Episode 115 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), Brad Williams (@williamsba), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves).
This show was recorded live at Wordcamp Raleigh with guests Dave Moyer, Kevin Dees, Douglas Hanna, John Ford and Chris Cochran with some great contributions from audience members too. It is the second hour of what was recorded there.
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Live show transcript.
Patrick: And we will open up the second hour by bringing up our friend Dave Moyer, Dave, come on up here. (Applause)
Brad: Dave’s back.
Patrick: Dave is the founder and CEO of Bitwire Media, his personal website is Davemoyer.org, and Dave is helping us out on the technical end of the Podcast just as he did last year, I like to call him the Chief Technology Officer of the SitePoint Podcast at WordCamp Raleigh, it’s a very specific title, very specific.
Dave: It sounds good though.
Patrick: And it applies to one day out of the year.
Dave: Hi guys!
Patrick: Dave, welcome again, thank you for helping us out again.
Dave: Well, thank you for having me.
Patrick: We really appreciate it, it’s a thankless, quiet, in the background, no one gives you anything job, and we appreciate it.
Dave: It’s fun.
Patrick: So, I wanted to talk to you about your experience last year a little bit, there’s a video online, people can view it on Dave Moyer’s YouTube channel, Dave Moyer 2005.
Dave: Yes, that’s it, you got it.
Patrick: And have you run into any bachelorette blowouts yet? Have you had anyone ask you what type of underwear you’re wearing yet?
Dave: (Laughs) and I think Amanda was in the audience earlier and she was there for that.
Patrick: She’s gone now, so that story is that we’re at the Oxford and there’s a bachelorette party and people are just getting involved with it, there’s nothing like that this year.
Dave: Because I do blog and so I run around and I know some of my YouTube audience is tuning into this now so hi guys, but I run around with a camera in front of my face and I film it for YouTube and for some reason people are entertained by that, and we ran into a bachelorette party.
Patrick: Stephan, he’s in the video and we’ll get to that in a second.
Stephan: No comment.
Dave: So, you dug that up.
Patrick: No, I actually saw it after you posted it and I said, oh, I remember that, but in the video it’s Stephan and like you mentioned she who was here earlier, and the bachelorette party was for Kelly and nobody really knows who Kelly is and Stephan says to the camera —
Dave: She’s the bachelorette, well, she was a bachelorette.
Patrick: Stephan says to the camera I love Kelly, I’ve known Kelly for years (laughter), we’ve been waiting so long for her to get married, and just to be clear Stephan doesn’t know Kelly.
Stephan: I don’t know who Kelly is.
Patrick: Right. And then someone yelled out, “What type of underwear are you wearing,” and there’s where the video ends.
Dave: (Laughs) and I didn’t realize that until after I edited it either, I went back in and heard that and went, ooh.
Patrick: So we’ll have to include that link in the show notes when we post the story up. So, let’s get into some more on topic stuff here. Now, what’s different from last year, we had you on last year, what’s changed in one year’s time for you?
Dave: For me, well, I mean I’ve had such a fantastic year, and I work like you mentioned with Bitwire so we produce blogs and online videos and online podcasts and all kinds of fun stuff, and we had the WordCast Podcast that does WordPress and blogging news and tips and social media stuff, we just hit 100 episodes just about a week ago, so that’s amazing. And YouTube has been so much fun making all kinds of great things; I’ve had such a fantastic year and I’m so lucky to be working with so many amazing people all the time, I’m really excited.
Patrick: It’s a love-fest.
Dave: It really is.
Patrick: So speaking of the 100 episode milestone, what does that mean to you personally looking back on the show’s history?
Dave: To me personally I mean it’s really funny because we did the episode as a retrospective, so we went back through and we played bits from episode one and we played all the way through, and the entire time I was going crazy; can we really put this stuff on the Internet, how do we do this, this is so horrible, it sounded so bad, but it’s really fascinating, and I think it’d be fun to even listen back to SitePoint episode one when you all first came on.
Patrick: It was as great as it is now, next question, no. We’ve always maintained the same level of excellence.
Dave: I’m sure. But it’s so fun, it’s so fun, and at the same terrifying to see how far that you’ve come and to see —
Patrick: Yeah, you’re thinking can I delete this? Will anyone notice and hit the trash or more private or whatever.
Stephan: It’s kind of like going back and reading your own posts.
Patrick: Your own blog posts, your own blog posts like sometimes, geez, thank goodness I only get five visitors a day.
Dave: But it’s important to see that as a really great positive bit of feedback for what you’re doing now so you can see that you’ve improved and you can see that you’re doing better, and you can also see, ooh, doing this right or I like this from before, try to do more of that, it’s self-feedback, it’s neat.
Patrick: Yeah, I noticed that my interview wasn’t noteworthy enough to be included in that 100th episode so I thank you for that.
Dave: Oh, why wasn’t it? I should’ve polled that.
Patrick: I’m just kidding. But when I read through your bio there’s a lot of stuff, there’s a lot of interests, there’s a lot of things that you do. What is your focus I guess right now, like what are you spending a majority of your time on and what are you working towards right now?
Dave: It’s funny because I have all kinds of horrible ADD, I think, so I’m always bored on one thing, move on to another, but for me it’s all — even online writing a blog post, making a podcast, making a YouTube video, it’s all a creative process, it’s all production, it’s all creating some neat thing that connects with someone, and I’ve done live stuff, I’ve done theatre, and to me it’s all that creative process of making that show, putting that production together, and so I work all the time on these fantastic podcasts, like I’ve said, WordCast, I do Life Plugged In with the amazing Lamarr Wilson, we talk about how technology fits in with one’s life because we’re sick of spec shows and all the geeky, we want practical, so that’s what we do every week and it’s so much fun. And YouTube has been crazy, I mean it’s bizarre compared to some of the other stuff; lots of times people will show up at conferences and say you look very official, not like Kelly’s bachelorette party (laughter).
Patrick: And what type of underwear are you wearing?
Dave: Yes, should be on the nametags.
Patrick: So how many times are you podcasting a week?
Dave: I do right now about three, I cut down to three shows a week, so I do WordCast, Life Plugged In and I also do a show called Plugin Picks in association with WordCast we talk about WordPress plugins every week.
Stephan: We were talking a little bit earlier about how you do the podcast, you do a lot of it live, you’re doing intros, outros, all this stuff live; can you explain a little bit about that because that’s a little different than what we do in our weekly show.
Patrick: It’s way easier than what we do which is to prerecord it and then edit anything out that was bad.
Dave: Yeah, and I didn’t start out that way, I started out with the free software and the sounds that I edited in afterwards, and I’m lucky enough now that I have the studio set up and I’ve got the buttons that I can click and I have the sliders that I can do. And so I’ll play my intro music and I’ll talk over it and then I’ll fade it out and then I’ll fade it back up when we’re closing the show. But for me the reason I do that, one, I like the energy of it, I like the live production, I think it provides that energy that you don’t get when you’re just trying to imagine in your head that the music is there. I’m also comfortable enough now to a point because I’ve done thousands of these now, which is bizarre to think, but I’ve been podcasting for over six years and so I’m comfortable to the point that I’m okay with leaving a cough in or it’s alright with me because I feel like the coherence of the show is there and I don’t want to go in and edit too much out because it’s that live feel, it’s that radio kind of style, so for me it’s alright.
Patrick: Cool. Let’s talk about a story.
Stephan: Yes, we have a story and it is from TechCrunch again, and A Facebook IPO is Inevitable is the title, and COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke briefly on Reuters, she said publicly that an IPO is inevitable for Facebook and that’s what companies do and they won’t be sold, so what do you think about that? Do you think she’s just kind of getting us riled up about it?
Dave: It’s funny because the idea of companies not being public is somewhat new, the default is now private where in the past, Google, Microsoft, you think about the big tech giants, Google investors are rich now because they started off at the very beginning and Google grew into this behemoth, and Facebook is now on the same level, and so to me it’s kind of aren’t they supposed to be? Not the fact that they’re being sold but the fact that they’re going public, it makes sense.
Patrick: Right, because like you said, it kind of used to be if there was a big company you’d expect them to be traded publicly where it was an oddity with like UPS where UPS IPO’d not that long ago, I don’t know what specific year, but five, six to ten years ago, and UPS is this huge leader in the shipping field and so they weren’t publicly traded, and to have an established company like that go public was a strange thing.
Dave: It’s all startups now, it’s the startup mentality, because everything is designed to be small and everything is designed to be very, very efficient operation, and the new corporate culture we don’t have cubicles, everyone’s in the same room and Zen office and whatever it is, for some reason that goes along with we’re private, no public trading.
Patrick: Yeah, you have offices where Justin Timberlake can walk right in and smash your monitor and he doesn’t even think twice about it.
Dave: I want one of those.
Patrick: A Justin Timberlake or the office or a monitor?
Dave: All three at once (laughter), in any order.
Brad: Anyone actually buy LinkedIn stock?
Patrick: No? Because LinkedIn if you don’t know just recently went public two days ago I think, and the price doubled in one day, more than doubled I think from 40 to 45 that it was priced at to close in the 90’s I think, and it reached 100; has it gone up since or was it just IPO on Friday?
Audience Member: It IPO’d Friday morning
Patrick: There you go.
Dave: Does anyone here spend significant time on LinkedIn honestly? Really? Okay.
Patrick: The thing about LinkedIn is it’s almost, and I think there are people who spend significant time, I don’t.
Dave: Neither do I, no.
Patrick: I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily, and the reason I say that is because they have a niche and they pursue it really well and they do what they do well, I compare it in a small way to a service called Lanyrd, have you heard of Lanyrd?
Dave: I’ve heard of the name.
Patrick: Okay, so they’re like a conference directory, I think we’re all familiar with Lanyrd, and it’s a simple site but it’s not, it’s aesthetically pleasing and it just works well to show you conferences that your Twitter friends are going to, Twitter followers or people you follow are going to, and it’s very service specific where I love the site, I’ve loved the site, but I don’t have a reason to spend much time there. It’s almost like I think services can exist without monopolizing your time.
Dave: That’s true.
Patrick: I think there’s a value in that where a service doesn’t have to own me to have community or a sense of community or to have activity on it. Now that said, LinkedIn groups I get emails all the time with 100 new discussions, I mean I just don’t participate in any of them.
Dave: They’re filtered out of mine, yeah.
Patrick: So I think maybe it’s a taste thing, too, taste thing, goal thing.
Dave: And if you need it.
Patrick: And if you need a job, too, you’re more likely to be on it heavy.
Dave: Because I’m not constantly business networking, I’m not looking through people’s resumes, I’m not trying to build my network with people.
Stephan: I would probably use it more if they’d stop suggesting CEO positions for me, no; because I’m clearly not cut out for it.
Brad: I’m not on there 24/7 but I always make sure my information is correct; if something changes I update it.
Stephan: I think there’s someone…
Patrick: Douglas Hanna
Audience Member: Our company recruits off of LinkedIn from senior level people to lower level people.
Patrick: So Douglas Hanna from A Small Orange their company recruits off LinkedIn which is a lot of companies do that, I mean I had person on Facebook contact me; through the Facebook of business networking I had them contact me, which is LinkedIn. It is, it’s such a powerful thing, it’s such a valuable thing I think to see the degree of connections and how you fit in with people, I mean not only on a business level but it’s just cool.
Dave: The one thing LinkedIn has that I wish Facebook had is the degree away from people, because then I could go on celebrities’ and say ooh I’m friends with someone who’s friends with them.
Patrick: Don’t they have that on the profile to the right they have like you’re connected through?
Dave: You have mutual friends but you can’t see like I’m five degrees away from–
Patrick: You’re right; I think you can see like three or four degrees though.
Stephan: There’s a Facebook application idea of six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Dave: Yeah. Someone make that.
Patrick: Well, Kevin Bacon has to join first.
Audience Member: He is on LinkedIn.
Patrick: I think I’ve heard about that, like that was a big deal. Well, cool Dave, where can people find you online?
Dave:Davemoyer.org is my site and I’m @davemoyer on Twitter because we’re social media people, we know what that means and it’s not just for Oprah, and BitwireMedia.com is where all of my fantastic professional stuff can be found, ooh.
Patrick: Dave Moyer.
Audience Member: Can you spell that?
Dave: B-i-t-w-i-r-e, yes.
Patrick: Dave Moyer, Thank you. Back to the grind!
Stephan: Thanks Dave. (Applause)
Dave: Throw me off the stage. Thank you.
Patrick: Time for another trivia question. Brad, why don’t you take this one.
Brad: Sure. Yeah, so the winner will get a StudioPress Pro Plus All Themes Package from Studiopress.com which is valued at almost $300.00, and a copy of my new book Professional WordPress Plugin Development written by myself, Ozh Richard and Justin Tadlock. So the trivia question is through Wednesday how many U.S. states sent at least one attendee to WordCamp Raleigh; in the States?
Audience Member: Seven
Patrick: No, It’s more
Brad: Any guesses?
Audience Member: 17?
Audience Member: 16!
Brad: Got it, 16; 16 states represented here.
Patrick: So Steve will give you the book and if you could give him a business card or write your name on a piece of paper over there I’ll make sure you get the StudioPress Pro Plus license which is a great package of themes from StudioPress. And with that it’s time to bring up our next guest, Douglas Hanna, CEO of A Small Orange, personal website Douglashanna.com, welcome to the show (applause). And you come from Georgia?
Douglas: No, I’m actually not from Georgia, I was born in New Jersey and I grew up in South Florida.
Patrick: Okay but is the company based in Georgia?
Douglas: We are currently but we’re moving to actually Durham, North Carolina in the next month.
Stephan: That’s big news.
Douglas: It is.
Patrick: Very nice.
Stephan: What’s the meaning of A Small Orange?
Douglas: This is a great question, it’s one that we get regularly; the meaning unfortunately has very little significance, it was the founder’s AIM screen name, and he was committed to have a screen name with no numbers in it, and A Small Orange is somehow what he came up with. He used to operate it just under his name, his name is Tim Dorr, so it’s just Timdorr.com web hosting, and as it got bigger he rebranded to Small Orange, and we’ve since tried to add some meaning to the name, our slogan is Homegrown Hosting, trying to represent that it’s organic and personable and all that, but the history of the name has unfortunately very little significance.
Patrick: You haven’t gone all the way out for the full on fresh squeezed yet.
Douglas: No, we had a slogan contest and some of them are like they would have gotten caught in every spam filter in the world, it’s like organic, natural, fresh squeezed hosting, we’re like, nah, it’s not going to work.
Stephan: And being from Georgia you would think it’d be A Small Peach.
Brad: Thought maybe it had a border reference.
Patrick: You’re moving to Durham, orange groves grow for days here so you’re all set.
Stephan: What are some challenges of running a hosting based business that you’ve seen so far?
Douglas: Yeah, so web hosting is a business where execution is everything, and if you guys think your individual businesses are hard imagine trying to provide support and then we have almost 35,000 customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and anything that can go wrong with your website can also go wrong with 35,000 other people’s websites, and half the time when something happens they ask us about it. So it’s a big support challenge, like web hosting companies are essentially support companies that happen to provide web hosting and that’s fine with us, that’s something we work really hard on but it’s not easy.
Patrick: That’s a great way to put it I think.
Stephan: I mean I guess we should point out I am a customer, disclaimer.
Brad: So I always imagine like in the hosting space I’ve always wondered what, or how I should say, with small shared packages, $5.00, $10.00, does the cost for that actually justify the time spent on those clients because it just seems to me that minimal amount of money versus like you said the support that’s required to maintain those clients, is that a big part of your business?
Douglas: Profitability on those accounts boils down to how often they contact us; if you contact us like twice we’ve lost money on those cheap $25.00 a year accounts, if we never hear from you and you’re a customer for five years we’ve made money and probably our actual hard costs have been pretty minimal.
Patrick: Contacted you two times every five years. Never contact us and we’ll be profitable.
Douglas: Yeah, a year most likely.
Brad: Is it more that kind of, not upsell them specifically but…
Douglas: Yeah, the small accounts get people in the door and they might refer other people to us and they might be support intensive, we don’t want to use the word annoying, but support intensive, and they’ll be customers hopefully for a while and then hopefully they’ll like our services and recommend us to their friends and co-workers, and that’s great and could easily make it worth it even if they are more support intensive, but in a vacuum if they contact us more than a couple times it’s hard to make money on that.
Brad: Kind of switching gears here going over to the WordPress Showcase, did you actually build the showcase? I know essentially the showcase is kind of your thing on .org.
Douglas: Yeah, I didn’t build it, Showcase itself actually uses WordPress, so it’s a customized WordPress theme and I didn’t do that but I got involved with it basically after the sites and the codecs have been added to it, I got involved with it after that, started curating it almost.
Brad: What are some of the more unique kind of uses of WordPress, whether in the Showcase or not that you receive, some that just really stand out from the majority?
Douglas: Sure. I think, and I talked about this a little bit in my presentation earlier today, a lot of people will totally step away from the blog concepts and will go into content management and social networking sites and membership sites and a lot of them use BuddyPress for that. And I think probably the most interesting WordPress sites I see tend to use BuddyPress, and those that are really doing interesting things beyond just blogging or content management; just recently The Royal Ballet in England they made a timeline, ballets of like the last 80 years or something, and it was really simple from a WordPress perspective that each entry in the timeline was essentially opposed to any time period of the category, and it was just a really simple application of WordPress but they definitely thought about it kind of outside the box.
Brad: So how are sites added to the showcases, do you have to submit them or do you actively go out there and try to find unique cases?
Douglas: It’s a combination, people will send them to us, that’s most of them, I’m not going out there regularly and browsing around for sites because the submission quantity is so high we don’t really need to do that, but maybe Automatic like business development people will find a site and then they’ll send it to me and things like that, but between kind of a broad network plus individual user submissions sites will get added, and then there a criteria for if they make it or not.
Brad: Yeah, so let’s dive into a story. So it’s been announced that Netflix is now the largest single source of Internet traffic in North America, which is a pretty astonishing post, I guess I mean if you think about it I mean the website’s hit more than YouTube; does that surprise you, do you see that only going up from here?
Douglas: From a technical point of view not really because HD video is just so balance intensive and it makes sense in that regard, and if you measured it by number of visitors it’d probably be a lot more proportional from what you expect, but video definitely you have a lot of bandwidth, and I think like half of that top ten that wasn’t http traffic was like very video intensive. And I hope Reed Hastings’ prediction of the gigabit Internet connection in homes in a year comes true.
Stephan: I think we all hope that.
Douglas: Yeah, generally.
Brad: The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, says that he expects gigabit connections at home to be commonplace within 10 years, which is aggressive in my opinion.
Douglas: I think it’s feasible. Hong Kong and really high density cities that are not in the regulated United Stated Internet world you’re seeing 100 megabits I think for pretty accessible prices, and even like a lot of the universities here are probably getting up to 30 and 40 I think without trying too hard, and obviously between 100 and 1,000, 1,024 is a long way to go, but I think it’s feasible especially given how fast technology changes. I think maybe the most interesting part about this Netflix conversation is maybe how that will affect some of the net neutralities debates going on because I think as people who know less about this start seeing more and more discussion about how much bandwidth individual sites use up it’s really going to prompt a lot more net neutrality sessions.
Stephan: Especially when companies like Comcast have their own video service, do you think that that’s going to play a part in it, I think so.
Douglas: I think it might play a part in their corporate interest, in their lobbying. But yeah, I think basically the bandwidth issue is not surprising, but I think how that will affect if at all the net neutrality argument is going to be really interesting.
Patrick: Very cool. Well, Douglas Hanna, where can people find you online?
Douglas: I have a Twitter account, @douglashanna, I don’t really Tweet.
Patrick: Excellent, thank you very much for joining us today.
Douglas: Thank you guys, thank you for having me. (Applause)
Patrick: Cool. So our next guest is in the building, I can see him from here, he’s next to our last guest, but we have a trivia question and I think I would like to read this one. The person who correctly answers this question will receive a BackupBuddy unlimited site’s license by iThemes which is worth $150.00 for backing up your WordPress sites as well as a copy of, can you see the theme from here, Professional WordPress by Brad Williams, David Damstra and Hal Stern. Here’s the question: I came up with this question, Brad didn’t come up with this one, there’s no ego here, but frequent WordCamp speaker Brad Williams is known to include what horror film favorite in his presentations?
Audience Member: Zombie Land?
Patrick: Close. Horror film favorite; you will accept that?
Brad: I accept that.
Patrick: Okay since no one else raised their hand, Zombies, not Zombie Land. Cool, so Steve will give you that book and I will hook you up with that license later.
Stephan: And Brad will be talking about the zombie apocalypse later today.
Patrick: Yeah, we’re definitely going to bring that up.
Stephan: Is that tied to the rapture?
Brad: Uh, maybe.
Patrick: The rapture ends with this podcast. It’s just an awful thing to end with.
Stephan: It’s just joke fodder.
Patrick: It’s so great, like when I found out that that was going to happen that was today, and we had a podcast today, I was like gold, thank you, thank you for the rapture, for now.
Audience Member: You want to go to their website and hear the logic behind the date, it’s pretty funny.
Stephan: Even though the calendar’s lost 10 days since then, so they’re like 10 days off.
Audience Member: They’re basing on a Biblical thing and they took numbers from all over the place and manipulaed them with major explanations, it’s really funny.
Patrick: We don’t want to go down that road too far, we’ll bring our next guest on, his name is John Ford, come on up. (Applause) John Ford has the title of VaultPress Safekeeper at Automatic, and his personal website is at Johnford.is, thanks for joining us.
John: Thank you.
Brad: So how’s VaultPress doing?
John: It’s been really exciting. It’s going really well, we have a great number of customers who are making us work really hard, and what’s been fun about it especially is seeing all the challenges you run into with all the different types of server setups and configurations because it’s a little bit different in that we do realtime backups, so anytime a post is saved or an image is uploaded we actually get that change immediately and then you can look back at all your stats off the time and download the backups from then, so it creates some really unique challenges with WordPress, the load on the server, because most people are on shared hosting accounts, things like that, so it’s a lot of fun.
Brad: So VaultPress has been around — has it been a year?
John: Not quite a year, we’re still in beta.
Brad: And you’re still owned privately, yes?
Brad: So you basically have to sign up and then you get, what is it, the golden ticket.
John: Yeah, golden ticket.
Brad: Do you have an idea of when the private beta’s going to end and it’s going to be open to the public?
John: That’s something we talk about internally as well, it’s kind of –, to anybody listening all you have to do is send us a message and you get a ticket immediately to get in if you say something to us, but most people don’t, so if you Tweet about it, let us know hey you want a ticket now, we’ll give you a ticket; so really anybody can get in.
Patrick: You can’t call that a golden ticket then, it’s a piece of paper.
Brad: One of the FAQ questions, and I’m sure that I’m sure you get asked quite a bit is Multisite support, which it currently does not. Do you have any idea when that might be coming, or is that coming?
John: It’s definitely coming, we don’t have a set date, we’re working on a bunch of things and that’s one of them but unfortunately no timeframe.
Brad: I can imagine that that can be a challenge because Multisite, two sites or two million sites. That’s probably the biggest question right?
John: Right. And so anyone that sends us a message we have a list, we’ll let everybody know when that’s ready and when we start testing that, so if anybody wants to get on that waiting list just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do that.
Brad: If I am running Multisite then I use VaultPress on a single site that’s in the network, or does that just not work at all?
John: Not right now since Multisite does store content in different locations, the plugin will work but not all your content will be backed up so that’s why we say we don’t support it because we can’t guarantee we could actually restore that site for you.
Brad: And then you also listed the Enterprise packages this year, so how’s that going and what can we expect?
John: Magical. It’s a secret.
Brad: Still a secret, you can’t give us any little –?
Patrick: Get off the show, get off right now, leave the stage; I’ll tip this chair right over. No. Okay, that’s fine, we respect that, begrudgingly.
Brad: Kind of along the same lines what can we expect from VaultPress in the future?
John: Well, there’s a never ending to-do list that the VaultPress safekeepers get to go through and work on everyday, some of the things I’m really excited about are we have a new designer actually that’s starting on our team, so Matt Thomas, he’s one of the main designers that’s been around with WordPress and Automatic for a long time and he’s fantastic, well he’s going to be put on a lot of other important projects, so we have a new guy coming on that’s going to continue to polish and work on a lot of the interface themes, and we’re very excited about the work that he’s done so far. And we’re a lot to do with notifications and security scan, we continue to push that because although it comes across mostly as a backup service, it’s what most people see, we actually like to think of it in the other direction where we’re actually more like a concierge security scan service, so if something happens to the site, we find something that’s wrong we’re going to go in and fix it so people can contact us to help them fix it, so that’s where the peace of mind comes in hand; the backup is there to facilitate that moreso. You know there are a lot of backup services out there, they’re so many solutions for backing up files that we don’t really want to target just that, we like all the other things that come with it.
Brad: Yeah, I think if anyone out there has never actually seen VaultPress in action it’s kind of mesmerizing, like actually sitting there at the dashboard of WordPress and watching it, because it is in real-time and it’s all nice and — lot of AJAX going on, and it’s basically telling you what it’s backing up and (inaudible) especially on the initial load. So it’s really cool I have a lot of clients that use it, I certainly support it, so it’s a great service.
Stephan: Let’s talk about a story here.
Stephan: Harris Interactive just did a study and they found that they asked 2,124 people whether they disagree or agree with this statement that large Internet companies, they’re too powerful, they control too much of the Internet, and just wanted to get your thoughts on that because 76% of these people responded that they agree that large Internet companies, Google, Facebook, are too powerful.
Patrick: Was there any kind of demographic on that? I mean did they have like a listing of who was polled like was it just adults, online adults in the U.S.?
Stephan: American adults. Yeah, the age group it’s pretty much across the board when you look 18 to 34, 35 to 44, it’s 74%, 76%, 76%, so pretty much all age groups the majority of them think that online companies are too strong.
John: I’m really fascinated by this. When I first started doing personal blogging was in 2003 and I didn’t want any pictures of me out there, I didn’t want to use my real name, I wanted to be hidden, it was only for family and friends, I was kind of in that state of I don’t want my information out there, it’s not gonna happen. And then as time went on all the different services come out, start blogging more, you’re interacting more with people, I thought you know I just need to own this; I want when you search for John Ford, it to be all about me, I have full control over the content because it’s all about me. It’s really tricky though, you know, because there’s an actor John Ford that’s much older, he’s passed away but he’s in IMDB and other things, so it’s been a big challenge to try to surpass that and get the Google juice going.
Stephan: Are you the number one Google result?
John: No, I’m still working on it. So even like Johnford.com is taken, so I had Johnford.is, so all the domain names are kind of fun though, URL’s, John Ford is speaking at WordCamp Raleigh, so you can read them. But, so I’m kind of to that place where I really enjoy services that Google does, Facebook is really great, family and friends are on there, and they’re so powerful and mesmerizing and can do what they do because of the information they have, and obviously that’s how they make their money super-targeted as they can predict what I want to see, what I might be interested in, so it’s hard to say no that’s not a good idea. And I guess the main question is when is it evil? When have they crossed that line or what would be considered evil because so far I don’t think they’ve done anything I would consider evil but it’s hard to tell because everything’s hidden.
Patrick: And I gave a presentation at a conference I think in Kansas last year, and part of that was taking a screenshot off Facebook of actually the venue’s Facebook page I was speaking in. So, I brought it up and I saw the ads on the side which of course were targeted to me and it’s singles, Christian Singles, looking for a date tonight? And I just said, you know what, I’m going to leave that in because it was funny, people laughed and it’s not that big a deal. But I’ll play the bad guy for just a second here and say that is maybe some of this due — I think some of this could be due to not everyone is meant to run something, to be in charge of something, to run a large organization or even to run an online community or forum, and so I know if you ever run a forum you come across a situation you have to deal with, you have ban people to block people from the site, whether it’s blog comments or it’s a forum, and those people don’t like you, they feel like you have too much power: Hitler, Stalin, Gestapo, that’s you. Yeah, I mean because that’s what Hitler did, right, I mean it was from a real forum post, like the guy was like a forum post crazy (laughter), and that’s the thing, I mean there’s a lack of understanding of appropriate administrative control let’s say and then abuse, because people feel like if action is taken against them it’s abuse, a lot of people, and I almost feel like that that somewhat skews this poll because a lack of understanding of what it takes to actually run an active online community or a website that has some level of engagement.
John: That’s very true. Wasn’t there a case recently where a Google employee, a higher-up employee said remove my content from these searches and tried to get a pass, I don’t remember if that actually —
Stephan: I think so, yeah, I was reading something about that. They said I don’t want my search — when you search this I don’t want me coming up.
John: Yeah, when is that okay. I mean it’s their company so it’s their content, so you think well yeah you can change it, but guess what, the whole world is impacted by that.
Stephan: Right. Or on the flip side could I email anyone and say please remove my name from all these searches?
Patrick: Of course not, not in a million years. Like I won’t even remove all your forum posts because of how it will damage the other threads.
Brad: And then it goes back to like what everyone says; if you don’t want something online don’t put it online. Everything you put online you have to assume is going to be found.
Patrick: They can only use what you give them, right? They use it against you but you still gave it to them. I’m sorry, you have a point?
Audience Member: Well, I just wanted to throw in there in this conversation with Facebook having a bad rap amongst other things, but Facebook in particular, Epic just posted an update to the Electronic Pop Scene Information Center, that Facebook has gone far, and if they’d stopped another going ahead again, putting folks who write any sort of app or cool thing you might use, you know that poke you or whatever, poke me back, you know all the games, to access personal information, and I have a niece online, who is just starting to look very womanly, and it scares me to death! that someone online, could write some fun little plugin like send your friend smilies, and on the back of that will be something that will get her private information, and all of her friends, and that is a distinct possibility from the way I understand this. Do you guys know anything about this or have any thoughts?
Patrick: So to summarize a concern that application developers will have too much access to your personal information and that it can impact minors or other people that may not be fully aware of the consequences of installing an application.
Audience Member: More important to me than application developers, I have no problem with someone that wants to write a fun program, but I’m more worried about the predators out there who want to steal identities, who want to lure little girls to the mall, you know.
Patrick: Right. You know there are predators who write apps, they’re a part of the population so I bet there are app developers, I don’t know, do you have any thoughts about that?
John: I’ve not heard of the recent update that they might be doing that again, it is tricky because what information is too much? And right now you can find out most of this information anyway, and just people aren’t aware it’s just not as easy, you’re not creating a game to do it.
Patrick: Yeah, I mean on the other side of it is you have to install the app. You have to say okay do this. And it’s not fair maybe that there’s negative intentions to it that you’re not aware of, but I don’t know Facebook’s app system, like I’m not an app developer. What safeguards if any do they have?
Brad: To put this all in something like a WordPress context it’s almost like a plugin, you install a plugin; if they tell you what the plugin does but unless you actually review every line of code you’re just trusting what they say, and there are malicious plugins out there. It’s the same thing with Facebook, you’re installing the app, no matter what they say it’s going to do you still have to kind of trust that app, so I think especially for like with kids and things I think it goes back to watching what they do online if anything else.
Patrick: Right. And I mean more than anything it’s just keeping them from putting the information out there to begin with to be harvested by anything. I mean because when I was — I came up with the Internet, I mean I’m 26; as the Internet was growing in popularity, I mean ’95, ’93, ’96 when the Internet was really growing in leaps and bounds and has continued to grow, I was online like not as early as a lot of people but in ’95, so I would have been like 11, I was developing websites in ’98 when I was like 13, and my parents weren’t over me like hawks, but they did keep an eye on me and they taught me good principles of life in general, like you never tell anybody where you live, don’t tell any strangers where you live, anybody that we’re not with don’t do that, you don’t go to this place with strangers; you have these practices and I just applied them to the Internet and I never had any trouble.
Brad: You don’t FourSquare check-in at home?
Patrick: I don’t even FourSquare check-in now, what do you think this thing does?
John: Well, that’s what we did, my brother and I did for our parents in reverse, we taught them Internet etiquette and what not to put on there and things like that. So these kids are probably the smarter ones as they’re getting started. But that’s a big thing, educating them, letting them know what’s good practice.
Patrick: Even if you’re not an expert in technology you can still be — give your kids good principles of living your life and how much you share with people whether you’re on the street with them or online.
John: Exactly. It’s social, in person or online.
Stephan: I was going to say this isn’t really a new problem, right, because depending on where you live if you pay property taxes people can find you, they know how much you paid for your house. I work for the government, my salary is published weekly as it updates, so I have no expectation of privacy, people know everything about me and my wife because she’s a public employee.
Patrick: You can buy stock in his salary, so on Empire Avenue, so if he makes more you make more.
Stephan: So it’s kind of, you know, I don’t have that expectation but I could see I don’t want my photo everywhere, or I don’t want information about what my wife exactly does.
Patrick: You can’t help that.
Stephan: We have a question?
Audience Member: Yeah, I was going to make a comment, because it is exactly what the gentlemen on the end..
Audience Member: You have to teach your children. It’s like going out in the middle of the street and taking your clothes off or something, if you’re — just because it’s the internet, doesn’t mean that you’re going to be —
Patrick: Right, it’s a good point, because it’s the Internet —
Audience Member: It’s the public domain!
John: Don’t take your clothes off on the Internet. I’m down with that.
Patrick: It’s a good point because just like — it’s not that different, right, it’s computers, it’s technology, there’s a certain scariness to it, you know, the immediacy of the information and how it can be exchanged and shared, but when it comes down to it it’s not all that different.
Audience Member: A lot of the kids don’t understand it so it’s up to the parents to teach them.
Patrick: The computer’s not a babysitter.
Audience Member: You don’t see an — issue with Facebook selling or allowing anyone access to your personal information, even though you have it set to private where only your friends can see it?
Patrick: Well, I don’t know if that’s the exact outlay of the settings, but I think we need to wrap up on this story, and it’s a difficult issue, I manage online communities and it’s not the same exactly, but people do trust you with information, and I handle that responsibility very seriously but at the same time with certain people I’m not your parent, like I’m not here to watch over you and make sure that you don’t share too much; we don’t allow people to share their personal home addresses on my communities on their forums because there’s no reason for it, right. And we’ll do those sorts of things but in general like we can’t baby you or watch over you 110%, and I’m sorry I’m looking at you so much but you’re the guest, he’s like what the heck? Are you invading my privacy?
John: I have all their home addresses if anybody wants them.
Patrick: No you don’t. John Ford, where can people find you online?
Patrick: Thank you, John Ford. (Applause) Awesome, so what we are going to do now is to remind you one last time that if you’d like to be brought on as a guest on the show, you’ve seen plenty of people do it with ease; drop a card with your name on it into that bowl over there, there’s index cards right next to it, write your name on it and stick it in and we’ll be doing another drawing for another guest just as we did with Ms. East, so definitely do that. Let’s talk about a story real quick before we do that drawing.
Brad: Yeah, so basically Twitter is requiring all third party services now to use OAuth which essentially what that means is if you want to use Twitter with your application whatever it may be, you actually have to go to Twitter, allow it, and then they’ll send you back to the website. Prior to that a website could ask for your credentials and then send your credentials, login and password, to Twitter and authorize it that way.
Stephan: And the way Twitter kind of explained this was we want people to see what they’re agreeing to before they accept it because with XAuth you could put in your credentials, never get the terms of what you’re agreeing to, and you’re agreeing to allow them to access your direct messages, etcetera.
Brad: And it’s also like for safety, essentially giving Twitter information to a third party website.
Stephan: Who could store it if they wanted.
Brad: I mean I think it’s a great idea. I mean it’s a great requirement I should say because, you know, there’s no reason to give your account information for any site to any other 3rd party site, it just shouldn’t happen any more. I mean, you wouldn’t want to give out your Facebook information, you wouldn’t want to give out your bank information to a 3rd party website.
Patrick: And by information we’re talking about login information, username, your password.
Stephan: And a lot of the fuss about this is that Twitter is trying to force people onto their native client by forcing the third party clients to rewrite their client software to include this. So what do you guys think about that idea? I like the Twitter client, a lot of people love Echofon but I’m not a fan.
Brad: I never go to Twitter.com right?
Stephan: But do you use Twitter on your phone?
Brad: Yeah, I do use the official client on my phone.
Patrick: I use Twitter on my phone as far as text messages are concerned, not an app.
Stephan: So it’s kind of a big move though.
Brad: Yeah, I mean the bigger move is when they got rid of basic authentication, kind of the old-school method, same principle, I could have a third party website ask for your username and password, and then I could post anything to Twitter through your account.
Patrick: Which seems crazy, right, it seems literally crazy because every security advice that you’ll read, any piece of advice you read will say never give your username and password, we’ll never ask for this, and yet it was legitimate.
Brad: Any time you make a change like this it’s gonna make a few people mad ’cause they have to change their code, but I mean at the end of the day it’s all about security you don’t want somebody hijacking your account. Look at like, the Playstation network got hacked, you know, what if some 3rd party website you gave your Twitter information to got hacked, and all of a sudden they hack into your Twitter and they start posting links to inappropriate sites or something. I think this makes sense, and the dust will settle when this happens and that’ll be that.
Stephan: It makes me wonder if people actually read the terms of service when —
Brad: No way, (laughs) never.
Patrick: Steve can you bring me that bowl for our final guest drawing, and I should add that the guest wins a couple of books as well, they win Host Your Website in the Cloud by Jeff Barr, and Professional WordPress Plugin Development by Brad Williams, Ozh Richard and Justin Tadlock, so last chance. Christopher Cochran, are you in the room?
Brad: Come on down.
Patrick: Come on up. Alright, stranger, who are you, what do you do?
Chris: I’m Chris Cochran, I actually work for Brad, I’m the Senior Designer at Webdev Studios and, yeah, I pretty much design websites from creating mockups in PSD to coding them and displaying them on the Web.
Patrick: Why do you work for Brad?
Chris: Um, I mean I love Webdev Studios, we have two offices, they’re more of a relaxed office but we’re mostly based out of each of our homes, so I get to work from home and it’s really nice. And I was telling you actually yesterday that public speaking is something very not my type of thing, so this is quite interesting right now, it’s funny that now I’m talking right next to him.
Stephan: How long have you been working for Brad?
Chris: I’ve been working almost three years, maybe four.
Stephan: Oh, I’m sorry.
Chris: Yeah (laughs).
Brad: Chris is actually the first official employee at WebDev. He started as an intern, and then blossomed from there.
Chris: Yeah, it’s quite interesting. I actually knew very little about the Web when I first started, and since then I’ve just quickly picked up WordPress and kept on going with that, CSS and now learning PHP and quickly developing from that further and further and now doing plugin development as well and just like going way through themes and learning much more.
Patrick: So how bad is Brad as a boss? No, I’m just kidding.
Chris: No, Brad’s not that bad (laughter). No, he’s great, he’s great
Patrick: So beyond WordPress, beyond your job, what are you passionate about, what do you do?
Chris: Actually music and food. Before doing web design actually illustration, I went to school for logo design and just like print, and it’s just hard to find work in print and I ended up coming across Webdev Studios, applied for an internship and ended up doing well, liking it, and now I kind of love the Web, and I actually bring a lot of my print to the Web too, so that’s kind of interesting. Other than that I love music, bass guitar, piano, and I love cooking; I’m going to actually start a food blog posting some of my recipes and things like that.
Brad: So you love Genesis,
Chris: I love Genesis.
Brad: theme framework, and you also run Genesistutorials.com
Chris: Genesis tutorials.
Brad: So what is it about Genesis that you love so much, compared to other themes or frameworks out there?
Chris: Well, I mean using like 2010 is another one that we use quite often, but the difference between like 2010 and doing a child theme of 2010 and doing like a child theme with Genesis is the amount of books that are involved that filter and really easy modification of the theme without actually having to copy down an entire file just to make a minor change. If I wanted to change say the title in archive themes on 2010 I would need to completely copy down index.php or search.php just to change that one line, where within Genesis it has a filter wrapped around the title where I can write a quick filter inside my functions.php file and change that one text without having to copy that whole file which may change in the next update, so that’s really nice.
Brad: You actually have a concrete horse in front of your house. Why?
Chris: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever told you exactly why it’s there. Well, I bought a house and it actually came with a concrete horse in the front, and it’s just the biggest joke within the company and I’m actually hoping to catch the Google truck going by and wear like a cowboy outfit on with like a lasso and have that on Google Maps. But the concrete horse is actually there because the previous owner since she was a girl she asked her father for a pony and ended up getting her a concrete horse (laughter). This concrete horse is actually set in six feet of concrete as well, so if I want to move it I would either need to cut off its feet and this whole horse just basically dig six feet and dig it up.
Patrick: Maybe that could be an office day project, a day on the road, like a vacation.
Chris: Brad’s been wanting to steal it. Yeah, and I also have frogs as well on each side of my door.
Patrick: Do you live in Narnia? (Laughter)
Chris: The previous owner he was saying that everyone had lions in front of their door and he was like I’m just going to go with frogs.
Patrick: I appreciate that as iFroggy, he sounds like a really cool guy (laughter), like a fine gentleman and good human being.
Chris: Yeah, there’s 2 frogs by the side of my front door, and a horse.
Patrick: Awesome. Well, where can people find you online?
Chris: You can find me on Twitter @tweetsfromchris, and I work for Webdev Studios so if you go to Webdevstudios.com you can find my profile on there as well as our work portfolio and what we do, it’s pretty cool.
Patrick: Excellent, thank you Chris, appreciate it. (Applause) One more time we’re going to do a bonus guest, and this guest will get Brad’s book because Brad’s employee does not need Brad’s book, they already have it in triplicate. Kevin Dees, come on up Kevin, why so serious? (Applause) he doesn’t work for Brad, let me just say that. I thought we had a no Brad employee rule, first of all, because there’s like nine of you here.
Stephan: We should clarify Brad brought his entourage with him to WordCamp.
Patrick: He’s got nine people here, Brad Williams, nine employees here. For every two of you there’s one of them and they want your business, so keep an eye out. Kevin Dees, you’re going to be on the podcast I think we talked about soon, so we’re going to make this pretty quick, but what do you do?
Kevin: Well, I’m a professional fiddler and I tap dance. No, it’s a joke. Actually I’m a product developer for a company called Merge Web in Greenville, South Carolina, and I have Doug Cone to thank for getting me up here because he talked me into putting a little piece of paper in the bucket there, and he does NullVariable so I want to thank him for getting me up here. Yeah, that’s what I do, also run a podcast myself called Web Weekly, and we have a pretty good following, I think we had you on the show, Patrick, but I can’t remember.
Patrick: That’s right, not memorable.
Kevin: Right, not memorable at all. No, you are very memorable. Thank you for coming on the show by the way.
Patrick: My pleasure.
Kevin: And so thank you for having me here.
Patrick: Of course. So you’re here at the conference because you’re a developer, do you do a lot of WordPress or are you mostly with other platforms?
Kevin: I actually work a little with three platforms specifically, from Expression Engine, Drupal and WordPress, so I’m spread thin a little bit, but I really like WordPress for the specific features of like it’s ability to build up quickly for smaller client sites, meaning something not like McDonald’s, so I wouldn’t exactly want to build McDonald’s website on WordPress, I’d want to go with more custom solution there.
Brad: Why is that?
Kevin: Well, being open source McDonald’s might not like that. Anyway, for security reasons they want something proprietary so they can own it, etcetera, etcetera, is what my assumption would be. But yeah, WordPress is great, it gives you a lot of features, especially in the new versions coming up with 3.2, I like the new themes. But custom post types have been a really good move in recent versions, and so I’ve been using those mostly to help build sites, and also with Drupal is like its ability to create custom content types quickly and easily via the content management system itself.
Stephan: We were talking about jQuery yesterday, but you had an interesting take on the topic, you said that you use jQuery just for the visual stuff for the most part.
Kevin: For the most part, like where there’s backwards compatibility issues I’ll use jQuery, but I won’t really use jQuery like to completely build out a website which would be more or less if I was going to use jQuery to build out like all the functions in the website that would be more or less functional programming because that’s kind of how jQuery is set up, although you can — jQuery is an object oriented language itself like Framework. So what I like to do is I like to build my own objects and then insert jQuery into the portions where maybe backwards compatibility would be an issue such as selecting a class on an HTML element in IE, specifically you have to do like class name versus just .class on that type of object.
Stephan: How many people use jQuery here, anybody? All the developers. Because I’m a big fan and that was an interesting take on how you use it, I like that, that’s a good idea.
Patrick: Excellent. Well, where can people find you online?
Kevin: People can find me online as Kevindees on Twitter and Drupal and Forrest and GitHub and just about anywhere else, and you can also check out our podcast at Webweekly.tv, though it’s not video quite yet.
Patrick: Excellent, thank you.
Kevin: Thank you. (Applause)
Patrick: Well, it’s just about in the books, another year, year two. We’d like to say a big thank you to a lot of people, but first and foremost Steve Mortiboy, Michael Torbert, Craig Tuller, organizers in the conference for having us yet again, everyone involved with WordCamp Raleigh here who’s running the show and helping to put on this event. Our podcast team members at SitePoint, Louis Simoneau and Lisa Lang, everyone at SitePoint, Dave Moyer helping us out with the technology stuff, all the volunteers here at the conference, Steve Allis for helping us with the prizes, Ryan Kirkandall for helping us with the audio, we really appreciate all of you for giving of your time in this way, all of our prize sponsors of course: Studio Press, Shopp, Headway Themes, iThemes, Semper Fi Web Design, Wiley and AMACOM, and of course all of you for joining us today, we really appreciate it. And with said let’s go around the table one last time, Brad?
Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves and I’m on Twitter @ssegraves and my blog is Badice.com.
Patrick: And I am Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy network, iFroggy.com, I blog at Managingcommunities.com, you can find me on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y. You can follow our usual co-host Louis Simoneau @rssaddict and SitePoint @sitepointdotcom. You can visit SitePoint/podcast to leave comments on this show which will come out in two parts over the next two weeks by each hour, and you can also subscribe to receive every show automatically. Thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of the conference. (Applause)
Theme music by Mike Mella.
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Louis joined SitePoint in 2009 as a technical editor, and has since moved over into a web developer role at Flippa. He enjoys hip-hop, spicy food, and all things geeky.
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