October 31, 2007

WordPress Wednesday News: WordPress 2.3.1 Released, Get Your Upgrade, WordPress Podcast Speaks out, WordCamp Israel a Success, Argentina is Next, and WordPress Wins.

WordPress 2.3.1 Released with mandatory security upgrade. There’s an upgrade script to make upgrading life easier – well, at least your WordPress life. The WordPress Podcast is out, jammed with tons of WordPress news, rumors, and tips. WordCamp Israel was a hit. WordCamp Argentina is next. WordCamp Hamburg is taking reservations for the conference next year. WordPress wins points for Open Source. WordPress tags are all the rage. Gravatar fever is spreading. WordPress.com gets the news and so do you. Read on.

WordPress News

WordPress 2.3.1 Released: The latest version of WordPress is out and contains security fixes, which makes this a mandatory upgrade. It also includes tagging support for Windows Live Writer, faster taxonomy database queries, and fixes to the login and link importer. For a list of all the changes between the last two versions, see the Trac, and . For more information, see Peter Westwood’s description of the changes in WordPress 2.3.1.

WordPress Upgrade Script: Ozh of PlanetOzh has written a WordPress Upgrade Script for those with shell access to their web server, making upgrading WordPress “a matter of painless seconds”.

Is Your WordPress Blog Secure? Blog Security is at it again, researching WordPress blogs to check to see if they have updated to the most secure versions available. Their report in Power Bloggers Vulnerable gives us a glimpse into how many top bloggers are not taking their blog security seriously.

3 out of 5 had obvious vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited now! Two of these blogs are running a blog version that would make Matt Mullenweg blush and one of them was using an older version of the popular Adsense-Deluxe plugin, which I reported a vulnerability for 6 months ago.

Need another reason to update WordPress?

Cleaning Up Themes Best Decision: In Google Penalizing Paid Links, one of many reports around the web of Google dropping PageRank for blogs using paid links, Matt Mullenweg admits the decision to clean up WordPress Themes from within the WordPress “official” listings was a good one as “Countless blogs could have been penalized just for the theme they were using, not related to anything they did or did not do on their blog.” WordPress took a lot of heat for taking a stand to protect the WordPress Community and it’s paying off now.

WordPressMU 1.3 Due Soon: Donncha announces that WordPressMU 1.3 is due soon with some good Digg proof cache and free and GPL Plugins for the mulitple user blog network version of WordPress.

WordPress Wins: WordPress has been chosen as a finalist in the PacktPub Open Source CMS Awards competition as the Best Open Source Social Networking CMS in the 2007 Open Source CMS Award, along with Drupal, Elgg, LifeType, and Moodle. At this stage, the five finalists receive USD $2,000, but the competition goes on as each group is filtered down in different stages, winning various awards for making it to each stage in the competition, until the Overall Winner is announced on November 2. Played right, WordPress could win a lot of recognition and exposure, but also some nice cash to keep their efforts in Open Source going. Congrats on the competition so far!

WordCamp Israel: WordCamp Israel was a great success with over 200 WordPress fans. The best of the best of Israeli bloggers and web publishing experts shared tips, tricks, and techniques on WordPress and blogging. Plans are already underway for next year’s event, expected to be twice as big.

WordCamp Argentina: WordCamp Argentina (Upcoming Event Page) is October 31, 2007, and will be featuring Matt Mullenweg along with other popular bloggers and web publishing experts at the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires.

WordCamp Melbourne: Australia, is the next international spot for WordCamp Melbourne for November 17. There is now an Upcoming Events page which list WordCamp Melbourne will be at the Watermark Bar. They are still setting the schedule of speakers up for the afternoon long conference, but expect to see some fantastic speakers and programs.

WordPress Hamburg News: WordCamp Hamburg’s registration is open with tickets at 20 Euros ($29). Sponsor tickets are 400 Euros ($575), also available online. Blog Yoda writes about the excitement of the upcoming WordCamp Hamburg or WordCamp Germany, as many are calling it. The author also points to the popular wordpress-deutschland.org, which services German speaking WordPress users with helpful articles and tips. I’ll be searching for new reports and news on the upcoming WordCamp event, so please point me in the right direction if you have information on this!
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New Features In Mac OS X Leopard That May Help You Blog

For those with a Mac, you’ve likely read tons about the newest version of OS X, Leopard – or merely rushed out as soon as it was released and bought it – as I did. After playing around with this new operating system for a few days, I’ve already settled on a few features that will definitely help my blogging efficiency – in fact, I used some to write this post.

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October 30, 2007

Blogging For Hobby Or Money

I write and photograph, and play on the web. Okay, it’s more serious than that, but many think of these things as hobbies. I’ve never thought there were hobbies. They are jobs. My career. My business. I’ve been selling my writing and photography since I was 15. Blogging and web publishing was a natural career move as technology developed along with my skills and business. Writing and photography aren’t hobbies. They paid the rent.

Along with my work, I have hobbies, too. A hobby is something you do for fun, relaxation, and enjoyment. It’s a change from the day-to-day grind of your job, whatever your job is. Luckily, most of us live in a society that allows us hours away from a paid job to do something other than work.

For most, their hobby brings creativity and fun into their lives. It stretches the mind and body, actually making them a better worker for the time away from the job. Hobbies are wonderful things and they need to be honored.

The moment you make money with your hobby, your hobby becomes a business. Things change. You change. The hobby changes.

Recently, people have a new attitude about hobbies. I learned how to knit last year and I’m having some fun with it, making mistakes as one does when they are learning. I sit waiting in airports and offices, knitting away mindlessly, enjoying this new hobby that allows my mind to wander while my hands are busy and I’m accomplishing something. I like hobbies which make things.

Someone notices and they start chatting, eventually leading up to:

You Can Make Money Selling That

I cannot count how many people have admired whatever I was working on with these words, “You could make money selling that.”
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Splashpress Media Launches Blogosphere News

For the new media company that we are, Splashpress Media has still been focusing on contributor-driven content, and not much on user/reader-driven content. Sure, with Performancing the forum and the Performancing blog are all about the readers as contributors. But there’s still something amiss–a site where the users really get to shine.

So with this we thought of a social bookmarking/news site that focuses on one of our areas of expertise: the blogosphere. Splashpress Media is proud to announce the launch of Blogosphere News as a social news site that focuses on blogging-related content.

Blogosphere News

With Blogosphere News, members can submit their own entries, and these can be anything related to blogging–new blog launches, blogging tips, blogging news, blogger events, software, widgets, how-tos, videos, and the like. Users also get to vote on other members’ stories that they think are worth reading. Bad stories (spam, duplicates, useless stuff) can be “buried”. The more popular entries would then be promoted to the front page. You know the Digg system? Yes, it’s the same!

Blogosphere News also features a “live” view, where you can take a peek at what’s being submitted or voted on at any single moment. You can also take a look at the tag view, where keywords are listed by weight and importance.

Easy submit links

Blogosphere News also lets bloggers easily submit links to the system by adding a simple line of code to their themes. Clicking these would automatically submit the URL of the page being viewed to Blogosphere News.

Blogosphere News button

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.blogospherenews.com/evb/check_url.js.php"></script>

Would look like this:

Blogosphere News link

<a href="javascript:void(document.location = ('http://www.blogospherenews.com/submit.php?url=' .concat(document.location))) ">Submit post to Blogosphere News</a>

Would look like this:

Submit post to Blogosphere News

A chance to win prizes

What’s more is that for the next three months, we would be running a contest where the member with the most voted stories will win prizes. The following prizes are at stake:

  • $100 (payable via PayPal)
  • A free BlogHoster software package (worth $250)

The members at second and third spots get $50 each. I’m still negotiating other prizes (in kind or in cash), to make things more interesting.

As for the rules, the entries have to be blogging-related or at least relevant to new media/social media. And employees/contributors of Splashpress Media are not eligible to join the contest.

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October 29, 2007

Blogger: Add iGoogle Gadgets To Your Blogspot Blog

Filed as News with 6 comments

Google is currently beta testing a new feature on Blogger powered weblogs (aka blog*spot) which will allow users to integrate features usually seen on iGoogle within their site.

(Blogger in Draft) We’ve added some fun new functionality to Blogger in Draft: Google Gadgets for your blog. This feature lets you add pretty much any Google Gadget to your blog’s sidebar.

The Gadget directory is the same one used on iGoogle, which means there are thousands of Gadgets available for you to try.

Despite the fact that Google gadgets were primarily made for iGoogle, blogger users focusing on a certain niche (such as video games, politics, travel, science, finance, etc.) may find some of these features to be complimentary to their site.

This feature is only open to “the draft” version of Blogger (or draft.blogger.com), which is basically is an eternal beta site for Google to test out new features before rolling them out to the rest of the population.

Note: Users can apparently insert Adsense within an iGoogle feature, which may present another opportunity for users to earn income by creating popular gadgets.

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Copyright Cases to Watch: RIAA vs. The World

It is hard to imagine a less sympathetic plaintiff than the RIAA. Multi billion dollar record labels suing single moms and children over songs they didn’t create doesn’t exactly drive jurors to tears of pity.

However, as unpopular and roundly condemned as the RIAA campaign against file sharing has become, it addresses several issues of copyright that could directly affect bloggers and other smaller rightsholders who operate on the Web.

In short, no matter how you feel about the RIAA, its tactics or file sharing itself, it is an important series of cases to watch. The balance that the courts find in this matter could directly affect how everyone, including the little guys, protect their works on the Web.

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Blogging With Conviction

Whatever you say, say it with conviction.
Mark Twain

Don’t you love reading bloggers who write with conviction? I do.

According to Merriam-Webster, conviction is “a strong persuasion or belief.”

In Are You Blogging Through Rose-Colored Glasses, I wrote asking you if you blogged through colored glasses, a perspective that “colors” your blog writing style and presentation of your ideas. Now, I want to know if you blog with conviction, putting your strong beliefs and power of persuasion into your blog posts.

Do you?
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October 28, 2007

Can Google Handle the Maturing Blogosphere?

Filed as Features with 2 comments

Recent adjustments in Google’s PageRank algorithm have caused a stir the blogosphere because of blogs rising or dropping significantly. However, Google seems to be facing problems with the indexing of the blogosphere in general.

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October 26, 2007

How to Monetize Without Google PR

Over the last day or so I have been questioned by bloggers panicking about the Google PR reductions. In many cases Text Links were their only form of monetization and they want to know where to make money of their blog if the PR marketplace implodes completely.

First of all the market for text links has not gone. What will happen is a shift of approach, as you would expect. It might not be as out in the open as it once was but people will still buy and sell links until Google can fix their algorithm to detect them without human verification, you can count on that.

Yes, right now I am confident most paid links go undetected. While bloggers are in a flap, you can bet this is playing into Googles hands.

What can we do though to make money without selling text links?

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Google: Subscribe To Blogger Comments Via Email (New)

Today Google announced that readers of blogger (or blog*spot) blogs can now subscribe to comment discussions via email!

(Blogger Buzz) Last night we pushed a small-but-crazy-useful new feature for all Blogger blogs: subscribing to comments via email. This makes it a lot easier to stay in the conversational loop after you’ve commented on a post somewhere. [...]

In order to receive follow-ups via email, you’ll need to post your comment using your Google Account. We only send comments to your verified Google Account so that someone else can’t use this feature to send you email you didn’t sign up for.

Previously in order to “keep up” with the conversation, users had to subscribe to a feed via RSS. Although this feature is great for finding updates regarding blog posts, news, etc., using it to keep up with the latest comments was probably less than ideal.

While this new feature will probably be welcomed by many blogger blogs users, Google should probably drop the “must have Google account” requirement, and instead embrace the openness of the web.

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