Hi! You have reached the online home of Michael McCallister. I write about technology, software, and the Internet in a variety of venues. At this site, you can learn more about me and my life, buy my books, find where you can see me at any given moment, and read some thoughts on the writing life. My main blog, Notes from the Metaverse, continues on at WordPress.com.

This site is not-so-new anymore, but you’ll see changes in it from time to time, with a big one coming down the road.  Watch this space! I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress community. Any errors on this page are mine alone. Spot something? Contact me.

By the way, if you’re looking for the former CEO of Humana Health, that’s someone else. I’ll stop there.

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WordCamp Milwaukee: Learning from WordPress Sites


I am excited to report that I will be speaking at WordCamp Milwaukee 2016 next weekend, on Saturday, September 17.

I’m even more excited about my selected topic: Learning from the WordPress Sites. This is an update of a presentation I made at the first WordCamp Milwaukee back in 2012, but it’s far from a repeat.

When you’re first starting out with WordPress, you can be surprised with how easy it is to get up and running. You can also be intimidated with all the power you have at your disposal. One of the best ways to gain confidence with the platform is by spending time learning more about WordPress. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are nearly always the best place to start doing that.

Why I love WordCamps

I love tech conferences for a variety of reasons, and WordCamps are no exception. These are some of the reasons why, in no particular order:

  • Variety of smart, funny and fun people: Nearly everyone is approachable, and WordPress people are communicators. Did I mention the Saturday night party?
  • I can teach and learn in equal measure: While I’ve given a talk at every WordCamp Milwaukee I’ve attended (I missed it last year), I always come away with more useful information.
  • Immersion in WordPress: While you don’t necessarily have to do this at WordCamp, I enjoy spending time thinking mostly about one primary topic.

Why you should come

Tickets for WordCamp Milwaukee are still available. If you’re on the fence, here are some reasons to go.

You think you know a lot about WordPress: There’s always more to learn in the Advanced Track. Maybe you’ll find inspiration for what you want to teach at future WordCamps.

You’re tired of “just blogging”: Find out who you can turn your WordPress blog into a full-blown website in the Intermediate Track.

You’re just starting out: Have you ever been to a home improvement show? WordCamps are like that — you leave with a pile of ideas for what you can do with your home on the web, especially if you follow the Beginner’s Track. PS, if you’re just starting out, you really need to come to my session!

You blog on another platform: You can often learn about SEO techniques that help you find an audience for your work, or a bigger one than you already have. There are design tips galore that apply to any website. OK, you may also get some nudging about why you’re better off on another, more free, platform.

Here’s the full schedule!

Need more reasons? Carrie Dils wrote a WordCamp Survivor’s Guide a couple of years ago that stands up quite nicely.

Hope to see you on Saturday. Be sure to say ‘hi!’


Go check out my latest story for WPMU, with the self-explanatory headline: “Thinking About Getting a .blog Domain Name? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Starting November 21, 2016, you can have a website with a *.blog address (instead of .com, or whatever). This story offers some ideas for why you might just want to get in line for this opportunity.

WordCamp Milwaukee is coming

While writing this story, I decided to send this topic as a possible presentation at WordCamp Milwaukee. If the talk is accepted, come bring your questions to the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education on the weekend of September 17-18!

Seal of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

If you’ve got your own idea for a talk about anything WordPress, send it in by early morning Thursday, August 25. See this post for some ideas, this post to urge you — yes, you, and  then fill out the form here.

Are you thinking about getting a .blog address? Why, or why not? Say so in the Comments. If you have questions about WordCamp Milwaukee, feel free to ask here too.

WPMU: Enhance WordPress Security – Fix XML-RPC

Happy to report that I’m back to writing more about WordPress. Today, the WPMUDev blog published a new story of mine on the security tradeoffs involved in using the XML-RPC support in WordPress core.

XML-RPC and Why It’s Time to Remove it for WordPress Security

What’s the problem with XML-RPC?

You’ll learn about the reasons for and history of Remote Process Calls in WordPress and other blogging platforms. You’ll also learn how to protect your site if you happen to like some of the tools that use XML-RPC.English: WordPress Logo

It’s not a fear-mongering story, with some practical advice, and a look to the not-too-distant future when the WordPress REST Application Programming Interface fixes this problem. Go check out the story. Participate in the discussion. Share the link with your networks. Let me know what you think, too.