WordPress plugin : Google XML Sitemaps 4.0 significant changes

One of the most popular WordPress plugins – Google XML Sitemap – has recently been upgrade to version 4.0, with some significant changes.  Here is the quote from the changelog:

New in Version 4.0 (2014-03-30):

  • No static files anymore, sitemap is created on the fly!
  • Sitemap is split-up into sub-sitemaps by month, allowing up to 50.000 posts per month!
  • Support for custom post types and custom taxonomis!
  • 100% Multisite compatible, including by-blog and network activation.
  • Reduced server resource usage due to less content per request.
  • New API allows other plugins to add their own, separate sitemaps.
  • Note: PHP 5.1 and WordPress 3.3 is required! The plugin will not work with lower versions!
  • Note: This version will try to rename your old sitemap files to *-old.xml. If that doesn’t work, please delete them manually since no static files are needed anymore!

Cloud computing price war

Now this looks like a straight up war!  Less than a day apart, both Google and Amazon announced yet another price drop on their services.  TechCrunch sums up Google’s price drop as following:

Google Compute Engine is seeing a 32 percent reduction in prices across all regions, sizes and classes. App Engine prices are down 30 percent, and the company is also simplifying its price structure.


The price of cloud storage is dropping a whopping 68 percent to just $0.026/month per gigabyte and $0.2/month per gigabyte/DRA.


BigQuery, Google’s database for doing big data analysis, is getting the largest price drop at 85 percent. The team reduced per-gigabyte storage pricing from $0.08/GB to $0.026/GB, a 68 percent drop, and interactive queries now cost $5/TB instead of $35/TB. Batch queries now also cost $5/TB instead of the previous $20/TB.

Amazon Web Services Blog provides comparison tables between old and new prices, which are quite similar.  And they also notice the following:

If you’ve been reading this blog for an extended period of time you know that we reduce prices on our services from time to time, and today’s announcement serves as the 42nd price reduction since 2008.


Every system is terrible, if you look at it long enough

As I was reading through the rant on why your previous developer was terrible, I kept nodding my head in agreement. It’s all true.

It’s what I call the “curse of the present.” When you, as a developer, look at the choices used to build a particular application, you’re blown away at the poor decisions made at every turn. “Why, oh why, is this built with Rails when Node.js would be so much better?” or “how could the previous developer not have forseen that the database would need referential integrity when they chose MongoDB?” But what you may not realize is that you are seeing the application as it exists today. When the previous developer (or team) had to develop it, they had to deal with a LOT of unknowns. They had to make many decisions under a cloak of opacity. You are cursed with the knowledge of the present, so the system seems like a hackjob of bad decisions.

But as true as it is,  it’s incomplete. It’s not only about the previous developer. It applies to pretty much all systems that you can access as a user. Things just constantly don’t make sense. And while there are many cases of a developer being inadequate, in many more cases IMHO what you are staring is a bunch of unknowns.

It is easy to assume that the guy who did this (this being anything at all) is just a stupid idiot. But that’s only because you don’t know or care. Who’s decision was it? You might think it was a developer, when in fact it was a clueless boss. Or maybe this was the most feasible approach. Or maybe it was the only possible one at the time. How much resources were allocated for this development? Anybody can do better you say, but could they be as good in 15 minutes only – cause that’s how much time was given. Do you know which technology was used and why? These are usually very transparent.

It’s easy to judge without knowing. And I guarantee you that any system can appear terrible if you stare at it long enough. But who needs all this negative energy? Nobody. Look around, try to understand, try to improve the system and learn something new in the process, and the world will surely become a better place.