Breadcrumb NavXT 7.3.0

Holy revamped block Batman! Introduced originally in 6.3.0, the Breadcrumb Trail block has been rewritten in 7.3.0 to have feature parity with the Breadcrumb NavXT widget. This includes the ability to set the breadcrumb output order, output format, and whether or not the breadcrumbs are linked. Additionally, basic styling support via the editor was added.

On the bugfix front, the settings export/import function was updated to fix issues with handling boolean settings. Previously, if a boolean had a default value of ‘true’ it’s value would get lost in the export/import process. The recently introduced $outer_template parameter for the bcn_display() functions now actually works (it accidentally was dropped). display_json_ld() now produces unescaped Unicode JSON, which is easier to read (and given JSON is supposed to be Unicode text, escaping Unicode didn’t make sense). Lastly, a couple of data sanity checks are performed to reduce PHP warnings and errors when 3rd party code breaks the WordPress API.

-John Havlik

Breadcrumb NavXT Premium Extensions 2024 Update Sweep

Due to some changes in Breadcrumb NavXT 7.3, an update to all of the premium extensions is required before updating to Breadcrumb NavXT 7.3. A selection of premium extensions have already been updated and had separate release announcements (as additional features or bugs were fixed in them). This announcement covers the rest of the premium extensions.

Users with valid and activated license keys should receive an update notification within the WordPress dashboard and be able to use the update mechanism to update (just like with any plugin in the WordPress.org repository). If you run into any issues, please open a support ticket.

-John Havlik

Breadcrumb NavXT Attributes 1.5

Introducing Breadcrumb NavXT Attributes 1.5. This version adds support for taxonomy archives. Previously, Breadcrumb NavXT Attributes focused solely on individual posts. However, WordPress does allow for archives that select against multiple terms/taxonomies, and Breadcrumb NavXT Attributes now supports this. Additionally, this version adds support for Breadcrumb NavXT 7.3.

Users with valid and activated license keys should receive an update notification within the WordPress dashboard and be able to use the update mechanism to update (just like with any plugin in the WordPress.org repository). If you run into any issues, please open a support ticket.

-John Havlik

Fixing the ‘Subscribe to continue reading’ Message on Posts

If your posts are presenting the above message to users that are not logged in (can test in a private browser window), there is an easy fix. In the post editor, look for the “Access” metabox within the editor sidebar. Make sure to change the value to “Everyone” from what it is currently set to and update your post. Now your post should be visible to everyone.

I ran into this feature accidentally, the previous post on this site ended up having the access set to “Anyone subscribed” instead of “Everyone”. This went unnoticed by me for several weeks until I ended up visiting while not logged in and noticed the ‘Subscribe to continue reading’ message. Of course, the Access metabox was minimized so it wasn’t immediately clear what was amiss.

Additional Thoughts

While the access feature is neat (if you want to use the various Jetpack features for managing subscribers), it somewhat clashes with the existing Visibility field for posts (which WordPress has had for nearly ever). It would be nice if this feature integrated as additional Visibility options (where it really belongs). Additionally, it would be good if, as with the visibility modes (private/password protected), there was an indication in the front-end that the post is not accessible to everyone while logged in (to help avoid surprises).

-John Havlik

Intel Arc A380 as a Plex Media Server Transcoding Accelerator on Linux

Previously, if one wanted hardware accelerated transcoding in one’s Plex Media Server, the options were to either use a Nvidia card, or use an Intel CPU with QuickSync (and a platform that enables the iGPU). With Intel releasing the Arc series of GPUs, a 3rd option emerged. Recently, low profile variants of both the Arc A380 and Arc A310 have become widely available, presenting a low cost, low power, and easy to fit hardware transcoding option. On the software side, not much is needed to get hardware accelerated transcoding working with the Arc A380/A310.

Drivers

First up, you will need the Intel graphics drivers in your kernel. Check your distro’s guides for how to do this (Gentoo has a fairly good wiki entry on this). One item to note, the choice of whether to compile the driver as a module or include it in the kernel depends on your setup. A general rule of thumb that has worked for me: if you use an initramfs, compile the DRM_I915 driver as a module; if you use efistub as your bootloader, build the driver into your kernel and include the firmware into the kernel image.

If you need to include the firmware into the kernel image (building the DRM_I915 driver into the kernel instead of as a module), you will need to install the linux-firmware package before compiling your kernel. Under the firmware loader settings, you’ll need to include the following firmware blobs: the dg2_dmc, dg2_guc, and dg2_huc. As of Linux 6.4.13 these are the versions the i915 driver will want: i915/dg2_dmc_ver2_08.bin i915/dg2_guc_70.bin i915/dg2_huc_gsc.bin

Userland

After rebooting with the new kernel, within the Plex Settings, under the Transcoding section, enabling hardware acceleration should be available. Additionally, the Arc A380/A310 should show up in the Hardware transcoding device dropdown. Make sure both “Use hardware acceleration when available” and “Use hardware-accelerated video encoding” are checked. For the “Hardware transcoding device” option, if you have other GPUs, you may want to select the Arc device so it is targeted. Don’t forget to press the “Save Changes” button.

While Plex is now finding the device, it still may not be able to use it just yet. If libva isn’t installed, Plex will not be able to use the Arc GPU for transcoding. For funtoo users, ensure that your profile has the gfxcard-intel mix-in and then install libva. At this point, hardware transcoding should work. You can double check this by using intel_gpu_top while playing a video. Another method of checking if hardware transcoding is working is through the “Now Playing” section of the Plex dashboard. If you see a (hw) next to the codec and the word Transcode in the video section, hardware transcoding is working.

Note that getting hardware transcoding working with Plex Media Server only required the Intel graphics Linux kernel driver, some firmware blobs, and libva. X server, Wayland, a window manager, and desktop environment were not needed or installed.

-John Havlik