XDM/SDDM Slow Startup Followup

As reference previously, recently, the XPS 15 9530 had an issue in startup where the login prompt in the shell was available but XDM/SDDM did not start until several key presses later. Waiting for it to start was a futile effort—once waited over 30 minutes to no avail. A full system reinstall did not help either.

Digging into the dmesg output revealed something interesting:

[83.413293] random: crng init done
[83.413299] random: 7 urandom warning(s) missed due to ratelimiting

It was taking over a minute and a half for random to generate enough entropy. And, this was with the keyboard getting mashed! Apparently, this is a relatively common issue to run into.

Since the XPS 15 9530 has a Haswell core CPU with RDRAND instruction support, an easy way around this is to enable “Trust CPU Vendor” in the kernel config:


Now, this is not without consequence. There is concern that Intel’s RDRAND implementation was inappropriately influenced by external parties. An alternative workaround is to install haveged. This has its own issues—it is a software solution to inflate entropy. Finally, on the Gentoo forums, the recommendation is to continue to mash the keyboard until userland applications are updated with to more appropriate entropy requirements.

Breadcrumb NavXT Title Trixx 1.2.0

Announcing the immediate availability of Breadcrumb NavXT Title Trixx 1.2.0. This version introduces support for alternate title for terms of any taxonomy. Additionally, this version contains a couple under-the-hood codeĀ  improvements centered around receiving plugin updates.

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).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Explained: The “Your settings are out of date. Migrate now.” Message

After updating Breadcrumb NavXT, WP Lynx, or any other plugin that used adminKit, you may be greeted with the following message on the settings page:

Your settings are out of date. Migrate now.

This post explains what is happening when “Migrate now” is clicked, and provides some background and insight as to why this message exists.

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10 Years Using WordPress

Ten years ago, this blog was created. Sure, I had written a few posts on another platform. However, it was ten years ago that I made my first post within WordPress (version 1.5 at the time). JD had just setup a WordPress install for me on Weblogs.us, and the post was a simple “This is my new blog” type post (no longer available).

Since then, I adopted and rewrote a plugin that is now approaching 2 Million downloads and an estimated 300k active users. By no means was this my first plugin, and it is not the last one I will create (something new will be arriving late this summer). While I had been playing with (x)HTML and CSS for years before WordPress even existed, I learned PHP through extending WordPress—some purists may cringe at the thought, but that is not my problem.

Additionally, I have had the opportunity to be a server administrator for Weblogs.us, starting back when we still ran Apache on Windows. Since that time, we’ve moved to Gentoo/Funtoo Linux VM guests on top of the hardware. And, in late May, we will begin migrating select Weblogs.us users to new Nginx+PHP-FPM setup running on top of some new hardware.

Lastly, I’ve attended 6 WordCamps, and have presented at 5 of them on 6 different topics in 8 sessions. This includes all 3 times WordCamp Minneapolis has been held, thus far. This year, I plan on attending more WordCamps than I’ve been able to in the past (really want to get to Austin and out to the West Coast). Not only are they a great excuse to see new cities, they are a great place to meet members of the WordPress community in person.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Using ImageMagick to Batch Convert Photos

Back when I posted my photoset from WordCamp Minneapolis 2013, rather than performing any post processing, I just uploaded the full images from my camera’s SD card. Normally, I would open up the Gimp and reduce the resolution by 50% and then crop to a 3:2 or 16:10 ratio depending on what was appropriate for the images. This produces small files that are easy for the server to handle.

Since WordPress generally does a good job generating the image sizes it needs, I didn’t worry about uploading the full, unreduced images. Normally, the end users would never see the full size images, so no harm, right? Wrong. At least if you use Jetpack.

If you use the tiled gallery feature in Jetpack (like I do on this site) you end up using the WordPress.com CDN. Unfortunately, Jetpack tries to load the full image size when caching for the tiled gallery. Trying to pull 50 or so images, at 1 MiB to 2 MiB a piece to cache didn’t work too well. Naturally, Jetpack could do things slightly more intelligently and request for the closest, already existing, image size to be used, but that’s a topic for another day.

To get things to play nicely I needed to reduce the ‘original’ file sizes. Thankfully, Weblogs.us has ImageMagick installed. Thus, fixing the issue was as simple as running:

convert P*.jpg -resize 50% \
-quality 88 \
-set filename:newsize '50_%t' '[filename:newsize].jpg';

Then, after inspecting the results, all that was left to do was to rename the 50_ prefixed files back to the original file name.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]