Think Press Circa 2009

This was the Think Press website that offered information, thoughts, comments on WordPress development from the site's intrepid contributors, Brandon Dove and Jeffery Zinn. Pixel Jar, their current website ,was initially conceived on Think Press. It is live on the web, but at a different url from Think-Press.com.
To see what Brandon and Jeffery are currently doing go to: https://www.pixeljar.com/
The content below gives just a small sampling of what these two developers offered their readers.
Enjoy the nostalgic trip back to 2009

Contributors

A few years ago, the Internet changed. WordPress hit the scene and the suddenly everyone started blogging. Now, everyone and their grandmother has a blog or a website of some kind. WordPress is uniquely suited to fill a need of most any web publisher. We utilize WordPress as a platform for bloggers to professionals to corporations world-wide. With the support of a strong and growing community, WordPress can function, not only as a blogging platform, but as a fully functional, easy to use content management system with most any capability you can dream up. If the platform doesn’t support some sort of functionality that you’re looking for, WordPress developers, like ourselves, can extend the core functionality to support your every need.

Brandon Dove

Brandon Dove, 31, has been developing websites for nearly ten years. He started as an intern for a .com in the late 90s and is currently a co-founder of the Orange County based web design and development firm, Pixel Jar. Brandon spends most of his days hanging out with his two children and his nights working the graveyard shift. He has been developing websites with WordPress since version 1.5 and is now fully entrenched in the latest release. With a background in design, he specializes in creating custom themes with unique functionality for his clients. When he’s not coding or pixel pushing, he enjoys surfing, trips to the park and burritos.

Jeffrey Zinn

Jeffrey Zinn, 33 has also been developing websites and web applications for the whole of this millennium (and some of the previous). His first web development job was working on the bookstore’s website at his university while earning his degree…just to help pay the rent. He’s been working as a web designer ever since. In the mid 2000s he helped found Pixel Jar with Brandon. Jeff had once built and used his own custom blog development software, but later converted to WordPress swayed by the bevvy of excellent contributors, myriad plug-ins and the belief in the open-source community. He spends his lunch hours surfing the local beaches and his weekends hiking the Sierras.

The developer of my website says that he learned at the knees of these two men. Well he doesn't mean literally. It's just that he read their posts and took their advice. Of course there has been vast changes in the approach to building websites since 2009, but WordPress is still around. When I started my jewerly SiammPatra in 2015, I had any idea about where the journey would go. The thought of having my own jewelry online was a bit scary. I felt a certain type of people would enjoy my quirky take on certain pieces of my jewelry such as the silver choker collar necklaces that I designed using re-purposed zippers. But the response has been great. I like the idea that each design may differ slightly from piece to piece to allow for a signature one-of-a-kind aesthetic. Take my galaxia zipper lariat choker collar necklace. The simple silhouette allows it to be styled in a multitude of ways. Customers can wear it as headpiece, belt or necklace: knotted and looped twice or undone. Talk about versatility. Now that my website is built and live, I now am learning about "the search" and SEO.

 

POSTS 2009

Secure WordPress with 2.8.6

11.12.2009 | Author: Brandon | Posted in General Information, Tips
 

WordPress 2.8.6 was released today. It includes some security fixes for vulnerabilities found by WordPress users.

As always you can get the newest version of WordPress from the WordPress.org download page. We recommend always upgrading WordPress to the latest stable version available. If you don’t have the time or don’t know how, you can always hire us to make the upgrade for you. Just fill out the form on our “need help?” page and we’ll be in touch.

2.8.6 fixes two security problems that can be exploited by registered, logged in users who have posting privileges.  If you have untrusted authors on your blog, upgrading to 2.8.6 is recommended.

The first problem is an XSS vulnerability in Press This discovered by Benjamin Flesch.  The second problem, discovered by Dawid Golunski, is an issue with sanitizing uploaded file names that can be exploited in certain Apache configurations. Thanks to Benjamin and Dawid for finding and reporting these.

Bleary-Eyed Blogworld Expo Experience

10.21.2009 | Author: Brandon | Posted in General Information, WordCamp Planning
 

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend Blogworld Expo as well as WordCamp Las Vegas. Blogworld was pretty huge, but WordCamp Las Vegas was a much smaller conference within the main conference. I had the chance to talk with some really great WordPress users and developers. I really got a good sense of what’s going on in the WordPress world. Unfortunately, Automattic decided to call a last minute pow-wow in Ottowa (if I remember correctly), so there was no official representation from the main developer of WordPress. I valued the opportunity to meet both Matt and Beau at previous WordCamps, so it was a little disappointing not having an Automattician there.

 

8 Meaningful Takeaways

  1. Accessibility counts for something. Glenda Watson Hyatt laid out some ground rules for making your website POUR (Perceivable Operable Understandable Robust). I’m not going to give it all away, but you can download the ebook from her site: http://blogaccessibility.com/
  2. John P says that using URL shortening services like bit.ly, su.pr and TinyUrl is a detriment to your search engine reach. Instead of putting links to your website out in the wild to build some authority, you send out these other services’ links and boost up their popularity in the search engines. Pretty Link Pro by Blair Williams will likely replace two or three of your existing WordPress plugins and solve this exact problem for you. It will allow you to create short links for twitter and other sharing right on your own domain. This will help you keep all the Google juice that you deserve. I could probably have gotten Blair to give me a copy of the plugin after palling around all weekend, but as soon as I got home, I turned on my computer and bought the sucker. Check out the feature video for details: http://think-press.com/prettylink/
  3. Go meet people in person at conferences. It’s nice to have a billion friends/followers online, but I bet having just five of those billion friends be actual real-life friends is more motivating, profitable and fun. Just make sure there’s no overlap, otherwise you’ll never have anything to talk about…hehe. Oh, and one more thing. Go to conferences alone. It will force you to interact with people that you wouldn’t otherwise approach.
  4. Go where the people are. Chris Pirillo is an Internet giant, yet he comes to where the people hang out online instead of forcing them to come to him. This means that getting your content syndicated in as many places as possible is super important.
  5. Care. Don’t care so much about the money you’re hoping to make, just care about why you’re doing it. If you put your heart into it, the money will come.
  6. It’s not good enough to just install the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin. You have to use it. When you’re posting to your website, scroll all the way down and fill in the meta box. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.
  7. Never say no to a free show ticket. That’s kind of obvious, I know.
  8. Take your laptop with you.

If you want the short version, stop reading here. Otherwise, block out a good twenty minutes and read the rest of my ramblings about the weekend.

 

Day 1 (Friday)

I woke up at 3am in Orange County so that I could get some client work finished before heading to Vegas. I backed out of my driveway at 5:32 am and by 9:15 I had arrived in Vegas and checked into my hotel room. I walked around the back only to see a sliding glass door on the first floor with a shattered window (I later read about poor Eduardo’s story).

I popped in to the convention and watched a bit of the opening keynote before coming back to the exhibit floor. I wandered the booths for a little while before WordCamp Las Vegas started and talked with some of the exhibitors, but nothing really jumped out at me. I met up with Drew and Jen of Jestro and took a seat at the packed house that was WordCamp Las Vegas…or, not.

 

Because of the way the venue was laid out, WordCamp didn’t get a lot of foot traffic and as a result it sorely lacked in the attendee department. However, what it lacked in attendees, it made up for with amazing networking opportunities. During the first day, here’s a rundown of all of the awesome people I mingled with:

  1. The Dudes from Headway Themes (http://headwaythemes.com) – I didn’t catch their names, but I won one of their themes from WPCoder.com last month. If you use the code hwBWE09 before Oct. 24th you can get 20% off Headway, an amazingly configurable WordPress theme.
  2. John Hawkins (http://johnhawkinsunrated.com) – John is the long time organizer of WordCamp Las Vegas and WordPress plugin developer. John is not only a great developer, but an amazing personality. I’ve met him on a couple of occasions and was always impressed with his willingness to offer guidance and support.
  3. Scott Porad (http://icanhascheezburger.com) – CTO of the Cheezburger network. I Can Has Cheezburger is kind of a staple at WordCamps. I’ve seen Bun Huh and Scott Pora (twice) present about their business model and I still can’t believe how simple it is. "Make people laugh for 5 minutes a day". That’s it. The first time I saw Scott present was at WordCamp San Francisco back in May. I think the presentation was lost on me due to the sheer number of people that were at that conference. In Las Vegas, we literally sat down in a semi-circle and introduced ourselves to him. It was a very intimate setting and I got a lot out of it.
  4. Angelo Mandato (http://pluginspodcast.com) – Lead developer of the Blubrry Podcasting plugin and host of The WordPress Plugins Podcast. Angelo’s presentation covered how to set up WordPress with Blubrry to make a Podcast. I had a brief opportunity to talk with him before the presentation about the plugin podcast and potentially speaking at our WordCamp.
  5. John Pozadzidas (http://woopra.com) – CEO of Woopra, statistics for the real-time web. I love John’s personality. He’s funny and brutally honest. He started off his presentation “Win or Die” by reminding us all that he is our competition. It’s true and we all have to remember that while being social is fine and dandy, the business of becoming an authority on the web is a fierce battle. John’s presentation was my favorite of day one.
  6. Blair Williams (http://blairwilliams.com) – creator of the outstanding Pretty Link Pro WordPress plugin (http://think-press.com/prettylink). Blair was sitting next to me during John P’s talk. The only reason I even met him was because John P mentioned Pretty Link Pro in his presentation. If I didn’t meet blair, I probably would have had a boring and uneventful weekend (more on that in a bit).
  7. Darin Hardy (http://inmotionhosting.com) – Marketing Manager for InMotion hosting, sponsor of WordCamp Los Angeles (and hopefully for WordCamp Orange County). I recognized Darin from a previous WordCamp that I had been to. I knew that InMotion had sponsored WordCamp Los Angeles, so when we talked it was all business. I’m hoping ot bring them on as a sponsor for Orange County WordCamp.
  8. Cali Lewis (http://geekbrief.tv) – Host of Geek Brief TV. Cali is a big personality in the geek universe. I saw her present in San Francisco, and I was hoping to talk her in to speaking at OC WordCamp about video. I dropped the seed, let’s see if it grows into a better opportunity.
  9. Austin Passy (http://austinpassy.com) – organizer of WordCamp LA, WordPress designer/developer. I originall met Austin at WordCamp LA. He’s been another great resource for us in our own planning of OC WordCamp, and he’s a hellofa nice guy too.

As I said before, my weekend probably would have been pretty lazy (due to my lack of sleep) if it wasn’t for Blair. Blair scored some tickets to the Blue Man Group at the Venetian and asked Drew, Jen and I if we wanted to join him. He asked if I knew anyone else who wanted to go, so I called up my buddy Jason Van Orden (http://www.jasonvanorden.com) and the four of us tagged along to the show. I met up with Blair, Austin, Ben and Scott at The Jet nightclub (which I basically had to weasel my way into) for the official Blogworld after party. Blair and I took off to see the Blue Man Group with a few new friends, Ronjini and some other random guy from the club. The show was awesome. I’ve never seen it before so it was all new to me, but I gotta say that it kept me entertained (and awake) all the way until the end of the show at midnight even though I was running on three hours of sleep. I highly recommend the show to anyone who’s planning a trip to Vegas. Updated: Jason sent me a sneaky cam video of me playing the pipe’s in the gift shop. Won’t you ave a little fun at my expense. =)

Day 2 (Saturday)

Phew. Day one was exhausting. I had planned on starting out the day having breakfast with Jason and some of his friends, but I got up too early and ended up with 30 minutes to kill before breakfast at Paradise Cafe in the Las Vegas Hilton. I sat down at a slot machine and proceeded to lose $100. Not a good start to the day. At least Jay paid for breakfast (thanks Jay)! I met some cool people at breakfast, including Emile Bourquin (CTO of Ideas For Download – http://ideasfordownload.com), Chris Christensen (Host of the Amateur Traveler podcast – http://amateurtraveler.com), David Jacobs (http://connectedworldmedia.com), and Karin Hoegh (Podcasting consultant from Denmark – http://podconsult.dk). This informal setting turned out to be a great little mini-session on social media and membership sites.

After breakfast I made my way back to the conference where I stood guard at the WordPress Genius booth. There I met Dana and Karen, from Content Robot (http://contentrobot.com). When my shift was over, I made my way to the WordCamp session already in progress. On the way I ran into Aaron Kronis, Rockstar SEO Consultant from WPromote. He showed off a really interesting SEO tool that WPromote is releasing in the coming weeks. I’m hoping we can get Aaron to speak on an SEO panel at OC WordCamp.

I think the most valuable information came from Glenda Watson Hyatt (http://doitmyselfblog.com). She gave a talk on website accessibility. I think a lot of people take web accessibility for granted, but according to Glenda, 18% of the U.S. population is living with a disability. That’s 18% of a market just in the U.S. that is being neglected. That’s a lot of money (for those of you who are trying to monetize your websites) to leave on the table.

Blair and I took a walk to get some free ice cream in the exhibit hall when we ran into Tracy and Stu from WPWishlist (http://member.wishlistproducts.com/). For those of you who don’t know, WPWishlist makes a membership plugin for WordPress. We’ve just finished building a membership site using it, and it’s fantastic. I’ll be writing an article on it here soon. I talked to them about some pretty exciting business opportunities (more on that another time).

After that, I knew the conference couldn’t get any better, so I decided to jump in the car and head back to Orange County. I was feeling so lucky because of all the chance meetings I had that day that I stopped in at Prim to test my luck. I sat down at a slot machine and within 20 minutes, I had won my $100 back from the morning. On the way to cash it in, I stopped at another machine that caught my eye. I sat down once more and within another 15 minutes I was walking away with another $200. I was very happy with my winnings, so I got in the car and drove home, a perfect end to the already fantastic weekend.

 

2009 Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Something That Every WordPress Designer/Developer Should Have in Their Toolkit

05.12.09 | Author: Brandon

This might seem a bit odd, but I’m going to write a plug here for an amazing WordPress related eBook. I happened to be doing some research around the net for some of our upcomping screencasts and tutorials when I happened upon this very reasonably priced eBook. [...]

 

4 Simple Ways To Kill SPAM From Your WordPress Site

03.23.09 | Author: Brandon 

With over 1.6 million blog posts and 175,000 new blogs going live every day covering every possible topic, it’s no wonder that this is the front lines in the battle against SPAM. It’s so easy to stop SPAM dead in it’s tracks, yet so many people don’t take ten minutes to do simple things that  [...]

 

Take Control Over Post Ordering With Custom Keys

03.17.2009 | Author: Brandon

Ok. So, the most visited posts on this site all have to do with ordering posts by custom keys . We wrote some functions that made this super easy. Just copy/paste and you were ready to go.

Well, we came across a little gem on the WordPress Codex that greatly simplifies this process. Our original approach was to use WordPress’ built-in filter functionality to modify the query by adding in some special code. While this is still our preferred method when ordering posts within a certain category or something of that nature, there is now an alternate way to get this done. It turns out that the developers of WordPress have built this into a function call so that we can accomplish this task without having to modify the SQL. Ok, enough back story, here’s the code:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 
&orderby=meta_value&order=ASC'); if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>   ...some code to display the post...   

That’s it! You can add this right into one of your custom templates or any other theme file and you’ll get a post listing ordered by your meta value. That’s pretty cool. You could also incorporate some conditional tags to display different ordering based on the category that you’re displaying. There’s a bunch of other things you can do with this function too. Take a look at the WordPress Codex page

 

New Feature: Subscribe to Comments

03.10.2009 | Author: Brandon

You guys have been doing a great job letting us know what is and isn’t working about our plugins and code snippits, so we thought we’d help you out by making it easier to follow up with your comments. We’ve added the ability for you to subscribe to replies to your comments. We try to take time to respond to everyone’s questions, but we understand that it’s hard to remember to come back and check for responses. This will hopefully help you get responses to your questions much quicker. Keep letting us know what you think, and we’ll keep trying to make this site better for all of you.

 

Forthcoming update to the Favicon Generator WordPress Plugin

02.26.2009 | Author: Brandon

A few days ago we released our second plugin to the WordPress community. Thank you for all of your feedback thus far. One comment that we’ve been getting is the “Fatal Error” upon activating the plugin. Currently, the class we are using for resizing images down to favicon size was written for PHP 5. We are working on a new release that will work with PHP 4 & 5. We’re just doing some testing on the implementation on different versions of WordPress and will likely release the update over the weekend. Sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused. We’re pleased to see that 243 WordPress users have downloaded the plugin so far, and we hope to continue gaining steam as time goes on.

 

(PLUGIN) Favicon Generator

02.22.2009 | Author: Brandon

We have noticed that a lot of people don’t take the time to set up a favicon for their WordPress sites. There are tools out on the internet that allow you to create your own favicon, from an image that you have, but once you get it, you have to go hack the code in your theme to make it work on your site. This plugin is going to take care of all of that for you. It just takes a few basic steps to get the plugin installed, and then you’re just an image upload away from having a custom favicon for your WordPress site. Our plugin takes care of inserting the favicon html code that you need, creating the favicon and placing it on your server. We hope you enjoy it.

The official plugin source has been moved to the Wordpress.org plugin directory.

 

WordPress.tv

01.17.09 | Author: Brandon

Today the folks who developed WordPress have launched a new tool to help people get up and running with their blogs. It’s going to be a valuable resource for people who have questions and don’t want to waste their time wading through the codex or the support forums. Hopefully they’ll support user submitted content to [...]

 

Order Posts by Custom Key revisited

01.13.09 | Author: Brandon

I’ve gotten quite a few questions about how to get this to work on a specific page, or only within a specific category. I actually had the same issue when building the script originally. The trick is that you can’t just use the conditional tags in the functions page. At that point, it’s already too [...]

 

Gravatars - Be Somebody!

11.20.08 | Author: Jeffrey

Are you tired of literally being a faceless commentor in the crowd?  Much like Navin R. Johnson you want to “be somebody!”  Since WordPress version 2.5, creating an avatar for yourself has become quite easy.  Currently, if you do not have a gravatar set up, you are given the generic avatar icon ().  But imaging [...]

 
 

 

 

Think-Press.com