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Attending a WordPress meetup for the first time

Today was an eventful day. I mean, January 30 of 2018. I attended my first WordPress meetup ever at Mumbai. #WPMumbai was hosting a WooCommerce workshop for women, and was hosting a speech by Andrew Spittle of Automattic and Artur Piszek of Automattic, on the same day.

I attended the speech sessions and everything I learned over there was incredibly valuable. Andrew spoke on how the customer support team at Automattic works – the company the powers WordPress.com, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, WooCommerce, Gravatar, VaultPress, Akismet and Polldaddy among the most popular names.

Artur Piszek spoke on Jetpack’s Simple Payments module, which allows anyone to get started with collecting online payments. Simple Payments enables anyone to become a seller online and works with PayPal to collect payments. It’s available for use for WordPress.com Premium plan users and above, or for self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) sites that are on the Jetpack Premium subscription.

Right after the speech sessions, we had a networking session over snacks and it was amazing to speak with Automatticians in real-life. I spoke to Andrew who gave me an outline on how the hiring process works at Automattic, and clarified a few doubts I had around it.

I also met Karen Arnold at the venue. Karen is the lead of the Happiness Hiring team and oversees the Happiness Engineer applications.

I also got a chance to meet other Automatticians based out of India, Nagesh Pai and Gala Khyati. They’re Happiness Engineers at Automattic. The Happiness Engineer team members are responsible for answering customer support questions and ensure that all users across all the Automattic products have a happy user experience.

I also got a chance to say hit to Alex Gounder who has been a major driving force in growing WordPress in India. Meeting him reminds me of Aditya Kane is a close friend of Alex, and I have worked with Aditya Kane in the past. We used to write at Devils’ Workshop, a tech blog by rtCamp. Aditya is probably the only person I know in the WordPress community, whom I haven’t met yet. I hope to see him at #WCMumbai which is happening on the 17th-18th of March, 2018.
I also met Meher Bala, who is a freelancer WordPress developer and is another major driving force for WordPress’ growth in India.

To summarise, #WordPressMumbai meetup was extremely valuable and I am really glad I went to the meetup. Having been a WordPress enthusiast for over 8 years, I never got a chance to attend meetups and WordCamp events, thanks to school and college days. Now that I have graduated, it’s time to explore the WordPress communities in India better, and this is the only the first step of the process.
2 flights later, it’s time to hit the bed. Goodnight, WordPress!

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WordPress users, did you know that Jan 28 is "Thank a plugin developer" day?

I learned something today. I learned that Matt Mullenweg officially named Jan 28 as the “Thank a plugin developer” day, 9 years ago. Back in 2009, on the same day, the co-founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, coined this day.
WordPress in itself is a free open source software that’s aimed at enabling everyone to get started on building websites with ease. Being a truly open source software, it also enables people to make a living out of it. Over 32% of the total respondents in a survey conducted by WordPress responded that they make money with WordPress and that it helps them run their daily lives.
https://twitter.com/arunsathiya/status/944639723812790272
WordPress is not successful all by itself. It’s largely driven by the theme developers and plugin developers that contribute their coding skills to building a better WordPress experience for all users. WordPress will never be the same as it is now, without plugins.
Back in 2009, when WordPress 2.7 had come out, WordPress plugin repository had just crossed 4000 plugins. Today, it has over 53000 plugins! Some of the most popular ones like Jetpack, Akismet, Yoast SEO and Contact form 7 are used by millions across the world, all many WordPress setups and many WordPress.com sites, which help in a range of activities including SEO, publishing, sharing, customization and more.
WordPress life would never be the same without plugins. There’s no doubt that plugins haven’t improved your life, and on that note, take a minute and “Thank a plugin developer” today.

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If you are traveling abroad, enable 2FA for your internet accounts now!

One of my friends is leaving to Finland tonight, and I encouraged him to enable 2 step verification (2FA – 2 factor authentication) for all his online accounts as soon as possible.

He’s moving to a new country, is going to login from new IP addresses and there’s a fair chance that the service would block his attempts to login, primarily for his account’s security.

There’s going to be SMS sent to his mobile number, only to see that he cannot use it, because he does not have access to the mobile number in a foreign country.

That’s when tools like Authy, Duo and Google Authenticator come handy. One can setup 2 step verification for any TOTP-based 2 step verification process and carry the codes securely using Authy apps for Android, iOS or Google Chrome.

Learn what 2 step verification is, and how to setup Authy for common accounts on this post I wrote.

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Facebook is limiting link customization ability, Here's what you should know

Facebook is reportedly dropping support for customizing link previews you don’t own. Going forward, you will have to verify your domains on Facebook Business Manager to be able to customize a link’s title, meta description or image when you sharing the link to Facebook.
Facebook is doing this to prevent misuse of link customization for domains you don’t own. This effect goes live from Dec 18, and this blog post has detailed description on what you should do to verify your domain.
If you are a website owner, publisher or a webmaster in general, you should read that post and act on it as soon as possible.

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Photos from Changi beach park, Singapore

Update: I wrote a bit more about Changi beach more here on my new photo blog.
Here are a few photos from Changi beach park, Singapore. I visited Singapore for the second time (first time with my parents) in May-June of 2017. We stayed with my uncle’s family in Tampines, Singapore and had a really good time.
We initially went to Japan, stayed there for 20 days and then visited Singapore for 10 days. This was my first time my dad traveled abroad.
Without much further ado, here are few photos I snapped from Changi beach park in Singapore. You can see airplanes flying in and out of Changi, right above your head.


I am a huge fan of airplanes and to state, I had a really wonderful time at Changi beach park. Changi beach park is accessible by bus and can be found here on Google Maps.
This is my first time sharing photos and writing on my travel life. I will be doing more of this soon. Look out for more photos from Singapore and photos from Japan!

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Moving to P2 theme

Update: I have quickly rolled to using Gazette theme for my WordPress.com blog. Like Aditya mentioned in the comments, P2 theme is not meant for personal blogging.
I have always heard great news about WordPress P2’s theme being popular and used hugely by the folks at Automattic. This was back in my childhood days.
I am devoted to WordPress more than ever now – got a personal WordPress.com plan yesterday and I am writing down everything here.
Enabled P2 theme on this blog a few minutes back for fast-blogging. Let’s see how this goes.

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Moving from Tumblr to WordPress.com

It was just yesterday when I was rambling about how Tumblr offers custom domain mapping for free while WordPress.com does not. I am a huge fan of WordPress for the open-source contributions it has done to the world. Having used self-hosted WordPress sites for years, I am recently blown by how much has changed in the past few years on WordPress.com.
Automattic has shaped WordPress.com into a powerful medium since what I knew about WordPress.com a few years back.
Here are key reasons why I moved away from Tumblr to WordPress.com.

  • Rich ecosystem. Interesting niche content that I can follow, subscribe to.
  • Community forums. I love volunteering as a customer support member. Look at my participation with Google Top Contributors program. Also, a SUMO member with Mozilla, Support Support member with Firefox.
  • Having been with self-hosted WordPress sites for long, adopting WordPress.com is easy and WordPress.com’s dashboard can serve as a single place for my new WordPress.com site and all other self-hosted WordPress sites I own.
  • Clean mobile apps. Tumblr has one too, but I just don’t feel content in the Tumblr environment.

I am on the WordPress.com personal plan and it costs Rs 2400 per year. Decent enough. Not free as Tumblr though. But, helps connect with the right WordPress bloggers in the community.
Let me see how my experience with WordPress.com goes! If you have questions, ask on WordPress.com community forums and look out for my answer! 😉