Arista Corporation

Arista is a computer product developer founded in 1994 and headquartered in Fremont, CA, with operations in China, India and Taiwan.   They came to me when they needed a developer who was responsive to their needs and could get the job done.  That was in 2015-2016.  Unfortunately, there was a marketing guy in between Arista and me who forced his vision of the website.  It has ended up being clunky and hard for the end users to manage.  Luckily, Arista has come back and asked me to re-design the website without the “assistance” of the marketing guy and we are converting to WordPress with a WooCommerce back end to manage the catalog of products. This will make the website much easier to deal with.

We were able to do some pretty cool things even with the problems brought on by the third party.  For instance, they use a WordPress blog to post articles and announcements which I was able to pull and display on the home page.  I also gave them a folder on the server that they can drop images into for the slideshow on the home page.  No messing with code.  Just put an image in a folder and it shows up.  


Single Property Websites

I received an email from a real estate client a couple weeks ago asking about a website for a single property she has listed for sale.  Single property websites used to be labor intensive and difficult to make right.  With WordPress, all things become easier.  I was able to give her a well designed, nicely laid out and fully responsive website for next to nothing in a very short timeline.  Probably not something you would want to do for every listing, but for those higher dollar listings, it’s a great way to make the seller feel like you’re doing everything you can to market their home!

Don’t be shy if you would like to talk about doing one, or even having me set you up to be able to do an unlimited number of single property sites.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.

You can reach me at

Here’s what this one looks like…  You can also see the site at

City of Winston, Oregon

The city had me create a website for them about a million years ago when 800×600 screens were HUGE!  It was about time for an update, so I gave them a WordPress site that allows them to manage all their own “stuff”.  Like:

  • Special Announcements
  • Minutes of public meetings (Gigabytes worth of MP3 and PDF files)
  • Playing of above streamed from the website
  • A document management system for PDFs like budget documents, business forms and city ordinances.  Having these saved as PDFs and managed through a document management system makes sure that the latest versions of these documents are always available.

Being WordPress, they also have the ability to adjust colors, add/edit/remove pages, use the blog to display things in a chronological order and keep them available forever.

This was a fun website conversion.  If you would like to talk about converting your website to WordPress, let me know.  I’m always happy to help.

Lane Titans Custom WordPress Child Theme

At the day job I was tasked with creating a WordPress child theme for the college sports teams.  Since I’m a Bootstrap kind of guy, and Lane has standardized on Bootstrap as a framework, I found a pretty basic theme that uses Bootstrap for its core and proceeded to modify the stuff that didn’t look right.  The results are quite good and saved the college $5000/year over the framework most of the rest of the college sports teams use.  Good day for me.  I like paying my way.  

Features Include

  • Totally custom design.
  • Full Customizer integration.  (Customizer is the WordPress admin interface for dealing with design aspects of your theme and website.)
  • Ability to change the logo (Titan Athletics) through the Customizer.
  • Ability to change the tagline in the top gold bar (OFFICIAL ATHLETICS WEBSITE…) through the Customizer.
  • Ability to change the semi-opaque background image (behind the slideshow on the home page) through the Customizer.
  • Mega-menu integrated through the stock WordPress menu system so you can change all aspects of the menu structure and design without having to call the web guy.
  • Ability to change the page background color through the Customizer.
  • Upcoming Events automated through a SPUD from 25-Live, the scheduling system the college uses.
  • Full responsive embeds, like YouTube and Vimeo videos as well as images.  (This is mostly stock WordPress behavior, but it needed a little help.)
  • Off the shelf plugins were used for things like OUR VALUED PARTNERS so they can list sponsors. 
  • Team Rosters are also through an off the shelf plugin, but it allows you to totally customize the fields as well as the templates used for outputting the single player bio pages and the tabled rosters used on the team pages.
  • A footer menu built with Bootstrap’s standard navbar code, but using a WordPress menu as its source.  Easy for the end user to change what shows up in the footer through the Customizer.
  • Custom recruiting forms for each sport.
  • Accessible design that complies with government regulations for use with screen readers.  This is ongoing, but, on launch, will be fully compliant.  (Just in case you go to the site and test me on it and it’s not quite there yet…)
  • And, of course, the site is fully responsive so it’s going to look great on a phone, a tablet or a computer.  

Development Server Link:

Production Site Link: (Will look very different until the final site is launched…)

Portfolio Ketchup (or is that Catch Up?)

I’ve been horrible about adding new projects to my portfolio for, I don’t know, maybe 2 years?  There’s no end in sight to being too busy to get it all updated, so I’m going to do one monster post with a ton of sites and very minimal descriptions.  Then, I’ll try to be better about adding them as I finish them.  So, here we go…

Melrose Elementary School

Melrose Elementary

This is the school where my kids actually outgrew going to school about 4 years ago now.  This was kind of a fun one.  Lots of good content for the parents and a fun little theme that’s kid friendly.  Much of the work I did on it ended up being copied by the district webmaster and used on the district website.  Sort of a compliment, I guess…

Phoenix School

Phoenix School

This is a high school in Roseburg, Oregon for kids who have had trouble in a standard public school.  I was approached by one of the administration (Sorry, I can’t actually remember which one) to put together a theme based on their school mascot.  Came out pretty good.  Not sure if they ever actually used it, but it was a fun one to work on.


South Umpqua Real Estate

South Umpqua Land Company

South Umpqua Real Estate was one of those clients who call you, set up a meeting, hire you, write you a deposit check, bug you for the initial design, then fall off the face of the Earth.  l honestly have no clue what happened.  I called and emailed them, but never got a reply after they told me how much they loved the design.


Gloria Loupy – Realtor

Gloria Loupy

Gloria Loupy was a realtor who worked for a pretty big regional brokerage. In the middle of development, she suddenly jumped ship and went to a different company.  The site was basically finished, but she never got to use it.  Bummer, really.  It’s a pretty nice, simple design.


Gorden Hanks – Realtor

Gorden Hanks

Gorden is a buddy who needed a website. I did this for him late one night after a few too many beers. We never used it, but I always liked it.

BSA Pack 235

BSA Pack 235

Ok, I’m a little guilty on this one.  It was my kids’ Cub Scout Pack.  And I was the Cub Master.  I still think I did a pretty nice job on it though.  


Ok.  That’s enough for this post.  I guess I’ll do a bunch kind of like this.  That way I don’t spend the whole weekend on this little catch up project.

The Plugin Generated xxx Characters of Unexpected Output During Activation


While developing a custom WordPress plugin I saw this error when activating it. 

The Plugin Generated xxx Characters of Unexpected Output During Activation

I did a little Googling and found that there are a few most common causes:

  1. A white space before or after the PHP opening or closing tags
  2. A file encoded in UTF-8
  3. Another issue when something is called at the wrong time, or a call that cannot be resolved without intervention
  4. Using the WordPress add_option function. Switching to update_option instead can resolve the problem.

In my case it was #1 that blew it up for me.  Who woulda thunk a blank line would be so horrible?  

Anyway, hope this helps someone down the road who is pulling their hair out like I was.

HTTP / HTTPS fix for WordPress

So, one of those pesky LaneCC blog network users had a problem with a syndicated blog post that included an iframe embedded YouTube video losing the HTTPS today.  I looked into it and found an additional filter to add to the plugin, so we’re up to v1.1.  Woo Hoo!  Anyway, you can still get it on GIT.

If you have a WordPress website hosted on a secure server (HTTPS) and you try to put a YouTube video in a post or page, the video stopped showing up about 3 months ago.  This is because web browsers started to recognize that showing non-secure content (HTTP) on a secure web page makes the secure web page not secure anymore.  It used to be that you would just get a little warning in your browser saying that a page had mixed content and you could continue on at your own risk.  Apparently that wasn’t good enough, so the browsers just started blocking the non-secure content.  Bummer.

HttpsIn my day job at Lane Community College, one of my duties is to manage a blog network built around WordPress MU.  Luckily I’m just the guy that handles updates and things like that.  Some other guy has to field the several hundred potentially irritated people that can’t get videos to show up on their blogs.

So, here’s the tech version of what happened.  WordPress uses something called OEMBEDs.  This allows you to simply copy and paste the URL of a video on the YouTube website into a WordPress page or post and have that video show up.  Rather than having to use shortcodes, or plugins, or some other intermediate step, you just use the address of the movie.  Pretty slick, when it works.  As I mentioned above, it breaks when you’re on a secure server though.  What happens is that WordPress, as of about v3.6, looks at the OEMBED for YouTube and recognizes of you’re trying to embed an HTTPS link.  Then it sends a request to YouTube with the address of the video.  What breaks is when YouTube sends the video back it uses HTTP, even though you requested it using HTTPS.  Stupid.  

So, after that long, but very informative explanation, here’s the fix.  You simply install a plugin that adds a filter to WordPress.  When it sees something coming in with an HTTP address, it rewrites it as HTTPS.  Kind of a brute force way of dealing with a silly problem, but it’s working.

The plugin I wrote isn’t available on, but you can get it here on GIT.  


Require Login For Single WordPress Page

By default, anyone who comes to your WordPress website can see any page on that website.  What if you want your website to be open to everyone, except you really need to have a page or two that only registered, logged in users see?  Example?  A company intranet, a calendar that’s only for family or a contact info page that’s only for family.  Whatever the reason, there are only a few ways to make sure a page isn’t open to the world.

Make the page private

You know what I mean.  When you’re editing your page you look over on the right side just above the Publish/Save button an see a “Visibility” option.  You can make that private and the page is hidden from the public, but it’s also hidden from all other registered users.  When set to private a page also doesn’t show up in the main menus or anywhere else.  It’s basically hidden from everyone from the one who made it private.

Password protect the page

Under that same “Visibility” section you can also choose “Password protected”.  This is good.  The page shows up in the menus and all that, but this option asks for a password for this particular page.  Basically, you set a password for this page and then you have to share that password with anyone you want have access to the page.  That’s not quite what I’m after.

Create a new page template

So, to recap, I wanted a page that shows up in the menus just like any other page but whose content can only be seen by users who have an account on the website and have logged in.  For all others, I want the page content hidden.  Here’s what I came up with because I couldn’t find a plugin that accomplished this without annoying upgrade messages or adding a lot of bloat for no reason.

  1. Create a new page template by making a copy of your theme’s existing page.php template.  I named mine “page_logged_in.php”.
  2. Once you have your page you need to edit the file in whatever editor you like.  I use Dreamweaver, but any text editor will work just as well.  The first bit of code you need to add names the template so you can find it later.  (This is what you’ll select in the WordPress admin when creating your new page.)  Just add the following code to the very top of the code.  There will most likely be something similar already there.  If so, just replace it.
  3. Now you need to add a little code to see if the user is logged in.  This is pretty easy.  WordPress has hooks built in for this.  The following can be added directly below the Template Name code above, also at the top of the page before any of the standard WordPress stuff.


  4. Now, go to the very bottom of the page and add the following code.  This will call wp_die() to halt WordPress and display a notice to the visitor saying they need to log in to view the page.

     This little snippet does a couple things.  If it runs (if the user isn’t logged in) then it halts the page and displays a message that says “To view this page you must first log in.”  The words “log in” are a link created by wp_login_url() which is another WordPress hook.  You may notice get_permalink() embedded in wp_login_url().  What this does is gets the address of the page you’re on so that when the user clicks the link to log in, they come back to your password protected page once they log in.  You can forward them pretty much anywhere you want, but I like to bring people back to where they started to minimize confusion.


    Now just save the page template and upload it to your web server where your template files are.  Hopefully you simply duplicated page.php where it already lived, so this is a no brainer.

  6. Next, go to WordPress and create a new page.  Under “Page template”, select the new page template we just created.

  7. Save your new page and that’s all there is to it. That page will now appear just like any other page in your menus, but when a user who is not logged in tries to visit it, they will receive the notice you included above.

Hope this helps.  I looked for a way to do this for about a half a day.  This seems to be a simply way to go about it.


WPMU LDAP plugin fixes

So, one of the little projects I’ve been asked to help with at Lane is to move a number of WordPress websites from an old WordPress Multi-User installation to a fancy new server with a WordPress Network (basically the same thing, just called a network since 3.something).  Anyway, they wanted to make it really slick, so the network admin set up a plugin to authenticate WordPress users against the school’s LDAP server.  In other words, each person (student, staff, faculty…) has a master user name and password for all things having to do with Lane.  Rather than have WordPress outside this, we use the WPMU LDAP plugin to allow users to log into their WordPress sites using their Lane credentials.  Pretty cool.

Couple issues came up though.  The servers at Lane are really tied down so they stay squeaky clean.  Little things that developers often don’t worry about display errors here.  What that does is just makes you, as a developer, really consider what you’re doing with variables.  Here’s what I saw…

Anyway, the WPMU LDAP plugin had a couple minor issues like using deprecated WordPress functions.  If you have found this post because you’re having the same problem, you can download the fixed plugin here.

Please remember that this is for wpmuldap_4.0.2, so check the plugin page on WordPress’s website to see if there isn’t an updated version of the plugin.  I’m about 5 minutes away from contacting the developer to see if he would like to fork my fixes.

Music on the Half Shell

FINALLY!  After about 3 years of talking to the Half Shell Committee about taking over the website, I have it.

If you’re not from Roseburg, OR, Music on the Half Shell (MOTHS) is a local deal where live bands play in a half-shell erected in a local park (Stewart Park).  The concerts are free to the public and are usually pretty popular.  Sometimes to the tune of (excuse the pun) 9,000+ people.  Kind of  a big deal.

Anyway, the original website was done by one of the sponsors who also does the posters and much of the printed materials.  While they do an awesome job on the printed materials, the website just wasn’t being maintained the way it deserved.  Anyway, they made me the offer and I jumped on it.  Fun website to work on.



What I’ve done so far is to use the artwork from Creative Images (great artwork, by the way) and build the website around it.  Or, to be more specific, on top of it.  The home page has an accordion script that shows the current season’s shows in a pretty cool way and links to a concert details page with links to the artist’s website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter feed.  There is also a button to create a downloadable .ICS file so you can import the concerts into your electronic calendar.  

This last weekend I also added a F.A.Q. to answer some of the most common questions that come up, like Can you bring your own food? and When do the concerts start?  

Upcoming work is to get the list of vendors (food mostly) and sponsors on the website (just waiting on those lists) and a few other upgrades like making the website responsive so that it works on mobile devices as well as your desktop computer and possibly adding a text message option so you can opt-in to receive text reminders of upcoming concerts.  Pretty cool stuff, I think.

So, check out the website, come to a concert and have a great summer!  

Oh, and let me know if there’s anything you would like to see on the website.  I want to make it useful for the community at large.