Speaking Engagements WordCamp

WordCamp Vancouver 2013: Speaking and Moderating

WordCamp Vancouver is returning to our fair city on August 17th. For the past two years I have been one of the organizers, but this year I am going to attend as a speaker and moderator instead. It’ll be a nice change of pace for me and it gives me an opportunity to share some insights about how I work with WordPress with the Vancouver community. Very exciting.

Can WordPress Really Do That, Take 2 – my talk

The title of my talk is, quite cryptically, “Can WordPress Really Do That, Take 2”. This talk is a follow up of sorts to a talk I did at WordCamp Victoria 2012 and will be a full breakdown of the process of building an extremely complex site. Since the site is still being built I’m not going to reveal what it is or what it entailed here (you’ll have to come watch the talk to get that info), but what I will say is that the talk will involve insights into everything from design, information arcitecture, working with clients, working with designers, managing unusual assets, to setting up custom post types, adding custom data points, importing enormous databases, creating custom searches and loops, and beyond. What can I say? It’s a complicated project.

Can WordPress Really Do That, Take 2 is a talk targeted at anyone working with WordPress professionally – be that as a content manager, a site owner, a designer, a developer, or all of the above. And yes, WordPress really can do that.

Running a WordPress Development Business – moderating a panel

The organizers have been kind enough to ask me to moderate a panel on running a WordPress business. This is going to be an exciting discussion with lots of valuable takeaways for everyone. The panel consists of four well established WordPress developers from Vancouver and beyond and I’ll make sure we get a lively discussion going about everything from managing clients to getting paid to hiring minions and building great sites.

If you have any questions, topics, or other things you want me to bring into the discussion, let me know either in the comments below or by harassing me on Twitter or sending me a message. The whole point of a panel discussion is for the audience to learn something new, so your input and participation is essential.

Come join the fun!

As of this writing there are still tickets available so whether you are a seasoned pro or you’ve just started looking at WordPress you should go get your ticket and join the fun. This is the event for our community, so go get your fill of WordPress and meet lots of new people who share your interest in open source and web publishing!


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement: Vancouver Photo Workshops Photography Seminar Event Saturday September 8

For the 2nd year running I’ll be speaking about photography and the web at the Vancouver Photo Workshops Photography Seminar Event on this coming Saturday (September 8, 2012). My talk is vaguely titled “Photographers Online” and will be 50% technical and 50% audience based. From the talk I did last year I realized a lot of people need answers to the same questions so I’m allotting a lot of time for Q&A this time around to address the concerns of those in attendance.

The event itself is prety cool with lots of talks and activities. For $35 you get access to three talks of your choice, lunch, and access to the Photo Gear Garage Sale.

For all the information and signup head on over to Vancouver Photo Workshops.

Speaking Engagements

Deep Dive into WordPress – a one day intensive at SFU with Mor10

Deep Dive into WordPress with Morten Rand-HendriksenWant to take control over your WordPress site or maybe just start one? Want to share your writing, photography, ideas, recipes or something else with the world but don’t know how? Deep Dive into WordPress – a one day intensive I’m hosting at SFU on August 12, 2012 is designed to give WordPress virgins a solid footing and those already familiar with the application new insights into what the application can do to make you and your content more visible on the web.

Follow this link to reserve your seat!

The Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing is hosting a series of Digital Media Workshops over the summer and they approached me to create one on WordPress. I am hard at work refining the program which will be a primer touching on all important aspects of the application, from setup, security and SEO, to how to create and publish better content and integrate your site with social networks to get the word out.

If you have a WordPress site or want to have one, this is the class you need to take.

Head on over to the CCSP website for the full writeup, information and signup

Events Speaking Engagements WordPress

Talk: WordPress 101 – Web Publishing for Everyone

Join me on Tuesday May 29 for a WordPress primer at The Office. I’ll be talking WordPress 101 and also asking questions about anything and everything WordPress and web publishing in general. The event is free and open to everyone. Sign up at or the event page on Facebook.


Want a new website for your company, yourself or for someone else? WordPress makes advanced web publishing available to everyone regardless of skill level. Join web developer, author, and WordPress expert Morten Rand-Hendriksen and learn how to get up and running with your own free WordPress website right now.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a web designer and developer with a passion for clean design, standards-based code, and open-source software. He is an author with online video training library and has published several books on the topic of web development with Microsoft Expression Web. Through his company Pink & Yellow Media he builds websites for everyone from local bloggers to companies to multi-national corporations. Morten is an expert on advanced site development with WordPress and is a popular speaker at conferences. He divides his time evenly between building web solutions and teaching others how to do things right and get the most out of the web. Morten grew up in Norway and made Canada his home in 2002.


Speaking Engagements

Can WordPress really do that? Slides from my WordCamp Victoria 2012 presentation

Can WordPress really do that? A case study of

Speaking Engagements

Can WordPress really do that? A preview of my 2012 WordCamp Victoria talk

Vi er der du er - applicationIt all started with a simple yet befuddling question: “Can you create a WordPress site that sends SMS messages to users when things change?” My initial thought was that this could easily become the most annoying website in the world, but upon closer inspection it was a stroke of pure genius.

To ring in 2012 I’m bringing something completely different to WordCamp Victoria. If you’ve seen my live talks previously you know they are usually either neck deep in live code or conceptual presentations on theoretical ideas. This time will be different:

My talk, entitled “Can WordPress really do that? A case study of” will be focussed around one of the most interesting and challenging WordPress projects I’ve ever been involved in, the building of a site called “Vi er der du er” (“We are where you are”) for Norwegian bank SpareBank1. I was brought on as an outside contractor by Netlife Research, one of the largest and most well renowned web dev houses in Norway, to make their crazy ideas and designs into a real-life site. I say crazy because this is a site that does things so far out of the ordinary even I have a hard time figuring out how we got where we are today.

What makes the site so interesting is that it uses Facebook Likes as a voting system to help raise money for organizations. The more likes an organization gets, the more money the bank gives them. And along the way the organization gets SMS messages telling them about the status of their application and how much money they have raised.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This site has so many hidden features and backend customizations I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover them all in a measly one hour. But I’ll try.

The talk (which I have yet to prepare) will be a nice break from my regular stuffing-code-down-your-throat approach. I’ll talk about how the site came about, the many challenges and solutions implemented and how you can take my hard learned lessons and use them to make your custom WordPress themes more effective and easier to manage. More importantly though I’ll spend the hour helping you break free of the well established preconceptions about what WordPress can and cannot do. If you ask me there is no limit. And in this talk I’ll prove it.

So, if you haven’t already bought a ticket, head on over to the WordCamp Victoria site and grab yours. See you there!

Speaking Engagements Windows Azure WordPress on Azure

Open Source in the Cloud – WordPress on Azure: My Make Web Not War presentation

Curious about the concept behind WordPress on Windows Azure or why I’m so excited about hosting WordPress Networks on a Microsoft platform? Look no further than the presentation above from Make Web Not War 2011. In it I explain the premise and reasoning behind hosting WordPress Networks on Windows Azure along with some general principles around hosting large WordPress Networks. Your own private garden in the cloud? You bet.

Sadly the video doesn’t feature the slideshow presentation I created, but you can follow along in a separate window by navigating the slides on

For a rundown on how to host WordPress on Azure with the new scaffolder solution which was introduced this fall, check out the full WordPress on Windows Azure: Single-Site Deployment tutorial.

Speaking Engagements

Profile: Syx Langemann

Vancouver photographer Syx Langemann at his teaching gig at Vancouver Photo Workshops. Syx has a background in the art of tattoo and as a result his body is covered in ink. The tattoo across the knuckles of his hands reads " FERREALS".

Syx getting ready for our talk at Vancouver Photo Workshops.

Speaking Engagements

Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck – take two

Mark your calendars! On Thursday August 25 Syx Langemann and I are hosting a two hour encore of our hugely popular Northern Voice 2011 talk Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck about photoblogging. The talk will take place at the Vancouver Photo Workshops and is 100% free of charge.

The talk was hugely popular at Northern Voice and we had people sitting on the floor and standing in the isles. If you want to join us, go register at or And again, the talk is free.

Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck is a two-part presentation. Part one has Syx take you through the creative process of taking a photo – everything from camera techniques and lighting to composition, colour theory and beyond. The second half picks up where Syx leaves off with me explaining how to publish your photos online in the most efficient way and get them noticed by the people of the internet.

If you’ve ever wanted to take better pictures, publish your photos online or you run a WordPress or other photo blog and wonder what you can do to make it better and more noticeable, this is the talk for you.

Because we have more time this time we’re also adding in ample time for Q&A, so bring your questions, ideas and comments and we’ll have a good old fashioned free-for-all.

So, go register at or and come geek out with us on Thursday!

As a side note I’m also starting a full-fledged WordPress course at Vancouver Photo Workshops in September. The course is the first of three targeting beginners. You can learn more by going to the Vancouver Photo Workshops website.


Speaking Engagements

Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck – Slides from our Northern Voice 2011 presentation

Photographer extraordinaire Syx Langemann and I decided to team up for a presentation on the fine art of photo blogging at the Northern Voice 2011 conference. Above is our slide deck for you to enjoy.

Warning: The slides contain nudity.

Speaking Engagements WordPress as CMS

Custom Post Types – Vancouver WordPress Meetup Slides

html5 Speaking Engagements

Friends upgrade friends to IE9


Update: Firefox 4.0 was released on March 2nd meaning all the major browsers now have full support for HTML5 and you no longer have an excuse not to implement it.

On March 26th the IE9 / WP7 Boot Camp is coming to Vancouver, and if you attend you’ll find me presenting two of the sessions; A Lap Around Internet Explorer 9 and HTML5 and Enhancing Pinned Sites with Internet Explorer 9. I realize this kind of statement is likely to get me rolled in tar and feathers and chased out of town, but before you go looking for your pitchforks and good torch material, hear me out. There are usually reasons why people do things that don’t seem to make sense, and this is no exception. I’m making the case for Internet Explorer 9, and quite frankly so should you. Here’s why.

HTML5 is should be now

Over the last couple of years new technologies have started rolling out that will improve both the usability and effectiveness of code on the web. These technologies have been bundled into one collective term, HTML5, but actually include HTML5, CSS3, SVG and a whole pile of other forward thinking inventions. One of the major reasons why the implementation of HTML5 is so slow, apart from the fact the spec is not yet completed, is that up until March 15th, 2011 Internet Explorer, the default and primary browser for PCs, did not support any of these technologies at all. So while the other major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari) were providing better and better support for these new technologies anyone using Internet Explorer was experiencing the old internet. As a result, for full cross-browser compatibility HTML5 integration was at best included as an add-on to backwards compatible code.

That was then. This is now. With IE9 finally released we are facing a new reality where HTML5, even in it’s unfinished spec, can and should be implemented as the primary code of the web with backwards compatibility as an add-on. But this can only happen if we get everyone currently using Internet Explorer to upgrade.

Stop Living in the Past

A couple of years ago I started a website called Stop Living In The Past where I encouraged all web developers to install a simple script on their site that would tell IE6 users they were running a horribly outdated piece of software and that they needed to upgrade. This was not a new idea – there are plenty of such sites out there and the majority of European newspapers had already implemented such warnings on their sites – but unlike the major IE upgrade scripts out there mine told people to upgrade to a newer version of IE, not get a new browser. My reasoning was simple: If I am to be able to implement the latest and greatest in web technologies and ensure cross-browser compatibility on the sites I build I need to know that the people that visit those sites are running browsers that support them. And since I knew a lot of people were running old and outdated versions of Internet Explorer, largely because they were unaware they had the ability to upgrade, I figured warning people and giving them an opportunity to upgrade right away was a good idea.

This pissed everyone off.

On the IE hater side people were up in arms about the fact I was telling visitors to upgrade IE, not get a different browser. Their argument was that IE, no matter what version, was pure evil, the cause of all things bad on the internet and should be knocked unconscious, bound and gagged and dropped in a deep well to be sealed forever.

On the IE lover side people were shocked that I would question the all-knowing Microsoft on the quality of their ancient browser. To them the mere notion that IE was somehow fallible was heresy.

Both sides were furious, both sides were unwavering in their beliefs and both sides seemed to completely ignore the fact that Microsoft themselves stated in no uncertain terms that they wanted nothing more than to see IE6 eradicated from the web.

In short, my site unwittingly uncovered dogmatic lunacy, on both sides. And as with science and religion, dogmatic thinking about browsers is just plain stupid.

This became comical (at least for me) when Microsoft a few weeks ago released the IE6 Countdown website on which they offer up a code to warn IE6 users they need to upgrade their browsers.

Now there are very good reasons why Microsoft can’t simply flip a switch and kill IE6 right now, most of them involving major mulit-national Asian banks, airline booking systems and other highly integrated and globally important systems, but that is no excuse for the remaining 99.9% of computers in the world not to upgrade to the latest version of the browser right now.

IE haters are (surprisingly) part of the problem

IE9 = HTML5You’ve surely met them – people who treat any version of Internet Explorer like the next plague and tell people to never touch the browser, run away when they see it and preferably buy a Mac right now. These are the same people who blame Internet Explorer for everything from web standards incompliance (true), table-based layouts (partially true) and their websites not working properly (utter nonsense). What these people fail to realize or accept is that while IE6 is a horrible piece of outdated software that doesn’t work to modern standards, the newer versions have gotten progressively better to the point where today we have version 9 which not only is standards compliant but also incorporates the forward thinking new technologies of the web. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, but saying that the current version of Internet Explorer is bad is just not true.

Being dogmatic about this kind of stuff is just plain stupid. Any serious web designer or developer should be a browser agnostic. After all, you have no control over what browser your visitors choose to use and your job is to ensure a consistent experience across all devices, platforms and browsers. In short a pragmatic approach is the only way we will ever get anywhere. When it comes to browsers this means accepting that no matter what you personally think of Internet Explorer and the company behind it, millions of people use the browser every day and if they are not using the latest version, they are not experiencing the web as it should be and you as a designer and developer are forced to stick with old solutions.

The bottom line is we have to get people on track and upgrade them to IE9 en masse so that we can start using the new technologies we have been waiting for and talking about for the last several years. And even though IE is not my preferred browser I will play my part in ensuring that people upgrade and that web designers and developers know what the browser can do, how to use the advanced features that come with it and how to start implementing HTML5 right now.

The argument used to be that HTML5 was a non-starter because IE didn’t support it. Well, now it does, so let’s embrace it, get people up to speed and start building better and more functional solutions for the web.

Go berserk in the comments section.