WPTech 2015

WPTech 2015

So an Irishman, an American, and a hell of a lot of french people walk into a bar … but wait … I’m getting ahead of myself here let’s start at the beginning.

(TL;DR? Un ou deux images de WPTech 2015)

Saturday saw WordPress Tech 2015 coming to town. For those of you not aware it’s an unofficial WordPress conference run here in Nantes. It’s a one day event and this is the second year it has been running. With the birth of my son last year I completely forgot it was on for 2014. This year I made sure to book in advance and I even booked myself in for the afters party.

The Registration Queue

As with a lot of these conferences it had an early 8am start at least for registration and getting your name badges. I arrived fashionably late ( in fairness at that hour of the morning I’ve no idea when I arrived but it wasn’t for 8AM. Thankfully it was a brisk morning and the promised fog didn’t make an appearance.

Roll up Roll up get your Badges

For me … big problems ensued … I didn’t recognise anyone!!! I’m also not fluent in French and small talk really doesn’t come easily to me. Though I suspect a lot of people were in the same boat.

Ou est Charlie?
Ou est Charlie?

Not wanting to look completely lost I proceeded to get a few nice snaps of the place and made use of the staircase to get a better vantage point all the while trying to wake up with multiple cups of coffee and pain au chocolate :) and before too long it was time to head into the welcome note and first of the speakers.

The WPTech 2015 Conferences begin

and it all kicks off ...

I’m not going to go into the conferences that much, for any non French speakers they won’t be that interesting … though you’d probably follow the code / slides without so much effort.

Maxime Bernard Jacquet on discovering the REST API
Maxime Bernard Jacquet on discovering the REST API

The turn out was rather good I believe around 300 people from all over France.

A rather decent turnout for WPTech

Daniel Roch

The real time twitter stream projected to the side of the speakers was a nice addition with useful bits of information, pictures and a whole load of hashtag spam ( until that started getting nipped in the bud.)

The Real Time Twitter Wall

The first break of the morning brought the discovery of Jenny with a group of others and thank god for that. Finally someone I knew ( ish .. I’d started following Jenny on Twitter I believe shortly after or during WCEU 2013). Getting introduced to a few people is rather nice and on that note I would suggest for future events like this a speak dating style place. I first came across this a few years ago with an Anglophone group in Nantes that would hold a meeting where non native speakers would talk to a native speaker for 5 – 10 minutes before switching partner. I’d love to see a similar format at some of these events for those of us feeling a bit shy about introducing ourselves to random people we may just stalk on twitter ) 10 chairs … 10 people … a 5 minute chat and you switch chairs to the next person. You get to meet people introduce yourself and for those introverted people I think it’d be great not to mention for those who know people they could sit an meet a few people they wouldn’t normally meet. I’d also suggest to groups to Adopt a Mec! (guy or girl and bring them into your group if they are looking lost or not talking to anyone.)

More talks followed …

Julio Potier - Hooks Hooks The Magical Fruit
Julio Potier – Best practices when dealing with Hooks

…and it was becoming clear that “Hook(s)” was the word of the day …

Tony Archambeau on Website Migration to WordPress
Tony Archambeau on Website Migration to WordPress

A how to migrate your CMS to WordPress followed with Tony Archambeau (@TonyArchambeauSlides) which took a look at basic SQL commands and procedures for moving a site to WordPress. It avoided unfortunately talking about rewrite rules and plugins like redirection. It would probably still be interesting for those that don’t touch SQL that often. The general rule though is abuse the intern and get them copy and pasting ( joke but if the site is simple then copying and pasting the content might just be a simpler not to mention faster solution ) I believe the Import tool has become active again so it might have been interesting to hear about this as well and where it’s going.

It was then on to the plugin customiser with Remi Corson …

Remi Corson ...
Remi Corson on the API Customiser for plugins

Remi Corson ...

… and before you knew it, it was lunch time with subs so many subs!!!

Subs so many Subs

People even took the time to help out friends with code problems

Helping out with coding problems

Wandering … taking pictures … trying to look busy :)

Daniel / Olivier

Making use of the spiral stairs I got this one … not to mention getting given out to by security :)

The Red Shirts

After Lunch it was yet more conferences with a great talk from Jonathan Buttigieg on best practices with plugin development

Jonathan Buttigieg on Best practices for Plugin Development

Back to taking more photos for me though for some of the talks …

Shooting of video …

Shooting Of Video

The discovery of the ultra low tech job board …

The Job Board

Not to mention some interesting jobs …

Interesting Jobs

Video Interviews happened …

Video Interview Station

The WPTech 2015 Video Interviews

…and of course Jenny gave her talk on using WordPress to Generate PDFs which gave me flashbacks to 2002 when I was doing the same for the first time coming up against all sorts of limitations in relation to images / backgrounds and dealing with 13 different languages for print. It also gave me a lot of fuel for thought and I’ve left with some interesting ideas.

Jenny Beaumont talking about WordPress and PDFs

And then it was all over … the quiz took place .. laughs were had and the obligatory group team shot was taken

WPTech Team Shot

I found most of the WPTech 2015 talks rather interesting in particular those of:

It had been billed as an event for all and not just techies though I’m not too sure about that. Once you start mentioning code / hooks and programming API’s … I’m not so sure. I however did enjoy it a lot not to mention the after party.

Ah yes as I was saying … An Irishman, an American, and a hell of a lot of french people walk into a bar …

I’m still searching for a punch line for that one but in the mean time … yet a few more shots from the After party.

Quick detour on the way to the bar…

Thomas and the Elephant

The addition of alcohol to any event usually helps get people talking and this was no different …

So Many Glasses

Good conversations with Karine..


Thierry ( whose podcasts I’d followed from time to time adding my own bad french tweets from time to time )


Though the introduction was brief here’s one of Didier …

Didier Wolforg

Jenny and her husband Olivier

Jenny and Olivier



The white wine flowed … then the red wine … then we went back to the white wine and it flowed some more and it was good.

All in all a superb day and I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Jenny for making me feel so welcome, introducing me to so many people and the chats in English  on a day when my head was melted from all the French; and to Thomas as well for saying hey and hanging out, and last but not least a huge thank you to the organisers of WPTech 2015 for a great day and evening.

but hang on you’ve read down this far?


The Animated WPTech Tean

Problemes Techniques

Problemes Techniques



For those of you about to click we salute you

Who Snaps The Snappers

And that’s a wrap though I may tweak and edit things a little bit

Chicken with roast veg

Brussel Sprouts right? Who knew

There are certain foods you associate with certain times of the year. The Blacknight canteen for example serves Ham and Turkey every so often during the year and this completely throws me. ( No I won’t be there to eat it however I still get notifications of the menu they’ll be having daily.) It’s a Christmas dish for me, well Christmas or new years depending and it involves left overs to boot. I only really remember there being Turkey at Christmas and it’d be with a Ham. There’d also be the sides and the dreaded … Brussel Sprouts!!!

Last Sunday we decided it was going to be roast Chicken for lunch. We’ve become rather good at these in recent times having only really started making them a year or two ago I now seem to be a dab hand at getting a nice roast going.

Roast Chicken!

The formula goes a little something like … throw the Chicken on for an hour with tin foil over it so it doesn’t burn ( It was frozen ) and then throw all the veg in with it roughly chopped and cook for a further 40+ minutes. (This time I opted to throw in 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts. The results I have to say were amazing. I won’t go so far as to say that Charlotte ate them as well ( She did try one at least ) but between Val and myself they disappeared rather quickly. The secret? No idea they were dumped into the pan with the Carrots (cut into chunks) and Potatoes (cut into wedges) … halved shallots and whole garlic cloves. A sprinking of herbes de province and a good dash of olive oil all over.

Brussel Sprouts

Chicken with roast veg and Brussel Sprouts

When you’re left going back for more … again and again it has to be good right? :)

We’ve previously fried the sprouts with some bacon and they came out well. (Link BBC Good Food Sprout with Pancetta) This however just hit the spot


Print is dead! Long live the print!

Recently I’ve found myself doing more and more print work. This is scary as I’ve never had any formal training in all things print  related (or not print related for that matter) so I’m always slightly nervous. Especially so when the adverts are half page adverts.

Sunday Business Post Blacknight Office 365 pub

Still I think that they’ve been coming out rather nicely even if I am biased.

The above is currently running in the Sunday Business Post and it’s for Office 365 through Blacknight.

The below was running in one of the supplements recently

Thanks to Gianni for the photos ( You just can’t seem to pick up copies of the Irish papers here :P )

Blacknight Sunday Business Post Open For Business Pub

They seem to be turning out quite well so far. Let me know what you think in the comments below! ( oooh I went there )

Blacknight Open for Business Advert

The Stress!!!

The Stress Button

If you know what the above picture is then you possibly know the stress that comes with pressing it. When you’re writing / designing  a newsletter  you hope that you don’t screw up anything in it. Sure a spelling mistake isn’t a big deal / or is it? Does it make things look unprofessional to some people? Are all the links working. That last minute change … did it break something else. Are all the offers right? because you know someone will take an issue if it says something and they can’t get it at that price … PHEW

We sent out the Blacknight newsletter the other day (Click to read it)

Blacknight Newsletter September 2015

Lots happening chez Blacknight with a new Site Builder .. Office 365 being launched … Ranking Coach if you’re trying to get to number one in Google search … the new Status Blog and ALL of the domains. There’s a promo on .irish as well in case that’s your kinda thing.

What would Jesus do?

One last call to vote Yes

I won’t be able to vote YES tomorrow due to not being in Ireland. This saddens me. What saddens me even more is the no campaign.

When you take away someone’s rights or don’t give them the same rights as you that seems wrong. It wasn’t so long ago that women weren’t allowed to vote. They also had to give up a civil service job if they got married. Hell black people were kept as slaves and were second class citizens in the US . I mean what on earth!

Same sex sex was illegal in Ireland up until 1993. You know, what people want to do behind closed doors is entirely up to them once it’s legal and doesn’t hurt anyone else. The first time I saw two guys kissing I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it. The first time I saw a guy and a girl kissing hell I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that either as they “ate the face off each other”. You know though you have to change your way of thinking and move with the times. You don’t choose to be gay. You don’t choose to be straight either. I can hold my wife’s hand as I walk down the street. Two people should be able to hold hands without fear of someone saying something about it.

You know if you look at it there are names for a lot of things.

For example if you don’t think women should be allowed to vote? What does that make you? Sexist? A misogynist?

If you don’t think black people should have the same rights as you? Racist?

If you don’t think gay people should have the same rights as you what does that make you? A homophobe / homophobic?

Oh I went there and I said that word.

The thing is I haven’t seen one argument from the no side that is actually relevant in this referendum. They’ve deflected things constantly back to the issue of children. Well guess what! Gay people already have children and by all accounts they are doing a great job of raising them. Hell I know straight couples that probably shouldn’t have kids.

I was raised a catholic … I was married in a church and I made a graphic the other day for those of you of a religious nature.

What would Jesus do?

These are your family, friends and neighbours you’re talking about here and you may not know it because people still have issues with it. If you’re straight a vote yes will have absolutely no impact on your life. You’ll get to know you did the right thing though. You know if our society shows gay people they are accepted maybe there’ll be one less suicide next year as a person who feels different feels more accepted.

So tomorrow when you’re voting and please do vote. I urge you to step back and think to yourself. Am I a good person? Should all people be treated equally no matter their sex, race or sexual orientation?

Straight Facts - Vote Yes

Straight Facts – Vote Yes

So I ended up working on a small PDF to try and put together a small summary of the key points that people seem to be discussing or confused by in the marriage referendum. It’s an A4 PDF for no other reason than that seems like a good size. It could no doubt be tweaked a bit but I guess that’s besides the point.

Thanks to @brian_dneen, @mneylon, @damienmulley and @imisaninja for input, ideas and feedback :)

Here’s a 1200×1697 pixel png of it in case that’s more your thing :)

I call it Straight Facts!

Straight Facts - Vote Yes

Feel free to download it print it / pass it onto friends.

If you’ve got any other suggestions / corrections let me know and I’ll see about updating it.

Straight Facts – Vote Yes PDF (1.4MB)

Children Deserve Equality

Children Deserve Equality

Children Deserve Equality

You might not recognise the people in the photo. They are however being used by the No campaign on Marriage Equality.

I can’t honestly say what their views are hence I included a disclaimer at the bottom of the image. What I can tell you is that apparently the Stock Photographer and the models involved in the original no poster graphic aren’t happy. You don’t have much choice as to where your images appear when you’ve signed a model release and distribute your stock images to multiple stock image sites. I can try to do my part though.

Here’s what Adam Hills ( who I’ve never heard of before ) has to say about things (hat tip to broadsheet.ie )

Adam Hills on the Vote No Poster

You can also read what the stock photographer has to say about things.

There’s a post over on the Blacknight blog about it

I won’t be in Ireland to vote. I’ve never really taken that much interest in Politics in the past but this isn’t about politics this is about equality. I’ve donated to the Yes Campaign and I’m trying to encourage people to vote. I have two small kids and when they grow up I want them to have the same rights I have no matter what. So I can only hope that everyone goes out and votes yes on the day.

Game Of Domains

The Blacknight SME Awards Design

SME Awards Design

You know when you can only say for so long that you don’t do print design? :)

I guess I can’t say that anymore.

This weekend saw my 4m x 3m baby unrolled at the Blacknight SME Awards in Cork. I have to say WOW it’s a nice feeling to see your work at that size. Mental note … check check and quadruple check your work zoomed at max. That awkward moment when you see a small issue after everything has gone to print = ARGH

Oh well you can see the stage design (Though it’s rather dark) as well as a few of the popups / swords and other props I put together. All in all it was pretty great to work with Gianni Ponzi on this. Good feedback / Great ideas (could we do cutouts) and even if he was screaming for Blood … we left that out.

Personally I think with the launch of the recent season of Game of Thrones my Game of Domains concept was rather fun. It’s always tough to make domains “sexy” and to make people think outside of the .com or ccTLD ( .ie / .fr )

Game Of Domains

PS: In case some people ended up with some bizarre heat sensitive mugs, they weren’t meant to be given away at the awards. They were concepts / experiments I was running. ( le sigh )

La Redoute Meuble

Redesigning the Kitchen …

Slowly .. slowly we’ve been getting things done around our flat.

Today I got rid of the hidious corner.

Truth be told Val can take credit for it all. I just did the cutting / building.

First up we’ve got 1 icky corner. Yes it needs a lick of paint but the main issue is with the pipes which well we can’t move ( not without some major remodeling no doubt ) They are connected to the gas boiler which sits just on the wall above.

Take 1 icky space

Of course Val knows exactly what she wanted (Hint: check the price)

La Redoute Meuble

That’s €529 before the dicount. EEK!I’m not sure about you but I could never spend that amount of money on that.

So of course it’s some MDF and some counter top to the rescue :)

Build one set of shelves

Val added the final touches / painted it and we’ve now got a great space for water / drinks bottles / cans and so on :)

Get Val to put in all the final touches

I just pray the cats don’t get at the curtains :)