If you’re into WordPress, you’ve likely heard of WordCamps – grassroots events held around the world, with sessions aimed at developers, designers, and users of the WordPress open-source software. You may also have heard about tech-heavy WordPress conferences like LoopConf or business-focused ones like PressNomics.
Last week, a brand new WordPress event called Press Publish made its debut in Portland, Oregon, and I was lucky to be a part of it. An initiative of Automattic, the conference mixed advice and inspiration for bloggers with tips on making the most of WordPress. It was jam-packed with motivating talks, from speakers like Erick Prince-Heaggans, a travel blogger and photojournalist, and Ananda Leeke, a “yoga, creativity, and Internet geek,” both of whom I had the pleasure to chat with during the course of the event.
I loved being involved in Press Publish – from meeting WordPress users of all levels and helping them at the Happiness Bar, to bonding with my fellow Automatticians. Oh yeah, I also gave some talks and workshops! My short presentation Wild About Widgets was recorded, and the video should be out in a few weeks. I gave a workshop on using the WordPress Customizer with Sheri Bigelow and another on mastering menus and widgets. My colleague Michelle Langston and I ran an intro workshop on CSS, putting together a reference site and demo where we showed examples of how you can tweak your site with CSS to get it looking exactly how you want.
The next Press Publish is on April 18 in Phoenix. If you’re anywhere in the area I hope you’ll consider attending. I’d love to meet you!
Embassy Suites reminded me of the Grand Budapest Hotel!
With Michelle Langston and Ananda Leeke
Wild About Widgets
With Carolyn Sonnek
CSS workshop with Michelle Langston
I had a comment after my Hawaii post that there were no photos of me. I hope this one makes up for that. :) Thanks to Josh Root and Anne McCarthy for some of the pics.
The ability to add third-party plugins is one of the reasons folks may choose to have a self-hosted WordPress site. But with over 36,000 plugins in the official repository, selecting one can be overwhelming. My WordCamp Maui talk looks at what to consider when selecting a plugin, how to troubleshoot plugin issues, and where widgets fit into the mix. You can also watch the presentation at WordPress.tv or check out the slides.
Earlier this month I took an extraordinary trip to Hawaii. The entire Automattic theme division met for its annual gathering on the island of Kauai – a meetup locale rather different from last year’s Charleston ice storm. I stayed on in Hawaii a bit longer, getting a few more days to enjoy this beautiful place.
As cliché as it may sound, Hawaii was simply magical. Sea turtles silently crawling up the shoreline on Poipu Beach, scenery as stunning as it gets, and an unforgettable helicopter ride around Kauai – including the waterfalls where the famous arrival scene from Jurassic Park was filmed. It rejuvenated my soul and provided sustenance to carry me through the rest of this vicious winter.
I can’t wait to go back some day.
While we’re contending with frigid temperatures here in Montreal (“feels like” -27C / -17F tonight!), next year’s crop of 101 garlic bulbs happily hibernates beneath the ground in my backyard.
Some of you may remember that my flash talk at last fall’s Automattic all-company Grand Meetup revolved around garlic gardening, and back in September I posted a garlic-growing guide based on the talk. The video of my talk is now available – if you’re intrigued about growing garlic and have four minutes to spare, check it out:
The original slides are here in case you’d like to watch them alongside the video:
The gentleman sat back in the bus seat in front of me, put up his feet and took out his phone. He was going through his contacts, making the requisite round of New Year’s calls. I could tell this one was a message he was leaving on someone’s voice mail.
“Hi, happy New Year. Everything is the same as before. Nothing has changed. OK, good-bye.”
And so it is.
I’ve never been one to make resolutions, but today I went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a culture injection and realized that is something I’d like to do more of this year: feed my soul through art. I’d also like to eat more fruits and vegetables – to that end I stumbled on a new recipe compendium with an amazing collection of salads. Both happen to be WordPress sites. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide. Happy 2015.
Nuits de Liban at Cocktail Hawaii
Christian Rohlfs – Birch Forest
Andy Warhol magazine cover – “for the girl with a job”
Andy Warhol wall
Earlier this month I gave a free, two-hour intro to WordPress workshop at YES Montreal. It was part of their women and technology program, geared to helping folks find technology-related jobs or start their own business.
I love teaching beginners – guiding people to those “lightbulb” moments when they finally understand the difference between posts and pages, tags and categories, or some other WordPress particularity.
While I enjoy watching the participants pick up a ton of knowledge, I’ll admit that I have an ulterior motive for doing these workshops. Once you’ve been using WordPress for a while, it becomes easy to forget what it’s like to learn all this stuff from scratch – the sense of overwhelm, the “why isn’t it simpler” frustration. As someone who does tech support for a living, I find it immensely valuable to have my beginner-memory refreshed once in a while. Being surrounded by people just learning the ins and outs of WordPress reminds me that not much is as obvious as it seems after using a tool for a while and becoming completely comfortable with it. These intro workshops are like getting a WordPress-empathy booster shot.
I’ve brought over two pages devoted to WordPress resources for beginners that had been living on another site: WordPress Resources Online, and WordPress Resources in Person. Feel free to check them out and pass them on.