August 30, 2008

When’s the right time to use a Magazine-style blog theme?

Filed as Features with 6 comments

Magazine style blog themes seem to be all the rage right now – with sites like TechCrunch moving to more of a magazine/newspaper style approach for their main blog pages.

Even Chris Pearson has a new magazine style theme coming out soon to complement his successful Thesis Theme.

So when is the right time to use a Magazine style blog theme?

Smashing Magazine took a look earlier this week and offered some advice along with some key descriptors of what makes up a Magazine-style theme: read more

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Ten Must-Have Twitter Tools for the Home Office Warrior

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Over at his excellent Home Office Warrior blog, Grant Griffiths outlines 10 Must-Have Twitter Tools for the Home Office Warrior. Here’s a couple examples from his list:

  • My Tweeple can be used to make informed decisions when it comes to following people on twitter. You can use it to see who is following you and who you are following. And with a simple click, you can follow, unfollow, or block people all in one place.
  • Quotably is another way to follow the twitter conversations. What I do like about this service is that it puts the conversations in what appears to be threads. This is actually one feature I am hoping twhirl adopts soon.

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ZDNet takes a look at the CAPTCHA economy in India

Filed as News with no comments

Many of us use CAPTCHA technology for preventing comment spam, registration spam on forums, or for other spam blocking mechanisms on email and other online tools.

Did you know there was an entire underground economy operating in the world focused on defeating those CAPTCHA blocks?

ZDNet takes a look inside the India version of that economy:

Let’s analyze the shady data processing economy of India, discuss exclusive photos of Indian workers breaking MySpace and Google CAPTCHAs, and take a tour inside the web applications of several Bangladesh based franchises, whose team of almost 1,000 international workers is actively soliciting deals for breaking Craigslist, Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook’s CAPTCHA, promising to deliver 250k solved CAPTCHAs per day on a “$2 for a 1000 solved CAPTCHAs” rate.

The story goes on to examine a few different “de-CAPTCHA” firms and has pictures of the workers and links to their websites.

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Microsoft breaks standards compatibility promise with IE8 Beta 2

Filed as Features with 5 comments

Microsoft earlier this year committed to delivering a standards compliant browser when they launched Internet Explorer 8 at some undetermined future point.

According to this article at the Register today, Microsoft has broken this promise with the release of IE8, Beta 2:

This week, the promise was broken. It lasted less than six months. Now that Internet Explorer IE8 beta 2 is released, we know that many, if not most, pages viewed in IE8 will not be shown in standards mode by default. The dirty secret is buried deep down in the «Compatibility view» configuration panel, where the «Display intranet sites in Compatibility View» box is checked by default. Thus, by default, intranet pages are not viewed in standards mode.

This is yet another reason why more than five years ago, I switched to using Firefox.

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Scribd launches a redesign

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Scribd, a popular document sharing service, has launched a redesign. TechCrunch takes a look:

One of the major changes in the design is a new emphasis on search. Scribd has seen impressive growth since its launch in Spring 2007, and now claims more than 20 million unique visitors monthly. But more than half of that traffic comes from search engines – something that the site would like to change. The new design is intended to make the search function more prominent, encouraging users to turn to Scribd instead of Google or Yahoo when they’d like to find a document. And CEO Trip Adler says that it’s working: while A/B bucket testing the new design, Scribd has seen the number of searches double (the number of uploads increased by 70% as well).

Scribd is a great service for incorporating complex documents into blogs via their widget for posts and other functions.

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August 29, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Blog News and Links

On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in the U.S., another storm named Gustav weaves a path through the Caribbean that could end in New Orleans as early as next Monday.

Here are some of the best places online to track Hurricane Gustav’s progress and impact.

Please share your links in the comments. Let’s make this a useful resource for people who may be affected by Hurricane Gustav. read more

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Your Thoughts on Blog Reposts

Filed as General with 6 comments

Most blogger success stories do not happen overnight. For the most part, its perseverance and sustained hard word that rewards online scribes. What that means, is that by the time you start generating serious traffic, some of your strongest content is behind you. (I’m sure you’ll still write amazing posts, but you’ve probably blown a lot of your load).

So let me pose a question:

How do you feel about reposting articles?

I’m not talking about links to past posts or a highlighted section – I mean a straight on repost.

Will duplicate content piss off the search engines? Annoy your readers?

What are your thoughts?

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WTF Blog Clutter: Are You Ignoring Your Uncategorized Category?

The WTF Blog Design Clutter continues with a look at your uncategorized category. Have you been ignoring it lately?

Most blogs start life with a single category as an example called “Uncategorized”. I don’t know why or who started it, but it’s a dumb category name, especially if users don’t know they can change it from the start. It could be called General, Topics, Articles, Stories, or a lot of other non-specific labels. Unfortunately, it is Uncategorized and we’re stuck with it.

With more and more people covering their categories and tags into heat maps or clouds, they often choose the design look emphasizes your most popular categories or tags in the largest, most bold font. For many, the word most emphasized in these category clouds is Uncategorized. read more

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Can You Have Too Many Adsense Clicks?

Seth Godin, love him or hate him, gets attention. I am sure half the time he knows exactly what he is doing when he causes one of these web arguments.

The latest is the “Is Seth advocating click-fraud” debacle when he suggested clicking ads as a kind of tip jar for publishers. Like their stuff? Click their ads!

As you would expect, several people took him to task. In his follow up he kind-of clarifies, but I think he still needs to look at this issue from beyond his blogger/Squidoo founder mindset. read more

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August 28, 2008

WordPress Vs. BlogWriter (Battle Of The iPhone Apps!)

For those of you who belong to the WordPress faith, you may be surprised to hear that there is a second iPhone App on Apple’s favorite phone.

Called BlogWriter, this iPhone app was developed by VirtueSoft, who charges everyone a steep $10 in order to be privileged to use it.

But with WordPress providing a free alternative, the question remains: is BlogWriter worth it? read more

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