poetry seems an unlikely target. Yet, here we are. With a few keystrokes and a phrase or two, a perfectly rhymed poem can be yours for the taking.

Check out https://aiepics.com/. I suggested the topic of “enjoying lemonade in the park” and here is what I got:

Beneath the spreading canopy of trees,
Amid the dappled light and the gentle breeze,
The heat of summer’s sun begins to fade,
As I sit and sip my lemonade.

The tartness of the lemons on my tongue,
The sweetness of the sugar that I’ve strung,
The perfect blend of flavors in every sip,
Brings a smile to my face and joy to my trip.

A melody of sounds fills up the air,
The whispering leaves rustle without a care,
The birds are singing their evening song,
As I savor the moments before long.

The peacefulness of the park surrounds me,
The beauty of the nature astounds me,
This life is sweet and oh so grand,
With lemonade in my hand.

I don’t think Shakespeare is quite yet rolling in his grave…

Twitter subscription news

Twitter – A News Subscription Model?

Mainstream news channels are slowly sunsetting. Amidst a trend of layoffs and bankruptcies occurring at a number of MSM companies, the tide of digital news is gravitating toward more personalized, decentralized channels which include platforms like Substack and Twitter.

The recent acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk is contributing to this exodus. Musk is betting on this trend. Furthermore he makes the point that established news producers and independent journalists can now reach audiences directly without relying upon the name brand recognition of mainstream channels. Moreover, citizen journalists and less known contributors are able to publish as well. He highlights the ability of consumers to interact with, critique, and call-out content creators on the Twitter platform, unlike MSM channels. This is also true of Substack.

A decentralized approach to news reporting will continue to disrupt mainstream media. The good news – this will create a more diverse approach to reporting. Detractors will claim this ushers in whole new levels of “fake news” and misinformation. Ultimately, any future model of news and digital information will rely on you, the consumer and your ability to think critically about what’s relevant, factual, and accurate.

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Passkeys – a passwordless solution?

Google is spearheading a new “passwordless” login option for accessing online accounts and apps. Touted as a more secure, less hackable method of storing login credentials, passkey information is digitally connected with your fingerprint or facial recognition. From Google,

Passkeys are a safer and easier replacement for passwords. With passkeys, users can sign in to apps and websites with a biometric sensor (such as a fingerprint or facial recognition), PIN, or pattern, freeing them from having to remember and manage passwords.

There are some limitations. Though passkeys work across multiple platforms and devices, currently they won’t sync across these platforms, unless you are in the Apple ecosystem.

This might be a turn off for many users, however this will undoubtedly change as the technology evolves. The lingering question – is this a step toward a more secure digital experience or a deeper integration between our personal identities and digital technology?

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Litespeed and Quic.cloud – a winning combination

In my never ending pursuit of a fast-performing website, I’m experimenting with the Litespeed cache plugin for WordPress and Quic.cloud CDN services. Both are available for free, though Quic.cloud offers paid plans for more robust services and features.

Tom Dupuis from Online Media Masters has written an excellent guide on how to configure and optimize these tools for your WordPress installation:

In this guide, we’re configuring LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN. The “best” settings are different for each site and you should really go through each one yourself and test your results. What that said, this guide is intended to be more of a baseline.

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