Archive for July, 2009

Just For Laughs film festival on now

The Just For Laughs film festival is on now, with a great line-up of new and independent films that’ll knock your socks off. Tonight is the premiere of Humpday, a comedy about what happens when two long-lost friends get back together… and decide to make a porno. Presented by Joshua Leonard of The Blair Witch Project, this “beyond gay” film explores the straight-male bromance as well as the desire to make art out of pornography—not to mention the perilous task of informing your wife that you’re making a dirty sex film with your best friend.

Margaret Cho's latest film, Beautiful, premieres July 25 (photo by Austin Young, courtesy of MargaretCho.com)

Margaret Cho's latest film, Beautiful, premieres July 25 (photo by Austin Young, courtesy of MargaretCho.com)

In other festival picks, I’m looking forward to seeing Margaret Cho’s latest tour film, Beautiful, on July 25 at 7 PM. As described on the JFL website:

Armed with something more potent than lip gloss — a mouth so shocking and raunchy it should be stamped with a warning – Cho toured America with her manifesto: “This show is really about how we should feel beautiful,” says Cho. “When you feel beautiful, you’re going to have more of a willingness to use your voice to speak.”

I’m a big fan of Margaret Cho’s feminist, queer-positive work, so this is a no-brainer pick for me. I will pretty much see anything she’s willing to produce, regardless of its topic. Even if she doesn’t do the impression of her Korean mother in the gay bookstore she used to own, or talk about how you can only get ripped abs by sucking cock. Shocking? Raunchy? Not really. It’s just Margaret Cho being Margaret Cho, talking about her own experiences, and promoting positivity in a world that tends to undermine or simply ignore passionate voices like hers. And that’s pretty damn beautiful to me.

Of course if you’re more into mainstream comedy, you might want to check out the latest Judd Apatow flick, Funny People, the story of a comedian who has a near-death experience. Is it a serious film, or seriously funny? Find out on July 25 at 9:30 PM.

Finally, if you’re interested in the science behind the comedy, be sure to make it out for Albert Nerenberg’s Laughology. While philosophers and the Bible have shunned laughter, Nerenberg is convinced that it’s some of the best medicine around. Join him on July 22 at 9 PM to meet the man with the world’s most contagious laugh and see for yourself.

What I learned at WordCamp Montreal

Matt Mullenweg, WP founder, at WordCamp Montreal (photo by Eva Blue)

Matt Mullenweg, WP founder, at WordCamp Montreal (photo by Eva Blue)

After I posted my last blog about going to WordCamp Montreal, an ironic thing happened: my personal WordPress blog (buttontapper.com) ceased to exist. It’s back online, mostly, at the time I’m writing this, but a lot of my blogs have disappeared into the ether. Which I hope will serve as a warning to back up your own site weekly, if not daily, but probably won’t because, as we all know, people don’t like to do things until they learn from a bad experience.

ANYWAY, all that to say that I was going to be reporting on WordCamp on my blog, but since it got destroyed when my former hosting provider went AWOL, I ended up spending a good chunk of my weekend reinstalling WordPress, hunting down the files I’d lost, reinstalling old and new plugins, and otherwise jerking around on my site. Instead of reporting on WordCamp. I suck.

In an attempt to make up for the fact that I’ve clearly failed you all, I thought I would share some of the things I did manage to learn during my Saturday at WordCamp (Sunday was just way too hectic to make it to the SAT), and pass the wisdom of the crowd along.

The first talk I heard was CT Moore’s presentation on WP-MU (a version of which you can also find online at his website, Gypsy Bandito). He basically gave a quick walk-through on how to install the program, and an overview as to what it can do. If you’re going to be manipulating multiple blogs, whether on a single domain or across several domains, you should definitely consider installing MU. That’s what it’s designed for, as the name stands for Multiple Users. You can give admin privileges to lots of different people, let lots of people create blogs on your site, share admin privileges across multiple sites, and basically get a hell of a lot of blogs all managed under one system. It sounded pretty excellent, so I have been debating installing it on my own computer, but since I only currently own the domains for two blogs, that might be a bit overkill. Sure, I have to log into two separate interfaces, but it also helps keep them separate in my mind. If you had multiple blogs at one domain, this would probably be way more useful to you.

The second talk was actually a loose Q&A with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress. Matt was in Montreal on vacation, so he didn’t want to give his usual “State of the Word” talk, but you can watch it online at WordPressTV if you’re curious. He’s been touring the various WordCamps throughout North America, and figured he couldn’t skip ours, even if it was during the final days of the Jazz Fest. Anyway, I thought he was super cool and had lots of good things to say about the WordPress community and how open-source software works, why it’s important to give back, and why people like Bill Gates will someday be giving their own software away for free. You should definitely watch the video, because he’s very optimistic and upbeat, and it’s nice to get that kind of perspective in a world that is so often cynical about community, and online communities in particular.

The last talk I stayed for was Brad Williams‘ WordPress security talk, which had lots of useful tips and tricks for keeping your personal site safe (with WordPress installed). I believe he said he would have all his tips online at his website, but I don’t think they’re online there yet. To summarize, you should:

  • Have a secure password, that isn’t based on dictionary words (duh, but how many of us really do this?)
  • Keep your WordPress files up to date with the latest plugins and WP installs
  • Make a different account your admin account, and delete the original “admin” user
  • Give your WordPress files a random prefix that hackers won’t be able to guess, instead of the default “wp-“

I think there were a few more tips that I’m forgetting, but those stood out as the most important and easiest to do, for starters.

There was quite a good turn-out for WordCamp Montreal, and if anybody else wants to share any insights they had or things they learned there, feel free to post those below.

Last chance for WordCamp Montreal tickets

wcmtl-badge-attendee-en-326If you’ve been hemming and hawing, it’s time to get off the fence! Less than 24 hours are left to buy your tickets to WordCamp Montreal, a 2-day conference on WordPress for nerds, geeks, hackers, crackers, code monkeys, designers and plain old ordinary folks who use the web’s most beloved of free blogging software. That’s YOU! That’s ME! Yes, I will be there, live and in the flesh, taking notes and (hopefully) making use of a wifi connection to share the latest and greatest with readers over on my blog.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Laura, aren’t conferences EXPENSIVE?” And yes, dear Montreal Metblogs reader, you are right; most conferences are expensive. But not WordCamp! No way, dudes. This one is only $30 a person ($25 if you’re a student), and that gets you two whole days of WordPress action AND a t-shirt AND a free lunch! Who says there are no free lunches in this world? Not the peeps at WordCamp.

So maybe you’re thinking, “But Laura, I don’t know anything about WordPress. I’m just a blogger with a free template. I am a total n00b; won’t they make fun of me?” Well, I can’t guarantee that someone won’t, because let’s face it: some people are just jerks. However, the goal of WordCamp is to bring new and experienced users together, to teach you some tricks, and to share information. So even if you’re the newbiest of n00bs, you’re welcome to attend. Hell, I’m not the tech-savviest gal on the planet, and I’m going, so you should too!

But like I said, there’s less than 24 hours left to make up your mind! WordCamp is this Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12, at the SAT (1195 St-Laurent). You can find the schedule online here, and a list of your fellow attendees here. To buy tickets, just click here!

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