Author Archives: Lauren Pittenger

About Lauren Pittenger

Sultana of Sponsors + Viceroy of Swag. Find me on Twitter @laurenpittenger.

Speaker Interview: Jay Hoffmann

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Jay Hoffmann

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    When I first started building websites I used Flash (don’t tell anyone). It took a couple of years after that for me to start using WordPress, probably around version 3.0. The reason was actually incredibly simple. I needed a blog for a digital lab I was working with, and WordPress came up again and again. Having a site up in 5 minutes might seem kind of slow these days, but it was fascinating when a decade ago. Since then, I’ve kind of come in and out of the WordPress community, always astonished to find what’s been added in my absence. WordPress was my introduction to proper web development, web standards, and open source technology. I suspect I’m not alone.

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    WordCamps are a chance to put real faces and personalities behind people you probably interact with all the time online. In the tech world it can be easy to squirrel away in a corner, peeking your head up for a question every now and again. I think what I like about WordCamps is that they force people from across the community to just be in one place together. The kinds of conversations and development that can come out of a single day of this is incredible.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    I’ll be talking about Javascript, which I think is a language facing down a lot of WordPress developers right now. With all the hype, it’s easy to get the impression that by this time next year, PHP will be gone, and Javascript will have taken its place. That’s not the case. But Javascript will be an important part of WordPress’ future, and has been a major part of the web’s history. It can be a tough language to wrap your head around, and can be all at once forgiving and extremely complicated. My hope is to give people a few different entry points into Javascript so they can walk away feeling like they have a real starting point. And as Javascript becomes more and more important in WordPress, I hope developers can feel comfortable evolving alongside it.

    What are you currently learning?

    I’ve been paying very close attention to the new developments in Javascript lately, and trying to get at the fundamentals behind the libraries, frameworks and silver bullets out there. Angular vs React vs Backbone vs Why Do We Need A Framework? started to make my head spin. So I’m going back to basics and learning what Javascript is and what it can do. I’ll go from there. I will say, though, that VueJS has really caught my interest. I think it’s going to be big in 2016.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    Nope. If I had to guess, I’d say a big fan of strudels (as in strudel + groupie).

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    My wife and I spent the entire weekend inside. There was much television and snacks.

    Where can we find you online?

    I’m on Twitter @jay_hoffmann, and on GitHub as JasonHoffmann. One thing I’m trying to do is blog more. Force me to at jayhoffmann.com.


Jay Hoffmann‘s session is titled First Steps with JavaScript and WordPress. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Ty Fujimura

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Ty Fujimura

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    WordPress was my first baby step towards building complete websites after learning cursory HTML and CSS, back in 2008 or 2009. I remember thinking “surely people don’t just copy their header and footer to every page, right?” WordPress blew my mind!

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    I have never had the pleasure of attending one but look forward to meeting folks who are using WordPress in new and interesting ways that we can use at Cantilever

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    The REST API is nothing short of revolutionary for the role of WordPress in the broader internet. I hope people will be inspired to embrace the API project and take full advantage of it for their own projects. I also hope some people will be inspired to create outside platforms that leverage what will be a massive install-base of API-enabled WP sites. The first wave of platforms of this nature is just hitting the market, and it’s truly impressive to see what people can do.

    What are you currently learning?

    At Cantilever our big focus right now is deployment and testing. We have never implemented a unified, effective methodology for reliable deployment of WP sites nor have we implemented a strong automated testing layer. We are leaving no stone unturned and look forward to publishing our eventual methodology with the community when we feel satisfied.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    No clue, but it sounds painful.

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    I shoveled the snow into a big pile. My kids claimed the pile as “snowball mountain,” so we all had fun.

    Where can we find you online?

    Cantilever is at http://cantilever.co and you can follow us @cantileverco!


Ty Fujimura‘s session is titled Let’s Learn About the WordPress REST API. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Kerch McConlogue

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Kerch McConlogue

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    I got started with WordPress with version 1.5. Blogging was cutting edge back then and I wanted in on it!

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    That facility was A M A Z I N G! All WordCamps should be held there.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    I want beginners to come away thinking.. I can do that! I can figure that out! It really isn’t so scary after all

    What are you currently learning?

    I WISH I could say I’m learning javascript, but I’m not. Currently I’m working on learning how to juggle a whole bunch of new clients at one time and not lose my mind or let details drop thru the cracks.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    Na.. but I snuck and looked it up!

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    My husband bought a snow plow for our truck this year. I figured that meant it WOULD NOT SNOW! HA! So while he practiced plowing our very long and hilly drive way, I sat inside in the warm and read a book!

    Where can we find you online?

    WeFixBrokenWebsites.com Twitter: @kerchmcc Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerch https://www.facebook.com/WeFixBrokenWebsites/ And other places that I hardly ever look at.


Kerch McConlogue‘s session is titled Next Steps for WordPress Users. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Beth Soderberg

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Beth Soderberg

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    I got started with WordPress in 2009 when my employer started planning to move their websites to WordPress. I was a non-technical content writer and editor at the time and was sent to WordCamp Boston 2010 to explore the blogger/content track. I went to a few developer oriented sessions at that conference because I was curious to see what they were like and those sessions piqued my interest in learning to build websites. When I went home, I started to tinker with WordPress and learn HTML and CSS. By the time my second WordCamp (it was Philly!) came around later that year I had become determined to learn to code and had just accepted a slightly more technical online communications management role at my job. I thought that this position had the potential to be a role where I could obtain the skills to become a developer, which ultimately proved to be true!

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    I attended WordCamp Lancaster for the first time last year and had an amazing time. My fondest memory of it was the after party. I had lots of really great conversations with people that I already knew and also met a few new people who have become friends since then. I also really loved the hat swag attendees received last year!

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    I hope attendees will take away a few actionable tips that will help them work more collaboratively and happily with their designer/developer colleagues to build websites that have true design integrity and polish.

    What are you currently learning?

    I am currently working on truly learning JavaScript. I’ve always found JavaScript to be super hard and intimidating to learn and have therefore avoided it a bit. In 2016 I’m trying to learn how it works from the ground up, “deeply”, as some might say.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    I haven’t the faintest idea what a “stroopie” is. It might be some sort of pie, but I have no idea what a “stroo” would be. Or perhaps a “stroopie” is something that is droopy?

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    I watched an unreasonable number of episodes of “Murder, She Wrote” while working on a website and refusing to leave my apartment.

    Where can we find you online?

    You can find me on Twitter @bethsoderberg and at my website: bethsoderberg.com.


Beth Soderberg‘s session is titled Bridging the Gap Between Design and Development. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Nicole Kohler

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Nicole Kohler

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    At the tender age of 19, I started a blog about Japanese music (something I was a bit of a know-it-all on at the time). Six months into using another platform, I took the leap to self-hosted WordPress and never looked back. Four years of fiddling with themes, PHP, and content followed, and prepared me in a ton of ways for the career I have now.

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    I’ve never attended WordCamp Lancaster (shame!), but what I love most about WordCamps in general is the opportunity to chat and connect with people who have different levels of knowledge about WordPress. It’s so fun to both teach and be taught in the same space.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    Content marketing isn’t easy, it isn’t a fast track to success or profit, and it isn’t guaranteed. But if it’s done well, and (sometimes even more importantly!) done with heart, it can have enormous benefits for your visitors/customers, and for you in turn.

    What are you currently learning?

    Public speaking skills! And I’m continuing to learn Japanese, which has been an ongoing hobby of mine for 10+ years.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    Nope. Can I eat it?

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    Shoveled ’till my arms nearly fell off, wrote blog posts, and wished I’d bought more snacks.

    Where can we find you online?

    On Twitter, @nicoleckohler
    On Instagram, @freequiet
    My rarely updated blog: littleyellowpenguin.com
    My day job, writing for Woo: woothemes.com/blog


Nicole Kohler‘s session is titled Common Misconceptions About Content Marketing. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Casey Driscoll

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Casey Driscoll

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    2009 while rebuilding college newspaper site.

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    Keynotes have been great. Also breakfast with @salcode, he’s a nice guy.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    A new perspective, a can-do attitude, and the tools to get started.

    What are you currently learning?

    React.js, D3.js, Drupal, MS SQL

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    A Link Between Worlds on 3DS

    Where can we find you online?

    https://twitter.com/caseydriscoll
    https://caseypatrickdriscoll.com
    https://github.com/caseypatrickdriscoll
    https://www.youtube.com/user/caseypatrickdriscoll


Casey Driscoll‘s session is titled Unicode. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Russell Heimlich

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Russell Heimlich

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    I started with WordPress by figuring out how to build a blog for my website in my spare time. I never had an intention to blog, I was just tinkering. So way back in 2007 (http://www.russellheimlich.com/blog/the-first-one/) after I had a blog up and running I decided I should start blogging. From there I was hired at the Pew Research Center in 2009 and was tasked with figuring out which CMS the company should move to. I had this crazy idea of building the sites using WordPress and in 2014 we finished our goal with all of the Pew Research Center websites on WordPress and using responsive themes. https://twitter.com/kingkool68/statuses/433672978870853632

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    I love talking with other attendees at WordCamp Lancaster. The people are down to earth and friendly.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    I hope attendees will understand that their site search can be a lot better for their visitors. There are lots of different ways of varying difficulties to make search better.

    What are you currently learning?

    I’m focused on performance and caching by running all of my personal sites through a CDN. Serving sites using HTTP/2 is resulting in a huge performance boost in download times thanks to streaming the requests through one connection to the server. It’s a lot of geeky fun.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    A Starship Trooper themed whoopie pie. Duh.

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    Shoveled snow. Played outside. Napped. Repeat.

    Where can we find you online?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Russell+Heimlich


Russell Heimlich‘s session is titled Searching for a Better Search. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Tracy Rotton

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Tracy Rotton

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    Aside from using WordPress to build my own blog, I started using it for clients as a federal government contractor. Our client had several smaller offices looking to simplify their web publishing tools, and WordPress was a perfect fit.

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    Whoopie pies! And being able to hang and geek out on WordPress with some of my favorite people from home and from around the country.

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    That people realize that they don’t need to have to be PHP and JavaScript experts to contribute to the community. Whether it’s speaking at your local meetup or contributing to one of the many make.wordpress.org teams, there’s a ton of ways everyone can give back to the project, no matter their experience or skill level.

    What are you currently learning?

    My motto is “Always be leveling up.” I’m always trying to learn all the things, but right now, I’m trying to get over my long-standing JavaScriptphobia. Things like Backbone, the JSON REST API, and React are all a part of that too.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    Not a clue. But because I’m originally from South Jersey, I call hoagies “subs” and people who come from Pennsylvania to the Jersey Shore “shoobies.”

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    Skied!

    Where can we find you online?

    90% of my social media happens on Twitter, @taupecat. That’s also my handle on Instagram (where I mostly post pictures of my kids or what I’m drinking (because of my kids ;-)). You can read some of my longer-form stuff at taupecat.com, and I also blog for my agency’s site at rp3agency.com/author/tracy-rotton/.


Tracy Rotton‘s session is titled You Have Something to Say. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Sal Ferrarello

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Sal Ferrarello

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    In 2009, I was working at an agency and our CMS of choice was DotNetNuke on Windows IIS servers. We wanted to move to a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), as these matched our strengths better (and the hosting was cheaper). The lead developer at the time steered us toward WordPress, which was a great choice. (Thanks Bala.)

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    Last year in Lancaster the topic of the PHP utility composer came up and it was completely foreign to me. Between sessions, members of the community took the time to introduce me to the use cases for it. This conversation started the process which led to me presenting “Getting Started with Composer” at WordCamp Philly 2015. (Thanks Tracy and Doug.)

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    I hope my talk helps avoid the DNS mistakes I’ve made in the past and gives attendees the confidence to modify DNS, fearlessly.

    What are you currently learning?

    I’m working on improving my Automated Testing, PHP Object Oriented Programming, and JavaScript.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    A stroopie is a groupie for strings. A stroopie programmer treats all their variables as strings, for example a number would be a string like “-2”, an array would be a string with commas like “5,6,7”, and ah…wait…no?

    Based on my wife shaking her head as she reads over my shoulder, I assume I’ve missed the mark. In her defense she didn’t break the rules and Google it, she used Bing.

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    This is the first year I’ve owned a snowblower, so I snowblowed (snowblew?) a lot of snow. Afterward, I played in the snow with my two boys (7 and 4 years old).

    Where can we find you online?

    Blog: http://salferrarello.com
    WordPress Consulting: http://ironco.de
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/salcode
    GitHub: https://github.com/salcode
    Family Pictures: http://ferrarello.com


Sal Ferrarello‘s session is titled How to Avoid Mucking Up Your DNS. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.

Speaker Interview: Joe Casabona

In the run up to WordCamp Lancaster, we will be featuring some of our speakers here on the website.


  • Joe Casabona

    How and when did you get started with WordPress?

    My freshman year of college (2003-04), my friend Steve Mekosh introduced me to this new blogging platform called WordPress. I checked it out and really liked. From there I started to play around with it, implementing it on my own blog first then doing some pilot programs with freelance clients I had. Around 2006-2007 I really started to push WordPress as a service since it was maturing, transforming from a blogging platform to a CMS. Now, it’s my go-to solution 🙂

    If you’ve attended WordCamp Lancaster before, what’s your fondest memory of it? If not, what do you like most about WordCamps?

    So either during or after the speaker party, several of us got together in a room off to the side and sat around a table drinking scotch and talking shop. It was pretty mellow but really cool – got to bond with a lot of cool folks that night!

    What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk?

    Attendees should come away have a bit more empathy for their students or clients, being more mindful of making learning WordPress seem “so easy anyone could do it.” They should also have some good tips on how they can teach WordPress in a classroom or workshop

    What are you currently learning?

    Aside from refining my workshops (and ultimately making my talk better!) I’m really focusing on Javascript. It’s something I was hunkering down on before WCUS and the State of the Word confirmed for me that I was on the right track. I’m pretty partial to Angular at this point, but I want to learn JS at it’s core.

    Do you know what a stroopie is? No googling.

    I do not!

    I googled it :X

    What did you do during the blizzard?

    We didn’t get a lot of snow up in Scranton and I was pretty bummed about it! My car was in a garage, I had no place to go, and I live downtown. It was perfect personal conditions for a blizzard. I wish we got more than a dusting.

    Where can we find you online?

    I’m jcasabona on most social networks (include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), my personal website is http://casabona.org and my new venture where I host WordPress Workshops is http://wpinonemonth.com


Joe Casabona‘s session is titled Have Empathy when Teaching WordPress. View the full schedule.

WordCamp Lancaster will be held on March 5th with Contributor Day on March 6th. Get your ticket today.