Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Uncle Sam Wants You To Update Your WordPress Plugins

In times of war, you may be asked what you can do for your country. In modern times, your country may be asking you to do your part by updating your WordPress plugins.

The United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), issued a public service announcement last week recommending website administrators to update their Wordpress sites. More specifically, the bureau wants you to update your third-party WordPress plugins.

Why is the FBI worried about your content management system? Apparently, continuous website defacements are being perpetrated by individuals sympathetic to the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) a.k.a. Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). According to the FBI, the defacements have affected website operations and the communication platforms of:

  • News organizations
  • Commercial entities
  • Religious institutions
  • Federal/state/local governments
  • Foreign governments,
  • A variety of other domestic and international webites.

While one wouldn't expect WordPress to house national or company secrets, all this unwanted disruption translates to cost in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems.

But why is the FBI focused on WordPress and not another CMS? In part, it's because Wordpress is popular and used by many. The more sites vulnerable to known and specific exploits, the easier it is for hackers to find their target. All victims of the defacements identified by the FBI shared common WordPress plug-in vulnerabilities easily exploited by commonly available hacking tools.

Now What? Conference 2015 Announces Speaker Lineup

You've done it. With the help of developers and advisors you brought your website online and proved if you build it, they will come. But it's never that simple. You now face an unforeseen challenge after launching your new website. Once you customers visit your site, how do you keep them coming back for more? The answer to this question is exactly what the Now What? Conference 2015 is all about. The Now What? Conference is two days of smart talks and workshops from smart people, all focused on keeping your website up-to-date post-launch.

Now What? Conference 2015

This is the third year for the Now What? Conference which is held in one of the fastest growing modern communities in the region, Sioux Falls, SD. If you're within a half day's drive from this great city, I encourage you to register for the conference. The conference and various workshops will be held on April 29 - 30, 2015. Created by Blend Interactive, the conference will be bringing together web and marketing professionals from across North America. Something that rarely happens in our region, you have an opportunity to hear from today’s content management leaders as they come together and cover post-launch web maintenance, web analytics, content strategy, and talk shop with colleagues and speakers.

Wearables: Even Apple Doesn't Get It

My number one priority for a smart watch is not to replace my car keys and wallet, although these are the type of things I do expect any wearable I purchase to be capable of doing. No, the highest priority of a smart watch should be to replace my need of carrying around my phone everywhere I go. Second highest priority needs to be the ability go and do things with your watch without having to worry if you need to the your charger along too. In other words, I'm not convinced smart watches will be for the masses (one the novelty wears off) until the wearable is independent of a second device and can go for days without charging.

Argus Leader inverview for #dontjerkanddrive

Keep Calm and Don't Jerk the Wheel

I was recently asked by the Argus Leader, a local newspaper in Sioux Falls, to give my two cents on the controversial South Dakota #DontJerkandDrive campaign. Since then the article has been syndicated out to USA Today and other publications. It seems that I caught the attention of a reporter when I labeled the campaign as "brilliant" on Twitter.

The word on the street is that the State of South Dakota is pulling back on this specific campaign. I can't say I'm surprised. I understood the gamble Lee Axdahl, the Director of the Office of Highway Safety, was taking when he signed on to this marketing strategy.

Bryan Ruby, owner of the web consulting business CMS Report, was impressed with the campaign from a marketing standpoint. Online, he called it "brilliant."

"I thought it was a bold move for the state of South Dakota," Ruby said in a telephone interview. "It definitely requires a sense of humor, and that's the risk you're taking. But if the point is to get the message out, this does it."

The Weather Channel, Drupal, and Acquia

When I talk about Drupal, information technology and the weather all in the same breath, I get a little excited. I can't help myself. I'm biased toward Drupal as it is one of my favorite content management systems. I'm also a former meteorologist working in information technology for a very large organization that is heavily involved with the weather. Needless to say, a year or two ago when I heard that The Weather Channel started using Drupal to meet the needs of it's customers and meteorologists, it caught my attention. I think the use of Drupal is a win-win for everyone around and given my background, I wish my own employer had adopted a similar solution. I think organizations miss out on a lot when they don't utilize open source or even proprietary systems in favor of an in-house CMS.

The news keeps getting better if you're a Drupal fan. Last month, both Acquia and Mediacurrent announced that The Weather Channel is standardizing on the Acquia Platform for Weather.com. Weather.com started using Drupal last year to increase the agility of its content creation and publishing. Now, the company has moved the entire website, which serves more than 20 million pages of content, to the Acquia Platform, which brings together Drupal and Acquia’s solutions for digital engagement and experience management. The team at Weather.com worked with Acquia and digital agency partner Mediacurrent for its site development and migration from its legacy web content management system Percussion.