VIP Blogging has launched a new service that I recall talking to Matt Mullenweg about during WordCamp. He mentioned back then that folks like Scoble are sitting on top of the servers and that Automattic was thinking about letting other select bloggers do so as well.

Well, the day is here and has launched VIP Hosting. A few select high-profile, high-traffic bloggers will be allowed to jump on their robust infrastructure for a “Powered by WordPress” link, a few template hooks for stats and $250/mo.

I might mention that Automattic developer, Andy Skelton, is dying to get Dan Rather blogging on so Dan, if you’re listening, is a better solution for you than HDNet.

Matt’s on Vacation

I didn’t announce that I’m on vacation this week, and I guess that’s fine, because we have great writers like Tony and Jessica who crank out pieces like Tony’s interview with TechCrush and Jessica’s weekly column.

I’m on a seven day European adventure with some friends that started on Friday in Minneapolis at the airport and continues tonight in London where it’s nearly midnight.

This is my first trip to Europe and am enjoying myself immensely. As a history buff, I marveled yesterday at the beginnings of democracy in the House of Commons and gaped at the beauty of Westminster Abbey. Tomorrow will bring some meetings related to work that y’all will hear about at some point.. later in the week comes the Eurostar over to Paris and some fine dining.. My French is fourteen years rusty, so it’s going to be a fun challenges communicating over across the channel.

Enjoy – and don’t expect much out of me until my return….

TechCrush: The Interview

Earlier in the week, TechCrush debuted as the counterpart to the ubiquitous TechCrush TechCrunch. TechCrush is a fledgling startup that was created on a sugggestion by Stowe Boyd by a couple of German entrepreneurs, Lutz Winters and Yves Luther. It is set up to follow on Web2.0 startups profiled on TechCrunch, with an aim to provide a sense of checks and balances to the sometimes exuberant attitude which accompanies each profile.

Out of interest, I picked up on the story at my own blog, catching the notice of Michael Arrington.

A few days later TechCrush shut down temporarily for some apparent legal issues. I had suspected that lawyers for TechCrunch got concerned about trademark issues since their names were so similar, particularly because Mr. Arrington had mentioned it might be the case. It quickly gained traction for a few hours in the blogosphere as Valleywag and Techmeme picked up on the topic.

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WordPress Democracy Plugin Exploit (and a New Version)

Matt told me to cross post this when I went live with this story. Earlier this evening, I released the details of a cross site scripting exploit in the super popular Democracy 1.2 plugin. Read about the exploit here.

There is a new version of Democracy availabe tonight as well as a response. It also addresses the SEO problem that Blog Republic posted last week.

A 21st century virtual fence

USA - Canada border fence.

Yesterday I watched the CTV news; just to see what was happening in the world thru the eyes of one of Canada’s largest TV broadcasters. The one thing that struck me funny was the US building a ten meter high fence along the longest undefended border in the world. I became really quiet and sad as I listened and watched. It appeared surreal to me. It still feels that way. I feel like Canada did something wrong, like the US doesn’t like us anymore.

USA - Canada border fence.How can this be happening between two beautfiul and great Countries. The fence will begin in British Columbia stretching all the way though to parts of Ontario beginning again in areas of the New Brunswick / Maine border. I feel kind of choked-up. I haven’t been able to get this off of my mind. I have actually shed tears about this and still am.

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Bloglines Improves Mobile

Bloglines users may have started noticing this message plastered across the service upon login. Bloglines Mobile has gotten some love from Skweezer.

For those of us who rely on and love Bloglines Mobile while on the go, here’s another reason to dig it. Bloglines has now integrated Skweezer technology to optimize web pages for your personal handheld mobile device’s viewing pleasure.

When you click on a link while reading a blog post in Bloglines Mobile, Skweezer will compress and reformat the content so you get it faster and better looking on your small screen. As you surf, the content will continue to be skweezed. Hints & bonus features:

* Click on the “Hide Images” link at the bottom of the page and skweezed content will load even faster.
* At the bottom of the skweezed page, you’ll find links back to the feed you were reading and a link back to your feed list.
* If you run across any pages that are not in your native tongue, Skweezer will translate to more than a dozen languages.

So if you’ve been wary of venturing beyond your Bloglines Mobile on your fancy new Blackberry (or Treo or other smartphone), free yourself from those inhibitions and click away!

Robyn DeuPree
Senior Product Manager, Bloglines

I don’t personally use Bloglines Mobile. I find any web use on my cell phone tedious and limit my use of mobile web to checking in on my Gmail on occasion. But I’d be blind to think that mobile is not a fast-growing trend. More people than ever use Blackberries and Treos who might find this enhancement useful.

Anyone check it out yet?

Is Facebook Worth A Billion Dollars?

Over the past week there has been talk around the news (as well as the blogosphere) about Yahoo!’s interest in purchasing Facebook for about a billion dollars.

Although Yahoo! has offered up to $900 million towards Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and founder of Facebook), he seems to be motivated more by passion than by those dollar bills.

( By all accounts, Zuckerberg is motivated by his passion for his invention, which he created less then three years ago as a Harvard undergraduate. The site quickly became an electronic bumblebee, pollinating many American colleges with gossip, flirtation and news of the next fraternity party.

Money, at least so far, does not seem to draw him. He lives in a barren apartment in Palo Alto, Calif., a short walk from the office. He bought a stereo only recently, at the request of his girlfriend.

Zuckerberg previously spurned away Viacom’s offer of $750 million in January, and it seems that Yahoo! is looking to top that offer as well as leave Zuckerberg in the drivers seat.

But with Facebook boasting only nine million users, is it even worth a billion dollars?
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