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Archive for October, 2005

WordPress Theme: Kiwi

A new theme, which is almost a total makeover for a WordPress blog, has been released under the name Kiwi.

It is currently in beta, though the release has a 1.0b r19 (1.0 beta, revision 19?) release number attached to it.

Kiwi is the product of a month-and-a-half long adventure in theme building, and an attempt to help a few of you out there break the mold.

Simply put, Kiwi is a theme, but it’s a bit more than your average theme. Embedded inside are a few nifty tools that give the user the freedom to change the layout structure and components without delving into the code, and — hopefully — make navigating the site a bit more interesting for the reader.

To understand more of what Kiwi is about and looks like head on over to No One’s Listening

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress Plugin: Hashcash 3.0 BETA

Hashcash, a popular comment spam protection application, has been updated to 3.0 and is currenty in Beta.

Here is the information from Elliot Back’s website:

I am pleased to announce WordPress Hashcash 3.0 Beta. In particular, it fixes several bugs from the previous release:

  • Randomly occuring timeouts because of long computations to create large chunks of javascript
  • Randomly occuring browser crashes because of long javascript
  • All javascript is O(ln(n)) or better with respect to the length of the secret
  • Brute force guessing no longer works
  • Distributed brute force guessing will not work. A machine can only make 4 guesses before it’s locked out, so to find the secret key with .01% probability you’d need 5,613 machines working on it.
  • Blocking of trackbacks

Check it out at Elliot Back’s Website

Categories: WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugin: CronMonkey

Sometimes only a cron job will do, and with that in mind Raj has released a WordPress plugin called CronMonkey.

CronMonkey for WordPress 1.5+ allows WordPress admins to manage cron jobs from within WordPress. Right now, it features a simple, form-based interface for editing individual jobs. It’s a piece of cake to choose when a task will run, though entering the command to run still requires some knowledge of *nix. Advanced users won’t have any problem though, since CronMonkey also allows users to directly edit the text of the crontab by hand and post it to the system.

Now this isn’t the all-in-one solution, nor is it the easiest as you will still require some knowledge of Linux/Unix, and/or some access to the server as one of the notes say:

Disable safe mode in your php.ini file. Make sure that shell_exec and passthru are not disabled. They don’t need to be explicitly enabled, but they are explicitly disabled by default in most shared hosting plans.

But try it out, and see if it is the solution you have been looking for.

Link to the information and download page.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

Passion or Knowledge

Every business day, I wake up and shuffle over to my computer and breathe a sigh of relief as I read through the RSS feeds I subscribe to on various topics. I then get to do my dream job which is to research and write about the topics I love.

On Define Blog, Ryan Latham, has gone over this in a post entitled Passion or Knowledge.

One of my passions though is fun. Pretty vague, right? Well not really, because, I have one main thing that I do for fun. Sure I go to movies, hang out with my friends; but when I really want to have fun I get on my 4-wheeler and tear up anything I can find. Asphalt, dirt, gravel, streets, the woods; anything I can get it on.

Having said that, there is mosy likely an ATV blog in my future. However, since this is a very obscure topic, it becomes in some peoples minds a lost cause. However, since I have the passion the perseverance, patience and will to make it succeed will be there which is why it is strongly recommended to write about something you are truly passionate about as well as knowledgeable.

I totally agree with what he says here, and think it should become a mantra for bloggers out in the world. Money is nice, but it will come if you are passionate or knowledgeable about a subject, any subject.

Categories: Blogging: How To

The Overlooked SEO Technique

Jamsi from Workboxers.com comes at us with an interesting tip to help drive traffic to your sites or blogs: when starting an ad campaign, be it through Google Adwords or elsewhere, try to vary your approach for keyword selection.

Something like “Funny Vids” might be expensive to get good advertisement placement, but something like “funnyvids” might have a lot less competition, allowing you to tap an otherwise untapped stream of traffic.

I noticed that the keyword “Funny vids” (which I had used) was very popular, however I entered the keyword “funnyvids” and saw that it was being searched for A LOT LESS than “Funny vids” BUT still enough traffic to pursue.

I decided to start easy and aim for a top 3 spot using the keyword “Funnyvids” .. and it worked. On the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) I achieved a rank in the top 3. My website statistics quadripled and whilst nothing to rave about, I was relatively pleased. 90% of my traffic was now coming from search engines. (1.2% from the US Military. Should I be worried?!?)

The keyword “Funny vids” was being targeted by many big name websites and thus the competition was harder to crack. By choosing the keyword “Funnyvids” I was able to attract this untapped traffic by those who used this keyword as a search term.

So you see, by using the Overture selector tool you can find potential untapped traffic that major websites may have overlooked. Give it a go and see how it works for you !

Categories: Blogging: How To

WordPress Theme: BloxPress

It is not ready yet, but it is quickly getting there. A new modular Ajaxified WordPress theme called BloxPress

BloxPress started out as to be yet another theme for my WordPress powered website.

My vision was to have a fully customisable layout like seen on MyYahoo or NetVibes.com and maybe some neat effects here and there… On my first attempts I failed badly and thought I will never be able to make it, but then I stumbled over the brand-new script.aculo.us Web 2.0 JavaScript.

I began building on it and had such quick success that i could immedietly start to recreate all the common functions within the WordPress loop. The first thing i put in was the drag and drop function and shortly after the expand and collapsing of the list items. Since I had planned to have more features like “just that”, I digged a lot deeper into the code…

While evaluating all the features I had planned to have in my theme, and without doing it intentionally, I created something totally different. The question that had driven me was: “How I should make people become able to customize the complete layout and save it for reuse, when I have a static layout which is loaded every time?”

Check out the Tech Demo (flash required)

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress.com partners with Flock

Apparently WordPress.com has partnered with Flock. The WordPress.com homepage has the message “Want WordPress.com? Then download Flock”. After a little digging around, I came across this page. As it turns out, if you download Flock, you can get a WordPress.com account without an invite. Anyway, so go download Flock now if you want an account.

Categories: WordPress News

Technorati Dead? I think not.

Technorati has been put down like crazy over the past couple of months. The criticism mainly came from the majority of searches not being able to be completed due to a heavy server load. While I didn’t like the fact that their server was down, I still sympathized with them. If you’ll take a look at their growth based on their Alexa chart, their traffic has more than doubled since June. I sympathized with them purely because of the fact that to handle twice the traffic they were handling before June, on a site that already servers a whole lot of people, it isn’t easy. You can’t just add another server to the mix and let it be. Things are a whole lot more complicated than that for an operation that big. Although maybe they should have planned a little better, sometimes you just aren’t prepared. It reminds of that commercial a few years ago when a new company and its employees were standing in front of a computer and they clicked launch. They immediately started getting orders and they were all smiles, that is until the number of orders went through the roof.

Anyway, the point of this is, I don’t see why people were so harsh on them in the first place, and I think they could use a positive post. While I was annoyed with them at times, and would go to other sites to do blog search, now I purely use Technorati again. Everything again seems to be in working order. I never get search errors any more, and in fact, everything overall seems to be working quite well. Maybe I’m being a little biased since I’ve been a long time user, but I just like them a little better than the competitors out there. Anyway, to each his own. I’ve been wanting to stand up for them for a while, it was just kind of hard while they were having all those problems. Keep up the good work Dave!

Categories: General

WordPress Theme: Blue Horizon

Kaushal Sheth has released a modification of color and style of the Daisy Rae Gemini theme called Blue Horizon.

Download it
View it

I really like the image he used in its header.

Categories: WordPress Themes

Weblog Usability

To have a blog that performs well, there are certain things to keep in mind, and Jakob Nielsen over at Useit.com has come up with a list of the top ten design mistakes.

1. No Author Biographies
2. No Author Photo
3. Nondescript Posting Titles
4. Links Don’t Say Where They Go
5. Classic Hits are Buried
6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation
7. Irregular Publishing Frequency
8. Mixing Topics
9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service

The ones I most agree with are the first two. One of the things I do once I realize “hey, I like this blog” is to see who wrote it. Its very frustrating, especially on more personal type blogs, to not know who I am reading.

Check out all the details of the list at useit.com

Categories: Blogging: How To