Thinking: Our Blog
Hi, I’m Anna.
I’m the Marketing Coordinator at Oomph. I actually started about two months ago, but since we’ve had so many new hires to highlight, I’m just getting through to you now. Since I tend to write most of the posts you read here, I thought for my “welcome” post we’d do something a little different. Time to get all kinds of meta and tell you about myself:
I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere–Kabetogama, Minnesota, to be exact. My family was very close-knit and all about Midwestern values, homeschooling my sisters and me and always having dinner together. My mom is a flautist/teacher and my dad is a park ranger, so I grew up in a weird tomboy-artsy-granola safe-space. I always loved reading and writing, submitting my first work for review at age 7–Unfortunately, Reading Rainbow wasn’t super excited about “Jake the Drake,” so I remained shrouded in anonymity.
I left Middle America to attend Harvard, majoring in statistics until my Junior year, when I discovered I hated it with all my being. My change to a philosophy major was somewhat arbitrary, but in retrospect one of the best decisions I ever made. It taught me not only how to write 1000x better, but also how to think analytically, approaching worn problems from a fresh angle.
Both during and after college, I naturally gravitated toward marketing. With nonprofits, artists, and clients in industries ranging from healthcare to retail, I did things like crafting website content, managing social media communities, and researching markets in both traditional and behavioral ways. Before joining Oomph I was at a software consulting firm, officially starting my present path in tech marketing.
I joined Oomph shortly after graduation, and was instantly infatuated with the team, culture, and company (the office’s views of Boston didn’t hurt either). One of my first projects was writing copy for Oomph’s upcoming site redesign, which really forced me to hit the ground running. With everything from branding to PR in the mix, It’s been a challenging and exhilarating ride so far, and I’m looking forward to our bright future as BFFs.
But enough about me. If you want to chat more, you can usually find me at a Boston proper park with my Frenchie Archer, or at the Fugu food truck whenever it graces the Greenway. Finally, take a minute to visit the communities I’ve been working so hard on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Leave a note and tell us how we’re doing; I’m in constant need of validation.
- Anna Remus
In a “word” (pun intended), WordCamp Boston 2013 was exhilarating. Team members at Oomph Boston were introduced to hundreds of developers, designers, and bloggers of all skill levels and backgrounds. It was incredible to see so many different individuals come together to make one weekend great for the WordPress community.
Although it’s impossible to fully rehash the weekends events, we picked out a few of our favorite talks and key takeaways:
1. Responsive design is necessary.
With mobile ruling the digital scene, and remaining the default in developing parts of the world, responsive design is not merely a trend, but a necessity. This year’s keynote by Ethan Marcotte stressed that pages are getting too big in size, and developers need to focus on efficiency.
2. WordPress 3.7 isn’t that different.
WordPress 3.7.1 was released two days ago, and many users are echoing what 3.7 pioneer Andrew Nacin told his WordCamp audience: It’s not that different. Instead of revolutionizing the platform, developers focused on streamlining processes and fixing bugs, but keeping it familiar overall. This was surprising to many of us, but we can’t disagree with Nacin’s logic: “Updates shouldn’t be painful…We owe it to 20% of the internet to keep sites secure.”
Several of this year’s talks focused on security, from Brennan Byrne’s Cardinals website hack, to Sam Hotchkiss’ user-friendly presentation. In summary: security is a legitimate concern, WordPress 3.7 auto-updates addresses this concern, and threats often come from unlikely sources (like plugins).
4. WordPress isn’t just for blogging anymore.
It’s a point WordPress has been driving home for years, but WC 2013′s unspoken theme was that WordPress isn’t just for blogs anymore, as summarized by our developer Steven Word’s talk “Breaking Away from the Blog: Unconventional WordPress.” Many sessions gave listeners tips on various ways to do this, such as Corey Frang’s jQuery talk, or K.Adam White’s use of Backbone.js. Applications and plugins are becoming more advanced by the day, giving a WordPress site whatever functionality the user needs.
5. up your SWAG GAME
Stickers and buttons are always fun, but this year’s sponsors went bigger than ever with giveaways. Digital design house Upstatement gave attendees beautiful, high-quality posters that went like hotcakes, and our booth-neighbor ServerPress.com brought hearty, printed pint glasses. What will next year bring?
What were your personal WordCamp Boston ’13 takeaways? Let us know in the comments!
The title says it all: Here is a comprehensive list of every presentation given at WordCamp Boston ’13, with a link to their slides. If your presentation slides are not linked, we were not able to find them online; please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included!
FRIDAY, OCT 25TH, 2013
|Jared Novack||WordPress Templating with Timber and Twig||Slides||Github||@jaredNova|
|Matt White (Jesse Marple)||Information Architecture and WordPress: From Discovery to Code||Slides||@dirkweiss|
|Al Davis||Beginner User Workshop||Slides||@adavis3105|
|Kelly Dwan, Mel Choyce||UX for Theme and Plugin Developers||@ryelle, @melchoyce|
|Kurt Eng, Jon Bishop||Intermediate User Workshop||Slides||@kurteng, @jondbishop|
|Suzette Franck||Designing for WordPress||Slides||@mt_Suzette|
SATURDAY, OCT 26TH, 2013
|Ethan Marcotte||The Map And The Territory||@beep|
|Matt Medeiros||How WordPress Entrepreneurs Build Their Business||Slides||@mattmedeiros|
|John P Bloch||How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Command Line||Slides||@johnpbloch|
|Chris Ferdinandi||Wicked Fast WordPress||Slides||@ChrisFerdinandi|
|George Stephanis||Jetpack for Developers||Slides||@daljo628|
|Christopher Cochran||320, 480, 640, 720, 768, 960, 1024… NO||Slides||@tweetsfromchris|
|Steven Word||Breaking Away from the Blog: Unconventional WordPress||Slides||@stevenkword|
|Corey Frang||jQuery and WordPress Together, Again!||Slides||@gnarf|
|Mike Susz||Decisions, Decisions||Slides||@mikesusz|
|Michelle Schulp||Stop Making Things Pretty & Start Designing||Slides||@marktimemedia|
|Jesse Friedman||The UX of Real-Time Site Personalization||Slides||@professor|
|Eric Mann||PHP Unit Testing||Slides||@ericmann|
|Dan Stolts||Blogging for Reach||Slides||@ITProGuru|
|Jake Goldman||10 Interview Questions I Ask Every Developer||Slides||@jakemgold|
|Brennen Byrne||Anatomy of a WordPress hack||Slides||@brennenbyrne|
|John James Jacoby||Sweet bbPress Secrets|
|Matthew Nelson||Woocommerce Setup and Launch in 30m||Slides||@matthewtnelson|
|Dan Beil||Why Custom Post Types are Awesome||Slides||@add_action_dan|
|Jon Heller||Git for 5 Year Olds||Slides||@jonheller|
|Matt Wiebe||Theme Customizer||Github||@mattwiebe|
|Louise Leduc Kennedy||Legal Updates for Techies||@fromwesthill|
|Andrew Nacin||The Dark Magic of WordPress 3.7||@nacin|
|John Eckman||Beyond Posts and Pages: Getting Chunky with WordPress||Slides||@jeckman|
|Jon Moss||Building a Network of Public School Websites on a Public School Budget||Slides||@JonMossEdTech|
SUNDAY, OCT 27TH, 2013
|Mo Jangda||Caching; for fun and profit||Slides||@mjangda|
|Lindsay Branscombe||Navigating the World of E-Commerce||Slides||@idiot_girl|
|Suzette Franck||Don’t Do Anything Without a Statement of Work!||Slides||@mt_Suzette|
|Christina Inge||Optimize Your WordPress Site with Analytics and Testing||@christinainge|
|Sam Hotchkiss||WordPress Security||Slides||@hotchkissweb|
|Casie Gillette||What you need to know about SEO in 2013||Slides||@casieg|
|Mika Epstein||Do I Need Managed Hosting? A Tale of Two Servers||Slides||@ipstenu|
|Michael Cain||Triple-A Blogging: How to Blog Like a Semi-Pro||@michaeldcain|
|Bradley Jacobs||An Introduction to PHP Dependency Management w/ Composer||Slides||Github||@crazyjaco|
|Lisa Wood||Web Design Best Practices for Non-Designers||Slides||@lisawood|
|David Hayes||Theme Creep and What to Do About It||Slides||@davidbhayes|
The Oomph Team had a great time at this year’s event! Thank you to all of the speakers, sponsors, and organizers. We hope it was as informative and fun a weekend for you as it was for us.
Coming to WordCamp Boston? There’s an app for that.
As hundreds flock to Cambridge for this year’s conference, we at Oomph are shining our shoes, charging our phones, and timing our coffee pots for bright-and-early Saturday morning. Our team mostly comes from the Boston metro area, but we know many attendees are traveling a bit farther and may not be familiar with all the eccentricities of Boston/Cambridge proper. To help out, our team came up with this list of useful apps to get you through every stage of this weekend, from parking to new contact follow-up.
Here are 8 apps to help you make the most of WordCamp Boston:
Widely regarded as the best app for Boston subway ( = “the T“) planning, OpenMBTA is not only free, but updated often for optimal user experience. Track a specific bus, or find when the next train leaves Kendall, and use that extra time to shake a few more hands at the WordCamp After Party on Saturday at Firebrand Saints, from 6:30 to 10pm.
*Expert Tip: Talk to an MBTA officer to get a hard plastic Charlie Card instead of a traditional paper ticket. You get a discount on each ride!
If you’re speaking at this year’s conference, banish butterflies with preparation. Prompster is a public-speaking app that keeps all needed speech docs in one place, auto-scrolls with speed options and a pause function, and helps you stay on-time. It even has an audio recorder built in, so you can practice on the WordCamp-bound plane, train, or bus.
Since you’re a digital maven, you probably don’t tote a notebook and pen around with you in a carpet bag. Cleanly organize your notes and get the most out of this year’s sessions with Evernote, a note-taking app that lets you include multimedia elements like photos, audio, and files.
WordCamp is all about networking, and for today’s conference attendees this is mostly done on social media. Keep track of all your social activity in one place, including things like Twitter mentions and Instagram activity. If you’re posting for a company, save genius quotes as you hear them, then schedule them for posting throughout the week.
*Expert Tip: Keep a tab of Twitter keyword searches to nab social traffic that used the event hashtag or mentioned @WordCampBoston.
LinkedIn’s CardMunch app scans business cards and converts them into contacts automatically, making it easier than ever to follow-up with new leads, potential hires, and friends.
If you’re attending WordCamp on business, you’re sure to have piles of saved receipts by the end of the weekend. Take photos of them in ShoeBoxed to save them, remotely submit them, and see all expenses cataloged.
Missing your favorite game while at WordCamp? Download theScore and load it with your favorite teams and sports to stay updated on the real-time game results most important to you. In a city of sports fanatics, you’ll be in good company.
Boston/Cambridge parking is notoriously hard to find. Luckily, the N.E.R.D. Center has its own garage for you to use during WordCamp, but for after-hours fun and overnight accommodation, try ParkMe to see real-time availability at many locations.
No matter which apps you keep in tow, we hope your time at #WCBos is fulfilling, relaxing, and a great overall experience. If you’d like to say ‘Hi’ to us this weekend, please stop by the Oomph table, or catch up with us at the after party on Saturday night at Firebrand Saints.
Do you have a must-have conference app that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.
Version control systems like Git are a necessary part of any reasonable software development workflow; there are many options out there, the most common being Git, SVN, and CVS. People become passionate about their choice of VCS, and entire stacks of procedures, policies, and politics become entangled in what should be a simple and mostly transparent toolchain choice.
The honest truth is, they all work. All VCS options have distinct quirks, advantages, and disadvantages. Some perform better than others, but if you state your goal in English, most tools in existence will accomplish that goal. The missing component in an unsuccessful system tends to be company buy-in. I have seen many excellent technology efforts fail because the whole team didn’t buy-in, and I have seen some terrible tech tools provide long-term valuable services because the team was on-board. The bottom line is that if a team is willing to use a tool, they will make it successful.
Everyone at Oomph was interested in moving to Git, but there was a lot of concern about disruptions to commenced business–It’s simply not acceptable to tell a client that you can’t deploy their site because you’re in the middle of a VCS switch. Additionally, the number of distinct repositories Oomph manages made the migration daunting: If you have a single repository, it’s pretty straightforward process, but if you have 10, 20, or over 100, it gets a bit more challenging. Our path forward was to migrate the highest-traffic repos, then set a system in place to sort at the smaller and less active ones over time. All new projects start with Git, and all the old ones on SVN are in the process of being migrated, based upon activity level. If a project sees very little activity, we have no immediate reason to change it over.
The migration has presented the team with a learning curve and some new challenges, but ultimately this new step has resulted in greater speed and efficiency across the organization. The education effort is ongoing, as we continue to migrate old projects and integrate new team members. Oomph now has the Git foundation to build upon, and the right people positioned to help this migration remain a long-term success.
Don’t tell anyone, but our newest front end development intern may be Superman. As we push through many challenging client projects, Jon Clark [Kent?] has joined the team, saving the day with data migrations and project quality assurance.
A proud Jamaica Plain resident, Jon is all about Boston life. City living is a “total 180” for this New Hampshire native, but he’s since found his bearings thanks to Beantown’s exciting sports landscape, fabulous cuisine, and music/theater scene. You can find him and his wife catching a flick at the Brattle or Somerville Theater, or admiring the art of some of Boston’s fine cultural hot-spots, like the MFA.
Jon loves the friendly and inclusive climate at Oomph, and has been enjoying the opportunity to work on both individual tasks and group projects with fluidity. We’re happy to have him and grateful for all the work he is doing to ensure our projects leave Oomph in tip-top shape. Please join us in welcoming Jon to the Boston team!
It’s that time of year! Several of the Oomph, Inc. team members are preparing for the annual WordPress WordCamp Boston Conference, on October 25th-27th. This year’s Camp takes place at the Microsoft N.E.R.D Center in Cambridge, and is sure to be rife with inspired workshops and lively conversations.
WordCamp Boston will feature sessions on WordPress design, development, themes, project management, hosting, PHP, and Git. The Oomph Boston office will be proudly represented by speakers Bradley Jacobs (@crazyjaco) and Steven Word (@stevenkword), and naturally the office-buzz is beginning.
So we asked around: What are you looking forward to most?
1. New Frontend Frontiers
Oomph developers Alex and Bradley are most looking forward to K. Adam White’s discussion of backbone.js. Known among the Oomph team for his engaging talks, White’s presentation on development workflow at last year’s WordCamp was an office favorite. This year his talk will dive deeper into backbone.js, which has the potential to breathe new life into the WP 3.5 frontend.
2. Testing, Testing
3. WOrdpress 3.7 Heaven
Andrew Nacin, who is spearheading the effort behind WordPress 3.7, is also a greatly anticipated speaker. Currently, 3.7 is released in beta, but with the platform’s latest incarnation officially releasing soon, we’re sure Nassan will have some special sneak-peeks for the WordCamp crew.
Whether this is your first time at WordCamp (like our marketing whiz Anna), or you’re a seasoned industry veteran (like our CTO Dave McKinley), there’s a lot to get excited about! The Microsoft N.E.R.D. Center will shine in all its sun-lit glory, the SWAG will be plentiful—but the most thrilling thing is meeting the vibrant WordPress community members that will be waiting with open arms. Wear that name badge with pride, and shake some hands!
5. Git a Drink
The Saturday-night after party is sure to be a blast this year—since Oomph is hosting! Come 6:30pm we’ll be at the ever-hip Firebrand Saints. With your badge there’s an open bar until 10pm, so come connect with speakers, meet your fellow attendees, and make some new Twitter followers!
Tell us what you’re most excited to see at this year’s WordCamp on Twitter! @oomphinc #wcbos13