Getting to know the guys behind the stuff

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Right now my Stitcher app tells me that I’ve listened to 184 hours over 1,830 episodes since Nov 2012. That’s not including the ones I listen to the web or through iTunes. I just find podcasts to be one of the best ways that I personally take in information.

I listen to entrepreneurial podcasts like The Smart Passive Income with Patt Flynn, and Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas.

I listen to WordPress specific podcasts such as Your Website Engineer with Dustin Hartzler, and WP Elevation with Troy Dean.

But over the last week I have listened to two different podcasts:

One is CodePen Radio, which is all about how Chris Coyier and his Co-Founders built the CodePen web application from the ground up. I love using CodePen, it’s such a handy tool as a front-end web developer, but I find that I like using it even more now, because I know the guys behind it and the journey they went through to build it.

The Second one was an interview Tim Ferris had with Matt Mullenweg (he basically created WordPress). Listening to this 2 hour+ ‘casual chat’ with Matt somehow gives me a bigger appreciation for the time and energy he has put into WordPress over the years, especially now while I’m writing this post.

Listen to the episode here:

Let’s Encrypt free SSL on Siteground

Just set one up on my personal blog (this site) on my Cloud VPS.
Flippin’ insanely easy!!


1. Click the Let’s Encrypt button in cPanel, enter your email, and click ‘Install’


2. Use iThemes security to force front-end to use SSL.



The year of the plugin

I’ve decided that this year I’m going to learn how to build WordPress plugins. Not necesarily to publish to the repo, but something that will make my life just a little bit easier.

I’ve followed Dustin Hartzler’s webinar tutorial back in Feb of 2014, but I think I will go back and re-watch it.

Then I might go and subscribe to Pippin Williamson’s site.

Grunt LiveReload on WordPress

The last component of Grunt I wanted to setup before I get stuck into my current WordPress project, is LiveReload. This does what it sounds like. When it detects any file changes (based on rules I set in the Gruntfile.js file), it automatically reloads the browser so I don’t have to constantly hit CMD + R.

The two articles I followed to get Livereload working with WordPress are here:

Docker & Grunt

Today I decided to look into Docker & Grunt.

Docker doesn’t really seem like the kind of thing that would benefit me much in my workflow for building SMB WordPress websites. Looks like it might be useful for larger sites, or more likely, web apps.

Grunt, I have setup and am planning to use it with my current WordPress project. So far I have it setup with the ‘SASS’, ‘Autoprefixer’ and ‘watch’ modules active. So that it compiles my SASS to CSS, automatically adds browser prefixes to the output css file where necesary, and the ‘watch’ module automatically runs these tasks when it detects a file save.

Virtualbox & WP-CLI

Today I wanted to take my new knowledge of SSH a little further, so I created a Virtual Machine, installed Ubuntu and then installed Apache, PHP, and MySQL. I then installed WordPress and accessed it from my local machine by adding a hostname in my hosts file mapped to the IP of the VM.

After that I wanted to look into WP CLI, so I installed that and had a quick play.

This is a draft list of the steps I took


Install VirtualBox

Create Ubuntu VM

Connect via SSH

Add SSH Keypair

// On local machine, (in terminal)
cd ~/.ssh
// Create a keypair (if not there already).
// Copy contents of key to clipboard
cat | pbcopy
// SSH to server
ssh user@server
enter password
// Create .ssh folder
mkdir .ssh
cd .ssh
// Create file and paste clipboard contents into it
nano authorized_keys
// Paste contents, ctrl X to save and exit
ssh user@server
// You should be logged in automatically

install apache

install php

install mysql

download WordPress core using wget

extract the tar file

move the contents to the root folder

edit ownership and permissions
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wp-content

Create a DB using PHPmyAdmin

install WP via the wizard

Install and play with WP-CLI

SSH and Rsync, and Git

So on NYE2015 I’m learning to SSH and Rsync to my server so I feel like more of a bad-ass web guy.

Update: Oh, and I just setup a local install of WordPress on Mamp to sync with a live install on my server, using Git (via SourceTree), and a WP database sync plugin.

Hosted a Unturned 3.0 Game Server on Amazon EC2

I wanted to play Unturned 3.0 with my brothers, but they were in another state. I attempted to host the server portion of the game on my spare laptop on the shelf. It worked fine for me, but anyone connected outside my LAN experienced enough lag to make it un-playable. This was because my current upload speed is 0.2Mbps, yep, good times.

Then I remembered that I have a t2.micro Windows Server Instance on my AWS account, and bonus, it’s in the free tier so it doesn’t cost anything. So I logged on to AWS, booted up the server, downloaded Steam, installed Unturned, configured the game server, realised I had to give it an elastic IP, created a new security group with the required open ports, and hey presto! A game server in the cloud on a fast connection for anyone to join (anyone who has the password that is).

Anyone else play Unturned?


The beard is gone

A couple of weeks ago, I posted here that I was going to participate in the World’s Greatest Shave and lose my beard to raise money.

Well as promised in that post, here is the follow-up.

Yesterday (Saturday, March 14), I went down to Westfield where the local ‘Shave event’ was being held. Before I registered at the shavers table, Mel made sure to get a ‘Before’ photo for reference.


Then it was off to be seated while I wait for my turn, and watch the other participants get coloured and shaved.


Suddenly I was up in the chair, where Ash from RebelFM asked a few questions.


I can’t remember what the hairdresser said here, but I’m sure it was very funny.


How do I look with a dirty big moustache?


Ash tries to convince me to ‘take off the top’ too. I told him the amount of trauma I was going through losing the beard was enough for one day.


The moustache has to go, maybe another time…


Mentally preparing myself for looking in the mirror.
(Remember at this point, unlike you, I have not seen myself yet.)


And it’s done!
Here’s me pulling an ugly face for the camera/s


Next stop was to the Barber, to get the top half cleaned up a little bit.


Whoah! Where’d my hair go?

Oh well, it’ll grow back.

So I guess you want to see a before and after shot huh?

Ok then…




PS. Sponsoring lines are still open.
To Donate:

2016 Link:

PPS. All photography by Mel Lawrence Photography

PPS. The scratch on my neck is from wrestling with Oakey (our puppy). No need to call anyone.

I’m shaving my beard for a cure!

Just over 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with AML Leukaemia.
Long story short, after 9 months in hospital, I walked out the front door to go home.
Unfortunately, not many people get that opportunity.

Today 31 people will get the news they have blood cancer.

According to Facebook, the last time I came close to shaving was about 3 years ago, and the beard has become quite attached since then. (Yep, I see what I did there), but there are more important things than a 3 year old chin-wig.

The money you give helps the Leukaemia Foundation to provide emotional and practical support to those facing blood cancer free of charge. The money will also help to fund research into better treatments and cures for blood cancer.

March 14 2015 will be the day that my adams-apple sees light again, and don’t worry, there will be photos!!

To Donate:
2016’s Link:

Here’s a collection of semi-current bearded selfies for reference…

And here’s a projection of what I will look like after the shave:



Update: The beard is gone.