A friend of mine from high school recently asked what I thought about her changing her gaming/blog brand and that conversation progressed to me helping her make the switch. She chose a new domain name, after some great back and forth with me tossing ideas at her. I’ll list those ideas at the bottom of this post for anyone that is looking to pick up more domains or is also looking for a gaming brand they can use.

Anyways, she thankfully already had a WordPress powered website, so the transition was going to be very easy for me, as migrating sites is a big part of my job. After over a week of waiting for her host to help with various things, she decided to move her site to a new budget web host. I migrated the site, did some optimization, and forwarded the traffic from the old site to the new site.

Old Site Pingdom Test Results
Score: 85
Load Time: 2.74s
Page Size: 1.8MB
Test Location: San Jose

New Site Pingdom Test Results
Score: 86
Load Time: 2.49s
Page Size: 1.3MB
Test Location: San Jose

After Basic Optimization Pingdom Test Results
Score: 88
Load Time: 1.86s
Page Size: 1.3MB
Test Location: San Jose

Just changing hosts saved an average of a quarter second per page load for her visitors, but after I did some no-cost optimizations, I was able to get the site to load almost a full second faster than it used to on the old host. Sometimes, it would load as quick as 729ms, but that isn’t consistent. The numbers above are pretty average.

Had she the budget to spend on the site, I could potentially have gotten the average to under 1.5 seconds, and if she was willing to switch to a more performance-focused theme, maybe under 1 second in load time on average, but I am pretty happy with what I was able to do without spending any additional money.

I think she is happy with the site as well. It was really nice to get a message from her one evening saying, “jebus the site is fast, lol.”

I really enjoy working on helping people optimize their sites. If your WordPress powered website loads in over 2.5 seconds according to Pingdom, it might be time to contact PressTitan. We can help you do better!

Update: I totally forgot to add the URLs that I thought up for her new brand. These were all available when I mentioned them to Steph.

What’s New?

Seeing that Annie is back posting on her blog, it inspired me to do a bit of an update on mine. The last time I posted was in July. Since then, I’ve settled in my job with David Krug, a long time connection on the web, and we are working together on PressTitan. I help manage almost sixty WordPress powered websites with regards to not only their hosting platform but also their optimization from a performance perspective. Over the whole network of sites, there are probably in the neighbourhood of five million page views per month or sixty million page views per year. It is immense to think about. Because of that job, I’ve been able to do a bit of coding here and there to come up with custom solutions to our needs. I’m always learning something new, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

Besides my work, I’ve had time to spend on putting videos on YouTube. I bought a new desktop computer, and it is pretty powerful, so with Annie busy doing school work and continuing to volunteer with 1 Million Teachers, I have a bit of free time to play some games. But how do I justify playing video games? Post them on YouTube for others to view and be entertained by, or that’s the idea anyway. I kept my YouTube brand similar to the company brand: Canadian Titan. Over the last month and a half, I’ve recorded and uploaded over 75 videos, so if you are interested in science fiction focused gaming, please check it out.

Annie and I continue to enjoy living in Kingston and get to see both her family and mine on a regular basis. We’ve been very fortunate in that respect as both Annie’s family and my family have been visiting us regularly which helps Annie feel less homesick. We haven’t had any visits from Annie’s friends yet, but if they do decide to come…we always have a decent pull-out couch and some air mattresses…

Other things I want to write about I’ll do so in other posts, as they deserve their own mentions. I really want to finish out 2017 by getting this blog to 1,000 posts, and I’m only eight away after this post.

THIA Project

While I’ve been out of work, I haven’t been sitting idle. I’ve been balancing my time between applying for new opportunities, helping 1 Million Teachers where I can, and developing an idea of my own.

THIA Project is a concept that I had more than half a year ago, and I’ve been spending more and more time on developing it. The goal is to create a youth focused, gamified educational and community platform specifically focused on mental health and mental health triggers.

I have started to put everything together for an alpha product that I can have people try. I’ve been working hard on a website, YouTube videos, and extensive business planning. Business planning is not really my forte, so I’m definitely working through that large learning curve. I do feel that I’m finally getting to the point though where bringing on outside help makes sense. I’ve let my friends and family know on Facebook that I’m looking for help and I have been ramping up my attendance at local business events in Kingston.

What will happen with the THIA Project is unknown, but I definitely enjoy spending time on this endeavour and believe it to be a worthwhile cause. If you would like to learn more about what I am doing and why, please check out my three slide presentation below.

If you are interested in helping or know someone that might be, please have them contact me by commenting on this post, or via my contact form.

Being Jobless is Stressful

I have been spending multiple hours per day applying to companies, both to positions that I find online as well as unsolicited emails of my resume in hopes of finding an unlisted position somewhere. I am looking in Kingston as well as remote jobs online with companies that are willing to hire a Canadian.

Summertime is the worst time to be looking for a position, as businesses slow in the summer, but I’m hopeful that someone will see my value and get me all trained up for the autumn spike that often comes as businesses want to gear up for the late fall holidays and the winter.

I have primarily been looking at Project or Product Management positions, though I’m also willing and able to take on technology generalist positions where I’m responsible for a little bit of everything.

During my time at Innovate Kingston, I did everything from printer and laptop support to working with third party vendors to get a fiber optic network set-up at a historical site. I was responsible for the marketing website server set-up and managing a development team for the platform creation. I’m really fairly comfortable doing nearly anything with technology.

As hopeful as I am that I’ll find that opportunity that will suit me for the long term because I’m tired of moving from company to company every year or so, I am also realistic that I need to find something shortly as we didn’t really plan for this jobless period and Annie is going back to school this fall to pursue her dreams.

So as long as I can find something that can keep that dream alive by keeping us financially afloat, that’s what matters most to me right now.

WordPress Weekly Co-Host Spot

Update: Here’s the link to the episode, if you want to check it out:
WPWeekly Episode 284 – Catching Up with David Peralty

So on August 9th at 3:00 PM Eastern, I’ll be a guest on the WordPress Weekly podcast with Jeff Chandler. You can watch a live stream of it on YouTube if you are interested. Check the podcast page, on the WordPress Tavern website, before it goes live to see a link to the live stream.

What will we be talking about? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

This is extra special for me because I used to be a regular on the podcast, way back in the day, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Want to listen to my last episode? Check out Episode 75. It is from 2009!

Anyways, I recommend listening to all 282 current episodes if you are looking to fill some time and want to basically listen to the history of WordPress recorded a week at a time over the last several years.

And of course, please don’t forget to listen to WordPress Weekly live on August 9th, but if you miss it, check on the WordPress Tavern website for the latest WordPress Weekly podcast after it records!

Mistakes Were Made: Upgrading Database Edition

So today, on a personal project, a plugin I’m using pointed out that I’m not using the most up to date database software on my server, so I went to backup my database and upgrade the database software, unfortunately, the upgrade went wrong and the backup was empty.

All of the work, approximately twenty hours or so, was gone.

But, I had a copy of the IBD and FRM files for the database. This meant that I had the essence of the database, but there was no easy way to make it go live again.

I was so frustrated. I had dozens of tabs open, asked some people that I knew were smarter than me at server management and database administration and the consensus was that there was no easy way to get my data back. I was going to have to start over…

I spent the afternoon trying everything I could find in hopes of getting back up and running without starting over, and by the end of the day, I was successful. I was able to restore about 90% of my work and the last 10% isn’t super important and would take less time to redo than restore.

It all worked out because of the IBD files and discarding and importing the tablespace as seen at this StackExchange Discussion – How to Recover an InnoDB table whose files were moved around.

I’ve activated additional backup tools so that this doesn’t happen again and I’ll definitely check backup file sizes before doing something so risky in the future.

Please learn from my mistake, and don’t just backup, but check that you have good backups!

Why I’m on the Hunt for a New Job

I was let go from my position at Innovate Kingston today, as the organization needs to go extra lean to keep things rolling for its next big event.

I was really hopeful that the position would continue on for some time as I enjoyed not only the people I worked with but also the focuses of the organization.

I still feel connected to the brand and want to see it succeed. I want Innovate Kingston to find all the funding it needs going forward to be as successful as possible. Kingston needs more innovative companies.

I’m a bit stressed about my employment situation, as I’m not only the sole earner in the household, but also Annie is planning on going back to school this fall to pursue her dream of being a grief and loss counsellor.

So, begrudgingly, I am back on the hunt for a new opportunity. I am an experienced Project Manager. I was the Technical Project Manager for The Breakout Project, as well as running many projects for 10up, a WordPress focused digital agency.

Hopefully, it won’t take long to find something to fill the gap so our overarching plans don’t have to change.

A huge thank you to everyone that has shown support and compassion already today and those that continue to do so!