What is Shortpack?
This Shortpack plugin is a straight ripoff from Jetpack, containing just its media shortcodes. I packaged it up it because of reliability problems I was having in the network connection between the wordpress.com servers and my hosting provider. It provides the same shortcodes as Jetpack:
archives, audio, blip, dailymotion, diggthis, flickr, googlemaps, googlevideo, polldaddy, scribd, slideshare, slideshow, soundcloud, videopress, vimeo, and youtube.
But it doesn’t provide any of Jetpack’s other cool features.
Why Use This?
If you’re having reliability problems with Jetpack and you need its shortcodes, this is the plugin for you.
Or, if you want to run your site disconnected from WordPress’s tracking and social-community-building mechanisms but you need the media shortcodes, this is the plugin for you.
Finally, if you like simplicity in your dashboard, you may prefer this way of delivering media.
Why Use Jetpack Instead of This?
It’s better. It’s developed by far more competent developers than I. It has tons more features.
How did Shortpack come to be?
A couple of months ago, some web sites I take care of started slowing down dramatically. While scrambling around trying to fix them I tried uninstalling Jetpack, the wonderful Automattic plugin. You know, the one that makes everybody else’s kitchen sink look like a thimble?
At any rate, when I went to re-install and re-enable Jetpack, I got this error.
Jetpack could not contact WordPress.com: register_http_request_failed. This usually means something is incorrectly configured on your web host. SSL connection timeout.
This failure was painful. One of the web sites uses the audio shortcode a lot. That shortcode was coming from Jetpack, and Jetpack was not enabled.
I contacted my hosting provider (in this case, fatcow.com). I’ve used these guys for years. They’re local to me, and they buy green-energy offsets for their server and airconditioning power, and they’ve always done a good job at a fair price so I like them.
After we got past the typical quasi-mystical front-line support advice (“Use Internet Explorer to access your web site. Delete your cookies. Stand on one leg and recite John 3:16 from the King James Bible,” etc.) the support agent sent the ticket to their network engineers.
We went through a few days of them trying to reproduce the problem, and finally fatcow.com’s network engineer sorted it out after two days and eighteen hours. I was impatient so I had to get my sites back online, so I made Shortpack.
I asked the network engineer how to describe their fix, so other WordPress.org users would be able to shortcut the long diagnostic process, and this is how he replied to me.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We can only say that we had to change the SNAT IP addresses for your account to fix the issue. Unfortunately, we cannot elaborate on the the reasons for the issue due to security reasons.
Now, I’m resisting the temptation to write back saying “secrecy is the last refuge of a scoundrel” or anything like that. I wish they were more forthcoming about the root cause of the problem.
But I’m sticking with Shortpack for sites on this hosting provider.