Aubrey Portwood

WordPress — Stoicism — 🎾

Life Update, June 20th 2015

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^^ Just what I’m listening to while I write this, just so you can get the vibe with me 🙂

So I decided to actually make time to write a little bit. Saturday. Coffee. Starbucks. Get out of the house…write something. Blog something that isn’t just WordPress stuff…

Yes, get out of the house. Ever since I got my job at WebDevStudios I have been working at home more than I really ever have. And even though I can’t express how thankful that I get to do that, you still need to get out of the confines of your work environment once in a while…

So this is just going to be an update blog on what I’m doing, how it’s going…all the things.


I still get a bit star struck that I actually work for such a great place, a great team (the A-Team) everyday. Things are going really well there. I just logged on to my WordPress install to write this and had a thought, “Shit I know where everything fucking is now.” My knowledge and familiarity with WordPress had multiplied 10 fold. I WordPress now…every damn day…and it’s great! Everyday that I work I feel more and more like an expert at this stuff, and that’s exactly something I set out for!

We’ve also been busy! Really busy. But, I’m not sure my team understands really how well we have it. Before WebDevStudios I was the project manager, the coder, the planner, the budgeter, you name it…even the recruiter (for offshore workers). I mean my work life was stretched pretty thin. I am so appreciative that we have great project managers, leads, and that WDS has such a great structure in place to really help people keep their sanity! (I elaborate on this more below.)

New things I’m learning (Friends, this will be technical, skip ahead)…

SASS: I’ll admit when I first came on, I was a bit of a CSS purist, and I still am. That means I’m not into preprocessors that much. But I’ve come to realize that for big project SASS is great for organizing large teams and I can’t express enough the power that SASS gives teams so that you don’t step on each other’s toes. Because you can use nesting in SASS you can make sure you are styling specific things vs. possibly styling very generic things and possibly changing things other people are working on. I mean it still happens, but it’s really rare. I will also say that now I wish CSS was written like SASS, it’s extremely more natural feeling to write.

Grunt all the things: Again more processors, but Grunt does save a ton of time. And on tight deadline projects, Grunt does help make things happen a lot quick. Grunt is just a great tool to get mediocre things done quickly. I am a Grunt convert for sure, though I still have lots to learn.

Bower: Easy dependency management. I’m still a bit of a noob here too, but I do know that when I want to include an external library, bower makes it super easy.

Teamwork…yeah. Working with a team has been enormously gratifying. I’ve always been the loner guy who does all the things. It’s a totally different dynamic. I mean I see sites churned out in weeks! I work for a few hours on a site and I see it being launched suddenly a few weeks later. I remember having that moment on a recent project we were working on. I saw that the site was about to be launched, and I just thought to myself, “We just started that thing, and it’s done!?”

BTW, WDS is hiring still! I didn’t think I would be doing fun stuff with them, but here I am! APPLY if you read the above without a strange look on your face.


So working at WDS has introduced some new things into my life. For one thing, because I work in Arizona (where the time does not change) I get a chance to be a “westie” and a “mountain man” (terms used to refer to people in pacific and mountain time zones). Right now I’m a westie, I wake up at 7am and work until about 2 or 3pm with people in the pacific timezone. Being done with work around 2 is great! I can run errands, play with my kid, I mean it’s great! I keep wondering what it’s going to be like to be a mountain man.

I believe, just like normal physical energy, your mind has a limited amount of energy per day. Since I’m not spending all that energy stressing about budgets or project planning, etc, I have a lot of leftover mental energy. This means I can work on losing weight and I actually have some mental energy to focus on it. Having some mental energy for me is a great nice to have and really make a big difference.

I’m still a bad Buddhist lol

Although I have been learning a lot by having more time and energy to dedicate to reading, I still haven’t become that great meditator. I meditate rarely. I feel guilty actually, because I know, now, stress is not an excuse I can use. I’m still working on actually putting more and more things into practice, but I still have yet to really knuckle down and start meditating. But I’m also not beating myself up over it, I know it will come when I’m ready.

I’ve still been spending a lot of time learning about meditation. I am the kind of person that when I see a clear benefit of a goal, I’m on it and I’m into it 100%. I guess I haven’t really felt like meditation is going to turn it around for me. I read a lot, I spend a lot of time on the insight side of Buddhism. It’s something that has definitely helped me and had an effect, so I spend a lot of time there.


So a big part of Tennis changes lately are all around trying to become more fit. I don’t feel like there’s much on the technical side of things that are going to propel me forward. Losing all this weight is going to make me faster and beat up less on my body…period. So that’s all I’m working towards really right now.

I’ve made some changes, though, technically to my game. A year ago I changed some things about how I play and it definitely helped in one area: exhaustion. The changes I made were put into place to help take less of a blow on my body, and it worked! But it had a negative effect on my game overall. Being a power-driven player, those changes made me have to work harder on strategy, etc, which I just am not good at. Coupled with weight loss I’m hoping that I can move my game back to a more aggressive power-driven style. So, I’ve been making those changes lately, and how my back feels at night is proof that it comes with a price.

But, I’m still really enjoying Tennis! Family…Code…Tennis. That’s life for me and that’s exactly the way I like it. I think the weight loss is really going to help me enjoy it more. I know the reason I don’t play well is because of my weight, so I feel like it’s really the only thing holding me back.

Fatherhood (Being Dad)


I absolutely love my kid! But I think everyone says that about their kid, no duh. I always knew how much I would like being a Dad. Being a kid who grew up without one I was really excited to experience the whole Dad thing, and it’s really turning out to be a great experience. We were even blessed with such a great kid; not fussy, happy, smiling, fun, and smart. I always look forward to the future with Lexie, I know I’m going to enjoy every step of being her Dad.

She’s just about to turn 1 year old. She’s grown so much in just one year. I try and make sure and really take in the time knowing she’s going to grow so fast!

Lexie’s personality is really starting to show too. I see a lot of her Mom in her; happy, fun loving, curious, joyful. Those are all words I would use to describe Ashley and they totally apply to Lexie. She’s walking, and just like crawling it happened in just a couple of days w/out warning! She’s even trying to climb the gates we put up to keep her out of certain areas of the house.

But, doesn’t mean I love diapers or loud screaming! This great bundle of joy still comes with her challenges. And now that she’s getting older I’ve noticed she is getting a little more attached to Mom and Dad. She’s getting “stranger danger,” so it’s a gamble whether she’s going to enjoy being handed to someone else. I recently went to try on suits with her and she just wasn’t having it, so it’s safe to say I didn’t try any suits on that day.


So, I am getting married pretty soon. I’m so ready to have that official stamp placed on our family. Marriage has always been about family for me, and Ashley, Lexie and I are already a great family. But we’re both excited to make it official!

…and Wedding planning is no joke…


So after writing that I feel like that’s not a lot. My life is pretty simple right now (and that’s a good thing). It’s funny how complicated things can feel still.

But I’m glad I finally got to do some “blogging.” Blogs aren’t just for nerdy WordPress stuff people!

31.1 Nahko

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Aubrey Portwood aubreypwd

Nahko 31.1 Screenshot

This time I went a little wild with some of the changes to my site, but that’s just because some of the recent changes to my life have been a bit wild. I kept most of the re-design from 31.0 Trevor Hall, but added some…funk? The theme and colors chosen are based on my recent landing of my dream job with WebDevStudios and a little splash of a New Mexico sunset.

Who is Nahko?

Nahko (and Medicine for the People) is an artist I have been listening to lately. There’s something infectious going on with his music, I think it really speaks to my spirit and where I am in my life right now. I would be lying if the music didn’t also help inspire the changes to my site!

The embedded video above is one of my favorite songs right now.

“I believe in the good things coming.” – Black as Night

Especially after joining WebDevStudios this repeated verse (in the song) really speaks to me. You really do have to believe in good things coming your way to really go out there and make them happen for yourself.

Nerd Notes

I also did something new. Usually, with my site, I would clone down WordPress and clone down the Publish-pwd theme into the themes directory. But, I’ve opted to version control my entire site and include WordPress.

The proof-in-case situation happened last night. I updated WordPress (the new way, by merging the 4.2 branch into mine) and found out 4.2 had a bug a plugin had a bug that broke my site (link to come later). I was easily able to revert that merge and all was well again.

The other reason is to keep track of the plugins and themes I use and version control those as well. So that’s new…

I know it’s wild, but that’s the intention. Makes me wonder what 31.2 will look like.

Provisioning’s a Bitch

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timeWhat am I most excited for? Never having to run vagrant up --provision again. Spinning up a new build everyday can be time consuming! Simply, I was starting to feel like VVV was just getting in the way of being productive. I got things to do!

Those are My RAMS (Performance)

VVV will take up about 1GB of memory working or not (and don’t try and lower it). This isn’t really VVV’s fault, mainly my own. I bought a new Macbook Air and started with the lower-end hardware. Though things ran faster (because of the SSD), I had less RAM’s and less HD space now. On my Macbook Pro (may it rest in peace) I never had to worry about RAM, but as soon as I started hitting projects all day it became apparent I needed all the resources I could get out of my machine.

I’m probably not even using VVV all-the-way!

Ultimately, this is what it really comes down to. I just haven’t felt like it was that much better than a MAMP or XAMPP solution. Ever since I fired it up I haven’t really found anything great about it far from other solutions (except that it’s Linux), but that’s probably my fault anyways. I just don’t use a lot of the powerhouse things Vagrant probably does and I feel like I’m sacrificing a lot.


When I first broke up with MAMP for VVV, it seemed like a good fit (and it was the hip thing everyone was doing). I thought the right thing to do was run my dev environment in a box that worked most like the Internet does, on Linux. But, after using it for about a year, and throwing that --provision switch a few hundred times, I’m trying out XAMPP, which just runs Apache, PHP, MySQL. That’s all I really need to do what I do and sudo xampp restart gets it done in under 10 seconds!

We broke up, but we’re still friends

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out VVV! People swear by it, and there’s a reason, I’m just not sure if I’m aware of it yet… It was also built by very smart people that work on very smart projects. And, It’s still on my machine! Anytime I need to test a site outside of the typical Apache box (with NGINX becoming more and more popular), it’ll be there for me.

VVV probably does a lot of great things, but you better have a slow coffee machine–provisioning is a bitch!

I Landed a Dream Job at WebDevStudios!


TL;DR: I totally landed a dream job with WebDevStudios! It’s late, I know….

2007, I download WordPress

When I downloaded WordPress to create my first site with it, I had no idea it would become such a huge part of my life. It was easy, it had plugins, it had themes, it was something I could work with. That’s how it all started. As the years went on I would go on to push WordPress as “the future,” and it was, especially for me. I would use WordPress to build many sites, it’s in everything I would build.


For almost a decade WordPress would be the center of most of the things I did. I can’t express enough how happy I am that WordPress is Open Source. My love, and of course need, for Open Source software is what pulled me to WordPress in the early days.

During this time I’d work building WordPress sites for lots of people, friends, and even family. Towards the end I would finally start working on my own WordPress themes and plugins.

…2014, I meet WordPress addicts

I attend my first WordCamp (#wcphx) and see all these WordPress addicts, thinking how lucky they are to get to do WordPress day in and day out and work with other WordPress people.

I decide to make a change. I need to work with these people, I needed to be a part of a community who are crazy about WordPress like I am. I set out to find a dream job, one of those “do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” deals.

I aim high hoping for anything I could get my hands on. Let’s just say it was a trip and I learned a lot along the way. But I noticed WebDevStudios needs a front-end developer. I think it’s a long shot, but knew this would be huge if I were able to get a job with these guys…

2015, …and I did!

It was a big deal when I got the call from Dre telling me I had got the job. I’m pretty sure I said something in reply like, “This is great. I can’t wait!” But what I was really thinking was, “Holy shit! I got the job!”

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. WordPress is now what I do and I’m excited to work and learn with the great people I’ve been getting acquainted with over at WebDevStudios. They’re a crazy bunch, but that’s right up my alley, and I’m honored to be associated with such a prestigious company.

Thank You’s

A lot of people helped me along the way, especially family and friends with their encouragement and support. They truly know the “journey” I was on trying to make WordPress what I do, especially my patient and very understanding fiance Ashley.

But, most of all, as cliche as it will sound, I do owe a lot to the WordPress community itself. Because they make a great open source platform like WordPress, they’ve opened up this opportunity for me.

WP NoteUp

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I’ve been waiting for a while to publish a new plugin! I have a few, but they are old and outdated. I’ve learned a lot about making better WordPress Plugins (coding wise) and I’ve finally got a plugin with something more modern.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 5.11.20 PMWhen I set out to develop a new plugin I wanted to build something I wanted. I’ve tried other note taking plugins, but nothing has been simple and exactly what I needed.

WP NoteUp is inspired by Simplenote and aims to be as like it as it can be. Simple and right to the point, just text.

A Pro Version

I have plans, though, to release a Pro version of the plugin that features some vanity items like note backgrounds but should also feature more features like Markup or the Visual Composer.

I know people want more than what WP NoteUp does out of the box with today’s release, sometimes I want more out of Simplenote too. So, the Pro version will have these things and give people that want more…more, and if you just want simple just go with the .Org version.

Note sure how much, not sure when I’ll get it done. But when I do, I’ll post something here.

How to fix issue where external drive (non-NTFS) is being mounted as Read Only

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This is what I did anyhow…

Here my external disk is Sling and it has the proper permissions root:admin. Before it had root:wheel which wasn’t allowing me to write to the disk as I did before.

To get the right permissions I used sudo chown root:admin Sling/. I thought that this permission would only apply one time, but I ejected and re-mounted and it kept the permission.

Hopefully this helps.

31.0 Trevor Hall

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I’m super pumped to release the latest version of my site (which is always changing!).

I’ve included a few screenshots, because I’m sure things will change. The theme is a child theme based on my favorite theme Publish by Konstantin Kovshenin.

It features a Twitter-like mast head I’ve always admired and my favorite WordPress wallpaper which I’ve been using in most of my profiles. The main menu has been given a little more focus with a border, categories in the sidebar are easier to follow with a border too, the edges of everything have been rounded some, and it’s a bit wider.

I’ve also decided to start a new repo for my site using Mark Jaquith’s WordPress Skeleton which should always be on Github now. I’ve marked this version as 31.0 Trevor Hall.

I’ve also decided to let versions [of my site, not this theme] follow my age, so I’m 31, so starting in October this year I’ll move to 32.0. Names will also follow my favorite music at the time, so that will act as a good log of my tastes in music as things progress so that should be fun.

Trevor Hall

Trevor Hall just started popping up in my Spotify and I was totally hooked. You’re really surprised to hear him sing once you see him, it’s almost like his voice shouldn’t be coming from a dreaded skinny guy. His music is relaxing, inspiring, and very alternative. Soon after listening to his music on repeat, I started to look into him more.

His recent music is inspired by some of his recent travels to India, and for the past few years I’ve been really connecting with Buddhism and eastern religions and so I gravitated to his lyrics and story. I consider myself a multi-religious person and Trevor seems to be as well, very open, very grey, very accepting.

His more tame stuff is the best, I think, but he has a wide range of music. Lime tree is one of my other favorite songs. He also has this funny duet with his sister you can check out too, he’s a pretty good freestyler.