Substratum and its themes arrive on Samsung Galaxy S7 running Nougat

Substratum theming is now available on the Galaxy S7 running on Android 7.0 Nougat. What’s more is that root is not mandatory for Substratum to work, but note that the theme engine should be compatible with the ROM in concern. Before proceeding, you must remember that this is still beta testing and there will be bugs.

Before Substratum existed, themes were either obtained from apps on the Play Store or were part of older custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Substratum is very unique in that, it lets you do whatever you want to the system UI. You can have three different themes installed on your device and you can select individual elements from each theme to show only what you like. That’s some serious customization power in your hands right there.

How to install Substratum and apply themes

    1. Start by installing the APK from here.
    2. You will need to download a theme from the Play Store, which also doesn’t rely on Android System or Theme-ready Google Apps as these are root specific.
    3. Once the theme is installed and ready, you will receive a notification on the same.
  1. Open Substratum and look for the theme. On some smartphones you will need to scroll down to find the button on the bottom-right to enable/install
  2. Tap on Install.
  3. To apply the theme, simply Reboot the app.

Read: Top 20 Substratum themes you can use

A word of caution: Android System and SystemUI elements should NOT be applied yet as they could be unstable and cause your device to crash.

[“Source-theandroidsoul”]

Google updates kids animation app Toontastic 3D with new Cars 3 and Fruit Ninja themes

Earlier in the year, Google released the impressive Toontastic 3D. The digital storytelling app was a follow up to the original Toontastic game by educational developer LaunchPad Toys, which was acquired by Google in 2015. The app allows kids to draw and animate their own stories to create a 3D video. The budding directors can even narrate their creations and add built-in songs to the soundtrack before sharing. In the latest update, Google adds new characters and settings as part of two additional themes.

The first of the new themes is movie tie-in with the imminent Cars 3. The Disney/Pixar franchise is incredibly popular with young children, and they will surely relish the chance to create their own Cars story arcs. They’ll be able to animate their anthropomorphic hero Lightning McQeen, alongside new additions to the series such as Jackson Storm, Cruz Ramirez, and Miss Fritter, against the backdrop of two locations from the film: Florida 500 raceway and Thunder Hollow demolition derby.

A behind-the-scenes video tour of Pixar’s studios will also be included in the app, in a bid to show kids how real animated films are made and further stoke their interest in filmmaking. It’s worth noting that the Cars 3 theme will only be available for a limited time, up to September 30th.

The second set of new characters available in this Toontasic 3D update comes from melon-slicing game Fruit Ninja, or more specifically from the animated YouTube series Fruit Ninja Frenzy Force. You’ll be able to take control of protagonists such as Peng, Seb, Niya, and Ralph, leading them into battle against their nemesis, Clean Bee. It’s unclear how long the Fruit Ninja theme will be available, but I’d suggest making the most of it soon – just in case.

If you (or your kids) haven’t tried it yet, I’d thoroughly recommend the app. It really gets the balance right between fun and education. You can download or update to the latest version of Toontastic 3D via the Play Store link below, or grab it manually from APKMirror.

[“Source-androidpolice”]

Widgets in iOS 10: Notifications, streaming videos, 3D Touch and more

Apple’s use of the term “widgets” may not match what Android users consider a widget, but at the end of the day the two distinct approaches serve the same purpose: To provide snippets of information at a glance.

With iOS 10, widgets are still displayed in the Today view, and can still be accessed by sliding down the Notification Center and swiping to the left.

However, you can now access widgets in more places and they can and (eventually) do more.

More than just notifications on your lock screen

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iOS 10’s lock screen has completely changed. Beyond the new unlocking method (which requires you to click the home button), you now swipe to the left to view your widgets. Using this same gesture, you can view widgets to the left of your main home screen on an unlocked device.

On an iPhone, you’ll see a single column, while on an iPad there are now two columns of widgets. You can edit the left and right side, or the single column but scrolling to the bottom of your widgets and tapping on Edit. Select the green “+” icon to add a widget, or the red “-” to remove one. Tap and hold on the three lined icon to put your respective widgets in order.

On a locked device, when you attempt to view a widget where personal information can come into play, such as the Activity widget, you will need to place your finger on the home button to unlock your device. Notice, you don’t actually press the home button to open the home screen. With your device unlocked, information in the Activity or Find My Friends (just two current examples) will fill in.

3D Touch

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Beyond iOS 10 widgets hiding just off the left side of your screen, apps that have been updated for iOS 10 can now show a widget when you Force Touch on its icon.

Pressing on an app icon reveals the standard shortcuts, plus a widget regardless of whether or not you’ve added it to your curated list in the Today View.

If you haven’t added a particular widget but want to, you can tap on the Add widget button when viewing it.

Streaming video, interaction and more!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Now that we know how to access widgets in iOS 10, let’s talk about just what you can do with widgets.

While viewing your widgets, you will notice a button in the top-right corner of some widgets that says “Show more.” Selecting it will expand the widget. For something like the Calendar widget, you’ll see more of your upcoming agenda, whereas the Weather widget will show you the week’s forecast along with current conditions.

During the iOS 10 announcement, Apple used a sports app to demonstrate viewing stats for a basketball game and video highlights directly within the widget. This is an area of iOS 10 that will undoubtedly grow in feature set now that iOS 10 has officially launched and as developers begin to push updates to the masses.

[Source:-Cnet]

Lott Entertainment Presents’ 2017 Spring Lineup Explores Themes of Race, Sexuality and a Journey through Music

Lott Entertainment Presents’ spring lineup will take fans on an epic journey through Cherokee country, into a world of whimsical sexual exploration-one that is taking Off Broadway by storm-and, finally, into a multi-genre glimpse into the lives of six different musicians, all portrayed by one man. All performances will take place at Lott Entertainment Presents’ new home in the Neuhaus Theatre at the Alley Theatre.

“Each show is sensational and vital in its own way,” artistic director Kathryn Lott says of the remaining shows. “The timeliness of all three of these works is truly extraordinary, and a testament to these artists and their work that we are bringing to Houston. I think our audiences are going to be on the edge of their seats for all of the performances.” “Every show is so different from the next,” adds executive director Allison Lott, “And yet each one presents a new, poignant message…sometimes that message is told in a lighthearted, hilarious tone and other times the message will pull at the heartstrings.”

Lott Entertainment Presents’ unique partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public in New York has added to the buzz around the young performing arts organization on a national level, with their Joe’s Pub series being used as the model to expand into other markets. “Seattle has already taken up the torch and is in the midst of their first Joe’s Pub season,” says Kathryn Lott, who first presented the idea to Joe’s Pub. “And now this famed New York institution is in talks with other markets around the country to create a touring network for their artists.”

April 21 & 22, 2017 – Martha Redbone: Bone Hill – The Concert (Joe’s Pub Series)

Folk, funk, soul and blues artist Martha Redbone is one of the most vital voices in American Roots music and will perform her original work, Bone Hill – The Concert in Houston as part of the Joe’s Pub Series. Presented as a dramatic musical work with Redbone and her all-star band, Bone Hill – The Concert is a devised, interdisciplinary work inspired by her family lineage in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s an epic story of one woman’s return to her homeland on Black Mountain and the coalmines of Harlan County, KY where her family have dwelled for centuries.

Spanning the lives and stories of four generations of women in a Cherokee family, Redbone travels back in time to her own childhood and beyond into the memories and tales of her ancestors-both those who were born to the land and those who traveled the globe to end up on Black Mountain, whether by choice or by force. Audiences will join Redbone on her journey to the past to hear the tale of what it looks like to be an American in our country today. The music is radically wide-ranging, from traditional Cherokee chants and lullabies to bluegrass and blues, country, gospel, jazz, Rock & Roll, Rhythm n Blues and funk. Dark and violent at times, Bone Hill – The Concert is uncompromising in its desire to be honest about difficult subjects, especially race in America.

In addition to the two public performances at the Alley Theatre, Martha Redbone will participate in three residency activities including a workshop at Texas Southern University.

Bone Hill was written by Martha Redbone, Aaron Whitby and Roberta Uno, with original compositions by Redbone and Whitby, and was commissioned by the Joe’s Pub New York Voices initiative.

May 4-7, 2017: Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man

This Off Broadway smash hit romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly ‘Meet the Authors’ event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event, and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar. Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving heavy scenery? Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event…that is for Dan to know, and you to find out!

May 12-13, 2017: 6 Guitars

Award-winning writer/performer Chase Padgett will premiere his original work, 6 Guitars, for Houston audiences May 12-17, 2017. 6 Guitars is a pitch-perfect blend of music, comedy and characters. Chase Padgett delivers a virtuosic performance as he becomes six different guitar players-each with their own distinct voice, views and musical style (Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Folk and Country). During this 85-minute show, each of the characters, ranging from a 19-year-old rock prodigy to an 87-year-old blues man, share their journey with music from discovery to mastery through songs and stories that leaves every audience laughing, crying and falling in love with music all over again. Co-written and directed by Jay Hopkins, 6 Guitars has won numerous Fringe Awards and has critics raving.

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT JUST ADDED

June 7, 2017 at Jones Hall: Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After the Curtain

Through his Emmy Award winning work on “So You Think You Can Dance”, Travis Wall has established himself as one of America’s favorite choreographers. His artistic direction of SHAPING SOUND has already produced one spell-binding show in Dance Reimagined, which has captivated audiences all across North America. Now, Travis and SHAPING SOUND are back with their brand new show, After the Curtain. These visual musicians continue to dazzle audiences as they tell the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love. Heart-wrenching, breath-taking and ultimately uplifting, this is one dance show that audiences will remember forever.

About Lott Entertainment Presents

Entertainment Presents’ mission is to fill the void in the Houston performing arts scene by bringing shows from outside our city that push the boundaries of traditional theatre. With provocative, immersive and deliberately different works, we will provide Houstonians with a wide range of new experiences. Lott Entertainment Presents will bring shows from outside Houston that would not otherwise be seen in this city. Lott Entertainment Presents will utilize its traveling artists to enrich the lives of local artists by providing valuable educational programs such as audition workshops, singer/songwriter workshops and artist conversations. For more information, please visit http://www.lottentertainmentpresents.com.

About Joe’s Pub at the Public

Named for The Public Theater’s visionary founder Joe Papp, Joe’s Pub at The Public opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, committed to diversity, production values, superior acoustics community and artistic freedom. The venue also offers unique opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that has fostered new work by Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Bridget Everett, Allen Toussaint, Justin VivIan Bond & Kenny Mellman and more. Joe’s Pub presents talent from all over the world, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.

The Public Theater, which houses five theaters at its Astor Place home, in addition to Joe’s and Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. For more than 60 years, The Public, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, has continued the work of Papp by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, leading the dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. The Public’s programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s commitment to making theater accessible to all; Public Works, a national initiative that is designed to cultivate new models of engagement with artists, audiences and community; and Mobile Unit, which tours productions to underserved audiences. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 168 Obies, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 OCC Awards, 13 NY Drama Critics Awards, and five Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for the musical Hamilton. For more information, please visit www.joespub.org.

[Source:-Broadway ]

Opera announces project Reborn, brings enhanced sidebar and new themes

Opera has released a brand new interface for its browser, under a project named Reborn. The new UI was introduced in a developer build of the browser. The build allows developers and enthusiasts to preview the new look and test new features including new themes and an updated sidebar which will work with social services including Facebook Messenger.

In terms of appearance, Opera has received several improvements. First of all, the tabs have been made simpler, lighter and “more elegant”; this supposedly makes it easier to locate your open tabs. Speed Dial has received an updated look and it now features smooth animations. The appearance of the Speed Dial page can be customised further with two theme colours that are now included in the browser: light and dark. Three new backgrounds have also been added to complement the browser’s new look and feel.

Under the Reborn project, Opera’s sidebar has been ripped from the Speed Dial page and fixed onto the browser windows, similar to how it appears in Opera Neon. The sidebar, which has also been given new animations, gives you one-click access to important tools such as bookmarks, history, personal news and extensions. The contents of the sidebar are customisable and if you dislike it, there’s also the option to turn it off.

The sidebar will also be able to hold one-click buttons to access social features, including Facebook Messenger. In its blog post, Opera says more services are planned in the future.

[Source:-Neowin]

How To Avoid SEO And UX Disasters When Migrating Or Redesigning Your Website

Migrating or redesigning a website can be a boon to any online business and their users. When doing so, there is ample opportunity to target and ameliorate issues that might be plaguing your users’ experience when navigating your site. Of course, data migration and site redesign can likewise be paths fraught with peril.

Make a mistake in your redesign and you’ll risk alienating users. When customers begin to feel like their experience isn’t being taken into consideration, you’ll lose traffic and revenue and risk alienating investors as well.

Many businesses make similar mistakes when it’s time to migrate, re-platform or redesign. As the owner of a digital marketing agency, I’ve overseen several site redesigns and migrations, experiencing all of the happy accidents and (not so happy accidents) that can occur. Below is a guide to help you navigate the process.

Deciding On Your Redesign

Reasons for redesign are fairly commonplace: Early mistakes in the development process often prove too daunting to fix due to time and/or finances. Create a highly strategized plan for overhaul. Focus on specific problems with UX or UI instead of redesigning simply because the site seems outmoded. Keep in mind that users may have simply wanted a few broken pieces fixed instead of a new experience. A whole new experience may be difficult or frustrating for returning or regular users to navigate.

Likewise, it may be difficult for search engines to crawl, index and rank pages that have gone through extensive updates or have been moved completely without attention paid to SEO.

[Source:-Forbes]

How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News

Anyone who wants to understand today’s news environment faces a challenge: How to discern the nuances of digital news habits when Americans’ attention spans are fractured, human memory is naturally limited and news comes at them every which way.

To tackle this complex question, Pew Research Center, in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, took on the unusual task of staying in touch with more than 2,000 U.S. adults who get at least some news online over the course of a week. The study ran from Feb. 24 to March 1, 2016. Respondents were asked twice a day whether they got news online within the past two hours and, if so, were asked about their experience with that news. This technique was used to improve the chances that respondents would be able to accurately recall their recent news interactions and allowed researchers to ask about sources and behaviors with a high level of detail. This amounted to up to 14 completed surveys per person for a total of 25,602 interviews – 13,086 of which included online news consumption.

While there are a number of pathways Americans use to get news online, two in this study stand out as the most common: social media and direct visits to news organizations’ websites. When asked how they arrived at news content in their most recent web interaction, online news consumers were about equally likely to get news by going directly to a news website (36% of the times they got news, on average) as getting it through social media (35%). They were less likely to access news through emails, text messages or search engines. And most people favored one pathway over another. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of online news consumers had one preferred pathway for getting most of their online news.

The study also sheds light on whether people are actually aware of the sources of news they consume – a question all the more relevant in light of the prevalence of fabricated news stories during the final weeks of the 2016 election. It reveals that when consumers click on a link to get to news, they can often recall the news source’s name. Individuals who said they followed a link to a news story were asked if they could write down the name of the news outlet they landed on. On average, they provided a name 56% of the time. But they were far more able to do so when that link came directly from a news organization – such as through an email or text alert from the news organization itself – than when it came from social media or an email or text from a friend. It was also the case that 10% of consumers, when asked to name the source of the news, wrote in “Facebook” as a specific news outlet.

Another critical issue facing the industry is identifying which news experiences tend to inspire follow-up actions such as sharing, searching for more information or talking about it with others. This study suggests differences based on both the pathway used to get the news and the topic of news itself. Among the five pathways studied, news instances spurred by emails and texts from friends or family elicited the most activity; nearly three-quarters (73%) of these instances were acted upon in some way. That outpaced even social media and direct visits to a news organization’s website, where a follow-up action occurred in about half of news instances (53% and 47%, respectively). Overall, talking with someone offline, whether in person or over the phone, was the most common action taken with digital news.

As for the topic of the news, community and health news spurred follow-up action about two-thirds of the time, while entertainment, sports and business news did so only about half the time. The type of follow-up action taken also varied with news topic. Stories about community affairs stand out for their social nature and were shared via social media at a far higher rate than any other topic. Science news, on the other hand, was bookmarked or saved for later or sent to someone via email or text at a higher rate than most other topics. Still, for all pathways and topics studied, speaking with someone offline about the news rises to the top.

It is important to keep in mind that this is self-reported data, and activities even as recent as the last two hours can be hard for some people to recall. At the same time, though, while a repeated survey like this can make people more aware of their online activities, little evidence of this emerged. This unique approach provides a deeper and more tangible window into how Americans learn about current events in the digital age, and speaks to some of the challenges news organizations have in establishing a relationship with digital audiences.

Other interesting patterns that emerged include the following:

  • Just as individuals tend to favor one digital pathway over others, certain topics in the news are more likely to be learned about through one method over another. Business and finance news, for example, is more likely to be accessed by going directly to a news website. About half of business and finance news instances (53%) occurred through an individual going directly to a news website or app, compared with just 12% that came through social media. Community news, on the other hand, was much more likely to be discovered through social media (53%) than on a news website (22%).
  • Social media, search engines and friends’ emails and texts all succeed in engaging news consumers within the bounds of each venue. About a quarter (23%) of the instances in which news came through a search engine resulted in searches for additional information, a higher share than any other pathway. Similarly, 14% of news instances from friends or family led to sending news via email or text, compared with 5% or less of the instances from any other pathway. And when people got news through social media, they went on to re-share that news on social media one out of four times. On the other hand, no single digital action stands out for news that came from a direct connection with a news organization.
  • Younger and older online news consumers follow news links at the same rate, but younger adults are less likely to remember the source. When 18- to 29-year-old online news consumers clicked on news links, they remembered the source about half the time (47%), at least 10 percentage points less than their elders (57% for 30- to 49-year-olds and 61% for those 50 and older). And these younger online news consumers got their news through social media 47% of the time on average, about double the rate of those 50 and older (23%), and about on par with those ages 30 to 49 (42%). Those 50 and older, on the other hand, stand out for their heavier reliance on news organizations’ emails, texts and alerts.

    Details of the study

    Over the course of one week (Feb. 24 to March 1, 2016), a nationally representative sample of online news consumers received two short surveys per day (14 total) asking about the news they got online, if any, in the past two hours.

    The respondent pool comes from a survey conducted Jan. 12-Feb. 8, 2016, among 4,654 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. In this February survey, those who indicated that they get news digitally (on a desktop or laptop computer or mobile device) were asked to participate in a weeklong study of their online news consumption. Of these individuals, 3,827 agreed to participate.

    A total of 2,078 respondents completed at least 10 of the 14 mini-surveys during the week, of which 2,004 said that they got news online in at least one survey. These respondents are representative of online news consumers in a given week.

    The survey

    Example response

    Jennifer, our example online

    news consumer, took her first

    survey on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

    When answering, she was asked

    to think about the past two hours.

    Below is what each of the 14 short surveys looked like over the

    course of the week

    Did you get any online news on the following topics in the past two hours? If so, this was a news instance.

    In the past two hours, Jennifer got news on politics, science, and entertainment. This was a news instance – sometimes referred to as one of the times she got news.

    1

    EXAMPLES OF TOPICS:

    Government and politics, people and events in your community, business and finance

    Which topic did you get all or most of your news about?

    This is the main news topic.

    She got most of her news about science, so that was her main topic.

    2

    How did you access your news on that main topic?

    This is the pathway used.

    She got this news from a social networking site. This was the pathway.

    3

    EXAMPLES OF PATHWAYS:

    A news organization’s website or app, search engines, social networking sites

    4

    She got to this news by clicking on
    a link from social media, but did not remember the news outlet.

    If you got news by clicking on a link from social media, emails or text messages, do you remember the name of the outlet that the link led to?

    Respondents could write down the name of up to 3 outlets, or could indicate that they did not remember

    5

    Did you seek out this news, happen upon it while doing something else online, or find it while already getting other news?

    She happened upon this news
    while doing other things online.

    Did you follow up on this news by taking any actions?

    She followed up on this news with two actions. She spoke with someone about that news in person, and commented on that news on social media.

    6

    EXAMPLES OF ACTIONS:

    Spoke with someone about the news, sent an article, shared it on social media, bookmarked it

    PEW RESEARCH CENTER

    The structure of this study allows for analyses at two different levels:

    1. Online news consumer level: Average behavior of the 2,004 online news consumers surveyed over the course of the week. For example, the report looks at how often, on average, consumers got news by going directly to a news website versus getting it through social media.
    2. Instance level: The characteristics of the 13,086 total news instances that occurred during the week studied. For example, the report looks at whether news accessed through social media is more likely to be acted upon than news from a news organization’s website.

    The report is divided accordingly into these two distinct parts, and the relevant icon – from the two above – appears at the start of each section to help readers keep the analytical frame in mind.

  • [Source:-Pew Researsh Centre]

George and Amal Clooney ‘expecting twins’, Matt Damon confirms

File image of George and Amal Clooney.

Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband, award-winning actor George, are expecting twins, Matt Damon has confirmed.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight Canada, the actor explained Clooney had told him the news while they were working together last autumn.

Damon said: “They’re going to be awesome parents. Those kids are lucky.”

He was speaking after the news of the couple’s pregnancy was revealed by CBS’s The Talk host Julie Chen.

Explaining how Clooney revealed the news, Damon said: “I was working with him last fall and he pulled me aside on set and I almost started crying.

“I was so happy for him. And I was like, ‘How far along is she?’ And he goes, ‘Eight weeks’.

“I said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Don’t tell anybody else! Don’t you know the 12-week rule?’ Of course he doesn’t. I was like, ‘just shut up, man’.”

Another source close to the couple, quoted by People, said they were “very happy”. The Clooneys’ representatives have not yet commented.

Matt Damon and George ClooneyImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

George and Amal Clooney married in Venice in 2014 with a star-studded list of guests who included Damon and Bill Murray.

Rumours that they might be expecting began to circulate last month when Amal was spotted wearing a loose-fitting dress.

George, 55, has starred in numerous Hollywood films and has won two Academy Awards.

Amal, 39, has represented a number of high profile figures, including former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

[Source:-BBC]

How to Backup and Secure WordPress with Jetpack

Jetpack is undoubtedly one of the most popular WordPress plugins with over 1 million installs at the time of writing.

If you’ve been following WordPress in the news, you might have heard that Jetpack has undergone some serious redevelopment over the past year, if you haven’t checked it out for a while – now is a good time to take another look.

Developed by Automattic (the people behind WordPress.com) Jetpack is more than just another plugin, it’s more like a plugin on steroids. It brings self-hosted WordPress sites many of the same features of WordPress.com, with a few powerful additions.

We’ve covered Jetpack in detail at SitePoint, however the latest version boasts a completely redesigned UI, along with a wide range of new features. In this article, we’ll be covering some the new security features including integrated daily and realtime backups.

Jetpack Installation and Features Overview

How to Install Jetpack

Before you begin, double check you’re running the latest version of WordPress and that your site is publicly accessible (if you’re using a local installation check out Jetpack’s developer mode). You might also want to double check that your web host uses PHP 5 or later (if not, it might be a good idea to move!).

The easiest method of installation is via the WordPress dashboard. I’ll take you through a brief walkthrough:

  • Log into your WordPress dashboard
  • Navigate to ‘Plugins’ and ‘Add New’
  • Then type in ‘Jetpack’ into the search bar and you’ll see ‘Jetpack by WordPress.com’ plugin appear

Installing Jetpack Plugin for WordPress

  • Then click ‘Install Now’
  • Once the plugin has installed click ‘Activate’
  • You will then see the following alert to connect your website to WordPress.com

Connecting Jetpack to WordPress.com

  • When you click ‘Connect to WordPress.com’ you will be redirected to WordPress.com to either create an account or sign in with an exisiting account
  • After you’ve created an account or logged in with your existing account, Jetpack will confirm that you’re happy to connect the site to this user and then return you to your WordPress site
  • You will now find you have a new dashboard menu item ‘Jetpack’ which enables you to control what features you use
  • When the plugin first connects, you’ll also have the option to auto activate the commonly used features of Jetpack

For WP-CLI users, you can also get Jetpack up and running using this command wp plugin install jetpack.

For more information on the installation process, check out Jetpack.com and the handy quick start guide.

Key Features in Jetpack

The Jetpack interface has been rewritten from the ground up using the popular JavaScript library React. The user experience is smooth and navigating the module selection and configuration feels very snappy.

WordPress Jetpack New Interface

Jetpack is definitely the Swisse Army knife of WordPress plugins. It offers more than 20 modules with a comprehensive range of features and benefits all in the one plugin. What’s even better is that you can just activate what you need, which enables this plugin to be highly customisable for any WordPress site.

The main features of the Jetpack plugin centre around 5 key areas:

  1. Backups and Security – Brute force protection and single sign-on. Jetpacks pro features also allow spam protection, offsite backups with archive and storage using VaultPress, automated restores and malware scanning.
  2. Performance – High-speed CDN and uptime monitoring.
  3. Traffic and Engagement – Site stats, related posts, enhanced distribution, sharing tools and the ‘Professional’ subscription level also enables your site to run polls, ratings and surveys.
  4. Site Management – Plugin management, auto updates and cross platform tools. The subscription options also include easy site migration (via Backups).
  5. Support – The free plugin provides basic support to all users, however the pro options for Jetpack provide additional WordPress and security support.

Some of the lesser known features I like are Custom Content Types, Markdown support and Custom CSS, but in this article I’m going to dig deeper into the first point of Backups and Security.

How to Backup Your Website with Jetpack

Jetpack offers some powerful site management and system administration capabilities. One of the most overlooked and underrated tasks for all site owners is backups. We’ll take a look at the pro options for backups available with Jetpack, but first I’ll delve into why backups are important.

Not All Backups Are Created Equal

Just because your host includes ‘backups’, if you look in the fine print these backups are often not kept for very long and they come with no guarantees, sometimes even charging you to source the backup if the need arises.

I always recommend that my clients never rely on just your hosting providers backups, for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • The backups are often on the same system (or network) as your website. If the hosting service fails, your backup goes down with your website
  • Your backups are not guaranteed
  • They are just best effort, and typically nobody is checking the integrity of your backups
  • You have no legal comeback if your backups are lost
  • You have no control over your backups, sometimes being unable to download your own copy for archiving

It doesn’t matter what you’re working on, losing all of your hard earned work can be one of the most frustrating and expensive occurrences we face. It’s all too common, and happens all too easily.

Despite your best efforts, failures do happen, so be prepared. A good backup strategy includes storing (preferably offsite) a number of backups, on an automated schedule to help protect you in the event that things go wrong. Certain types of failures might not be apparent immediately, which is why it’s recommended you also maintain an archive of your older backups.

Backup Options with Jetpack

For individuals and businesses that take their website operations seriously, there are two subscription options available with Jetpack. Both of these options come with professional support, something that many businesses using WordPress want.

If you only need daily backups of your site, then Jetpack’s ‘Premium’ subscription option is a great choice. It will provide daily backups of your WordPress themes, plugins, uploads and database. As mentioned above, site owners don’t immediately realize there is an issue with their site, so having access to a 30 day archive of these daily backups is a great feature so you can choose to restore any daily point in time within that 30 day period.

For $99 per year, per site, the ‘Premium’ option provides you with:

  • Automated daily backups with an easy one click restore feature
  • Spam filtering via the Akismet plugin
  • Malware scanning on a daily basis

If you spend a significant amount of time in your website on a daily basis then realtime backups are a better choice. These are part of Jetpack’s ‘Professional’ plan which will backup every post, comment, media file, revision and dashboard settings as the changes happen. You can also reap the benefits of a full backup archive so you will be able to restore any backup for the life of your subscription.

For $299 per year, per site, the ‘Professional’ option provides all the great features in the ‘Premium’ subscription but also includes:

  • Unlimited off-site backups in real time
  • One-click security threat resolution
  • Premium WordPress and security support

Daily backups will be adequate for many sites, however with WordPress now powering more and more ecommerce, membership or community sites, realtime backups are becoming increasingly more important. Realtime backups mean that each change is saved at on offsite location, separate from your hosting environment.

Walkthrough of the Backup and Restore Process

Backups in VaultPress happen automatically in the background. As mentioned above, the initial complete backup will take a little longer than subsequent backups.

Once you’ve selected your subscription and made your payment, you’ll be prompted to configure VaultPress and Akismet. This will ask you to connect to your WordPress.com account. The backup-specific functionality is configured in the VaultPress.

Jetpack Premium Subscription

If you’ve signed up for a Premium subscription, backups will automatically occur on a daily basis. If you have a Professional subscription, they’ll happen in realtime as your site changes. We’ll walk through an example using a Premium subscription, showing you how to restore a backup.

Locating Your Backups

You can find your backups in the VaultPress dashboard, you can visit https://dashboard.vaultpress.com/, follow the link in your WordPress.com account, or your own WordPress dashboard. You can then navigate to the date you’re looking for and either restore a complete backup, or browse and download or restore individual files. This is a handy feature that not all backup plugins or services offer.

VaultPress Backup Files

Restoring a Backup

The Settings page is where you can give VaultPress access to your host using SSH, SFTP or FTP, as well as set alternate credentials if you want to move your site to a new host. These settings are provided at the time you sign up for your hosting account. If you ever need to restore from a backup, you’ll need to make sure you’ve configured server access.

VaultPress SSH Settings

Once you’ve configured your server settings, restoring a backup is easy. Here are the steps:

  • Sign in to the dashboard and the ‘view backups’ section
  • Find the backup you want to restore and click ‘restore’
  • You can then select any or all of the options for restoring database, plugins, themes and uploads
  • You will then be asked to confirm the restore
  • That’s it! No need to mess around with manual database and file restores yourself, Jetpack handles all of the heavy lifting.

On the Settings page you can also add other users via their WordPress.com accounts and grant them access.

Once you’ve activated VaultPress, an initial backup will kick off. This initial backup can take a while, however subsequent backups are much faster.

You can also restore a backup to a new hosting provider or a new domain, here’s some more information on how to do this.

How to Secure Your Website with Jetpack

Web security is a topic that I am particularly passionate about and something that website owners should never take for granted.

Common WordPress Security Threats

In a recent report (called the Website Hacked Trend Report 2016 – Q1), Sucuri analyzed over 11,000 infected websites.

Of those that were running WordPress, over 50% were out of date.

In the conclusion, they noted:

“If there is one thing we know from this report is that vulnerable software is a big problem, contributing to a large number of compromises. The blanket guidance to stay current and update is falling on deaf ears. Some initiatives, like those undertaken by WordPress – emphasis on backward compatibility and auto-updates – are having positives effects on the core of the platform, but we know that the a majority of the compromises are coming from a platform’s extensible components, not its core.”

Source: https://sucuri.net/website-security/website-hacked-report

The bolding is mine, but it’s something I feel worth highlighting because I constantly keep seeing this problem in the field – and from people that should know better. It’s up to all of us to take security and backups seriously, and also educate our peers and clients. Regular updates and backups are easily enabled, so there aren’t any excuses.

Jetpack also offers a centralized management interface that makes the job of managing lots of sites much easier.

The Security Options Available in Jetpack

Security is a process. It should never be a ‘set and forget’ approach. Monitoring your website for security threats is an important consideration for any website owner.

Recognising the importance of web security, Jetpack has simplified security monitoring for your website with a dedicated section called ‘Security’ under the ‘Settings’ section of the plugin which offers:

  • Protection against brute force attacks (Free)
  • Monitoring of site downtime (Free)
  • Single sign for secure authentication (Free)
  • Security Scanning to protect from threats and attacks (Premium)
  • Akismet spam control (Premium)
  • Automatic backups of your entire site (Premium)

Example of Mitigated Attacks

VaultPress will check for several common threats, including changed WordPress core files, web shells (that give attackers control of your site) and detection of plugins and themes with known security vulnerabilities.

Below is an example of a very common issue caused by the TimThumb script used in many older themes.

Jetpack Security - TimThumb

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve covered the core features available with Jetpack, focusing on security and backups. It couldn’t be easier to get started with using Jetpack as part of your website security and backup regime.

If you want to learn more about the features of Jetpack, SitePoint has previously covered this topic, along with WordPress maintenance, in the following articles:

  • Add WordPress.com Features To Your Site : A Guide to Jetpack
  • The Definitive Guide to WordPress Maintenance
  • Using Jetpack’s Publicize for Easy WordPress Social Sharing
  • 5 Things You May Not Know about Jetpack for WordPress

I’d also recommend the official documentation for reference and support:

  • Jetpack.com
  • Jetpack Support

Automattic is offering SitePoint readers 10% off on Jetpack plans — follow this link to get the code.

[Source:-Sitepost]

Afghanistan and Pakistan avalanches kill more than 100

Rescue workers trying to reach the avalanche-hit areas in Chitral, Pakistan

Heavy snow and avalanches have killed more than 106 people and injured dozens in Afghanistan.

In the deadliest incident, 53 people died in one village after an avalanche in Nuristan, a north-eastern Afghan province on the Pakistan border.

Thirteen people were also killed in an avalanche in northern Pakistan, nine of them in the town of Chitral.

Dozens of houses have been destroyed and people were reported to have frozen to death, trapped in cars.

Afghanistan’s minister of state natural disasters, Wais Ahmad Barmak, confirmed the number of dead to BBC Afghan. There were also avalanches to the north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

“Avalanches have buried two entire villages,” a spokesman for the ministry told news agency AFP of the Barg Matal area in Nuristan.

The neighbouring mountainous province of Badakhshan was also badly hit by snow storms.

Map of Afghanistan and Pakistan

Rescuers are experiencing difficulty reaching trapped people, because of bad weather and snow-blocked roads.

Provincial Council member Khalilullah Ghayor told BBC Afghan that two helicopters will be deployed to the area to look for survivors and deliver aid.

The main international airport in Kabul has also been closed because of snow and ice on the runway.

On the Kabul-Kandahar highway, police and soldiers rescued some 250 vehicles that were trapped.

The Salang pass north of Kabul was also closed under as much as 2.5m (7ft) of snow, local police chief Rajab Salangi said, according to Reuters news agency.

At least two stranded drivers have frozen to death. Dozens are marooned there without food.

Officials are warning of more avalanches as snow storms are continuing.

[Source:-BBC]