The new WordPress.com

I haven’t been blogging here much lately, but I have been spending a lot of time on WordPress.com. Auto­­mattic has spent the past 20 months building an entirely new user inter­face for WordPress.com, one where you can manage all of your sites in one place, whether they’re hosted here or else­where. Our Dev­eloper Blog has lots more details, and the official launch site pre­sents the story of Ca­lypso in beau­­tiful form. Our CEO wrote elo­quently about Calypso and what it means to our company.

I’m very proud of, and was sur­­prised by, the in­­­cred­­ible tech­­­nical sea-change that’s hap­pened inside of Auto­­mattic, and the new ways of de­­­signing and de­v­el­oping that were re­quired to make it work. It’s one of the big­­gest changes we’ve ever made at Auto­­mattic, right up there with the P2 theme and the intro­duction of teams. And I’m proud of this evi­dence that we’re not con­tent just to cele­brate what Word­Press has accom­plished, but ready to tackle the hard prob­lems that still remain.

WordPress.com bloggers have been using features powered by Calypso for months already, but today we’re open sourcing it and announcing it to the world, along with a new desktop app for Mac, which I’m using to write this very post. And if that weren’t enough, we’re also launching a new publication called Discover, highlighting the best of what’s being published with WordPress (including self-hosted sites). It’s a big day for Automattic. And there’s never been a better time to join us.


From sea to shining sea.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”

Supreme Court of the United States

Sweet Home Alabama

“Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell, as of Thursday, has opted to no longer perform any kind of marriage at his office.

He said the decision was largely related to an increasing work load within the Probate Office, but acknowledged that he’s ‘morally opposed’ to same-sex marriage.

Russell, who has been the county’s Probate Judge for five years, said he’s committed to conducting one more marriage — a heterosexual marriage to a former county employee — but, after that, he’s done.”

AL.com

When I was 17 I got my first job that didn’t involve fast food, as a technology assistant in the central office of the Baldwin County Board of Education. The job was a new one they’d created for a high school student who had shown promise in computer science. It seemed glamorous to me then, but really it was a way to find someone who was willing to string ethernet cable through schoolhouse attics in the middle of July for minimum wage. It was a legitimately great job as a kid, though, and I loved most of it. The people I worked with at the central office were pretty entertaining, like the finance director who made everyone turn off the lights one afternoon in the hopes that it would make the computers run faster.

It was eye-opening in some sad ways, though. I felt overwhelmed by what happened one day when I returned from a job in the field. The women who worked in the bookkeeping office had gathered around the upstairs window that faced Courthouse Square, Bay Minette’s main gathering spot. They were laughing and quietly whispering to each other, so I walked over to see what was going on. On the steps of the courthouse across the street from our office stood a man and woman who had just been married. They were an interracial couple, a white woman and a black man. And I felt my stomach drop when I realized that they were the source of the laughter and gossip in the office that day. I heard a woman I’d always seen as a kind, grandmotherly figure posit that “they must have had to drive over from Mississippi; they don’t allow that there.”

In hindsight, my naïveté as a teenager is startling. I knew racism was alive and well in my small town, but I’d foolishly believed the lie that it was some certain kind of behavior that was the target of scorn. I’d never seen it so openly directed toward people simply living their lives, having their pictures taken with their family on a happy, beautiful summer day, outside on the courthouse steps.

Today, same-sex couples in Alabama, some who have been in dedicated relationships for decades, can marry for the first time. I’m filled with emotion for them—it’s a day I honestly never imagined would come when I was a teenager still living in the closet. But it’s also a terribly sad day for those couples in Baldwin county, my birthplace, because their county’s probate judge has chosen his personal bias over the orders of a federal judge, common sense, and simple human decency. No one can get married on those courthouse steps ever again, according to Judge Russell.

Marriage equality will be federal law by the end of the summer, if the U.S. Supreme Court decides their pending case the way many legal experts expect them to. But thirty years after Loving v. Virginia, as a teenager in that school board office, I learned that gaining equality in the eyes of the law wasn’t the same as gaining the respect of your neighbors. Alabama, and the rest of the south, still have miles to go before we live up to the values on which our nation was founded—and many miles to go before we live up to the Christian values so many southerners claim to hold in their heart. The south may never find a place in its heart for queer people, and there will always be those who laugh at us. But they can’t deny us our rights forever. We will always be a part of the south, and this will always be our home.

Hearts Fell on Alabama

“The Attorney General does not explain how allowing or recognizing same-sex marriage between two consenting adults will prevent heterosexual parents or other biological kin from caring for their biological children … He proffers no justification for why it is that the provisions in question single out same-sex couples and prohibit them, and them alone, from marrying in order to meet that goal.”

U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade, overturning Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The Birthday Pup

When I adopted Maggie back in 2006, I’d been desperately wanting a dog for years. But I was moving a lot, and most of the places I lived wouldn’t allow dogs. So when my friend Charlie said he was moving and needed a new home for his dog, I didn’t ask many questions. When I got her, I knew she was a year old and had been born in January. So, at some point, I decided that her birthday was January 15th. Over the years, I have to admit, I haven’t always remembered. But this year is big, because it’s Maggie’s 10th birthday. And she’s had a tough year, with me traveling a lot in advance of our move, my new dog Kramer joining the pack, then getting adjusted to a new place. So this year, when I remembered her birthday was coming up, I may have overdone it when shopping for her.

Here’s to you, Maggie. You’re a better dog than I ever dreamed of having, and I can’t imagine what the last 9 years would’ve been like without you.

WordPress Holiday 2014

“It’s hard to believe the year is already coming to a close. As 2014 ends, it’s time to celebrate the holiday season with our WordPress.com tradition of teaming up with talented artists to create a cheerful WordPress illustration. This year, Mads Berg has dreamed up a scene of togetherness to capture the spirit of the season.”

WordPress.com, Be Merry with This Year’s Holiday Theme and Wallpapers

It’s that time of year again. I love all of the holiday illustrations we’ve commissioned over the years, but secretly this year’s just might be my favorite. Pro tip: it works really well as a desktop background on your laptop or phone.