Posts Tagged ‘WordPress’

My Weekend at Seattle GiveCamp

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I spent the last weekend attending Seattle GiveCamp on the Microsoft campus in Redmond. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a yearly event where designers, developers, and other technical & marketing folks get together and help out local not-for-profits for a weekend.

It’s about 48 hours from start to finish, beginning on Friday evening. There were long days and nights (some folks even slept over) and it was hard work but what a wonderful time! It’s not often I get up at 7am and I’m out until 10:30pm or later. Luckily the drive was off hours so it only took 25 minutes instead of … I don’t even want to think about it.

I met and worked with some really amazing people. Our team worked on a new WordPress website for fellow West Seattle-ites Southwest Youth & Family Services. (Big thanks to the folks from SWYFS – it was a true pleasure meeting & working with you!)

Here’s the before:

Southwest Youth and Family Services website before

SWYFS had an HTML site that they wanted to convert into a WordPress website so it was easier for them to update. Our designer, Sheyna, kept most of their design elements and spruced them up a bit. We added a slideshow to the home page, featured image banners (in place of the slider) on all the other pages, as well as updating the navigation and adding a News feed (blog).

I built the WordPress theme from scratch (not something I’ve ever done in less than 48 hours before and I don’t think I’ll be trying it again anytime soon – but it was worth it!). I started with the Boilerplate theme and used Sheyna’s design to create their custom theme. The slider is one I’ve worked with several times before, Advanced Slider (from CodeCanyon). I set up the banners so that everywhere but the home page, it uses the featured image if it’s set and uses a default image if not.

Here’s the after:

Southwest Youth and Family Services website after

If you have the chance to participate in a GiveCamp near you, please do. It’s a great way to give back and I think you’ll really enjoy yourself. You don’t have to be a designer or developer (or geek of any kind, for that matter). If you don’t have a particular technical skill you can help out as an administrative volunteer. It’s a good way to spend a weekend and help out those that help others in the process.

Weekly Tech Roundup for February 17, 2012

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Weekly Tech Roundup

It’s back! This week’s Tech Roundup includes web design/dev survey, navigation menus, WPCandy Quarterly, and creating your own WordPress widgets.

The Web Design and Development Survey 2012 – If you are a designer or a developer, take a few minutes and complete this survey. Generally speaking, we’re a pretty small group so when we can get informational stats it’s really helpful. The survey closes March 20 so you have some time, but don’t use that as an excuse to forget! :)

Progressive And Responsive Navigation – Coding one site for screen and mobile but not sure what to do with the navigation menu on the mobile version? Check this article out for ideas.

Download a sample article from The WPCandy Quarterly – WordPress designers/developers/power users! Ever wish there was a magazine all about WordPress? I first mentioned this in November and now it’s just about here. You can check out a sample article here and sign up if you like it. I’m looking forward to my first copy!

Define Your Own WordPress Widgets – Speaking of WordPress… this is a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on creating your own widgets in WordPress. Very handy for when you can’t find a plugin widget to do what you want. Sometimes it’s just faster and easier to do it yourself.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Tech Roundup for January 13, 2012

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Weekly Tech Roundup

This week’s Tech Roundup includes WordPress security update, W3 Total Cache write-up, free fonts, and Send to Kindle app.

How to Turn Off Google’s Annoying New Personal Search Results – This is kind of a follow-up to the Google+ integration in Google Search articles I just posted about in this week’s Small Business Roundup. This article tells you how to hide these new search results by default. It doesn’t really turn them off and you can easily turn them back on, but if you find them annoying or unhelpful, this will help you out.

WordPress 3.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release – WordPress released an important security update. This update shouldn’t cause any trouble for your theme or plugins and you should apply it now if you haven’t already.

Speed Up WordPress with W3 Total Cache – I’ve used this plugin on a couple of sites now and it really seems to work. This is a good write-up covering all the features.

New High-Quality Free Fonts – You know me, I love fonts! Especially when they’re free. There are some really slick ones here. Great to add to your collection.

Amazon’s Send to Kindle App Makes Sending Documents to Your Kindle as Easy as Right-Clicking – As a relatively new Kindle owner, I’m super excited to try this out. If you’re on Windows and have a Kindle, definitely check this out.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Tech Roundup for December 16, 2011

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Weekly Tech Roundup

This week’s Tech Roundup includes WordPress 3.3, power user guides for Chrome and Firefox, IE to auto update, and HTTP status cats.

What’s the Most Secure Web Browser? – The study was funded by Google and not-surprisingly Chrome was ranked the most secure browser. Each browser has a study that says their browser is the best. Still, the results are interesting.

WordPress 3.3 Released – New version of WordPress out this week. Definitely some welcome improvements (widgets, drag & drop media uploader for starters). Also, check out my post highlighting the key features and explaining why you should update.

The Power User’s Guides to Chrome and Firefox – A must-read if you spend all day in your browser, you like to tinker, or you just like to get the best out of your browsing experience. They cover interface tips & tricks, customized settings, add-ons and extensions, and other features.

Most Popular Windows Downloads and Posts of 2011 – Check these out, twenty one in all. From this article I installed Dexpot and I’ve been using it for a few days. Expose and Spaces are the two things I miss most from my Mac using days. Now they are essentially back!

Most Popular Mac Downloads and Posts of 2011 – And, of course, we can’t leave out our Mac friends. Fifteen resources in all here.

Internet Explorer to auto-update – Surprising and exciting! Microsoft is, essentially, going to force you to update your browser. XP users will get IE 8 and Vista and Windows 7 users will get IE 9. In theory, this will make the lives of designers and developers much easier. But let’s see if it works, first.

HTTP Status Cats Make Internet Errors Cute – A little fun to close the roundup this week. These are super cute. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

New version of WordPress (3.3) and why you should update

Friday, December 16th, 2011

WordPress 3.3 was released this week. Here are some of the key highlights:

  • Drag & drop media uploader – whether you’re uploading directly into the Media library or adding from a post, you can now drag & drop your files into the browser window to upload.
  • A single attachment button – when you add an image or video to a post or page, you no longer have to choose what type of file it is before uploading. There’s just one button to upload or insert any file type.
  • Dashboard redesign – the wp-admin area got a facelift. The menus fly-out and expand now and when you click to a new section, the previous section collapses. No more having a mess of open menus. There are also helper pointers which can be a little annoying but are easily closed.
  • Widgets – You no longer lose your widgets when you switch themes. This is HUGE! That was one of the most frustrating aspects of working with WordPress. I haven’t tested it out yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
  • Better “co-editing” – Post and page locks are released immediately now, so you should only see “Bob is currently editing …” if Bob is actually editing.
  • jQuery 1.7.1 and jQuery UI 1.8.16 – WordPress now has the latest version of jQuery and includes jQuery UI. This is excellent but be careful when you upgrade if you have plugins and other elements in your site that use jQuery. You’ll want to make sure those things are compatible with the latest and greatest jQuery. If you’re not sure or you have no clue what I’m talking about, contact me.

Wondering why you should update?

If the features above aren’t incentive enough, it’s always best to have the most current version for functionality and security purposes. This goes for WordPress, plugins, and themes.

While we’re on the topic of WordPress security, now’s a great time to go through your plugins and make sure you are using all of the plugins you have installed. If you aren’t using a plugin, deactivate it and then delete it. If you have inactive plugins installed, remove them. If you have inactive themes, delete them too. These are just extra ways bad guys can get into your website.


I’ve updated over a dozen websites to use 3.3 so far and haven’t run into any problems. If you have a WordPress site that needs updating but you either aren’t comfortable doing it yourself or you think you might have trouble or you have any questions about upgrading, please contact me. If you have a Circa Consulting maintenance plan, I’m planning to update your sites early next week.

Weekly Tech Roundup for December 9, 2011

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Weekly Tech Roundup

This week’s Tech Roundup includes how-to guides, WordPress hosting review, WordPress 3.3 field guide, and a free Q&A call.

Most Popular How-To Guides of 2011 – I am so building a Hackintosh Mini next! These guides aren’t all geeky, but most of them are. They are all pretty useful, though.

How to structure your CSS – An interesting take on how to structure your CSS. I think this method is probably best suited for large projects. I prefer clean and simple and I was a little overwhelmed just reading about all the different CSS files the author uses. I can certainly see the benefits to using this approach though.

Seven advent calendars for web designers and developers – Look at all the geeky advent calendars! It’s nice that we can have a little fun while we work and learn.

The WordPress Hosting Review: Results – This is an exciting article and one I will come back to regularly. It’s always nice to come across something you were going to write yourself and now you don’t have to! The feedback here is really interesting. If you are looking for a WordPress hosting provider, definitely check this out. I will say, I love DreamHost, but I have to echo the downtime concern. It is wonderful when it is working and super frustrating when there is an issue. At least their support is top-notch. I’ve also used HostGator and had customers on BlueHost and GoDaddy. Glad to see I made the right choice by not going with Media Temple when I switched to DreamHost.

WordPress 3.3 Field Guide for Developers – WordPress 3.3 is almost here. Check out this wrap up of the key changes from a core developer.

Last, but certainly not least, Amy and I are doing a free Marketing Preschool Q&A call next Thursday. Here is the call info:

Thursday 12/15/2011 11:00 AM PST
Conference Access Number: 1-218-936-4977
Conference Passcode: 397389#

Join us with your marketing and technical questions and we’ll do our best to answer. Did I mention it’s free?

Have a great weekend!