Sponsor Guest Post: Media Temple

sponsor-mediatemple[Editor’s note: We are privileged to have Media Temple as a sponsor of WordCamp Chicago 2013 and want to thank them for their support.]

As WordPress has grown (up), powering more and more large websites and businesses, it’s become much more complicated, and more important, to manage your WordPress installs with vigilance. This means you need to pay attention to all aspects of your environment from the application level to the hosting environment, ensure everything is optimized (no plugins running amok!) and most importantly secure.

At (mt), we’ve leveraged our experience and first hand client stories to develop products we feel address the modern and future needs for WordPress “power users”. CloudTech is arguably one of the most important products we’ve launched in the last five years. A support product delivering managed services from analysis to solution implementation to “Always On” service plans, CloudTech was built to lead the managed services industry and define TSaaS (Technical Support as a Service). It took years to build a managed services product we feel stands up to, and embodies the passion of our standard 24/7 support. Experience it for yourself. You will be able to schedule time with one of our CloudTech engineers at WordCamp Chicago to go over any issues you may be having with your site!

In tangent with CloudTech, we launched a totally retooled VPS platform, built to serve businesses and power bloggers alike. The DV platform, formerly the (dv) and (ve) products, features a new SLA, upgraded hardware, new virtualization under the hood, and enhanced premium support options (CloudTech). The DV platform is covered by an SLA, called the 20/20 Uptime Guarantee, ensuring 99.999% uptime. We will credit a customer 20% of their monthly service charge for each 20 minutes of downtime. That’s an industry leading SLA.

All in all, (mt) Media Temple is focusing improving end users’ experiences and keeping our users’ sites secure and fast.

Time to Thank Web Hosting Hub for Sponsoring WCCHI

sponsor-webhostinghubIt’s time to say thank you to Web Hosting Hub for being a Sears Tower sponsor for WordCamp Chicago 2013.

Web Hosting Hub launched in 2001 and is based in Virginia Beach. They operate 2 data centers and have over 180 employees whose goal is to provide easy to use and affordable products ranging from domain names, web hosting, and free web applications to custom business solutions. Web Hosting Hub has over 45,000 existing happy customers.

If you are looking to start blogging with WordPress, Web Hosting Hub makes it very easy to get up and running. They have a 1-click WordPress Installer and 1,000’s of free customizable themes. If you already have a WordPress blog, Web Hosting Hub makes transferring your blog a snap.

Web Hosting Hub representatives will be attending WordCamp to learn from the speakers, hear from the participants, and answer any hosting related questions. When you see them, take the time to say thanks for sponsoring WordCamp Chicago 2013 and then ask them about their $10/year special offer to all WordCamp attendees!

WordCamp Chicago 2013 Sponsor Interview: DJ Johnny Medley

sponsor-djjohnnymedleyWhen I saw DJ Johnny Medley on the sponsors list, I knew I had to check this guy out. After exchanging a few emails, I have come to know two things: Johnny is a big fan of all things WordPress and WordCamp Chicago is fortunate to have him as a sponsor.

Interview with DJ Johnny Medley:

How are you using WordPress?

WordPress has been powering DanceMusicAuthority.com since early 2008. Thanks to WP, a “deceased” print publication has been “reincarnated” and now enjoys the full benefits of being” in the mix” once again. The music industry is a lot of fun when you have your own hub/website. Promoters, DJs and clubs are uploading parties to DanceMusicAuthority.com and life is good. Thank you WordPress!

What do you like about WordPress?

In the simplest terms: I strongly believe in the tenets of the WP Foundation/.ORG and am a big, big fan of Matt Mullenweg. It’s really a “saxophonist/jazz thing” that draws me to this cause. Artists rely upon expensive tools, yet it is free software–WP–that serves as our portal to the world. It’s time for successful artists to properly “represent” and support the .ORG

That “saxophonist/jazz thing”… the other day you mentioned you were in studio cutting sax tracks and on your blog you have pics of a couple of nice horns. It appears you do more than DJ.

That day, I was just cutting some tracks that I will use for upcoming product review videos and promos. I strongly believe it’s important to own one’s work–particularly when that work (music) will be used as part of a product review. I started playing the sax in fourth grade, but stopped after eighth grade; I started playing again in college.

In 2004, after moving into a house with my wife, I became a “practice monster.” My tracks are jazzy, “organic” house music. I listen to all styles of music and we make a lot of noise every day.

Last question, what’s your favorite power tool?

I build my own PCs from scratch and use all the popular commercial audio and video production software suites: Avid, Pro Tools; the Adobe suite; and Sony’s Vegas. My true love for audio editing is Software Audio Workshop (SAW), which was singularly created by Bob Lentini. I have used this program since 1995 and served as a beta tester. That was the experience of a lifetime, because I had an opportunity to talk with him for hours over the course of the 1990s. Lentini really deepened my appreciation for code and the power of user support forums. He also impressed upon me the negative effects of software piracy on an individual level.

WordPress is essential to us because this remarkable software allows us to interface with the world. It also goes back to ownership. WordPress allows artists to do some remarkable things. Remote teaching is an excellent example. I take remote sax lessons with two phenomenal players who use WordPress–one player for a blog, and the other uses WP for everything.

Bottom line: I plan to make beats, play the sax and shoot video for the rest of my life. Same with WordPress. It’s for life!

WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Kiko Doran

Kiko DoranKiko Doran – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech facebook icon designed by Dan Leech LinkedIn icon designed by Dan Leech

Kiko’s curious mind has driven him to learn as much as he can across a vast array of platforms. He has studied music, graphic design, photography, and holds his MBA.

Following his inquisitive nature as well as the strategic thinking honed during his 11 years in the US Air Force, Kiko founded InGroup Consulting. Over the 4 years in business, Kiko and IGC have found WordPress to be the best platform to showcase their capabilities.

When not traveling between satellite offices in NJ, Los Angeles, and the Twin Cities; he sits on the Information Technology Advisory Board at Century College. Kiko also organizes a WordCamp and a WordPress Meetup in the Twin Cities.

Kiko will be speaking on the WordPress Business Owners Panel on Sunday.

Interview with Kiko: Continue reading

WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Joe Dolson

joe-dolsonJoe Dolson – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech facebook icon designed by Dan Leech

Joe Dolson is a freelance WordPress developer and accessibility consultant. He’s the author of several WordPress plug-ins, with over 1.7 million downloads between them, and is active in promoting accessibility in WordPress core development and in theme development. He’s lived in Minneapolis/St Paul for most of the last 15 years, and is a classical violinist on the side.

Joe spoke on Sunday about “Accessibility & WordPress: Developing for the Whole World”. View his slides here:

Interview with Joe Dolson:
Why do you use WordPress?
WordPress has great usability and flexibility. The offering of power and ease of use in the same package is a must-use.

How do you stay up to date with new information about WordPress?

Expressing Our Gratitude To WPML

sponsor-wpmlWe want to express our gratitude to WPML for coming on board as a WordCamp Accomplice sponsor and supporting WordCamp Chicago 2013. With their help, we are able to do so many things with our event that otherwise may not be possible.

The WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) is a product of OnTheGoSystems. Although they list Las Vegas as their home, OnTheGoSystems is truly a global company with staff from six continents. They all work from their homes, connect via the Internet, and have been working that way since 2007.

These folks are busy! In April they announced the release of WPML 2.8 and just recently posted on their blog that they are ready with a first beta for WPML 2.9. They were also doing minor version releases during that time. Product development isn’t the only thing they are working on. Theme and plugin compatibility testing with WPML is an on-going process. You can review the entire Multilingual ready list of themes here and plugins here.

If you build multilingual sites, look into WPML at wpml.org and follow them on Twitter.

We are grateful for having WPML as a sponsor for WordCamp Chicago 2013.

WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Andy Stratton

Andy StrattonAndy Stratton – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech facebook icon designed by Dan Leech LinkedIn icon designed by Dan Leech

Andy is a freelance WordPress developer, founding principal of WordPress agency Sizeable Interactive, and founder of WordPress maintenance and support service WP Maintainer.

When he’s not busy perfecting websites, Andy is often found exercising his dog, learning about fitness and training at the gym and enjoying animals, art, film, music and philosophy. He fancies peanut butter and jelly more than he should.

Interview with Andy:

Why do you use WordPress?

Its community. WordPress the most user, designer and developer-friendly piece of open source content management software I’ve ever worked with

What do you like best about WordCamps?
Learning. Speaking is great, but I love learning something new and useful; I especially love it if someone improves my process or thoughts with comments during my own sessions!

What is your favorite tip or resource for a new WordPress user?
Use the Codes and make friends at Meetups and WordCamps!

What is a common problem you see in WordPress sites, and how would you avoid it?
Feature bloat in themes leading to slow load times, confusing custom admin interfaces, etc. Don’t use them, support GPL-compliant themes that are built for singular purposes and save a site: Hire a Developer!

How do you stay up to date with new information about WordPress?
http://make.wordpress.org and email subscriptions. Niche blogs, Twitter and friends.

Share an example of a really great (creative, cool, unusual) use of WordPress you’ve seen recently.
My team at Sizeable recently build a job search aggregator using the LinkedIn API on WordPress for the AARP WorkReimagined partnership. This was pretty cool and we had a hand in building the site!

Do you have any advice for a person who’s building a business around WordPress design/development?
Become an expert in WordPress and specialize. Design, development, power user, etc. Don’t try to do everything for everyone and refrain from building franken-plugin sites!

Can’t Say Thank You Enough to DreamHost

sponsor-dreamhostWe can’t say thank you enough to DreamHost for supporting WordCamp Chicago 2013 by being a WordCamp Champion sponsor. We wouldn’t be able to have such a fantastic WordCamp without their backing.

DreamHost has been happily hosting their clients’ dreams (and websites) since April, 1997. They have grown to more than 1500 servers housed in state-of-the-art data centers that host more than 1 million domains – all under the watchful eyes of a full time staff of more than 100 employees.

Earlier this month, DreamHost announced its new DreamPress™ premium managed WordPress service is in public beta. Designed from the ground-up for entrepreneurs, website designers, developers, and bloggers, DreamPress is a highly optimized and reliable managed WordPress service that is perfect for customers who want a scalable, optimized WordPress hosting experience. DreamPress is engineered for speed and backed 24/7 by expert WordPress technical support from DreamHost.

For all things DreamHost, go to dreamhost.com. You can follow them on Twitter. They are also on Facebook.

Again, thank you DreamHost for sponsoring WordCamp Chicago 2013.

WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Becky Davis

BeckyDavisDesignsBecky Davis – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech facebook icon designed by Dan Leech Google+ icon designed by Dan Leech

Becky is a solopreneur WordPress theme designer/developer who works out of her house in Lincoln Square. She is very active in the local WordPress community and hosts the Northside WordPress meetup.

She will be presenting a session title From pixel to user – creating themes that satisfy the design and are usable on Saturday

Interview with Becky:

Why do you use WordPress?
Because all of my clients said they wanted to edit their own sites. It’s a great framework that as a developer allows me almost unlimited flexibility.

What do you like best about WordCamps?
The community is what makes WordPress great and WordCamps are a big part of that. I always come away with new friends and at least one “ah ha” that makes the whole weekend worth it.

What is your favorite tip or resource for a new WordPress user?
Going to meetups and learning from others is what saved my life in the beginning. Never stop researching, there probably is a way to do it.

Do you have any advice for a person who’s building a business around WordPress design/development?
Stick with it, don’t be afraid to ask questions; that’s what the community is for and don’t forget to track your time! (How else will you know what to charge?)