Music from Our Tube; Oscar Brown Jr. “Brother where are you?”

Had heard this beauty on KCRW a couple of times already, but only now managed to capture artist & title; Oscar Brown Jr. with the live-version of “Brother where are you?”

Oscar Brown Jr. - Brother where are you? (Audio)

The album-version is radically different; I feel it is over-arranged in sixties soul-style (it is sixties soul after all), rendering it less powerful, less haunting. There’s also a Matthew Herbert remix of this live-track (might even have been that one on KCRW) and I like the female background-vocals, but I still prefer the original live version really.

Mobile WP YouTube Lyte; no-one said it would be easy!

WP YouTube Lyte and mobile, I must be honest, it is not an easy marriage. Light YouTube Embeds focuses on optimizing performance by displaying a dummy player which takes less then a tenth of what a normal YouTube embed requires. Only when clicking on that dummy player, the real YouTube embed is loaded and auto-played. Simple and efficient, no?
Mobile is an whole other ballgame. For starters, there’s no autoplay on YouTube mobile embeds. At all, because Apple prohibits autoplay in HTML5 video and browsers on Android seem to agree. So the trick with the dummy player does not work (unless you would accept users having to click twice) and as a consequence, WP YouTube Lyte on mobile loads the (mobile) embed straight away.
But that’s not all; for audio-only to work, auto-hide has to be disabled (as the bottom controls are the only player elements that remain visible) but that despite setting autohide=0&controls=1, controls still remain hidden in mobile YouTube embeds, rendering the audio-only player UI useless, as a consequence of which WP YouTube Lyte has to show the full video on mobile. And YouTube playlists on mobile are known to be broken as well, one can only hope this is being worked on by YouTube.
And then one week ago a user posted about yet another mobile-specific problem on the WP YouTube Lyte supportforum; when rotating your smartphone or tablet, the size of the embedded video did not adjust. The reason in a nutshell; while LYTE (the dummy player) is responsive, the YouTube iframe-embed that is loaded on mobile is not. To solve this, I added an orientationchange event handler (WebKit-only to my disappointment, although I do have an alternative approach that I might introduce at a later stage) in version 1.3.3 which I released earlier today, re-requesting the embed when the orientation changes.
The conclusion; WP YouTube Lyte works on mobile, but it is not the most elegant of solutions at this particular stage. So in the spirit of full disclosure; if desktop & performance are key, then WP YouTube Lyte remains one of the best solutions for YouTube on WordPress out there, but if your main target audience is mobile web, you should at least be aware of these limitations (some of which also exist outside of WP YouTube Lyte).

Music from Our Tube; Jono McCleery

Not sure is this is to be labeled electronica (what good are labels anyway), but Jono McCleery (who’s on Ninja Tune) works with clicks and beats but also acoustic guitar and he sings and, well, it’s just so beautiful …

Jono McCleery - Ballade | Sofar London

In the same category guys like James Blake and Rudi Zygadlo. There’s just too much great stuff!!

WP default themes 2010-2014: performance going down

Although it is easy to download and install free or “premium” themes, WordPress does come with a default theme that is updated yearly. Last year I did performance tests of Twenty Twelve and there were some performance-issues, which led me to create a cleary faster child theme (2012.FFWD). But how does Twenty Thirteen fare, you might wonder? And how did the WordPress themes do before? And what about Twenty Fourteen? Just the questions I was asking myself as well, so here goes!
I decided to compare the raw performance of the default WordPress themes from 2010 to 2014, creating new blogs in my multi-site test-environment. All 5 test-blogs’ homepages were tested 9 times with, using the Amsterdam node, IE9 as browser and with a DSL traffic shaping profile and the median test result was used. No performance enhancing substances (such as WP Super Cache or Autoptimize) were used in this test, a few bunnies might have been slightly injured though … The result? Well, Just look at this graph;
wordpress default theme 2010-2014 performance
As you can see performance (until document loaded) got worse with every release. Download time skyrocketed from 1.7s to 4.2s (and even 5.3s the upcoming 2014), mostly because download size went from 60Kb for Twenty Ten to a whopping 489Kb for Twenty Thirteen (and 659Kb for the non-final Twenty Fourteen). All details of the tests can be found in this Google Docs spreadsheet.
So what is the reason for this important performance degradation? Web Fat, that’s what. In 2013 jQuery & co were added (there was already one smallish JS-file in 2012), but even more damaging is the explosion in font-file downloads; 4 in 2012, 9 in 2013 and 15 in 2014! I’ve already expressed my dislike for webfonts and -although I think it can be immensely useful and I use it for the admin pages of my plugins- I think one should also try to avoid including jQuery where possible, especially for content-oriented sites such as the ones powered by WordPress? Unless you don’t care about performance off course.
(In case you’re wondering; the use WP Super Cache and Autoptimize or similar solutions will clearly improve performance, but not having JavaScript is better then having to optimize JavaScript and font-files cannot really be optimized, so the problem will be less but will remain.)