by Alan Langford | 2023-04-08 | It's a Code, Code World, Observations on Everything
Easily one of the most irritating things about WordPress is the continuous attempts to up-sell in the dashboard. Here’s how to get rid of them.
It’s one thing to have a gentle hint, like Updraft Plus saying “hey you can get more features with the pro version” and a dismiss function that makes the reminder go away for a year. It’s more irritating to have something that pops on every login, and even more irritating to see something show up every time you are on the dashboard.
I can tolerate most of these. Sometimes they’re irritating enough that I just switch plugins, especially when they try pushing related plugins you don’t give a damn about. This is one reason why there’s no Yoast on my sites. The SEO Framework is just as capable, a lot less pedantic, and it doesn’t nag. Yet.
But what to do when there’s no alternative and the plugin is persistently nagging? Use your ad blocker to make it go away! Since it has just recently pissed me off, I’m going to use WPCode Lite, an otherwise useful plugin as the prime example. With a recent update, this plugin has elected to add a widget to the post edit page with the title “WPCode Page Scripts”. Cool! That’s a welcome minor convenience. Click on the widget though and what do you get?
Page Scripts is a Pro Feature
That’s nice, but for me it’s not worth subscribing. How do I dismiss this? Surprise, surprise, I can’t. Well, F*ck you, WPCode! I’ll do it myself. Now this takes a little knowledge of HTML and custom AdBlock Plus rules, but the general process goes like this:
- Right click on the widget and choose inspect. This will highlight the general area in the code you want.
- Look for the highest level element that uniquely identifies your target widget. In my case, inspect took me to a div with the id “advanced-sortables”. We don’t want that. There are a bunch of useful elements on the page that are enclosed by that. Drill down a bit and we find another div with the id “wpcode-metabox-snippets”. That’s the one!
- Click on your AdBlock icon.
- Click on the gear to get to settings.
- Select the advanced tab from the left.
- Scroll down to “Your Custom Filters”.
- In the box below “My Filter List”, enter this rule, substituting your domain for mine:
You can also leave off the domain if you have multiple sites, but in my experience more specific rules help prevent long periods of “WTF” until your realize that the ad blocker is doing something you didn’t expect.
I’m picking on WPCode here because the arrogance of this has really ticked me off, but you can apply the same method to most other notices like this. At some point, plugin developers will take defensive measures to make this even more difficult and then we’ll have a discussion about writing user scripts in TamperMonkey and it’s kin.
by Alan Langford | 2013-06-23 | Observations on Everything
There’s no lack of evidence to show that there are people in the world who think that an appropriate response to the misdeeds of the West is to bring the death and destruction back and throw it in our faces. I fail to understand this logic of revenge, but unfortunately there are many who embrace it. Humanity has a long history on the failure of using evil to counter evil, but we never seem to convert this knowledge into wisdom.
This might be surprising, but because of this I’m not entirely opposed to governments communications surveillance for security reasons, even the communications of their own citizens – after all most acts of terror come from hateful people within our culture, not from the stereotypes the media is so enamoured with. (more…)
by Alan Langford | 2012-09-26 | It's a Code, Code World, Observations on Everything
A recent change in U.S. patent law allows third parties to discuss a patent’s merits and submit evidence of prior art. This provides a new method for challenging some of the utterly moronic patents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has let slip by. (more…)
by Alan Langford | 2010-09-28 | Observations on Everything
Over the past year or so there’s been an unusual amount of public navel gazing on the investor side of Silicon Valley (and by proxy most of the North American venture capital space). Venture capital companies have an image of being slow, demanding, and cumbersome; solely focused on big wins with huge valuations. So called “super” angels have emerged to fill a void in the VC deal space, and new hybrid models like that of YCombinator have emerged.
As Max Levchin observes, angels have an interest in lower valued exits. He concludes that the positioning of super angels as VC alternatives has resulted in a “lack of visible significant innovation”. While Levchin’s observations are correct, I’m not certain that it’s the angel’s fault.
Instead, I think we’re reaching the “long tail” of the Internet, and we need to look for innovation elsewhere. The big hits in the Internet space have all had to do with providing analogues of existing human behaviours, and the number of untapped behaviours is diminishing. A preponderance of incremental innovations with corresponding low exits is only to be expected.
We have been so focused on Internet related innovation for the past decade and a half (and software for the decade previous) that for a lot of investors seem to have forgotten that there are alternatives.
It’s not that there’s a shortage of demand for innovation. There are many areas that need great minds and risk capital. Unfortunately those aren’t the opportunities that can be exploited by a bright kid with six months programming experience. They’re big, capital intensive, long term projects that need teams of highly skilled people to address them. Some of these problems are critically important. They need to be solved if we’re going to preserve our current lifestyle, if not ensure our survival.
If the investment community wants to innovate, it’s going to have to stop looking for the ultimate solution to determining how to rank “influence” on Twitter, and instead look for better transportation solutions, better solar power generation, methods to scrub carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, local power generation and distribution, and solutions for other truly important problems.
While North America becomes increasingly concerned about it’s own relatively trivial problems like how to make an even cooler handheld device, our ability to innovate our very concept of innovation is collapsing in on itself like a dying star. Meanwhile, Asia is fast becoming the true leader in innovation and unless we pull out of this “make it big on the Internet” vortex, it won’t be long before we’re buying critical technology from abroad.
Let’s not blame the angel investors. Levchin says “we should aim higher.” He’s right. The question is whether or not we know which way is up.
by Alan Langford | 2009-01-15 | Observations on Everything
A few days ago, YouTube began muting the audio tracks of videos that contained “unauthorized” copyright material. Some videos will now have the notice â€œThis video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by all copyright holders. The audio has been disabled.â€ displayed beneath them.
This is a good move for YouTube. It will help absolve them from any liability for “broadcasting” content that the RIAA cabal deems worthy of protection.
It’s not such a good move for the RIAA and similar groups. A music track is an essential part of many videos, and we can be pretty sure that not many people who produce them are going to go to the trouble of obtaining copyright clearance. Instead, they’re going to seek unencumbered music. This is going to drive up the demand for “open” music, which will in turn cause more musicians to provide the same in exchange for some small promotional credit on the video.
Thus a win-win is born. Video creators will have access to more music they can use, musicians will have a showcase for their work with a potential for global profile that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. How long will it be before this exposure results in a musician who “makes it” in the mainstream? It will only be a matter of time.
How will these musicians feel when a big label comes along to offer them a contract that pays a fraction of the revenue they actually generate while insisting that they turn their backs on their roots by joining the copyright cartel? Some will buy in to the promises and sign up, but some won’t. Instead they’ll seek new methods and revenue models for distributing their work. Perhaps they will make the bulk of their money from live performance, or maybe they’ll find other ways to do it, but they will eventually succeed at it.
Once a successful formula has been found, those who seek to maximize revenue by controlling distribution will have lost the final step in their battle. They will have successfully spawned a revitalized industry that makes them irrelevant. This has always been inevitable, but YouTube’s move will certainly accelerate the process. To me it is amazing how, blind to reality, this industry continues to find ways to kill itself off with ever greater efficiency.
Kudos to YouTube; still yet another dunce cap to the established music distribution business.