April 30, 2008

WordPress Wednesday News: WordPress 2.5.1 Released, WordPress 2008 in August, Plugins Contest, 3 Million, WordPress.com Responds to Brazil Court Ban, and More

WordPress 2.5.1 is a mandatory upgrade. Get it now! WordPress 2008 in San Francisco announced. WordPress Plugins contest begins in May. Three Million WordPress.com blogs. WordPress.com responds to Brazil courts for banning WordPress.com blogs. New WordCamp official site. And a lot more WordPress news.

WordPress News

WordPress 2.5.1 Mandatory Security Release: WordPress 2.5.1 was released earlier this week and is a mandatory security release. It includes bug fixes, performance enhancements, along with the security fix. The corrected files are wp-includes/pluggable.php, wp-admin/includes/media.php and wp-admin/media.php, if you want to just replace the changed files. Theme Lab offers a simple upgrade guide for this upgrade. Included in the upgrade are fixes to Internet Explorer issues with the new Media Library.

WordPress 2.5 Secret Key: WordPress 2.5 now makes cookies more secure and protected from attacks with a new user-definable constant called SECRET_KEY. Ryan Boren talks more about this issue in depth, and you can get your unique secret key for your WordPress 2.5x blog to improve your blog’s security.

WordPress Plugin Competition: Weblog Tools Collection has announced a new WordPress Plugin Competition specifically for WordPress 2.5. It will begin May 10 and end July 10, giving us 30 days of non-stop fabulous Plugins!
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Some WordPress Plugins and Services I Recommend

Over the past few months I’ve added some new plugins and services to my blog at Webomatica that are solid and useful enough to recommend. All are working great with WordPress 2.5.

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BlogCatalog Wants You to Make a Difference

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BlogCatalog continues to grow as a social network for bloggers, but that hasn’t stopped the Website from finding the time to do some good. On May 15, the site, together with Amnesty International is asking Web writers to join their Bloggers Unite For Human Rights campaign.

From showing solidarity with our blogging brothers and sisters who live in places where freedom of expression is regularly suppressed to making people aware about the displacement of people in Darfur, Sudan – here’s your opportunity to do something.

“Amnesty International is thrilled to be a part of Bloggers Unite for Human Rights,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Bloggers Unite for Human Rights is a great way to harness the power of the Internet to fight injustice and make the world a better place.”

The more bloggers that participate, the better the chances of unknown stories capturing daylight.

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Did John Battelle Cash Out?

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Valleywag is reporting that John Battelle walked away with as much as 22 million in the latest round of VC investment all the while his bloggers struggle to keep bread on the table. Ouch.

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10,000 People Are Ready to Answer Your Text Message Question

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Ever wish you had a quick stat at your fingertips – without wearing your thumbs out on a mobile device?

Yesterday I was chatting with a new media buddy of mine. We were talking about all of my freelance projects and he asked me how many visitors BlogHerald gets a month. After pausing, I realized I had absolutely no clue.

Thankfully, Chacha hooked me up with an answer in less than four minutes. Between 50 – 70k a month, with March being particularly strong. Whether or not that info is accurate, I’ll leave for the BH editors to decide. However, my experience with this free cell phone service that will text message you the answer to any question has been nothing but positive.

Chacha employs 10,000 “guides” who earn 20 cents for every question they answer. While the value of your information will be dependent on your guide, this is a simple and fast way to get basic information without Web browsing on your mobile device.

Give it a whirl. Try it online, call 800/2chacha or text your question to “242242.” Chacha works in the U.S. on most mobile carriers. Regular cell phone rates apply.

Since I do a lot of my blogging “on-the-go,” I’ve found Chacha to be a great research tool.

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Twitter as Community Kick-Starter

More and more I am using Twitter to attract discussion to the various blogs I write for. When you are starting a new blog it is difficult to get conversation going. There is the catch-22 of no community therefore no comments, but the fear of no comments mean you dare not invite them. Twitter solves this without risk of zero comment embarrassment!

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Should We Stop Using Ajax?

I have no idea who this Brothercake is, but he has submitted a pretty interesting piece titled Stop using Ajax! to the Opera Developer Community. It’s lengthy post, and he finishes it by summing it up like this:

  1. I’m not saying Ajax is bad, I’m saying it’s immature
  2. 2. I’m not saying never use Ajax, I’m saying don’t use it for the sake of it, and try to avoid it for now, instead sticking to accessible alternatives

Like all new technologies it’s easy to get caught up in them. It’s an interesting post, I advice you to check it out if you’re a web developer, or just plain curious.

Lots of blogs are using ajax, most via plugins to add cool functionality. The admin interfaces are full with these things. Should we stop using ajax?

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Interview With Arvind on Movable Type and Why He Loves Itp

Arvind Satyanarayan is our Movable Type maven here at The Blog Herald, and the man behind the weekly Movable Type Mondays (the most recent one). He prefers Movable Type, obviously, and personally that’s I think it’s an interesting platform, now that it’s open source and all. Some things, like the Six Apart Services announcement for instance, have kept me from even giving it a serious go – I’m a WordPress junkie for now.

However, being curious is a good thing, so I figured I’d interview Arvind on the subject, and the interview is up now on BloggerTalks, sparking reactions in the comments already. I think you should check it out, it gives some perspective to the Movable Type community, as well as a lot of other things concerning Arvind, a great guy that swears to MT rather than WP.

Stay tuned for another Movable Type Monday next week, and every week.

Disclosure: I hired Arvind, I’m the editor of this site, and I’m editing BloggerTalks as well. I’m also doing a lot of WordPress designs, if you think that matters.

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Hitwise: “Twitter Still Niche”

Heather Hopkins at Hitwise talks about Twitter in a recent blog post. She’s analyzed the Hitwise statistics and notes that Twitter still haven’t hit mainstream:

However, to put things into context, the site ranked #439 among Social Networks and Forums last week and #4309 among All Categories of websites. Twitter’s size is notoriously difficult to measure as there are so many access points (mobile phones in particular). However, the website traffic data does give some idea of the rate of growth and also reveals that the service still hasn’t reached mainstream adoption.

Statistics junkies should check out the post.

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Widen Your Scope With Kaizen and Bootstrapping

Raj Dash’s got a great post up on Freelance Folder on how to build your freelance skills by applying Kaizen and bootstrapping methods to your writing. Basically, it’s all about setting goals, achieving them, and setting new goals, while not spending more than necessary. Simple, obvious stuff, the kind of things you totally neglect in your rush to fame and fortune.

You can ease into your new skill set, as well as into financial commitments, all the while earning something to make the transition worthwhile. If you apply both the principles of Kaizen and bootstrapping, then transitioning becomes a process that you can control. This does not mean it’ll be easy, but the process will be manageable.

It’s well worth a read, especially for bloggers that are thinking of branching out, altering the blog’s focus, or launching new projects.

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