September 30, 2010

WPWebHost: All Your WordPress Blogs Should Be Hosted By Us

Founded in 2007, WPWebHost had a dream of providing a WordPress only hosting environment that was not only affordable for WP fans, but also provided quality service (a rarity back “in the day”).

A year later the company was acquired by Exabytes who provided WPWebHost with the financial resources to keep their dream of affordable WordPress hosting alive, and as they say the rest is history.

Fast forward towards today and WPWebHost is one of the largest WordPress only hosting companies outside of the walls of Automattic (who owns WordPress.com), hosting hundreds (if not thousands) of WP blogs of every shape and size.

The managers at WPWebHost were kind enough to give me a few weeks to test out their service (under their Freedom Plan), and here are my thoughts after giving their servers for a spin. read more

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Disqus Embraces 3 Smartphones. Guess Who Got Left Out?

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After declaring their intentions to release official apps upon the iPhone and Android devices, Disqus has announced that the apps are ready for prime time (provided they survive the tribunal processes save one OS).

About month ago, we announced “Disqus Mobile”. Since then, we’ve had a tremendous amount of traffic on with mobile theme, and received several of requests for a way to moderate and keep up with your communities whilst on the go. Being very keen to listen to our community, we’ve been secretly working on something deep within the Disqus laboratories.

Today we’re announcing a set of mobile apps on Android, iPhone (iOS), and webOS to help you achieve this. These apps are simple to use, lightweight, and battery efficient. We wanted to be sure you had enough battery life to call Grandma. (Official Disqus Blog) read more

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Should Twitter Buy Flickr?

A short time ago in a place not so far away (relatively speaking), founder Evan Williams uttered this statement explaining what Twitter is (and why it’s distinct from its rivals).

Twitter is a real-time information network. (via TechCrunch)

Although Twitter is often viewed as one of the first places to visit when breaking news happens around the world, the one thing the company lacks is the ability for users to upload media content directly upon the site (outside of a picture profile or a background image that is).

While this limitation has not stopped users from posting images and video via third party services, the inability to upload media directly to Twitter.com may convince new comers that the service is not worth their time (let alone tweet).

If Twitter wants to thwart the rise of Tumblr and match Facebook’s future growth, they are going to have add media uploads to their road map (and soon).

But instead of reinventing the wheel, Twitter might be a wiser alternative to purchase an established media service like Flickr. read more

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WordPress To Blogger: Our Stats Are Better Than Yours

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After watching users rave about Blogger Live Stats (which just exited Blogger’s beta labs), it looks like Automattic (the creators of WordPress) are firing back by unveiling a redesigned stats dashboard of their own.

As you hover over each bar in the chart it changes color and displays a tooltip, giving you more information about the data. If the chart is showing data by day, Saturdays and Sundays have a light gray background to make it easier to see weekly patterns. Under the chart you’ll notice a new area, called “fortune cookies,” where we’ll highlight key stats.

During the redesign we went with bar charts because the end of one day and the beginning of another shouldn’t be connected. Each day starts at zero and we think bar charts work much better for this type of data. We hope you’ll agree once you get used to the change. (Official WordPress Blog) read more

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September 29, 2010

Twitter Now Third Largest Social Network, Announces Promoted Accounts

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Twitter LogoOn Tuesday Twitter COO Dick Costola, speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx Conference in New York City, announced that Twitter has surpassed MySpace in terms of unique users, while also announceing Twitter’s new “promoted accounts” feature.

Using Promoted Accounts companies can suggest that users automatically follow brands with similar interests to their own.

The program works by giving advertisers the ability to add their paid accounts to users “Who To Follow” suggestion list. Just like the companies “Promoted Tweets” feature, the suggestions would be based on a users Twitter activity and their preference settings.

The “Promoted Accounts” option also marks the end of Twitter Earlybird offers, which never really took off as planned. read more

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What WordPress Envy? Blogger Live Stats Go Public

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After beta testing Blogger Live Stats upon Blogger in Draft (Google’s eternal testing ground), the search engine giant has given the feature its seal of approval by launching it towards the public.

Last month we released two new stats gadgets to the Blogger in Draft testing ground; after hearing your feedback and making a few tweaks, we’re happy to announce that they are both now ready for the main stage. The new-and-improved Popular Posts and Blog’s Statsgadgets can be added to your blog right now from the Gadget Directory by clicking Add a gadget from the Design | Page Elements tab.

Both of these gadgets take advantage of the traffic data that is being collected by Blogger Stats and provide an easy way for you to pass that info on to the readers of your blog. (Blogger Buzz) read more

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Tumblr Unveiling Revolutionary New Queue System?

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Tumblr’s dramatic rise has apparently taken a toll on the company’s queue system (aka scheduled posting), and in an attempt to avoid a “fail whale” scenario they’re not only scaling the feature, but promising to wow the world when it relaunches.

Later this week we’re pushing a complete overhaul of the Queue feature with some killer new functionality.

In the meantime though, the existing queue service is handling a volume of posts it was never designed for. To prevent it from becoming unstable and mis-publishing posts, we’ve decided the best course is to take the queues offline and expedite the relaunch. (Tumblr Staff Blog)

Thus far the company hasn’t given any hints as to what the new system will look like, although if I had to guess it might have something to do with solving the international group blog problem (i.e. queuing posts based on a timed countdown rather than a specific time).

Tumblr has thus far not given an estimate of when queued posts will return to the tumblr-verse, although hopefully soon (as manually posting queued posts is not exactly fun).

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Iran To Pro-Iranian Blogger: How Does 19 Years In Jail Sound?

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Known mostly for sentencing critics of the government to jail, Iran for the most part has displayed a very hostile attitude towards bloggers (not to mention the twittersphere as well).

But what about bloggers who not only condone the Iranian government, but praise it as well? Unfortunately it seems that lip service alone will not save you.

An Iranian court sentenced the founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs, credited with sparking the boom in Iranian reform bloggers, to more than 19 years in prison for his writings, a news web site reported Tuesday.

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was a controversial figure among Iran’s blogging community. Writing his blog from Canada, he was initially a critic of Iran’s clerical leadership, and in 2006 he visited Israel — Iran’s archenemy — saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two countries’ peoples.

But he later became a vocal supporter of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents. (Fox News)

Yael (from Israel) was able to meet Derakhshan in person and from her encounters was “convinced that he was an Iranian agent.” Other bloggers (even ones from Iran) seemed to have a similar attitude, which is why many are surprised by Derakshan’s sentence.

While it may seem strange for Iran to jail a proponent of their regime, it should not come as a surprise as the government has been known to jail apolitical bloggers without cause (aside from the fact that they own a blog).

Derakhshan imprisonment probably goes to show that the Iranian government sees bloggers as a threat (and not as an asset), which probably means that Iranian bloggers need to exercise more caution when blogging in hostile countries.

(Image Credit: Farzaaaad2000)

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September 28, 2010

Will AOL Choose WordPress VIP Over Blogsmith? (TechCrunch)

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After first hearing rumors about AOL acquiring TechCrunch by Malik Om, it looks like the former internet giant has indeed purchased Michael Arrington’s blog network for an undisclosed sum. Update: see details below for rumored acquisition price.

AOL Inc. [NYSE: AOL] today announced that it has agreed to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., the company that owns and operates TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news, information and analysis. TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content. The announcement will be made on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, CA. (TechCrunch)

Although advertising rates for TechCrunch will probably go up, AOL has not yet indicated whether they will move the entire TechCrunch network upon Blogsmith (a platform AOL purchased in 2006) or allow them to remain upon Automattic’s servers (via WordPress VIP).

While Automattic would probably prefer to keep a high profile site like TechCrunch on their servers, it would not be surprising if AOL decided to migrate TechCrunch away from WordPress (although AOL will probably maintain their embrace of Disqus comments).

Update: Business Insider (via Gizmodo) is reporting AOL purchased TechCrunch for at least $25 million (although it could have been as high as $40 million).

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Mark Zuckerberg Comic Book Debuting In 2010

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Mark Zuckerberg Comic Book

He’s 26, he’s worth seven billion dollars and he has a movie about his life, even if that movie is not completely accurate. So what’s next for Mark Zuckerberg? How about a comic book based around his life.

Bluewater Productions announced today that they are planning a single issue biographical comic titled Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook which chronicles the Facebook founders rise to fame which has made him the 35th richest person in the United States.

With The Social Network debuting in theaters on October 1st, the announcement should allow the publisher to capitalize on the hype surrounding that movie.

The comics creator Jerome Maida had this to say about his work:

“This is a fascinating story” adding,“I enjoyed researching it because it’s extremely compelling. Think about it. Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet and created something that has already had a profound impact on the world. Yet hardly anyone knows much about him. It’s amazing. Mark was offered loads of money at a young age and turned all his suitors down because deep down he knew he had higher goals than to work for someone else,” he adds. read more

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