News and tips

A few more updates

We just updated these plugins:

Flickr Justified Gallery v3.4.0
Gravity Forms v1.9.15
Simple Calendar v3.0.12
Smooth Slider v2.8.3

Also, WP v4.2.2 was released a couple of days ago, so the core has been updated as well.


WP updated to version 4.4.1

Ok, we’re good. The multisite network’s core has been updated to version 4.4.1.

Plugins updated:

Akismet v 3.1.7
All In One SEO Pack v2.2.7.5
BE Subpages Widget v1.6
Breadcrumb NavXT v5.3.1
CMS Tree Page View v1.2.34
Contact Form 7 v4.3.1
Events Manager v5.6.2
Google Calendar Events v3.0.12
Google Language Translator v5.0.05
Hide YouTube Related Videos v1.4.2
iframe v4.2
Image Widget v4.2.12
Import users from CSV with meta v1.7.6
Instagram Feed v1.3.11
Maps Marker Pro v2.6.2
MaxGalleria v4.23
Meta Box v4.7.34
My Custom CSS v3.0
Regenerate Thumbnails v2.2.6
Simple Social Icons v1.0.13
Simple Staff List v1.19
Smooth Slider v2.8.34
Social Media Widget v4.0.4
TablePress v1.7
TinyMCE Advanced v4.2.8
TW Recent Posts Widget v1.0.5
WP-Polls v2.72

As usual, please let us know through our service request form if anything seems amiss.


Core and plugin updates

The network core and plugins will be updated before noon today. Downtime (if any) will be minimal. Status update will be posted here later today.


Maxgalleria update (again)

Maxgalleria is now at v4.06. The devs had to fix a bug, so they rolled out a quick patch.


Plugin update: Flickr Photostream, MaxGalleria, WP Sitemap Page

Flickr Photostream is no more! The plugin has been relaunched as Flickr Justified Gallery (current version 3.3.6). If you’ve been using this plugin, the new version should keep your old settings.

Maxgalleria has been updated from version 3.1.8 to version 4.01. This plugin has been a lot more stable lately than in past years. Hopefully the devs keep this up.

WP Sitemap Page has been updated from v1.5.4 to v1.5.6.

Please contact us with any plugin issues. There shouldn’t be any, but we’d sure like to know if any of these updates affected your plugin functionality.


Plugin update: Akismet v3.1.3

Just updated Akismet to version 3.1.3. Akismet is a plugin that filters and removes spam comments. As of yet, Publish does not have an enterprise license key, but your department can sign up for a non-commercial API key for use on your site (as little as $6 a year for the basic license).

From the v3.1.3 changelog:

  • Notify users when their account status changes after previously being successfully set up. This should help any users who are seeing blank Akismet settings screens.

Note: if you have comments disabled on your site, you won’t have to worry about comment spam and probably wouldn’t be interested in this plugin. Most Publish WordPress sites on our network have page/post comments disabled by default, but some older sites may have them turned on (I saw a site last week that collected over 100,000 spambot comments in less than two years!). For those interested, I’ll post a tutorial here on how to completely disable all comments on your site. Most likely sometime this afternoon.


Page-list v5.1

The Page-list plugin has been updated to version 5.1. It’s a minor update, but please let us know if any problems arise.

Happy Independence Day!


Old theme removal

Our office will be decommissioning non UIC-branded themes from the Publish WordPress network. If your site uses a theme other than “UIC-Network 2013,” you should have received an email notification earlier this afternoon. Please reply to that email before July 17 so we can map out the migration process for your site.

For a majority of Publish sites and site admins, there will be no noticeable change in operations. We’re just culling old themes so we can focus support on the campus theme.

New theme for the new branding?

Yes, this is in the works. The new university logo system, colors, and branding guidelines require an entirely new theme for home, which is quite a task for a multisite like this. It will be based on the upcoming redesigned UIC homepage, but I can’t speak on a timeline. Details will be posted here once we have a concrete release date. Thank you for your patience.

If you have any questions, please use our form to contact us.


Back online

Our WordPress production server experienced a brief period of downtime this morning. Many thanks to ACCC Web Services for resurrecting the big machine, and thanks to those who notified us of the outage.

On an unrelated note, some of you may have noticed we updated the WordPress core and all plugins last week. The Simple Staff List plugin is misbehaving as a result, so we’re working on a fix now. Also note: all future Wordpress core and plugin updates will be applied to the multisite within two business days of their release.


A few notes on backups

There’s been some listserv chatter regarding data backups lately, so I’d like to address those concerns as they relate to our WordPress network.

The short answer: yes, your data is being backed up automatically. You don’t have to do anything.

The long answer: As the Publish Wordpress network is hosted on a VM, a full system backup is performed nightly. In the (unlikely) event of a RAID failure, security breach, catastrophic weather event, or if Godzilla himself rampages through the campus and crushes the room in which our VM is housed, ACCC will have three weeks worth of backups from which to choose to restore our little network. This applies to all sites hosted on ACCC’s VM service, not just our WordPress network. If your department hosts with ACCC, you also have the same automated backup service performed early in the A.M. hours.

On a side note, we used to have a full backup plugin on our WP network, WP-DB-Backup. Unfortunately, while it was quite useful, it was abandoned by its author (last updated a year and a half ago) and  was vulnerable to a security exploit that recently came to light. As a matter of protocol, the plugin was removed from our network and will not return any time in the foreseeable future. ACCC’s three week backup archive satisfies our needs for now, so we aren’t actively seeking a replacement. If for whatever reason we do replace the plugin for manual full backup processing by site admins, it’ll be posted here.