There is a high probability that what’s contained in this post will be conceived as another old media versus new media argument over who’s better than who or which one will die out first. That’s not my intention, even if does point out a newspaper’s website presence.
Basically, it boils down to this; I want information on what’s going on in the small town of where I grew up in Iowa. My only option? The local newspaper that has been operating their print publication since 1879.
What’s the point of online presence if you don’t do it well?
The newspaper in question does have a website, but it’s highly outdated in terms of how it is constructed and updated. In fact, the basic foundation is something I helped to create in the mid-90’s when my parents owned and operated a website business during that time, giving me my first, professional gigs that have transformed into the sixty4media projects of today. Continue reading “Small town newspapers can have a great web presence”
I’ve reworked the design to my website to challenge my limits in terms of web design. It’s taken me about a month or so to get the overall concept down, but it was time to do something different in order to push my boundaries with what I know and am comfortable with. The various sixty4media projects that we’ve been working on has made me think about this a lot, and a recent project for my day job saw me take the website for one of the radio stations I work for, The Beat 94.5, to a temporary overhaul into a complete WordPress site.
The basic inspiration for this design was a hot afternoon while drinking a Vitamin Water, something that I’ve become a fan of over the past year. Looking at their label, I found myself admiring the simplicity of the design to market their product. When it comes down to it, it’s just text and colors. No fancy graphic logo or mascots. Text was the only thing selling their product, so I found some inspiration in that.
For the most part, this effort was one of design over function. I’ve asked for opinions of some folks that I really respect and taken their feedback, which should never be overlooked. I tried to incorporate how other people felt when they saw it but then tried to one up the recommendation in order to push the personal challenge ever more.
If you find problems with the site, be sure to let me know. Any good web designer will tell you that any project, especially something to do with your own site, is constantly in development. You’re truly never satisfied.
We’re home from San Francisco, and it felt great to get back to the PNW. When you’re traveling like that and staying in a hotel room for a few days, it’s your own bed that you start to miss.
That’s not to say that we were all ready to leave San Francisco. That was my first time being there, and we saw quite a bit for only being there for not that long. This happens when you take an impromptu walk for about five hours. Combine that with getting around for all the WordCampSF events, the trip kinda wiped us out in the very end.
Here’s a slideshow of all the photos that I have posted on Flickr from the weekend.
WordCampSF 2009 has come and gone, and the day was everything you could really want from an event that is put on by the group of people who have the day to day job of making WordPress be everything that it is. The day stayed fairly well on schedule, the food was excellent, there was an abundance of water (which is always a huge thing for me personally when it comes to any event or conference), the location was a perfect fit, the wireless was blazing fast, and there was plenty of places to plug into when your battery was running low (aside from the minor issue of a circuit breaker tripping in the downstairs room a handful of times during an afternoon session). I’m really not one to complain about many things, but there isn’t very much that I can complain about when I try to think about it.
There were a lot of great people that I ran into today as well. It was great to see Lloyd and Lorelle again, and I even met a developer who came all the way from Orlando to be at this WordCamp. When you have the chance to be around a group of people like this, especially in a city like San Francisco, you’ll make that long journey to spend a weekend talking about all things WordPress.
Steve Souders had a really good session about how to make your themes faster when it comes to page load times, and Scott Porad gave an interesting session on what goes on in the empire that is known as Pet Holdings, Inc., home to I Can Haz Cheezeburger and many other hilarious sites.
My time at the Genius Bar was relatively slow, but I did get asked at least one question as how one gets a basic, entry level to HTML because the person felt that might help them as a user with WordPress. That was a really tough question to answer, and I could only think to direct him to the WordPress Codex. I’ve been doing this stuff since I was about 14, and a lot of that was trial and error combined with simple reverse engineering. It’s not so much about having trouble with teaching what comes naturally as much as it’s tough to teach what took years to just make sense, so I hope I helped that person out a little bit.
In all honesty, I spent a large part of this afternoon reading through some of my RSS feeds on Google Reader that have been piling up over the months. I’m still not used to having a laptop that actually allows me to function on a very efficient level. My old PowerBook G4 was very sluggish, and this weekend has been one of discovery in terms of what I can actually do with this beautiful MacBook Pro. I spent my time at the Genius Bar doing some padding of my own genius by plowing through the various WordPress related feeds that I’m subscribed to and bookmarking things of interest into my Delicious bookmarks. If you want to get an idea of what I’m finding interesting, that’s a good place to check into.
Tonight is the post-WordCamp party at the Automattic headquarters on the San Francisco waterfront, just near AT&T Ballpark. It will be another chance to talk to people and get to know this community of developers and users more, and that’s what is really important when it comes to these types of gatherings. These are the people who are making the world get better and better when it comes to the Internet.
WordTwit is something I’ve been using for some time now, and it’s a must have add-on that automatically posts updates to Twitter when you publish a post. Version 2.0 has brought on some great improvements that keep the plugin simple yet very powerful.
Taking number one is WPtouch, a plugin that makes your WordPress site optimized for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android mobile devices. It’s been available for some time now, and I’ve been very slow to getting it installed onto my site. Call it being lazy because it’s a very quick and easy process to upload it to your WordPress installation, activate it, and you’re done.
Dale and Duane are consistently working on improvements to the WPtouch infrastructure, making it better and better with each release. Keep your eyes on their blog to get the latest news on what’s next.
After a GPS and Google Maps adventure of helping our taxi driver get to the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, it’s been a jam packed morning at WordCampSF 2009. And actually, it’s been very relaxed and chilled in terms of the sessions so far today.
Andy Peatling gave a great session on BuddyPress, Matt Cutts from Google had a variety of great insights when it comes to SEO and your WordPress site, and the “State of the Word” by none other than Matt Mullenweg himself was great. I learned a lot about the history of this CMS, and the future looks really promising for WordPress on multiple fronts. It’s one of those days that makes you excited to be a developer and gets those ideas cranked up in your head.
There have been a variety of great announcements that are going around the circles, and I can’t even recall them all. It’ll take a little while for me to digest them all and give my insights to later, but a lot of what I’ve seen today make our projects with sixty4media clients look even more exciting when it comes to current and future endeavors.
Needless to say, there is a lot more to check out today. The afternoon sessions are getting ready to kick off, and I have my time at the Genius Bar at 4:55PM to 5:45PM. If the morning has been any preview, the rest of the day should be pretty kick ass.
I’m in San Francisco this weekend for WordCampSF, the WordPress conference that is organized by the creators of this platform that we use pretty much exclusively with our sixty4media projects. This will be a chance to meet new people and find out new things that I can use in my bag of tricks for future development with my WordPress endeavors. There is also the opportunity to share some of the ideas and concepts I use with others in order to give back to the community.
I’ve been asked to spend some time at the Genius Bar in the afternoon where people will be able to come up and ask WordPress related questions. I’m thrilled to be asked to do this, but my only hope is that I can live up to that “genius” tag as much as possible.
We are one week and counting for the first, and certainly we hope it’s not the last, WordCamp Whistler. If you don’t have your tickets yet, there is still a few days left to get yourself one.
As you can see, the swag is starting to come together, and many thinks to Linusco for designing and making our signature toques for the weekend event up in Whistler, B.C. We’ve all seen the WordPress t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, bags, backpacks, and the occasional scarf, so now you can add this to the list of WordPress-themes apparel, something we decided upon when wanting to make this event unique compared to other WordCamps that are held around the world.
For all the extra details and information about the event, please visit wordcampwhistler.com for the very latest.
During the recording of episode #70 of The Crazy Canucks, I made a quick screenshot of what I see on my end of the conversation to sort of share what it takes to put our podcast together.
What you see are three basic components: Mac OS X 10.5, Ubercaster, and Skype. Conference calling from computer to computer, recording local mics and remote mics on two separate tracks, and I like to keep the sound preferences open in the event that I need to check on something or make any changes.
What you are missing is the only other application in the overall process of editing, Levelator. Then we make the post on the site using WordPress, the RSS feed gets updated, and the podcast episode ends up in your ears, depending on how you listen to it.
I know I’ve posted about this before, but at this point in the overall history of TCC, the process of knowing what it takes to whip together an episode is getting easier to setup, record, edit, and publish. It never ceases to amaze me as to how much fun it is to talk hockey with this crew.