Joshua McNary

Marketing Technologist

McNary Marketing & Design LLC


Do you want to see what is on my mind? I write here a number of professional, community, and personal topics. Don’t forget to chime in with a comment as well.

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“Heartbleed & Password Practices” radio appearance on WMT600AM

April 16, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

On Monday, April 14, I made an appearance on WMT600AM radio out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is the second time I was on Doug Wagner‘s new show called “What’s Happening?” Doug has me on to discuss marketing and technology topics; this time we talked about the Heartbleed computer security bug and password security for your various accounts.  It was fun and I hope folks gained insight in staying safe online from listening to it.

The audio is now online in case you missed it. You can listen to via the embed below (I’m the first guest in the hour) or you can download a MP3 clip of just my appearance.  Also, I created my own Heartbleed bug link page to help you consider changing your passwords in response to the issue and also encourage you to start to use better password practices.

If I’m on with Doug again in the future I’ll try to post it out with some notice on my Twitter account, so keep an eye there.

Need some help with your Marketing Technology? Have any questions? Would you like an audit of your situation for ways it can be improved? Feel free to contact me.

WordPress Meetup (& Google Hangout) with WordPress Theme Developer Konstantin Obenland

April 14, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

At this week’s Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup on April 16, 2014 at 5:15PM Central, the third in our so far popular series, we have a special treat. Christoph Trappe, the Meetup’s co-founder, met one of WordPress’s default theme developers, Konstantin Obenland, at WordCamp St. Louis 2014. When the March Meetup discussed ideas for discussion for April’s event, Christoph said “why don’t I ask Konstantin if he’d join us via Google Hangout.” The wonderful thing about today’s connected culture and digital tools is such a suggestion is plausible! Within days Konstantin agreed to join us.

Konstantin Obenland, whom is a Professional Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Product Owner, is a Code Wrangler at @Automattic (thee major WordPress contributor/product developer). Born and raised in Constance, Germany, Konstantin moved to Southern California in 2012. Over the last few years he worked on three default WordPress themes, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen, and Twenty Fourteen. 

It will be a great honor to have Konstantin join the Iowa Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup as our first VIP and Google Hangout guest. This is exciting for our group and we want you to join us as well! In you are in Eastern Iowa, you can join us in person by RSVP on Meetup.com or if you are not in the area or cannot otherwise make it to Cedar Rapids on the 16th, you may join us live on Google Hangout.  We’ll also plan to provide a recorded version of the event after the fact.

We hope you can join us! See you then. Click these links to get more info!

Need some help with your WordPress website? Have any questions? Would you like an audit of your situation for ways it can be improved? Feel free to contact me.

Heartbleed Hack Means You Need To Change Your Passwords

April 12, 2014, Joshua McNary2 Comments

Last week a major security breach in OpenSSL was revealed. While the term OpenSSL probably does not mean much to you, the hack does. Most all of the online services and sites you use employ OpenSSL in some way to secure your information. Depending on websites’ configurations your data, passwords, and credit cards information may have been or are now exposed.

Just because it may have been exposed does not mean you are in any immediate danger from hackers, but as precaution many web services and websites are advising you update your passwords after they patch the problems.  Below are a number of links which I found useful in considering which passwords I needed to change and which were most urgent to do so.

What You Should Do

You should change your Google/Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and Dropbox account passwords right now. Then research other sites you use whom may have been effected. 

Also, I suggest you get a password manager program to help you have unique and strong passwords for every site you use.  This Heartbleed hack is an ideal example of why you need such a system in place!

Don’t delay and regret it.  Update your passwords and consider a password manager today!  Stay save out there on the inter-webs.

Information & Links

About Heartbleed

Sites Affected (Change Your Passwords)

Test To See If A Site Is Currently Affected

Password Managers

Need some help with your technology? Feel free to contact me.

Kids coding: it is not dorky anymore, it is necessary

April 7, 2014, Joshua McNary1 Comment

Back in the day…

When I was in High School I recall signing up for a free Geocities website, a pretty dorky thing to do in the mid-nineties.  What was perhaps even more dorky was it was to create a webpage for my High School marching band’s drumline. A friend of mind and I started the site one night during a sleepover (or something) and fought for hours figuring how to get a simple image to show up via the raw HTML code we were just learning about. Eventually we got it to work, after realizing we were forgetting a trailing slash or something. Humble beginnings.  From there I went on to help with the school’s web development club in which I engaged early before school (usually 6AM?), because of course I had drumline after school.

For me, this simple start led to my teaching myself web coding throughout the rest of my High School years and continuing into college, where I also got formal graphic and web design training at Ohio University’s Visual Communication school. After some other windings in life, I found myself in my marketing leadership which has been the theme since I joined the workforce.

Code Camp Launches - CoderDojo Cedar Rapids

Fast forward about 15 years and now I have kids. The digital age is no longer in the pre-dawn stage it was when I was learning to code websites. My kids and the generations around them are expected to be very computer proficient. In the future they will likely be expected to know to how to manipulate computers in ways my generation will only marvel at.  This is where the “CoderDojo” kids coding camp comes into play. 

On April 5, 2014, a full room at the Cedar Rapids Metro Alliance held Eastern Iowa kids from pre-schoolers to teens, along with many of their parents, meeting up to start a journey not unlike mine two decades ago.  However, as seen by the excellent first time turnout of kids/parents, people obviously now understand the need for future humans who are able to code. Even when my boys join the workforce in another 15 or so years, there likely will be a dearth of skilled coders to enable the future and  some of the kids in that room will help fill the void.

Can a Five Year Old Code? Yes.

photo 4I took my five year old to the event and he was one of the youngest there. My pal David Tominsky, who I supported in getting the event started by developing a website for the chapter, encouraged kids of any age to come. We planned to have both a Sphero robot ball and Lego robot to help the younger ones to engage. However, upon some suggestion from other mentors from Iowa City’s CoderDojo, our event started with all the students, regardless of age, working with the Code.org’s Hour of Code tools. The first lesson included a simple “game” based on the characters in Angry Birds. It allowed the kids to learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming involving repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms.

My pre-schooler learning to code.

My pre-schooler learning to code.

My youngin did amazing well working with the intro to programming tool. He loves to play Angry Birds, so I think this helped. At one point, as he worked through one of the puzzles almost entirely on his own, I was shocked. This lesson included math, logic, motor skills (via mouse use), and reading which he used together in ways I had never seen him do before. As one of my friends in attendance Jarod Smith noted, computer languages are not unlike foreign languages, children tend to be able to learn them better at young ages. My son proved this with his interest and display of understanding.

After we ate our brown bag lunches, the varying age/skill-level students tried out other programming tools like Tynker, Scratch, Lightbot, and Gamesalad. We also gave the kids the chance to play with the Sphero ball and Lego robot which changed up the activity style enough to keep them interested, yet still was in the realm of technology to teach them about what is possible with programming.

More Dojos To Come – Father Like Son?

The plan is to have CoderDojos in Cedar Rapids regularly into the future. The exact schedule, agendas, and lessons to be learned will be developed in time, but if you or your kids are interested, you should follow the group at http://coderdojocr.com.  The group is free to join and run by volunteers, so let the group know if you are interested in supporting us as an organizer or mentor, with ideas for programming, or as a funding sponsor.

In the meantime, I plan to keep working with my little guy and see how engaged he remains with coding. He is starting around 10 years prior to when I began to learn to code. Imagine the possibilities.

Need some help with your Marketing Technology or Coding Project? Have any questions? Feel free to contact me.

Make Your WordPress Install 
More Secure: Slide Edition

April 2, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

I wrote a well received article regarding “Make Your WordPress Install 
More Secure” early this year, but last week I revisited the topic with the local WordPress Meetup group I helped to co-found. I thought some might find it useful in this format. Enjoy and let me know if you have questions!

Get the slide notes as a PDF via this download link: http://i.mcnary.me/1dw0GHI

Read the article this talk is based on via this link: http://i.mcnary.me/1jDYc84

Need some help with your WordPress security? Have any questions? Would you like an audit of your situation for ways it can be improved? Feel free to contact me.

Take the Leap, a Step-by-Step Process Wrapup

March 31, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

On March 26, 2014, I presented to a room full of entrepreneurial souls interested in my story from my corporate position to self-employment. The event was part of Vault Co-working’s Startup School. This was a great chance for me take a moment, consider how and why I had come to my current place in life, and share those experiences with others interested in following my path. Thanks to those who came up and expressed interest.

Taking the Leap

Vault Startup School:
Lunch w/ Joshua McNary: Take the Leap, a Step-by-Step Process

Key Points

The key points of my talk for those considering self-employment included:

  • * Is your job Your life? Is your Life your Job? Why can’t they be the same – your LIFE.
  • * The Epiphany: There is no such thing as real job security
  • * Ask for help discovering your path and get mentors
  • * Keep open mind on your business ideas and self image, stretch for success
  • * Break down your and others objections one by one
  • * Get total buyin from those closest to you – they are the ones who will pick you up when you fall
  • * Do as much as you can moonlighting prior to acting: planning, side work, marketing, systems, & networking
  • * Don’t burn bridges at current employer — be thankful and loyal
  • * Have faith, see “Do Not Be Anxious” scripture (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • * Take action now, be flexible & adapt, follow your passions, trust & grow

Watch

The event was livestreamed the day of the event, so there is a recording available for you to watch.

Slides

You can access the slides for this event (and others I have produced) on Slideshare.net. You can get the slide notes as a PDF via this download link.

Need some help with your business technology or marketing? Feel free to contact me.

Join me for Taking The Leap & WordPress Security talks this Wednesday!

March 25, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

On March 26, 2014 I’ll be presenting two – yes count them two –  free talks sharing a bit of my knowledge on entrepreneurialism and web development.  You still have time to join me and my fellow Creative Corridorians at the events (see signups/info below).

Vault Startup School:
Lunch w/ Joshua McNary: Take the Leap, a Step-by-Step Process

Taking The Leap Preview Slide

During my year long journey to entrepreneurship, I went through a number of phases which will help you consider your next step. It started with an internal epiphany — there is no such thing as a secure job. Despite a comfortable job with my former employer, I began a process of discovery in asking for guidance, help, and suggestions from trusted mentors, family, and friends to come to the point of finally deciding it was the right time to make my dream a reality. It was then time to act – setting a new venture up for success.

At noon Wednesday at Vault Co-working, I’ll share my story, help lower your internal barriers to taking the leap, and take you one step closer your chasm of opportunity.

Information & Register (Free!) on Meetup.com or Facebook

When: Wednesday, March 26, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Where: Vault Coworking & Collaboration Space, 222 3rd St SE Suite 509, Cedar Rapids, IA
Register: Free, signup at Meetup.com or Facebook


WordPress Corridor Meetup:
Making WordPress More Secure

Based on years of experience in webdev and a recent blog post, I’ll be speaking at our monthly WordPress Meetup regarding security. Since WordPress is the world’s most popular website/blogging platform, I am often confronted with the question of security.  I use it for many of my projects.  While WordPress has improved in this area over the years, it is still a big target to any nefarious actors out there looking to ruin your day.  There are a number of steps I take on all of my (and my clients’) WordPress sites to avoid potential security problems.

Also Wednesday at Vault Co-working, this time in the evening at 5:15PM, I’ll share how you can use these tips to help keep your site secure.

Information & Register (Free!) on Meetup.com

When: Wednesday, March 26, 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM
Where: Vault Coworking & Collaboration Space, 222 3rd St SE Suite 509, Cedar Rapids, IA
Register: Free, signup at Meetup.com


I hope to see you on Wednesday! If you cannot make it I do hope to post the slides and insights from the discussions in a future post, so look for that. Now back to presentation notes!

 

Need some help with your Marketing Technology? Have any questions? Would you like an audit of your situation for ways it can be improved? Feel free to contact me.

Follow The Creative Corridor Twitter List

March 19, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

Last week David Tominsky cornered Sarah Binder and I at Vault Co-working asking about who in the Eastern Iowa business community were the movers and shakers to watch on Twitter. We made a list on a whiteboard and it started to balloon. I noted I’d make a Twitter List version for us all to gain from.

Announcing the “Creative Corridor” Twitter List

twitterlistwhiteboardStarting with 80 members, I made this list based on the whiteboard effort, plus adding folks from my personal follow list who were missing from our initial list or maybe on the fringe of the entrepreneurial community. There are no specific criteria to be on the list, but loosely folks are:

  • * Located in Eastern Iowa (with some in Des Moines and the greater Silicon Prairie)
  • * Have a tie to entrepreneurism, tech & innovative business, startups,  investment, or creative/arts
  • * Are hustlers, developers, marketers, business owners, community developers, non-profit staff, and more

Live Look-in

Here is what the live feed of some great thinkers and people looks like!


Insightful Already!

The list was only created last week, but it is already becoming a “must check” column in my Twitter clients. The people represented are some of the most creative, energetic, and engaging in the Creative Corridor. I think the list will be an awesome spot to hear what they are saying, interact, and follow the story of the Corridor.

Suggest People

Who are we missing? I know I am missing some amazing people in the area, but had to start somewhere. If you have any folks who fit the loose criteria above, please let me know via email or right on Twitter. I’ll make the final call, but don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to suggest yourself if I left you off!

Follow The List

Make sure to subscribe to the list! Doing so will allow you to regularly follow the fun and see the list in your favorite Twitter client. You can subscribe and see the list at will by visiting the Twitter home of the feed at:

https://twitter.com/McNary/
lists/creative-corridor

See ya’ll in Twitter-land! 

 

 

Need some help with your social media marketing? Have any questions? Would you like an audit of your situation for ways it can be improved? Feel free to contact me.

Startup Weekend: What if life & business were always this way?

March 13, 2014, Joshua McNary1 Comment

Expectations & Surprises

Going into Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids 2014, I only had a few clear expectations as to my personal involvement:

  • * I knew I would be surrounded by amazing people, some of which I knew and others which I wanted to get to know.
  • * I expected I would learn from and help others via building a business in 54 hours. No matter the outcome, it was going to be a lot of hard work and fun.
  • * I knew we would have a lot of coffee and eat really well.

All of these things and more were true for me personally, but the community gained so much more. It was an amazing honor for my startup team, Major Trading Cards, to be judged 1st place idea and voted crowd favorite. More broadly and importantly, I saw a breakthrough for entrepreneurial ideas in Cedar Rapids. There were a number of key themes I saw which confirmed this hypothesis for me.

Superb People

Startup Weekend CR 1014The weekend identified and highlighted great people wanting to further themselves, great ideas, our community, and serve others via their vocations. The event included not only the “typical” entrepreneurs I have come to know and love in the Corridor (yet those people were there as well), but new faces emerging from their corporate cubicles, interested “traditional” business people, and a healthy amount of students from all of Iowa’s major Universities. Around 120 attendees, judges, mentors, and volunteers took part in the weekend. The common theme among them was a passion to do more, push themselves, inspire those around them, and do amazing work. The passion was thick and invigorating. What amazing individuals.

What if people in life and business were (or could be?) always this way?

New Ideas

Startup Weekend CR 1014Of the 70 of so people who placed themselves on Startup Weekend teams, about half of them pitched one of their crazy ideas to be considered by the rest of us. Some ideas were better than others, but all of them were new ideas in the eyes of the beholder and forced those attending to think about possibilities. After a handful of these ideas were weaned down by popular vote, those ideas then morphed and expanded into additional ideas and expanded the minds of those working on the projects. This 54 hour exercise, of idea pitching, iteration, and continual layers upon of business concepts to make the ideas better was compelling to experience.

What if ideas in life and business were (or could be?) always this way?

Endless Energy

Startup Weekend CR 1014While at times caffeine or alcohol encouraged, the energy at the event was intoxicating in its own right. The previously mentioned people and ideas really fed this energy. Early or late each day, teams were working away, making things happen via coding, calls, and business planning. No matter where you turned something awesome was getting accomplished. On our team we worked on task after task – seemingly with one flow of consciousness between us – to move our idea, demo, and pitch deck closer to completion on Sunday.  I’ve worked in “agile” environments before, but in this case the formalities were skipped and the attendees of Startup Weekend just moved to get stuff done.

What if the energy in life and business were (or could be?) always this way?

Closing Momentum

Startup Weekend CR 1014By the time the weekend was wrapping up, the attendees were beginning to get tired and stressed for pitching their ideas, but the momentum for the community was hitting a feverish level.  As there was a final push to get the pitch decks in line and practiced, the judges, observers, mentors, and attendees made their way to the general session area for the main event. After eight great pitches by teams with ideas which had grown and evolved during the weekend, everyone could let out a collective sigh of relief. However, that collective sigh from an invigorating weekend only continued to fuel a growing wave of momentum which has been building in Iowa’s Creative Corridor for a number of years.

What if the momentum in life and business were (or could be?) always this way?

Regional Turning Point?

Startup Weekend CR 2-14Looking back at the Startup Weekend experience as a volunteer, sponsor, participant, and community member I observed an event which brought a weekend of business awareness, legitimacy, and vigor to the City of Cedar Rapids I have rarely seen in such a condensed form since moving to the City in 2006. There have been many great events, talks, campaigns, and people who have helped to set the conditions for a successful Startup Weekend in Cedar Rapids. This should not be discounted. Nevertheless, the people, ideas, energy, and momentum generated in 54 hours along the banks of the Cedar River February 28-March 2, 2014 was special. If the community, entrepreneurs, and business can find ways to replicate the trust, drive, and passion of that experimental weekend – there is no reason this area cannot thrive. All you, I, and we have to do is do it.

What if the region we live and work in were (or could be?) always this way?

— 

Images via http://startupstockphotos.com and the Startup Weekend CR 2014 Facebook Group

Want to talk business in Iowa’s Creative Corridor? Have any questions? Feel free to contact me.

Iowa’s Business Innovation Summit: EntreFEST 2014

March 12, 2014, Joshua McNary0 Comments

Do you want to join me and hundreds of fellow Iowans, business people, entrepreneurs, and go-getters at an amazing event which is quickly growing to be a gold standard event for innovative business ideas and inspiration in Iowa? You do? I mean who wouldn’t? Well, this is the last week to get the best price on EntreFEST 2014, so don’t delay!

Early registration for EntreFEST ends this Saturday 3/15/14. The Early Adopter rates give you $20 off this tremendous three day conference. That means you can be part of the largest gathering of Iowa’s entrepreneurs and the people who support them for just $119 if you register this week! Online registration is easy at EntreFEST.com.

Dedicated educational tracks will be offered for small business owners, high-growth startups, women business owners, and corporate innovators, along with one for economic developers and grassroots community builders working to foster more entrepreneurship in their communities. I’ve submitted a few talks and look forward to presenting on marketing technology and productivity topics.

Plus you won’t want miss the meetups and parties which will abound with the main event Thursday evening: a street festival on the Iowa City Ped Mall and the Dream Big Grow Here State Finals event at the Englert Theatre.

Be part of it and get the best deal possible! Register this week at EntreFEST.com. It is going to be awesome!