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Author: Jaki Levy

Facebook Hacked, 50 Million Accounts Compromised

This is your friendly reminder to update your passwords. As the title of this post reads, Facebook was hacked earlier today and over 50 million user accounts were compromised.

You might have noticed this earlier this morning – many users were automatically logged out of the service (including me). Yeah, I know. Pretty annoying. But it’s a big deal.

Here’s a few things you should do start doing today and over the course of the next few days to keep yourself and your friends safe online –

1. Update Your Facebook Password, Like Right Now
When doing this, make sure to use a unique and secure password. This means that you should use a totally unique password on Facebook, and that you should not use that same password on any other site. It should also be a very long and difficult password to remember. Like so long and complex that you probably have to write it down with a real pen.

2. Use a Password Manager
We use Dashlane to manage passwords. Password managers are very helpful because they remember your passwords for you. They also help you set very secure passwords that you do not have to remember. There are other password managers such as LastPass and 1Password. For those that are shopping around or want to do more research, here’s an article from LifeHacker that reviews the various password managers.

3. Use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)
If you’ve got a cell phone, you can setup 2 Factor Authentication for your important accounts (think bank accounts, email, and twiter). When anyone (including you) tries to log into those accounts, you’ll receive a text message confirmation code before you can login. This helps prevent unauthorized login attempts, and is pretty cool. Google has a pretty nice overview of why 2FA is important and how to set it up for your Google Account.

For more info about Password Managers and this specific Facebook hack, check out the blog on Dashlane. And if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or contact us directly 🙂

Good luck, and believe me, after setting up that password manager, you won’t worry as much next time Facebook (or another site) gets hacked.

Here We Come, Austin!

Next week, WP Engine (an industry leading WordPress web hosting company) will be hosting their annual WP Engine Agency Summit. And we’ll be there to report back what the leading trends are in the world of WordPress.

This 2 day conference brings together leaders of the digital landscape, who are developing cutting edge solutions to today’s problems. We’re certainly looking forward to connecting with companies such as IBM, Google, Amazon Web Services and Cloudflare, along with organizations like the New York City’s Mayor’s Office, and agencies like R/GA.

The WP Engine Summit website has a full list of speakers along with the full agenda.

We’re also proud to be an ongoing WP Engine Agency Partner. We’ve been working with WP Engine for quite some time, and seeing them create such a robust summit is highly encouraging, not only for the field of WordPress, but the entire digital world.

The conference happens on September 26th, so if you’re interested in joining us, you might want to hit that Register button, like right now. Or you can follow along on the blog. And hey, maybe we’ll even revive our twitter account for this event. No promises, tho 😉

Arrow Root Media Named Top California Service Provider

header photo by Jaki Levy

California is known for its competitive tech landscape. Arrow Root Media is known for our responsive web design and development. What do you get when you put the two together?

We’re proud to say that it’s an announcement naming us a Top Web Designer and Top UX Agency in San Francisco!

Last week, the DC-based ratings & reviews firm, Clutch, listed us as one of their top B2B Service Providers in California.The site gathering client feedback via in-depth interviews, which is then combined with analysts’ market research to create verified listings of the best service providers in the digital space.

We’re not alone in emphasizing the importance of responsive web design, and now we’re happy to say we’re not alone in priding ourselves as a top agency.

On top of that, Clutch’s sister site, The Manfiest, also named Arrow Root a Top San Francisco Web Development Company!

We pride ourselves in helping organizations create transformative digital exeriences, and we’d love to hear from you. Hit us up, say congrats, or start planning your next project with us.

Women’s Initiative Awards

The Impact Hub in San Francisco (where we’re based out of) is hosting a networking and promotion event to support The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards (https://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com). This is an annual competition giving coaching, mentoring, media visibility, and a chance to win up to $100,000. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Link To Register? Click Below 🙂

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cartier-womens-initiative-awards-informational-session-tickets-48377070119

There are clear requirements for anyone wishing to participate in the Initiative.

To be considered for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, the project must be an original for-profit early-stage business (1 to 3 years old) led by a woman.

  • For-profit: the business should be designed to generate revenues, non-profit project proposals not accepted.
  • Early stage: the business should be in the initial phase of its development (between 1-3 years)
  • Revenue generation: the business should currently be generating revenue. It being understood that a business that is generating revenue is not necessarily profitable in its first years of operations.
  • Women leadership & ownership: The main leadership position must be filled by a woman either in the capacity of Director, General Manager or CEO. She must also own significant stake within the company. The ownership of the business is evaluated based on the position of the candidate in relation to other stakeholders

Hopefully, we’ll see you at the upcoming networking event!

WordCamp US – Photos

This year’s inaugural WordCamp US was hosted in Philadelphia. Over 2,000 WordPress makers and users attended the conference. Below are some photos I took while at the conference in Philadelphia.

WordCamp US

Here’s a direct link to the entire Flickr Album.

Ever since I’ve been attending WordCamp SF, Matt Mullenweg would deliver his “State of The Word” , summarizing key concepts and developments in the WordPress world.

You can watch this year’s State of The Word Below :

Slides are here :

Brian Krogsgard from Post Status posted his thoughts here.

And the folks over at WP Engine put together a nice infographic summarizing the State of The Word.

Brooklyn Country Cantina Wrap Up

This past SXSW, we hosted the Brooklyn Country Cantina in Austin. Literally. The website for the festival – brooklyncountrycantina.com – was hosted on our servers (managed by our hosting partners WP Engine) and was developed by our team using Make by ThemeFoundry.

Huh?

The Brooklyn Country Cantina is an annual party produced by The Defibulators and friends. The event features loads of bands and is an unofficial party that happens during the annual SXSW festival held in Austin.

This year, we were on hand to help setup, tweet, post some videos, and provide some on site tech support. Here’s a short clip of The Mastersons – one of the many bands we shot – on video – during the earlier part of the day.

View this post on Instagram

The Mastersons at #bkcantina. Yummy harmonies.

A post shared by Jaki Levy (@jakilevy) on

As we wrapped up the day, we posted a few photos to our Twitter feed. Overall, we were on site for almost 18 hours. That’s a long day.

If you want some more good stuff, definitely check out the photos posted by The Bluegrass Station. They’re a fantastic set of images shot by a local Austin photog!

Overall, there were about 30 bands over the course of the day. So we went ahead and made a little playlist for your enjoyment via Spotify. Hope you enjoy that music! We did.

There’s loads of parties and bands that come to Austin for SXSW. According to Operation Every Band, there’s over 2,100 bands playing in Austin over just 1 week! That’s an average of 300 bands every day. Some bands we met played over 10 shows in just a few days.

So we’re thrilled that some folks think this is the best party during the festival. Aw Shucks. Now we’re blushing.

For even more SXSW musical goodness, make sure to check out NPR’s SXSW short list. It features 100 songs from musicians that played at SXSW. Some of those musicians played at our very own event. And all the songs are downloadable. Thanks, NPR!!!

And many many thanks to The Defibulators for putting this whole shebang together! We’ll see you next year at SXSW!

Emergency Maintenance

To our clients – a message from our hosting partner –

The majority of Cloud Providers across the world will be conducting maintenance for a security related issue. In order to implement the patch, our 3rd party data center providers will be rebooting. For more information about providers responding to the situation please visit this article: https://gigaom.com/2015/02/27/xen-security-issue-prompts-amazon-rackspace-cloud-reboots/

3rd party data center providers have informed us that they will be conducting a maintenance across their environment on March 5, 2015 for 24 hours. We believe that the maintenance may result in a brief interruption of service to your site during a server reboot.  We are contacting customers immediately to let them know of this emergency maintenance.

This maintenance window spans the entire 24 hours and the reboot could happen at any time during the maintenance window. We expect a brief period of downtime while the providers implement the patch.  Outside of the brief downtime, there should be no impact to your site. We will be monitoring the situation closely.

AIDS Lifecycle

Last year, I rode my bike 545 miles in 1 week from SF to LA. With 2,500 other cyclists, we raised over $15 million to benefit the SF AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. This is what AIDS Lifecycle is. An amazing community of cyclists, activists, and caring people. All riding to make a real difference.

The picture below sums it up pretty well :

This year, to help raise even more money, we’re providing web services in exchange for donations. And it all goes to AIDS Lifecycle. The way this works is pretty easy. You need web help. We provide that help. Instead of paying us cash, you provide a tax deductible donation directly to the ride. Not sure what we do? Take a look at our wide range of services.

Interested? Just fill out the form below and let us know what you need help with.

And if you’re inspired and just wanna make a donation – well – you can do that too – here’s the link – http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/jakirides

And yes – there are limitations. We can’t build you a social network like Facebook or an ecommerce store that has Amazon.com like features in exchange for a donation. Unless that donation is really really big, of course. Then we’ll find a way 🙂

Free Google Apps Setup in December

As part of our “Get Your Sh*t Together before 2015” campaign, we’re offering small businesses free Google Apps setup help.

What does this mean?

Well – if you’re still using GoDaddy, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, or yes – even a gmail.com email address for your business, it’s time to get your sh*t together. We’ll help you setup a professional, spam free, email address for your business (like YourName@yourBusiness.com) and make sure it’s being delivered by Google.

We made an announcement on our Facebook page (below) but not sure if peeps saw it. So here we are. Writing a blog post.

If you’re ready to “Get Your Sh*t Together” , contact us via the form below.

Get your sh*t Together

Note :
If you’re a large business or enterprise and need help migrating your email to Google Apps OR you need help setting up your emails on your mobile phon tablet devices, please let us know in the form above. We can guide you through the process, but it won’t be free.

Also – if we end up getting a crazy amount of demand, well, it’s free folks. We’ll do our very best to process and automate things as quickly as we can.

And if you really need more info – read the stuff below –

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps teams communicate, collaborate and get things done from anywhere and on any device. It’s simple to set up, use and manage, so your business can focus on what really matters.

Millions of organizations around the world count on Google Apps for professional email, file storage, video meetings, online calendars, document editing and more.

Watch a video or find out more here.

Here are some highlights:

Business email for your domain

Looking professional matters, and that means communicating as you@yourcompany.com. Gmail’s simple, powerful features help you build your brand while getting more done.

Access from any location or device

Check email, share files, edit documents, hold video meetings and more whether you’re at work, at home or in transit. You can pick up where you left off from a computer, tablet or phone.

Enterprise-level management tools

Robust admin settings give you total command over users, devices, security and more. Your data always belongs to you, and it goes with you if you switch solutions.

Start free trial

Making Your WordPress Site Faster

Wordpress

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re looking for a performance boost. And that’s no surprise. A slow site can cost you dearly. In fact, over 50% of web surfers will ditch your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

According to this NY Times article, “People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second).”

So – what are some things you can do to speed up your WordPress site?

1. Check out the tips below for the DIY kind of stuff. We’ve got a short list of how we make WordPress sites speedy. And now you can too.
2. If you don’t have the in house knowledge, let us know! We’d be glad to do it for you :-).

Make sure you’re on a good great host

A great host can make all the difference. If your site is running on a slow server or bad host, it doesn’t matter what you do. Your site’s still gonna crawl.
Case in point – we recently migrated FuseCorps.org from their old host to WP Engine. We used Pingdom tools to test the speed of fusecorps.org before and after the migration.

Before the migration, the site took 6.25 seconds to load on their old host.

fusecorps-before
FuseCorps.org – Before The Migration

After? The load time was 1.86 seconds. That’s more than 3x faster.

FuseCorps.org Performance on WP Engine
FuseCorps.org Performance on WP Engine

The migration alone shaved nearly 5 seconds off the load time. And the site went from being slower than 76% of all sites on the web to Faster than 73% of all tested websites, according to Pingdom.

Again – all we did was migrate the site to WP Engine. And this gave them a huge performance boost. Win!

Setup a CDN

cloudflare-logo
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) will make sure static files (things like images) are delivered from a nearby server. So if your site’s visitor is checking out your content in Maine, your images will be delivered from a server close to Maine. There are many CDN’s out there – personally, we love CloudFlare. And it’s free. We tend to use WP Engine’s CDN for our clients. But if you’re not on WP Engine (yet), Cloudflare is a great option to get going.

For more info on CDN’s, check out WP Beginner’s “Why You Need a CDN.”

The Plugin Route

WordPress has loads of plugins to optimize your site. One of the most popular is W3 Total Cache. It’s a technical plugin and takes time to setup. But the performance boost is massive. Here’s a great video on how to get it setup :

Aside from W3 Total Cache, I’d recommend installing P3 by GoDaddy. This plugin will tell all sorts of things to help you identify what’s slowing down your site.

A few other plugins to check out include :

One note : your host may not allow certain plugins (like W3 Total Cache) to run on their servers. This can be a good thing. It means they are savvy enough to take care of things for you!

Use Varnish Cache

varnish

Whenever you visit a website, your web browser caches the content, the images, and other web files. Next time you visit the site on the same browser, it’ll be much faster to load.

Just like your browser, your server can also have a cache enabled. Varnish Cache works in a similar way as your browser’s – except it’s the cache for your web server. And since WordPress uses a database for so many things, the server cache can store a large amount of database lookups, saving you and your visitors lots of time.

Varnish Cache is typically setup by your hosting company or a sysAdmin. So – either ask your host or sysAdmin what they can do to setup Varnish. Or migrate to a host that already uses Varnish (are you getting the subtle hint to migrate to WP Engine yet?).

Other Resources

For even more details on optimizing your WordPress, check out :

Chris Coyier put together a great presentation on speeding up your site.

Iliya Polihronov delivered a great talk at WordCamp SF, 2012 on “High Performance WordPress” – definitely worth a watch.

Tuning your site is an ongoing process. This article is meant to get you going on specific things you can do today.

Did we miss something? Have a suggestion on making this article better? Want to hire us to do this for you? Let us know in the comments!

Meet us at WooConf

Wooconf

In addition to the elections, next week is #WooConf – the first ever conference dedicated to WordPress + Ecommerce. We’ll be attending Monday and Tuesday along with many others from Amazon, PayPal, Elto.com, and .

To celebrate, we’ll be hosting a Happy Hour with WP Engine (our awesome web hosting partners), one block away from WooConf.

wpengine1

Details
When : Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
Time : 5-7pm
Location : The Hall SF
Address : 1028 Market Street

RSVP Here

And if we don’t see you at #WooConf, we hope to see you at the Happy Hour!


State of the Word at WordCamp

WordCamp

This year at WordCamp SF, Matt Mullenweg (the founder of the WordPress project), delivered the State of the Word – a compilation of 33,000 survey responses. We live tweeted part of it here.

Some highlights of The State of the Word :

  • over 23% of the web is powered by WordPress
  • nearly 25% of respondents to the survey (7,500+ people) make their living off of WordPress
  • Making WordPress generates over $1 billion in full-time jobs
  • 2014 was the first year where more people used WordPress in languages other than English
  • encouraging WordPress makers to contribute 5% of our time to making WordPress better
  • Planning for a WordCamp USA (a large WordPress conference)

Throughout his presentation, Matt emphasized #mobile. From making the WordPress admin area responsive, to the fact that there are more mobile phones than there are people in the world, it’s clear that mobile is not only the future – mobile has arrived.

In addition to these announcements, Matt highlighted some great new tools for WordPress makers :

  • Github and WordPress.org integration
  • Emphasizing partnerships between WordPress makers and hosting companies for auto-updates
  • Replacing #IRC with #Slack for chat on WordPress.org (chat.wordpress.org)
  • Activation of a developer hub on WordPress.org

Overall, these updates will make Making WordPress easier. And hopefully, it will make the mission of WordPress – to democratize publishing – even easier.

For more on Matt’s State of the Word :

  • check out PostStatus
  • review the #wcsf14 hashtag on twitter
  • check out some of the photos from the livestream below

Did you watch this year’s State of the Word? What were some of the highlights for you?

UPDATE : The video has been posted on WordPress.tv – check it out below

Hacktivating for the Homeless

Hacktivating

reallocate_logo

This weekend, Arrow Root Media (that’s us) sponsored Reallocate’s Hacktivation – a hackathon for the homeless population in San Francisco. For more info on that, check out our last blog post. What follows below is a summary of what our working group of 6 volunteer hackers did.

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THE NEED
Market Street for the Masses Coalition (MSFTMC) is a collective voice and resource for community organizations and companies to strengthen the social, physical and economic well-being of those living in the Mid-Market, Tenderloin, and South of Market neighborhoods.

The coalition needed a website that could :

  • showcase its members
  • get the larger community involved
  • offer tech companies an opportunity to connect with community organizations

Previous to the Hacktivation, MSFTMC organized its community through its Facebook Page and Facebook Group. Now, they have a fully featured WordPress website, hosted and managed by us. Here’s one of our team members talking about the process :

MSFTMC also now has a way to manage their site ongoingly, offer their member organizations a hub to connect, and feature all the ongoing community work. Our 6 person team worked to organize the content, produce the website, and develop an ongoing strategy for engaging the community.

Total Volunteer Time to Produce this site in 1 day : 40 hours

For all the WordPress geeks out there – here are the Tech Specs :

Thanks for all the work, team! We had a blast!

UPDATE :
We were also part of a much larger effort to build services for the homeless population – here’s a quick shot of more hacktivators at work :

HACKtivation, San Francisco

reallocate_logo

This weekend, Arrow Root Media’s very own Kyle Stewart will be holding this year’s HACKtivation hackathon in San Francisco, where several non-profit and other socially aware groups will get together to collaborate on projects for their causes, focusing on homelessness this year. The event serves as a time for the community to get together and work together, not only to develop the projects, but also educate others and create new ideas.

The event’s past success has drawn a diverse and great array of partners, including GoodWill, Spotify, and Code for America, and, of course, Arrow Root. With over twenty partners this year, the event seeks to create a lasting impact on the community. A large goal of these collaborative efforts is to fulfill the tech needs of a community as fast and economically as possible by drawing an effort from a group, rather than just individuals.

In a Shareable interview, Kyle said that while “hackathons do not create change themselves, it’s the sustained efforts of people working together for long-term solutions that will have an impact.”

The project was also recently featured on Torque Magazine, WP Engine’s source for WordPress Community News.

Despite the city spending $200 million per year on problems related to homelessness, the problem persists. “We want to help bring in new energy and ideas. Creative solutions come with creative people and it’s those people getting involved that can have impact in new ways,” said Kyle in response to whether homelessness needs to be treated in a different manner. “Homelessness and poverty are not technology problems, they are people problems.”

Kyle and many others prepared for the event this past Wednesday at the weekly Civic Hack night hosted in San Francisco’s Code for America office.

The event will start today, Friday, at 6 p.m. local time at Glide Memorial Church, with tomorrow’s hackathon session going from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., and ending with a Sunday session 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a closing ceremony at 4 p.m. that day, as well, at the Code for America office.

Costs for participation will be $20 for students, $40 for others.

Upcoming WordPress Classes

Wordpress classes

We’re excited to announce that in less than one week, we’ll be leading a WordPress Workshop in Berkeley.

logo

 

Here’s a little bit about the course, which is geared towards folks getting started :

We’ll go over the basics, talk about hosting, review a few popular WordPress features, and get started on creating content. We’ll also discuss how WordPress differs from other systems, and what advantages there are to working with WordPress.

If you can’t make it or don’t live in the area, you can still spread the word about our WordPress classes, and let others know!

Here’s some past praise from students –

Not only is Jaki an innovative, collaborative, informed, inspired instructor, but the students are fascinating as well. They have great projects that they’re working on. I’m always delighted to hear about them. Their questions are often ones I will need answered along the way too. I’m so glad that Jaki weaves the students’ questions and comments into our class time. It’s been a blast! These remarks are high praise from a relatively non-techie person like me. This course has surpassed my expectations in every way.

Jaki is the shining star in this course. He’s generous, wise, experienced. He has an amazing ability to address lots of random roadblocks that the students throw at him and still, for the most part, stick to his agenda. He’s even keeled and clear. The material is complex, but not for him, and even that aspect of the class is so valuable. Rubbing shoulders with someone who’s clear, logical, informed, creative and successful in this area makes the goal of constructing a WP website seem doable, even for us non-techies. This has been an awesome experience. I am very inspired to keep going with this.

WordPress Class Details

Location: Impact Hub Berkeley
2150 Allston Way, #400
(Inside the David Brower Center)
Berkeley, CA 94704

Time: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (AKST)

Cost: $25 for Hub Members / $35 for Non Members

Click to Purchase Tickets