August 31, 2010

BlogVault For WordPress: A Cheaper Better Backup Solution?

After reviewing VaultPress by Automattic (the creators of WordPress), there has been a lot of spirited debate online (and off) over how much one should pay to backup their WordPress blog.

Although cheaper alternatives are available, very few match the backup frequency of VaultPress, save one which is blogVault.

Created by Inactiv Media Solutions, blogVault offers users an inexpensive hassle free way to back up their blog without breaking the bank.

With prices starting at $29/year, blogVault looks like a strong contender to many of the premium backup services available to WordPress.

BlogVault also does not require users to create an account with Amazon first, which means bloggers can focus on blogging rather than maintaining separate billing accounts.

For those of you who might consider blogVault as a “poor man’s VaultPress,” here is an in depth view from someone who is using both services. read more

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Disqus Seeking Out A Few Brave Bloggers?

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With more blogs embracing Disqus dead simple comment service, the engineers behind the company have decided to roll out a new tool to help publishers gain more insight about their commentors.

Unfortunately the new feature is not yet ready for prime time, although Disqus is asking for a few brave blog volunteers to help them work out the bugs in the system.

If Disqus is working well for you, we’d like Analytics to show you in what way. If your site’s community is lackluster, we’d like Analytics to help discover why. We’re able to see an incredible amount of data from the half a million communities powered by Disqus; we can see what works and what doesn’t on a broad level. [...]

Want to help us test and improve Disqus Analytics? We’re now looking for alpha testers. No, not just early-adopting beta testers — we’re looking for people willing to bang on an early product and give us regular feedback. (Official Disqus Blog)

As seen in the video below, Disqus Analytics would help bloggers understand who exactly is commenting, as well as highlight which social network (or site) is sending them the most traffic. read more

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Happy Birthday Blogger! Here Are 11 Reasons Why We Love You

A 11 years ago on this day a man named Evan Williams set out on a quest to make blogging easier. After much thought, sweat and hard work he introduced the world to Blogger, which was later on assimilated by Google.

Fast forward to today and Blogger is the number one platform in the world (according to Quantcast) and despite the rise of Tumblr as well as WordPress, Google’s favorite child still holds the crown as king of the blogging platforms.

While Blogger is celebrating the occasion by encouraging blogspot fans to hold blogger fiesta’s around the world, here are 11 reasons why many users love Blogger, and why they continue to use Google’s blogging platform over its rivals. read more

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Sustainable Blogging: Blog Like a Farmer

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This is a guest post by Kim De, a freelance writer and author of Zen Kitchen, a blog focused on recipes and food issues.

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For animals to remain strong and healthy under adverse situations. For humans to maintain their well-being. For agriculture to satisfy human needs for generations.

It is a word that has been batted around for awhile and has been prevalent in the media recently as farmers who are using sustainable practices are finally getting the spotlight.

But what if we were to stretch the definition to encompass other areas of our lives? Sustainable relationships. Sustainable employment. Sustainable blogging.

Lets see how easy it is to adopt the techniques used by farmers to bloggers. read more

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August 30, 2010

Twitter To Developers: Embrace OAuth, Or Perish

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It looks like any third party twitter clients that survived tweetageddon will now have to embrace OAuth for their applications over the next 48 hours or face tweet extinction.

If you are like most Twitter users, you have used use a third-party Twitter application to read or send Tweets. As of August 31, Twitter applications will all use OAuth, an authentication method that lets you use apps without them storing your password. [...]

The move to OAuth will mean increased security and a better experience. Applications won’t store your username and password, and if you change your password, applications will continue to work.

With OAuth, you still individually approve each application before using it, and you can revoke access at any time. (Official Twitter Blog)

Many developers (especially those on the iPhone) have already embraced OAuth months ago, although there are a few who have yet to adopt the feature (although most of those apps are not actively supported).

Although OAuth does make configuring a few blog plugins a little frustrating (as many of them need extra TLC in order to connect to ones account), it should help Twitter reduce the number of hacks against twitter accounts in the future.

Other companies like Tumblr are also encouraging third party developers to adopt OAuth, a trend we might see gain popularity across social networks as well as blogging applications.

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Is Facebook Blocking Digg’s Profile Finder?

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After previously relaunching their site, it looks as if predictions of Digg’s demise may have been preliminary at best, thanks in part to Digg’s heavy embrace of social networking.

Although locating friends on other social networks (like Twitter and Google) via Digg’s profile finder makes the site much easier to embrace, it seems as finding Facebook friends is “mysteriously” not working (at least for this author).

It seems the only way to discover ones Digg buddies is to log into Facebook itself, and viewing the Digg Facebook application directly.

While one could always chalk this up to more Digg bugs, Facebook has previously blocked Twitter when the micro blogging social network tried something similar, which makes one wonder if we are witnessing deja vu all over again.

Either way I’ve reached out to Digg regarding this issue, and if any users are experiencing similar problems (or can connect to Facebook) feel free to share your thoughts below.

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Is A Textpattern iPhone App In The Works?

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After being envious of their WordPress friends, it looks like we might be witnessing the making of a Textpattern iPhone app in the (hopefully) near future.

I’ve got to commission an iOS developer in late 2010, early 2011 to make an app for a client’s website. Since they will be tapping into the site’s txp database anyway I wonder if I could get them to also adapt the current WordPress app for use on TXP as an extra project – depends on how much work was actually needed to do that. Also, as mentioned, the image uploading would have to be enabled by the txp devs or it is probably not worth doing. (Phil Wareham)

The biggest hurdle to the creation of a Textpattern app seems to be the lack of a way to seamlessly upload media files (images, video, etc.) to a Textpattern blog via XML-RPC (at least according to many geeks in the Textpattern community). read more

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Foursquare Reaches 3 Million Users

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Foursquare LogoIt’s official, Foursquare has hit three million users, only two months after the location-based app surpassed the two million mark.

The new milestone is an important one for Foursquare who now faces increased competition from Facebook Places.

Ian Paul of PC World, points out that Facebook Places may actually be helping FourSquare attract a new audience who had never considered the idea of “checking-in” to locations until Facebook released their own offering.

The new milestone proves that Foursquare has been gaining traction, it took the company a full year to reach one million users and less than 2 months to reach from 2 to 3 million users. To put that number into perspective, an average of 18,000 new users join the site everyday according to founder Dennis Crowley during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. read more

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ChatRoulette Debuts New Problem Riddled Interface

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ChatRouletteWhen a site goes down for a week with the promise of debuting a new, more streamlined interface, I would in the least expect that site to launch with something usable if not improved, but that isn’t the case with popular random video chat site ChatRoulette.

It’s obvious that ChatRoulette had problems with their new integration, considering they originally planned a one day down time which quickly turned into seven days.

The new version offers an interface that’s nothing short of confusion. For example, you can now drag video windows around the screen, but there are no instructions on the site explaining that feature, you can also resize those images by grabbing their upper right corners or by dragging the size of the chat window to make it smaller, again features not showcased in writing or video demonstrations on the website. read more

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August 28, 2010

How Movable Type Can Get Its Groove Back

A long, long time ago (near the beginning of blog time) Movable Type was born.

Unlike many previous rivals (i.e.  Blogger and LiveJournal), Movable Type allowed bloggers to host the software upon their own servers, eliminating the need to rely on corporate hosting without breaking the bank.

In order to feed their families, the Movable Type monks charged businesses a fee to use their software while allowing individuals to use Movable Type for free.

But that was before the dark times, before the rise of the WordPress empire. Fast forward to today and Movable Type has (more or less) fallen out of the lime light.

While Blogger and WordPress have become house hold names (at least among my less than tech savvy non-geek friends), Movable Type has diminished in popularity as evidenced by the rise of Tumblr.

But all is not lost my Movable Type lovin’ friends, as their is still hope for Six Apart’s favorite child to regain its former glory by adapting to times (aka make Movable Type relevant for the new millennium). read more

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