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Archive for June, 2008

International WordPress Day

Tuesday July 1, 2008 is going down as the unofficial International WordPress day. The event is being sponsored by WPCandy.com and is being used as a way to say thanks to Automattic.

We want to dedicate a day to just thank the awesome folks over at Automattic for putting together some really awesome projects, such as WordPress, bbPress, etc. I bet they work their asses off and I think they deserve a little bit of appreciation (not that they don’t get any, but there’s never too much appreciation).

If you would like to participate in this awesome event, simply blog about WordPress at some point on July 1st describing why you prefer WordPress over other CMS’s, how it’s managed to help your business, a simple thank you letter to Automattic or simply write up a blog post with your secrets or tips for using WordPress.

Asides from participating on your own blog, WPCandy will be hosting a series of activities during the day while giving out prizes to those who leave comments on their official page. So far, the list of prizes they will be giving away is as follows:

The winners will be picked at random by the staff of WPCandy. To those who participate, good luck!

Categories: WordPress News

The Google Web Series

I just heard today that Google is developing a web video series.

Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy

It’s 2 minutes per episode, much like a cartoon (Dilbert, Happy Tree Friends, etc.) BUT will be the first written for a series on the web. They are initially producing 50 2-minute episode to start with and they’ve tapped “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane to work on an original series that Google will distribute via its AdSense advertising system. This is according to a report filed by The New York Times. More of that story, right here. People from Hollywood have commented that this project , even if it will be exclusively avaialble on the internet, will be groundbreaking and will be a huge success!

Target audience??? Young men. Distribution method??? Thru “Cavalcades” of video clips replacing static Google advertisement.

Advertising will be incorporated into the clips in varying ways. In some cases, there will be “preroll” ads, which ask viewers to sit through a TV-style commercial before getting to the video. Some advertisers may opt for a banner to be placed at the bottom of the video clip or a simple “brought to you by” note at the beginning.

Mr. MacFarlane, who will receive a percentage of the ad revenue, has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will be served up in 50 two-minute episodes.

I think the most innovative part of this project is the way it is distributed… via the web thru Google’s AdSense system. But a spill-over to traditional distribution will likely take into being as well. This being the first of its kind will surely be writing new books for the next generation of producers, film makers the entire biz.

Categories: Advertising, Interesting

Twing – The Search Engine For Forums

Forums have been around since the Internet was created. Although they weren’t called forums back then (think BBS) they have always been the place of conversation. Today, forums are as prevalent as ever. If you can think of a topic, chances are, there is a forum dedicated to it with a big following. All sorts of discussions can take place on a forum, including discussions about you or your blog. Twing.com which is a new service still in beta hopes to aide in the discovery of community surrounding your content.

Twing’s aim is to provide access to the wealth of information flowing through online communities, and to make it easier and faster for users to find.

Forums are usually a good place to find deep conversations related to specific subjects. If your blog covers one of these subjects, using Twing to find out which forums are talking about you would be an excellent way to figure out which communities you could join to actively partake in those discussions.

There are three ways in which to search Twing. Either by posts, topics or forums. When I typed in BloggingPro into the search box for posts, it was great to see that some of the articles written on this domain were being discussed within a number of forums. The posts feature of the Twing search engine searches for the keywords within posts on a forum. Simple enough right? When I searched Topics for bloggingpro, Twing responded by telling me there were no results found. Obviously, no one had placed bloggingpro into the actual title of a forum post. The last way of searching (Forum) also netted zero results. However, when I placed a space inbetween blogging and pro, I saw a large number of results for the keywords (pro blogger) which is completely different from blogging pro.

I understand why Twing is still labeled a beta. Their website leaves a lot to be desired with missing sections on the Community Buzz page. The Twing How-To does little to help you use the service as the page is blank. The last post on the Twing.Blog was on June 9th so the company looks like it’s still alive.

The more forums that allow Twing to crawl their content, the more useful Twing will be. I think the idea behind Twing is a good one considering it deals specifically with Forums and nothing else. Of course, the same content Twing crawls is the same content Google crawls which begs the question, “Why would I use Twing over Google”? Because Google gives you everything related to the search query while Twing is focused on highlighting communities that are engaged in your content.

Give Twing a try and let me know if it’s picked up any good discussions related to your blog.

Categories: Blogging Tools

Cross Browser Compatibility On The First Try

Based on my own research, cross browser compatibility seems to be the thorn that is in every web designer’s side. Taking a mock up design and coding it to look the way it’s meant to be in all browsers at times, seems like an impossible task. I know when I’ve hacked WordPress themes, getting them to appear correctly in both IE 7 and FireFox 2 was such a pain, I would end up going for the (good enough) approach.

Thankfully, Anthony Short has put together a list of coding conventions ( How To Get Cross Browser Compatibility Every Time ) based on his research that will help get the job done on the first try.

This is a summary of what Anthony Covers in his post:

  1. Always use strict doctype and standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  2. Always use a reset at the start of your css
  3. Use -moz-opacity:0.99 on text elements to clean up rendering in Firefox, and
    text-shadow: #000 0 0 0 in Safari
  4. Never resize images in the CSS or HTML
  5. Check font rendering in every browser. Don’t use Lucida
  6. Size text as a % in the body, and as em’s throughout
  7. All layout divs that are floated should include display:inline and
    overflow:hidden
  8. Containers should have overflow:auto and trigger hasLayout via a width or
    height
  9. Don’t use any fancy CSS3 selectors
  10. Don’t use transparent PNG’s unless you have loaded the alpha

In his research, Anthony only worried about FireFox 2, Safari3+ and IE6.

So if you are creating a theme or any web design for that matter, keep these conventions in mind so you’ll spend more time designing and less time refreshing browser windows.

Categories: Blog Design

What keeps you blogging???

Today I decided to take a break.  I’m out of the office, out of the house.  Drove my car to the nearest mall to do the “mall rat” dance.  I wanted to hit nature, but terrestrial rains said NO, wanted to brave it with an umbrella… but my sense got the better half of me.  I’m in a mall… and “the dance” is no fun at all.

Now I find myself inside an internet access shop, typing away… surfing… then OMG (!) blogging!  Today what kept me blogging was BOREDOM, the pure sense of the word.  I didn’t want to go back to the office and I didn’t want to call it a day either.

BOREDOM led me to BLOGGING.

There are other reasons why I blog… but I never thought that BOREDOM would do it too.  Come to think of it, I am getting all these brain drives and wadayaknow… it’s fueling my blogging drive.

Oh my… am I sick?

All I feel right now is the pure sense of sharing my thoughts… to you.  A trusty mochaccino nearby, the YouTube tab on stand-by… and ooohhhh… bloggingpro.com

I’m not sick…. I’m A-L-I-V-E . :)

Categories: Blogging Sense

BuzzLogic Promises $2 CPM with Ad Network Beta

BuzzLogic has recently launched its advertising network in Beta, with a promise of $2 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) to bloggers. That rate seems very lucrative, but of course it’s just for a limited period. BuzzLogic’s guarantee is as follows:

  • Guaranteed $2 CPM, up to $200 per month, during beta period(June 18 – July 18)
  • Get in on the ground floor of a new kind of network based on influence
  • Access to great brands and advertisers eager to work with you

According to BuzzLogic, their main purpose for this high payout is to get enough interest of bloggers. They expect the beta users to be able to help the BuzzLogicCommunity Team to get feedback the performance of the ads–what’s working, what’s not. BuzzLogic will eventually develop other blogger tools based on influence to help bloggers not only understand their own influence but to leverage that influence to get higher CPMs for ad inventory.

Some limitations of the program, though, are that only traffic from the US will be counted as eligible impressions, and that the beta program will end on July 18th. Still, $2 CPM is an interesting proposition, particularly for blogs that have high traffic.

Categories: Advertising, Blogging Resources

WordPress Upgrading Options (part 2)

As I have promised in a previous post here, I’d like to share with you that useful little plugin that allowed me to automatically update/upgrade my WordPress blog version.  Thanks for being patient.  I intentionally wanted to post this at the end of the month.

OK, I used: WordPress Instant Upgarde by Zironoa .

Here’s a little blurb from their homepage:

How does it work?
The InstantUpgrade plugin downloads the latest WordPress version from the WordPress server and unpacks it at your server. In the next step, it deletes all of your old WordPress files (except wp-content/ and wp-config.php) and puts the new files into your WordPress directory. Finally, it runs the database upgrade script. That procedure is exactly what the official guide proposes, only 30 times faster and with you leaning back.

Is it safe to use?
Yes. The plugin interfaces are very intuitive, everything is well explained. Before the upgrade process, comprehensive checks are performed to ensure that nothing can be broken. As for security: The plugin cannot do anything that you or your webserver couldn’t do anyway. So, yes, it is safe to use. (However, bad things can *always* happen, so you should always have backups of your database and files.)

I encountered a few snags along the way, though. Snags like directory permissions (mostly writing privileges), but that was because I changed write privileges as my WordPress blog needed a little more security.  For standard WordPress installations though, the plugin install and activation was very smooth. 

Zirona noted that you should not use this plugin if you installed WordPress via Fantastico.  The only harm that may happen to you is that you cannot use Fantastico to update/upgrade your WordPress anymore.  You’d be using this plugin from thereon.  Well that’s all the harm it did me. :)

Suggestions:

  • I would suggest that you install another WordPress blog to test the plugin first.  I have one that just sits there for this purpose.  So everytime a new plugin surfaces, and I believe is useful to me, I install it on that test WordPress site first.  Don’t worry about overcrowding your hosting account, hey most hosting accounts have the basic 5GB standard package anyway. 
  • I would suggest that you BACK-UP your data first.  Everything …. texts, images, your database… hey you better backup your directory tree even through FTP.  I did.  Believe you me that backup is hard work… but definitely worth it!

Categories: WordPress Tips

Tool for the WP blogger: DashBlog 1.5

DashBlog 1.5 is a FireFox plug-in I’ve been waiting for!  You see, as a blogger, it takes a long loop of processes for me to get a photo in a blog post.  I’d shift-printscreen, open up microsoft’s photo editor, crop that picture, save it in a folder, fire up the wordpress blog… hit a couple more buttons and (puff puff) click the OK button to post the photo right there.  DashBlog 1.5 takes all those work from me.  Thanks a lot!  I’m downloading it now.

DashBlog has been out for quite some time already (almost a month).  Funny I haven’t heard the news resonate quickly though.

Do you like video? Do you like to blog, tumblr or twitter? Then dashblog is the plugin for you. It’s the fastest and easiest way for you post video, text, quotes, images and songs to your blog, tumblr and twitter (all at the same time).

Plus there’s more – with DashBlog you can do a screen capture and then draw, comment, crop and post all with one simple click.

Dashblog currently works with:

  • WordPress
  • Blogger/Blogspot
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Know more about DashBlog 1.5 right here. You can download DashBlog for FREE right here.

Categories: Blogger Tools, Blogging Tools

The WordPress god :)

Just dug up an informative article by the guys/gals of www.mashable.com.  They’ve compiled 300+ of their most useful WordPress plugins.  Some of them are in the same usage league, so it is up to us to check it out ourselves and see which tool among them works best for your need.  Check it out right here.  They also have related articles here and here. (and all the WordPress newbies, like me, say hooray!) :) I really appreciate people who takes time to list great stuff, kudos Mashable, you guys rock!  It’s interesting that they have categorized it in a helpful way too… check it out, they have grouped it as follows:

  1. Plugins for the blogger
  2. Plugins for your readers
  3. Plugins to fight spam
  4. Plugins to encourage commenting
  5. Plugins to improve appearance
  6. Plugins to enable rich comments
  7. Plugins to enable avatars
  8. Plugins to show off comments
  9. Plugins to allow better conversation
  10. Plugins to moderate comments effectively
  11. and many more….

Got you interested, didn’t I?

For newbies, like me, it is an overwhealming list.  But I still do appreciate it nonetheless.

Categories: Blogger Tools, WordPress Plugins

The American Red Cross Blog

The American Red Cross has published a wordpress blog about all efforts and news of the June 2008 flooding in Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and West Virginia.

Because of WordPress’ quick setup and use facility, the blog was able to set-up specific feeds from several Red Cross regions in the affected states.  People can subscribe to RSS feeds from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The blog currently has 23 active categories, most interesting is their photo blog (linking to their flickr feeds) containing Red Cross “in action” in those areas.

I’ve noticed that it updates quickly allowing people to get the “blow by blow” news where needed, when needed.  Another great WordPress way of initiating grass roots cooperation within, and between, Red Cross centers.

Very informative is the “how to use” section and the “maps” page.  Gives you a great feeling of what’s happening “on the ground” and where best you can fit in to help.

The developers, I see, have used a lot of the freebee services the internet has to offer, from flickr to slideshow.com to the feeds… you name it… they’ve used it.

Categories: Blogger News, General, Interesting