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WordCamp Los Angeles 2013

A couple months ago I attended my first WordCamp in San Francisco. I had a good time and found it very productive. When I discovered Los Angeles was having a WordCamp, I jumped on the opportunity. I only live a couple of hours away from Los Angeles, so well worth the drive.

It’s hard to beat the work and experience that goes into San Francisco, but Los Angeles did a pretty good job.

The Best WordPress Security Plugin is You

I really enjoyed this talk by Jason Cosper. At The Code Company, we have had to deal with cleaning hacked sites. Anyone who has had the task of cleaning up a hacked website knows it’s time consuming and not exactly fun. Jason gave some steps one could take to avoid having their site hacked.

  • Do not use the same password on every website
  • Use a VPN when on public wifi, or have SSL setup on wp-admin
  • Minimise the number of administrator accounts on a site (not everyone should be an admin if they’re not administrating anything)
  • Disable the theme editor
  • Keep WordPress and plugins up-to-date!

While some of the steps may seem like too much work, cleaning up a hacked website is a lot more work as Jason pointed out.

Underscores – The only theme that matters

Steve Zehngut gave a good presentation about Underscores. I’ve heard of Underscores a few times, but never took the dive and tried it out. For those who are not aware, it’s basically the bare bones of a WordPress theme. You’d use Underscores if you’re building a WordPress site and implementing a design. It’s not ready to go out of the box.

I ended up just this week using Underscores for a project thanks to Steve’s talk. That’s a benefit of attending WordCamp, you start doing and using things you might not have before.

Keynote: The Commoditisation of Intellect

Chris gave a great keynote. I had no idea he was a great speaker, and a motivational one at that. To summarise the keynote, he talked about how important it is to keep with the times because everything gets easier and cheaper. Maybe you invested years in learning something most people can’t do; building blogs for example.

Today, you can go to WordPress.com and have a blog up and running in minutes. While that may have killed your business, it could have created a whole new business for you if you kept up with the trend.. You could now have a business providing custom blog features to a WordPress blog.

My summary is not doing any justice to what was actually said, Chris explains better.

WordPress Consulting for Large Companies

This was probably the most enjoyable presentation for me. Not because I’m interested in doing WordPress consulting for large companies, but because the whole process of doing work for a company like Walt Disney was fascinating. The amount of paperwork and steps you have to go through floored me. I sat there listening to Karim Marucchi, Kara Hansen, and John Giaconia and just thinking of the huge headache I would have if I had to do what they’re doing. It takes a different type of person to do this sort of work.

Pretend you’re past signing all the paperwork and reading the stacks of papers and you’re at the doing actual work part – you then have multiple staging environments your work has to go through. We’re talking about 7-8 staging environments where you work is tested by different departments before it could ever be implemented. While I understand why it’s setup this way, it seems like it would make projects stretch out for a long period of time.

Now let’s pretend the project is complete. Time to go and spend all that money you just made!… Right? Well, eventually yes. Sometimes you’re waiting months to be paid, even though the project has been completed for months. You have to make sure you can afford to take on this type of work before you do, because your staff may not appreciate not being paid.

Wrapping it up

I really enjoyed WordCamp Los Angeles, it was worth the trip. You usually get at least one bit of information you didn’t know before from each talk. I end up leaving motivated and wanting to try out the new things I learned. WordCamp Vegas is just around the corner, I’m thinking another trip is in order!

Paul Tevis

Paul is an Agile Delivery Manager for major projects at The Code Company. He manages team sprints and works with the Agile methodology to deliver projects.

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