Hi, I'm Marcus.

I'm a technologist and write about various topics here. I work at Hatch in California, previously Automattic & WordPress.

Vonnegut: Practice Any Art

November 5, 2006 Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta: I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much […]

Using REAPER instead of Audacity for Podcasts

I’m switching to REAPER for editing our podcast audio. My buddies and I started the Reel DMC movie podcast at the start of the pandemic and two years later still going strong (both the podcast and pandemic ☹️). Previously I used Audacity and I’m still a big fan of the open-source tool, but REAPER is […]

Fixing software bugs

Set screws. These are the tiny little screws used to hold on the handles for some bathroom fixtures. I didn’t know what they were called before, that would’ve saved me some time. The handles of our bathroom faucets would occasionally fall off, not often, but maybe weekly. I never really had a problem with them, […]

The WordPress Command Line Tool

One of my favorite WordPress tools is WP-CLI, the wp command-line tool. The tool allows you to do numerous things from installing WordPress, to upgrading, installing, and activating plugins and themes, configuring installs, and even generating dummy content. I’ll include a few of the most common things, check out the official WP-CLI documentation for more. […]

Using Block Patterns as content templates

Block patterns are great, one of the features I’m most excited for in WordPress. As block patterns mature and people adopt, they will be one of the best ways to share designs and templates. I’m looking forward to a rich repository to pull design ideas, the pattern directory is already filling up. Block patterns aren’t […]

Gutenberg and WordPress Core

I recently had the need to update Gutenberg packages that are in WordPress core for a point release. This required setting up a development environment where I can test Gutenberg code in WordPress but without using the Gutenberg plugin. This is not something most developers will need to do, it is my first time after […]

Make your own create-block templates

Did you know the create-block script can support templates? With templates you can create your own files to be generated for a new block. I see this being quite useful especially if you are an agency or business that creates many custom blocks, or for developers to share different block starting points. What is the […]

Using theme.json in a classic theme

WordPress 5.8 introduced theme.json, a way to specify styles to be generated for the editor and front-end. Theme.json is part of a suite of full site editing tools being developed for WordPress. You can start using it now in existing themes. Let’s dive in and show a few things you can do with it. Colors […]

Modern WordPress Development

There is a good discussion on modern WordPress development and a general lament about it’s complexity and change in the developer experience. Chris Wiegman tweeted out The deeper I get with modern WP dev the more I understand why newer devs don’t like to work on it. This is not the same project as it […]

Working with Animated GIFs

A few resources and snippets for working with animated GIFs on Linux. I use animated GIFs for various screenshots to highlight bugs or demonstrate features. It is quite useful to have For Windows 10, the ScreenToGif app is excellent. It is the only app I know that shows you every frame captured and allows editing […]

Conditionally Load Block Assets, Part 3

In WordPress 5.8, releasing on July 20, there is a much easier way to conditionally load block assets. This is the loading of JavaScript and/or stylesheets on the frontend only if the block is shown on the page. I wrote twice previously about solving this same problem. The first time, I solved checking if each […]

The Hill We Climb

I absolutely love the inauguration poem The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman. It was exactly what we needed, the poem is full of optimism and reality; beautifully capturing the current moment. It is rejuvenating to hear the poem and see the strength in Gorman, it fills me with hope. The text of the poem […]

Reading List 2020

Looking at past posts and it looks like I haven’t published my reading list review in a few years. The previous posts on the site are for 2017, 2016, and 2015. I think I got lazy and let Goodreads handle it, see my 2019 and 2018 lists there. For 2020, I ended up reading 28 […]

On Programming Languages

I like types.I like curly braces.I like semi-colons. Types guide you to better code.Curly braces clearly define blocks of codes.Semi-colons clearly define lines of code.

Use Cornell Notes for Online Class

I’ve found two things that help me get more out of online classes: first is to make space and pay attention, and second I use the Cornell Note taking method during the class. There isn’t anything that different using the Cornell Note method for an online class, than an in-person class, except you can pause […]

Enable Learning in Technical Writing

My goal writing documentation is to enable a student to learn, give them confidence they can learn, and not just copy-paste their way. This is not easy and I’m still learning myself what is the best way to organize any given set. This post covers my thinking around, it is a deeper follow on to […]

Scale QT Apps for HiDPI

Most of Ubuntu/GNOME scale nicely with a high dpi (hidpi) display, there has been built-in support since 19.04 and now fractional scaling is just a simple toggle away in the latest 20.04. I use a 4K external monitor so a 150% scaling works great, however, not for all apps. Zoom is the most common app […]

Contribute Developer Documentation to Gutenberg

Another post in my series on contributing to the WordPress Gutenberg project. This post complements my Good First Issue post that focused more on a coding contribution. Here I take a step back and focus on documentation and dive deeper into the GitHub pull request process. Find an Issue Browse the Documentation label on GitHub […]


The May 2020 Windows 10 update—that eventually made its way out late into June—brought with it an upgraded Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL 2 changes the underlying architecture of the system, introducing a full Linux kernel built by Microsoft. This brought a wide range of improvements including a better file system, faster boot time, […]

Book Review: It Came with Oil

I recently purchased an old British car, a 1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. You can check the car out on its own blog here. It’s nothing fancy, just a fun convertible sports car to take out for a Sunday drive. It’s small, it doesn’t go fast, Sprites were Austin-Healey’s budget sports car, they didn’t even put […]