What WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Means For Radio

The new way in which WordPress develops means that they’re moving at a good pace, and today WordPress 3.8 was released.

Codenamed “Parker”, after Charlie Parker, this version brings mainly visual changes to the backend, as well as the usual security updates WP is well known for.

Here, I’m going to go through the main changes and what they mean for radio stations that use the platform for their website.

WordPress 3.8 - SidebarThe ‘Fresh Look’

Gone are overbearing gradients and dozens of shades of grey — bring on a bigger, bolder, more colorful design! – WordPress

They’re right! Parker brings the flatness that we’re getting used to in Apple’s latest iOS to the world of WordPress. The admin bar and menu in the backend are flat and a single colour, which a contrast to highlight the current item you’re on.

Alongside the use of the Open Sans font and simplified icons, it gives the tired looking UI and breath of fresh air. It really does feel like it’s been dragged, kicking and screaming to the middle of the 21st Century.

And for radio stations, it means happier users. There’s nothing worse than logging into a system that looks a decade old, but under the hood actually acts like a 6 week old puppy and is ready to give anything a go. It might scare some users who don’t use it that often, but like anything else they will get used to it after using for a while.

A splash of colour, and then some

WordPress describes it as “Admin color schemes to match your personality”, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say personality, but more just to match the colour of your frontend.

WordPress 3.8 - Colour Schemes

There are six colour schemes to choose from and they can mostly be described as the colours of the iPhone 5C (they’ve even visualised it for us!).

For radio stations, it means all users can pick the colour that they wish. In one office you could end up with the colours of the rainbow, just on one WordPress site! That will certainly brighten up winter days, and make you scream for mercy the morning after the company Christmas party.

Posting from Tablets, properly

WordPress 3.8 - Admin on Nexus 7

You could just about use previous WordPress version on tablets, if you had a lot of patience and time. But Parker means that the admin pages are truly responsive and enable you to easily update via your tablet (or other mobile devices).

Looking at the admin for this site on my Nexus 7 makes for a pleasant experience. It’s now easier to find icons and format the body of the post. Overall, it’s just a much more appealing layout, which may make me update on the move more.

And for radio stations, this means you’ll be easily able to update your site from the scene of an event, or if you discover a major error, it can be eradicated from your hand instead of your laptop. I believe that if used correctly, this is the best part of Parker and it will empower content creators like never before. Plus, there’s no need for a silly plugin to generate a nice admin section!


Whilst the first two points are simply cosmetics to bring it up to modern design expectations, the real kicker in Parker is the way it now properly reacts to devices like tablets.

You can get WordPress 3.8 either via the Updates system in your WP install, or manually from wordpress.org/download.

Further Reading

#NowPlaying: Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

Why #R1review Just Works

"Alex from Attention Thieves and Alya from RWD join Edith in the studio."
“Alex from Attention Thieves and Alya from RWD join Edith in the studio.”

I’m currently listening to the BBC Radio 1 Review Show with Edith Bowman (she’s on the radio, not in my room listening with me).

Usually I don’t listen to the show live (Tuesdays 9-10pm) but listen to the podcast the next morning, whilst on the train to work.

In the podcast they cut out most of the music, leaving only 30-60 seconds of each track. This means I don’t get the track in full, unless I go out my way to find it later on. But I do get the full opinion of the listeners and show guests, which would probably influence me as to whether I go and find the full piece.

But tonight I’m listening LIVE. There is an amazing feeling of listening live. Knowing that there are thousands of others across the country (and possibly the world) who are giving their opinions on tracks that they’ve probably never heard.

Today Lily Allen released her ‘mumback’ single Hard Out Here. I tuned in tonight just as the song was finishing and I heard the opinions of the guests and listeners. There was just something about hearing other’s opinions on a song that I heard a few hours beforehand which excited me again about listening to the show live.

The first time I listened live to the show was on 22nd October. I tweeted in to the show and go a reply from the BBC R1 Twitter!

This excited me massively! Not only because @BBCR1 had tweeted me (and favourited my original tweet) but it was radio in realtime with instant(ish) interaction from the station.

This is what radio is about. Getting the listener involved and acknowledging them in a tiny way; read out their 140 character message, favourite their tweet or let them vote live during the show.

There’s just something about #R1review which excites me and reminds me why evenings on BBC Radio 1 are a fantastic place to find new music and get involved with the show.

Making Timelapses of London with Galileo

Using Galileo at Horse Guards ParadeIn April 2012, I backed my first ever Kickstarter campaign. It’s name was Galileo and my main interest in the product was using it for moving time lapse photography, particularly at that year’s KingsStock Music Festival.

However, as I would soon learn about Kickstarter, not all projects produce the rewards as soon as you’d hope. Either way, in July this year, I received the Galileo in the post! So I popped my 4th generation iPod Touch and started doing some crazy stuff in my room. As you’d expect, most of it wasn’t very good and wasn’t of use to anyone. But I was getting used to how it worked.

I’d stopped using my iPod Touch regularly when I got my HTC One, and in addition the battery life of the device was rather short. This wasn’t great for working with the Galileo as it’s partially powered by the iOS device that’s plugged into it. I set about finding an external USB battery pack that I could use to power the Galileo and the iPod. At The Gadget Show Live @ Christmas at the beginning of this month, I bought a Energenie (for £25). It turns out that it worked very well with the two, so I set off into Central London to start putting it to good use.

Still of timelapses

On Saturday 9th November it was the Lord Mayors Parade and Fireworks display, so I hopped down to the Thames and set up shop. In the same evening, I visited St Paul’s Cathedral and Leicester Square.

The next day, I headed to Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square and Regent Street.

I’ve done a couple of quick and dirty edits to show off what I managed to achieve when wondering around some London landmarks.

I captured 12 videos, each of about 2 to 3 minutes in length. I’m hoping to capture some more this month then edit them all together properly.