All posts by Jen Miller

Do you want to be on Hallway Track at #WCOC?

Do you want to be on Hallway Track -- the show? Find Jason Tucker this weekend at WCOC and tell him how you use WordPress.You may have seen people chatting in the halls during WordCamp. They’re not ditching class. We promise. We refer to this informal networking as the Hallway Track. Of course, Jason Tucker of WPwatercooler took that to another level after he crowdfunded with Give to get the Mevo Camera and created a brand new show.

What is Hallway Track?

“’Hallway Track’ is a term used to describe one of the unofficial tracks that occurs in the hallways before, during and after the sessions that occur at a WordCamp.” Jason Tucker 

Who does the interviews?

Sé Reed and Dani Cutler have been excellent interviewers in the past at WordCamps in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. This year, Jon Brown and Russell Aaron will be helping out.

All we need is you!

We’d love to chat with you for two to five minutes about how you use WordPress, how the Community has helped you, what your favorite experiences are or anything else that you’re passionate about.

Basically we ask you,

“How do you use WordPress?”

Find Jason Tucker and the setup at the Press Background (the white photo backdrop with all of WCOC’s past logos) and tell your story! Everyone is invited and everyone’s story is important!

Check out past episodes in their YouTube Playlist here.

Steve Zehngut at the 2015 WordCamp Orange County After Party at Durty Nelly's

WordCamp Orange County After Party at Durty Nelly’s

Once again the WordCamp Orange County After Party will be at Durty Nelly’s with Kevin Karaoke! We’re excited to welcome you all out to 2915 Redhill Ave in Costa Mesa at 7pm. The fun lasts long past our official 10pm end time!

It’s worth attending.

Asking yourself if it’s worth attending? Check out these awesome karaoke photos and videos. You won’t want to miss out on moments like these!

Russ Aaron is a 2017 Plugin-A-Palooza Contestant

Meet Plugin-A-Palooza Contestant Russell Aaron

Russell Aaron started out in WordPress like many others. After training as a sidekick to Batman (his favorite comic hero), Russ started building MySpace band layouts. He would create table based layouts all day and use the blog feature on MySpace to share his triumphs and failures.

Once he’d written his first 50 blog posts, a friend introduced him to WordPress.com. Russ signed up for free and started to blog. After his next 50 blog posts, the same friend showed him how to install WordPress on his own website. Since that day, Russ has spent every minute of every hour learning WordPress. He’s obsessed, to say the least. His first WordCamp was Las Vegas 2011.

Citing his mentors as John Hawkins, Jason Tucker and Gary Kovar, Russ has determined that if he could claim a super power, it would be the ability to see the future, in full detail. When asked to predict the future of Plugin-A-Palooza, Russ replied, “My plugin is very simple. It’s not jam packed full of code and functions, but it’s something I think all WordPress site builders need to have.”

His plugin gives the super power of linking directly to the plugins page in wp-admin. You can add a new plugin (new, featured, recommended or favorite), see active and inactive plugins and MU plugins, and a link to the plugin editor from the front end of the site. To a new user, Plugins Admin Bar gives you the capability to jump directly to wp-admin plugins page, from anywhere on your WP site. Russ believes plugins to be the biggest part of WordPress, and can’t believe users have to click two or three times in order to get to the plugins page. With his new plugin, access is now a one time click.

Though he’s from Las Vegas, NV, Russ travels to WCOC because he has a lot of friends in the OC community. He reports, “It’s by far my favorite Camp and there are cool competitions like Plugin-A-Palooza.”

Plugin-A-Palooza 2017 Contestant Jacob Arriola

Meet Plugin-A-Palooza Contestant Jacob Arriola

Jacob Arriola first noticed WordPress because the company he worked at started building all of their internal sites using WordPress. “Once I became aware of the project and its capabilities I started going to the OC WordPress Meetup group,” he said.

When asked who he considered to be his WordPress mentor(s), Jacob said, “It starts with my boss, Steve Zehngut. He’s the one that opened my eyes to all of the capabilities of WordPress via the Meetups. Jeff Zinn and Brandon Dove of Pixel Jar helped me realize more in-depth developer topics as well. Currently, my colleague at Zeek, Aaron Holbrook has been really helping and pushing me to the next level.”

Jacob hopes his plugin, Progressive Images, will take users to the next level as well. Describing its super power as performance, Jacob said, “My plugin will wait to load your featured thumbnail only after everything else has loaded. Images can get heavy, so let’s load all of the content, CSS, JavaScript and all other stuff, too, thereby giving site visitors faster access to that awesome content.”

The plugin loads the native WordPress featured image after the rest of the page, thereby improving your site’s perceived speed. An interesting item to note is that the plugin doesn’t  include a settings page, so all of the customizations need to happen via filters, which Jacob documented.

Jacob’s first WordCamp was WordCamp OC 2014 and he loved it. “I’m a So-Cal boy: flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts! WordCamp OC has a awesome community and a great group of organizers. They never let me down.”

NatalieMacLees-PluginAPalooza

Meet Plugin-A-Palooza Contestant Natalie MacLees

Natalie MacLees started her WordPress adventure when a client hired her to create a photo blog in 2006. After researching, she decided to use WordPress. That photo blog was her first WordPress site! From there her knowledge increased and in 2007, she attended WordCamp San Francisco.

Along the way Natalie reports that “just about everyone in the community at some point or another” has mentored her. “We’re such a generous community” she said. “If I listed everyone who had shared advice or help or inspiration, it would be a very long list!

Natalie longs for the superpower of teleportation so she could go everywhere and admires Wonder Woman as a Superhero. "She's very popular just now, but I've been a big fan of Wonder Woman for a loooonnng time," Natalie admitted. "My first swim suit was a Wonder Woman suit and I had Wonder Woman Underoos!

Natalie knows a thing or two about creates superpowers in WordPress and claims that her soon-to-be-revealed plugin gives users the ability to accomplish a common task quickly and easily. Simple Event Listing pretty much does what it says! It quickly and easily create a listing of events for your site for cases where a full event calendar is just too much. Natalie added, “It uses React and the WordPress REST API so it’s super extra fancy.”

Natalie lives in South Pasadena which she declares as "not too far away!" She is excited about WordCamp Orange County, where she gets to spend "the weekend in Orange County with lots of awesome people."

Plugin-A-Palooza 2017 Contestant Thomas Patrick Levy

Meet Plugin-A-Palooza Contestant Thomas Patrick Levy

Thomas Patrick Levy says he started using WordPress, “like everyone else. I came to WordPress after creating my own custom CMS. Because like why would I use something like WordPress when I’m a skilled-enough developer to build a all that stuff on my own?”

He spent a long time maintaining that platform and, ironically, combing through the WordPress core codebase for hints on how to build his system’s functionality. He also had other projects during that period — almost all of them on WordPress.

Through this experience, Thomas came to understand how WordPress works and feels it was an invaluable base. He explains he learned a lot about programming in general from reading code, stating that it helped him understand something the codex could not: how the part (the function or the feature or the hook) fits into the greater system.

When asked about WordPress mentors, Thomas turned back to code. “While I don’t have mentors, I do have codebases. GitHub is my greatest mentor. I spend a lot of time reviewing codebases of other developers and development teams. I spend a lot of time simply watching their issue threads and interactions to see how they interact with their users and community and each other. I find that tremendously helpful and I have learned a lot through this process. My most-visited GitHub repos are WooCommerce and Yoast.”

His favorite comic is The Tenth, which he explains as something similar to a hipster’s Incredible Hulk. He’s blue instead of green, and telepathically communicates with a woman named Esperanza., though Thomas admits the details are a bit vague beyond that.

When asked about the superpower he would like to have, Thomas wished for the ability to fly (with caveats). He wanted to place restrictions on his superpower. Thomas explained, “I can only fly a few feet off the ground and I can only fly as fast as I can run. Let’s call this the ability to ‘hover.’ All these superheroes are so misunderstood and even persecuted. I can barely stand a 3-star review on my plugins, I really don’t need the whole world talking about this guy who’s flying around not saving the world. If I could hover people would be all, ‘I mean, I guess that’s cool’ and that’d be about it.”

We expect that his plugin will gain more acclaim than hovering, as his plugin, Rhythms, will empower WordPress users to imbue each and every reader of their blog or website with the superhuman ability to read faster than they can even think. He went on to add that, “Rhythms is to your WordPress site as nootropics are to every techie; we can all benefit from it but we’re not sure if it actually does anything.”

“Superheroes always have that period of adjustment where they do not understand or accept their power when they first discover them. They go into hiding and they get angry even but eventually the hero comes to accept and embrace their powers. Upon installing Rhythms, you will not quite understand your new-found powers and you will need to take some time to adjust before you fully comprehend and appreciate your site’s super powers. This is what it feels like to be a superhero.”

Thomas joined the WordPress scene as a last-minute volunteer at WCLAX 2015. Prior to that he had only ever been to one WordPress event and had only ever been to one even remotely related Meetup. As a volunteer, Thomas found out WordCamps are about more than talks. He realized that he stood out as a volunteer because the organizers give him a different colored shirt and told everyone to ask questions of the people in that colored shirt. Thomas explained that helping others made him more comfortable at WordCamp.

“I’ve only been to a handful of camps but I know that WordCamps really matter.” What I see is a huge number of humans that are fulfilling themselves through hobby and business. My company exists only because WordPress allows us to build extremely powerful websites for our clients at a price that they can afford. And since my company exists I get to sit in my pajamas on a Monday morning drinking coffee on my couch with my dog and writing some weird responses to an internet interview about a fake plugin I made for fun a few months ago. And at every camp I see a few hundred people at different places on their own journey finding their own freedom and happiness. That’s pretty cool. I can’t handle it every month but every few months it’s a great thing to remember and experience,” explained Thomas.

Dine with Food Trucks at WordCamp Orange County

Food Trucks Add Goodness to WordCamp Orange County

When it comes to food, WordCamp Orange County knows what you like. You’ll have time to visit (no speech bubbles needed) and still experience the WOW! provided by locally known and loved food trucks on both days of camp. A well planned menu caters to most food needs (including vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian).

Saturday features menus from Berlin Food Truck, Big Wave Grill and Adobo Express while Sunday’s food is provided by Piaggio On Wheels and the Gyritto Truck. All are highly acclaimed on local review sites and will power you up to take the lead in your next WordCamp adventure! Read on to get menu and review details on each vendor.

Saturday

Berlin Food Truck

Full Menu | Yelp

Entrees
• Plain Grilled Cheese – Choice of bread (sourdough, wheat, rye) Choice of cheese (American, Swiss, pepper jack, cheddar)
• Bratwurst Dog (sauerkraut, grilled onions, mustard, on a German roll)
• Wiener Dog (sauerkraut, grilled onions, mustard, on a German roll)

Sides
• Seasoned fries
• Garlic fries

Big Wave Grill

Yelp

Entrees
• Huli Huli Chicken: USDA Grade A Chicken grilled & continuously basted in our signature teriyaki marinade. Served with Hawaiian potato-macaroni salad & jasmine rice. Plated with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, & pineapple wedges.
• Coconut Curry Chicken (available gluten-free): USDA Grade A Chicken grilled & continuously basted in our signature coconut curry marinade. Served with Hawaiian potato-macaroni salad & jasmine rice. Plated with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, pineapple wedges & our peanut sauce.
• Kalua Pork (available gluten-free): Slow roasted hickory-smoked pork butt. Served with Hawaiian potato-macaroni salad & jasmine rice. Plated with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, pineapple wedges & our island chutney sweet & sour glaze.
• Orange-Miso Veggie: Button mushrooms, white onion, and red bell peppers basted with our orange-miso dijon marinade. Served with Hawaiian potato-macaroni salad & jasmine rice. Plated with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, & pineapple wedges.

Sides
• “Mac Attack” (Hawaiian Potato-Macaroni Salad)
• Jasmine Rice or Spring Mix Salad

Adobo Express

Yelp

Entrees
• Adobo Rice Bowl (chicken or pork on jasmine rice, no egg)

Sides
• 2 pcs. Chicken Fried Eggrolls
• Seasoned Fries

Sunday

Piaggio On Wheels

FoursquareYelp

Entrees
• Gaucho Bowl (chicken, grilled steak, braised pulled pork, tofu)
• Tacos Gauchos (chicken, grilled steak, braised pulled pork, tofu)
• Braised Pulled Pork Sliders (2x)

Sides
• Chips

Gyritto Truck

FoursquareYelp

Entrees
• Pita/Wrap/Rice bowl with Chicken, Lamb, Beef, or Falafel

Sides
• Garbanzo salad
• Fries

Race to WordCamp Orange County

Rev Up for WordCamp Orange County with a K1 Pre-Event

Looking for something fun to do the Friday afternoon before WordCamp? Grab some closed-toe shows and head over to K1 Racing in Irvine for some pre-camp cart racing with the Women Who WP!

We’ll meet from 1-4 pm for no-line access to the race track. The cost is $30 per attendee which includes snacks and Women Who WP swag! Everyone is invited but space is limited to the first 30 people who RSVP.

Once you arrive, all drivers will need to register and sign waivers at the front desk. Please keep in mind that, “Drivers must wear closed-toe shoes.” Read other safety details here and sign up on Meetup so we reserve your cart.

When you arrive, be sure to thank DreamHost for their sponsorship which reduces the cost of this race-y event!

Thank You Super Sponsors!

WordCamp Orange County promises to bring out the hero in all of us.

And it wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors, companies dedicated  to being the silent guardian of amazing swag, a legendary after-party, prizes for our Plugin-A-Palooza contest, super snacks, a transformative Snapchat geofilter and more. Check them out now and during the event!

GOLD Sponsors

Visit these sponsors at their tables during WCOC!

BRONZE Sponsors

Pick up their swag items on the self-serve table at WCOC!

After-Party Sponsor

Don’t miss our karaoke after-party!

Plugin-A-Palooza Sponsor

Fabulous prizes for the best plugins!

SMALL BUSINESS Sponsor

Pick up their swag item on the self-serve table at WCOC!

INDIVIDUAL Sponsor

Be sure to wish these heroes a Thank You!

Sticker Sponsor

Snapchat Geofilter Sponsor

Use the custom WCOC geofilter for your Snaps during WordCamp Orange County!

Speaker Spotlight: Chris Lema

In 2005 Chris Lema left the DotNetNuke (DNN) world and discovered WordPress as a fast, easy way to get started with a website. Within a year he’d created 20-30 sites (all of them using pages, not posts).

Lema said he’s “willing to learn from just about anyone” when it comes to WordPress mentors though he watched the WooThemes and iThemes teams in the early years, along with StudioPress. In later years he leaned heavily on folks like Andrew Norcross and Justin Sainton to tell him what was or wasn’t possible. Plus, Lema added, “I always pay attention to what Syed (@wpbeginner) is doing.”

Lema referenced Iron Man as his favorite superhero. “He’s smart. He builds tech toys. And he can fly,” he said. Chris feels his own superpower is human chess, a talent he utilizes often. Described as “seeing what makes a person unique, understanding how they move on the board and then coordinating several folks to work together for a win!,” Lema has used this ability to improve the lives of many in the WordPress community.

It’s interesting to note that Chris Lema’s first WordCamps were in 2010 at Phoenix and Chicago. Though he attended both camps, Lema said he sat in the back, watched and didn’t interact with other attendees. Seven years later, however, fading into the background is no longer an option. Lema is a highly sought after speaker, discussion and community leader in the WordPress community.

When asked about his thoughts on family and community, Lema shared, “Family and community are both about relationships to me. I think about it as the people I would be willing to be woken up at 2 a.m. for. That list gets bigger every year because of the WordPress community.” Chris also builds community through his hobby of smoking cigars.

Lema has been building B2B SaaS products since he got started in 1995, in telecommunications, in the automotive industry, in software tools, in the public sector (government agencies), and in the financial realm. He has served on nonprofit boards and on the advisory boards of tech companies for years and is currently advising Orange County-based digital agency, Zeek Interactive.

Come learn from Chris as he leads the “Becoming a Better Blogger” Workshop on Saturday at 2:00pm. Chris is also the host of Plugin-a-Palooza on Sunday afternoon.