The Tale of Two Meetups

With the launch of my product Dashter, I wanted to share a little bit about how the company / product / solution came to be. One part of that story is how my attendance and participation in two great Meetup groups here in Orange County helped spark, nurture, and evolve the product & the business – and ultimately myself.


About a year ago I started attending a group that I’d found on called Orange County WordPress (OCWP). I’d done numerous WordPress sites for myself and my clients in the past, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to attend and learn more about the platform beyond what I could gather off the web. I also suffered from what so many small business owners can attest to – which is when you’re running a small business you crave interacting with people. So I figured what the hell – I’d show up on a Monday night and see what it was all about.

Meetups – just like any new networking event – are always a little nerve-wracking. I walked in alone and didn’t know anyone there. The space at the old Zeek offices were cramped like you wouldn’t believe – there were 40 people fitting in to a room that was probably intended to hold 15 people comfortably. Lots of folks knew each other already, were sharing inside jokes, asking about friends & family, etc. It took a little while to get my bearings, but overall I could tell instantly I was in a good space with people I could definitely get along with. Continue reading The Tale of Two Meetups

OC WordPress Dev Night Dec 5 2011

This post was generated by Dashter (which is available now, by the way!) It’s been a while since I posted a round-up – so here we go!

OCWP Dev Night

Cooking up some good geek knowledge here at the Zeek Interactive / Dashter offices. Let’s get started!

WordPress Network Sites

Tonight’s first topic is WordPress Network (formerly MultiUser) sites. If you want to get started using them on your site, there’s a great WP Codex page for getting started:

Suzette FranckSuzette Franck – @suzettework
#ocwp Can’t wait to set up a multisite! Awesome demo!

Yep, multisite are a lot of fun. Also great for playing with multiple client projects – if you want to offer a variety of different theme options or choices, you can setup multiple “multisites” and then show off a full range of choices. It’s typically easier and more understandable from a client site if they’re choosing things like how many columns or where navigation will go. You can copy the source database of content and share it between as many sub-sites as you want.

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester is a great example of a site using WordPress multisite. #ocwp

Steve (@zengy) quickly showed off Pajamas Media – the author sites are “network sites” so that each author can manage and maintain their own content. It’s a clean install that demonstrates how MU / WordPress Network can be used for large-scale content sites. (Photo of Steve also courtesy Jeff Hester)

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester (and the other TransWorld sites) use WordPress multisite, too! #ocwp

Yeah, that was cool. Awesome addition to the discussion.

[brief pause between sessions for pizza!]

BuddyPress Presentation by Suzette Franck

Suzette is sorta known ’round these parts as the “BuddyPress” queen – she’s got a great presentation prepared featuring a good walkthrough of why you might want to use BP, what some of the limitations & capabilities are, and how to do a successful install.

BuddyPress is available here for your WordPress site. For the developers in the group, there’s a full BuddyPress Codex available as well.

ManageWP Service Update (publicly launching / premium pricing coming soon!)

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Holy cow! looks awesome for managing multiple WordPress sites. #ocwp

Yeah, that looks like an awesome solution for folks running numerous sites. I was impressed by the fact that they’re getting two-way chatter from the sites – so for instance a plugin installed on one site can get logged in the ManageWP admin; and then you can review it directly from there. No more having to log in to 20 different places to manage your stable of sites! Nice. Also includes member management, backups, cloning / replicating, and more. May have to check that out soon!

WP Ajax

Brandon Dove shared a pretty quick hands-on with wp_ajax for plugins & themes – perhaps one of the most useful set of functions to get familiar with as a modern-day WP developer. Considering how much clients expect clean real-time user interfaces, AJAX is absolutely clutch to solve those problems.

Again, there’s a good article in the codex on wp_ajax – but I also suggest you check out the Professional WordPress Plugin Development book for some good explanation of the action as well.

So that’s about it for the evening! Had a good time – and good to see everyone. If you want to attend the OCWP (general audience) meetup – Subscribe to the Meetup Group on

OC WordPress Meetup Oct 24

This post was generated by Dashter

ǝɹpǝɹp – @dremeda
I’m heading over to @zeekinteractive for #ocwp – Should be a fun meetup 🙂

Thrilled we could get Dre to come make a visit – looking forward to seeing his chat on WP security. After the rash of recent hosting hacks and other problems, it’ll be good to have some expert advice on the topic.

Jeff TurnerJeff Turner – @respres
Truly… “@jeffreyzinn: Holy Moses, it’s packed to the heezie at the OC WordPress Meetup. Need some stadium seating in here. #ocwp”

Yeah, even the big room got crowded! Great to see so many WP fans!

Jason TuckerJason Tucker – @jasontucker
bah, and they blame me 🙂 (streaming) “@DevineLines: It’s always fun when techy people have technical difficulties. #ocwp”

Jason, we wouldn’t blame you for the technical difficulties if it wasn’t your fault! 😉

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Is #Dashter the ultimate tool for fighting blogger’s block? @respres @heydavecole #OCWP

In short, yes. Thanks for the shoutout Jeff.

Ross TeasleyRoss Teasley – @RossTeasley
Waving from home… #isuckattwitter #ocwp

Hey Ross! Sorry you’re having a tough time with Twitter… Maybe a sweet Dashter is in order?

OC WordPress Meetup

Evenin’ OC WordPress’ers! Glad to see all these happy faces!

Looks like a super packed house, especially on the promise there’ll be a Headway 3 preview demo. Should be a great night!

The big buzz has begun! Headway 2 is previewed by Jeff Turner, mostly to provide a framework to understand “just how awesome” Headway 3 will be.

Now we’re on to a web-share from AJ on Headway 3.

Mike SchroderMike Schroder – @GetSource
OH@#ocwp “Not a computer person; you’re going to get a blank stare” – “I don’t know how to explain; you’re going to get a blank stare back.”

The crowd is rowdy this evening! All sorts of fun banter. Apparently Alex has mic envy. More on that another time.

Cindy RonzoniCindy Ronzoni – @cindyronzoni
Glad to meet you @ajmorris and thanks for helping me with my #headway questions. Love the platform. #ocwp. Thanks for being with us tonight.

Aww, Cindy is so courteous. Thanks for being a kind ambassador to our otherwise rowdy group.

So the rundown on Headway is that they’re going out to a multiple-column layout where you can essentially “draw” your website layout – and load it up with WP-powered “leafs” that really drive the site’s content and other functions. Continue reading OC WordPress Meetup

OCWP Developer Day 8-15 Edition

Welcome to a new OCWP evening! This time, the full geeks are running the house… 🙂

Brandon DoveBrandon Dove – @brandondove
Sounds like we’re right on track. RT @RossTeasley: Omg… #awesomecount already up to 12 during intros #ocwp

The most important thing about WordPress is to make sure to say “awesome” many, many times. PixelJar seems to have serious concerns about first claim to awesome.

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
Great ideas on how to make the most of at tonight’s #OCWP meeting. Looking forward with relish.

Yep, gonna be interesting to see what happens with the site over the next couple weeks. Think there’s going to be a battle-royale for super-super-super admin role. Continue reading OCWP Developer Day 8-15 Edition

OCWP Developer Day 7-11 Edition

Kicking off the second OCWP Developer day, here on international slurpee day. Is there no holiday sacred from WordPress developers?

alex vasquezalex vasquez – @alexjvasquez
You know it’s developer day when… @zengy is wearing a thong #ocwp

So, things started off debating the difference between undergarments and sandals. The jury’s still out on this one. Let’s just hope this stays PG.

Loren kicked things off by covering some challenges with WP Touch Pro. It looks like there is a potential glitch in the way that WP Touch uses its own get_posts() function. The peanut gallery’s opinion included tweaking the arguments for number of posts; but it doesn’t look like that did the fix. The real big question – when is WP Touch going to get ousted as the preferred mobile theming solution for WP? It’s not very attractive. Who’s got a real competitor in the works? Continue reading OCWP Developer Day 7-11 Edition

OCWP RoundUp – June 27

A great evening here in Orange County to geek out on WordPress for a few hours! As always, special thanks to the Zeek boys for hosting this awesome event.

Jason TuckerJason Tucker – @jasontucker
We’re streaming now at Orange County WordPress meeting officially starts at 7pm #ocwp

Jason came through with a complete streaming setup for the event. Could this help put Orange County on the WordPress map for good? Does anyone even watch live streaming? 😉

Jon BrownJon Brown – @jb510
Am I the only one hearing cello in the background? #ocwp

Jeff Tuner decided to kick us off with some YoYo Ma… Apparently needed some music to soothe the crowd.


Jeff started off the evening demoing a pretty cool plugin called Front-end Editor. The editor allows you to make some modest changes to the posts, sidebars, and some other elements in real time, directly from the front end. Continue reading OCWP RoundUp – June 27

Takeaways from OCWP Dev Meetup

Last night was the first OCWP Developer Meetup (OC WordPress), and it was a lot of fun! Here are some of the cool takeaways from that event…

Jeff HesterJeff Hester – @jeffhester
@zengy recommended Mac client for GIT: Tower

Steve had some great ideas about how to properly treat code – with respect to other developers, the users, the testers, et al. Meanwhile, I am like that kid in the sandbox who is convinced that my objective should not be to make a sandcastle, but rather to get all the sand out of the box.

Stephen P. KaneStephen P. Kane – @web_tomatoes
@zengy Thanks for hosting again. Video embed mentions: Viper’s Video plugin, Jetpack or MediaElement.js. Generic YouTube embed #OCWP

Ahh, thanks Stephen! I had to roll out a little early so I hadn’t caught this, but I really want to look in to it. Media embeds are perpetually a sticky topic in WP.