November 30, 2010

Ultimate Blog Security: A VaultPress Premium Alternative? (WordPress)

After reporting about the impressive improvements regarding VaultPress’s security feature (which is available to premium users), we received an interesting comment from one of their rivals.

I have a site called http://www.ultimateblogsecurity.com which allows you to *prevent* getting hacked in the first place. WordPress exposes a number of security vulnerabilities during installation (and upgrade to new versions!) that are easy but cumbersome to fix. We allow you to fix those in one click, and the pricing is reasonable too.

Founded by Chris Neumann and Eugene Pyvovarov, Ultimate Blog Security is a service that scans your WordPress blog in order to find and close security holes and exploits that could be used by a potential hacker.

Thus far the service does not offer a backup solution like VaultPress or blogVault, although the company plans on launching one in the future in order to challenge Automattic (the company behind VaultPress and WordPress) by offering a similar service at a greatly reduced price. read more

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Buy Zynga Cash With Your American Express Rewards

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FarmVilleAmerican Express and social gaming behemoth Zynga have entered into a business partnership that allows Amex customers to buy Zynga cash with their Amex Membership Rewards points.

The customers points can be used for game cards and virtual currency, while Zynga will also offer exclusive virtual goods to AMEX points customers for their products, including the very popular FarmVille social game.

The move is a smart one for Amex, allowing them to push their rewards points out for cheap to acquire virtual goods, while tapping into a customer base of 56 million social gamers in America alone.

While it’s still unseen how many AMEX customers will flock to the virtual goods, the market in 2009 reported more than $2.2 billion in virtual sales, with most of those sales coming from micro-payment company’s such as PayPal and through the use of major credit cards. read more

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LinkedIn Share Button Now Available

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linkedin share button

LinkedIn today announced their new share button, an option that allows users to share stories from across the web via their LinkedIn account.

The button, much like other options from Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other services provides three button types, a vertical button with a share counter, a smaller horizontal button with a counter and a horizontal button that lacks a counter (all pictured above).

Also just like other share buttons, users need virtually no programming experience to use the code, simply grab a few lines of code and paste that code where you want it to appear on your websites pages. read more

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Google’s Orkut Mimicking Foursquare?

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Believe it or not, Google actually has a social network by the name of orkut who actually dominates the social scene in Brazil as well as India.

Apparently in a move to help maintain the sites popularity in the two regions where Google is seen as a major social player, orkut has decided to add a flavor of Foursquare to the service.

You might have noticed something new in orkut. Some of your friends may have little icons on their profile pages, and you may start seeing some updates from friends as well. These are our new orkut badges!

Badges are another way for you to express yourself on orkut, with different sets of badges for users that engage with orkut in different ways. For example, if you’ve been on orkut for a long time, you might get an Early User badge! Or, if you created a popular promotion, you might get a Promoter badge. Once you win a badge, it’s up to you if you want to display it on your profile or not. (Official Orkut Blog)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

Thus far many of these badges seemed geared towards active users on the site (i.e. resharing content, using all of the features, etc.) with a few dedicated towards actually helping the orkut team in some way (note: probably dealing with reporting bugs).

There are a few badges that are a little trickier to unlock (such as the millionaire forum owner badge), but for the most part active users should be able to acquire most of them with little difficulty.

Google is promising to unveil more badges in the future, although only time will tell if badges helps the Mountain View giant popularize its oft forgotten social network outside of India and South America.

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US Government Going After Wikileaks?

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Despite being a nation known for heavily embracing freedom of speech as well as the press, it looks like the US government has now decided to charge the founder of Wikileaks with breaking the law (as soon as they can figure out what to charge him with that is).

Federal authorities are investigating whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, including possible charges under the Espionage Act, sources familiar with the inquiry said Monday. [...]

Former prosecutors cautioned that prosecutions involving leaked classified information are difficult because the Espionage Act is a 1917 statute that preceded Supreme Court cases that expanded First Amendment protections. The government also would have to persuade another country to turn over Assange, who is outside the United States. (Washington Post)

For those who have not been paying attention to the news, Twitter or even the political blogosphere, Wikileaks has been publishing classified information leaked to the organization from the Pentagon as well as the US State Department.

While leaking classified or private information to the digital world is nothing new (after all, bloggers have been doing it for years), the fact that the US government is once again going after digital citizen while ignoring the journalists who are also leaking the same info is rather troublesome.

Although its understandable why the US government is upset with the leaks, the US authorities would be better off at going after the individual(s) passing the info to Wikileaks, instead of trying to shoot down the messenger who is (ironically) performing a job once done by journalists.

(Hat Tip: Hot Air)

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November 29, 2010

WordPress Gaining Almost 1 Million New Users A Month?

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After Microsoft announced that it was shutting down Windows Live Spaces and turning the keys over to WordPress.com, it looks like the number of monthly signups to WP.com has more than doubled which spells good news for Automattic (the company behind WordPress).

With the addition of Windows Live Spaces sites moving to WordPress.com, Windows Live users who are new to blogging coming here, and word-of-mouth from our current and very passionate users, the number of people joining WordPress.com has doubled to over 900,000 per month (up from around 400,000 per month before the migration). We’re thrilled to see this explosion and to be introducing so many people to publishing with WordPress. (Official WordPress Blog)

Microsoft confirms the number of successful migrations to half a million, with the company also reporting that an additional 400,000 former live space users have chosen to skip the migration process entirely and instead start afresh upon a new WP.com blog.

If WordPress is able to maintain this trend, we could see eventually see WordPress eventually surpass Blogger.com in a few years (if not sooner), provided the latter isn’t able to convert the same numbers via the Google app universe.

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WordPress Quietly Creating Windows Phone 7 App

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After posting an opening upon their jobs board in July, it looks like Automattic (the company behind WordPress) is quietly building a Windows Phone 7 app.

Users visiting windowsphone.wordpress.org will be greeted by a protected blog screen which requires users to type in a special password in order to view the contents of the site.

This follows a similar pattern when WordPress was working on their Android app, which could signal Automattic’s plans on strengthening WordPress’s mobile dominance by courting Windows Phone 7 before rivals have a chance to launch an official app upon the platform. read more

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Facebook And Twitter Get Their Own Running Shoes [Adidas Concept]

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Facebook Shoes [Adidas Concept]

Wow, I understand that both Facebook and Twitter are kinda big deals, but is it really necessary for them to get their own shoe lines? Apparently Glasgow designer Gerry McKay thinks so, having conceptualized a pair of Adidas running shoes for each of the social network sites.

McKay told Behance:

“Facebook as a brand is increasingly on the rise and I thought it would be interesting to see what it would look like if Adidas also released a limited edition Facebook Superstar, so I worked on my own design of the shoe and this is what I came up with.”

It should be noted that McKay is not employed by Facebook, Twitter or Adidas, but he is one heck of a shoe designer.

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Google Acquires Groupon For $2.5 Billion [Rumor]

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Groupon Screen CaptureIf rumors are to be believed, search giant Google today purchased social savings website Groupon for $2.5 billion.

The acquisition announcement comes from Vatornews who says they have it on the word of a “reliable source” close to the negotiations that the site has been purchased and will switch hands over to Google.

While neither Google or Groupon have confirmed the deal, the price of acquisition is in line with the $2 to $3 billion mark Yahoo tried to purchase the company for earlier in the year.

If the rumors are true, the company, founded in 2008 would become one of the quickest internet sites to ever reach above the $1 billion valuation point. The sites estimated $50 million per month in revenues would also mean Google has purchased a company that’s already earning enough to pay for itself in three to four short years, possibly less with the number of customers flocking to the site on a daily basis and now with the Google brand supporting the websites future, but again only if rumors are true.

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5 Common Blogging Disasters to Avoid

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Blogging is a fun and creative way to express your interest in a particular subject.  Of course, if you plan accordingly, learn everything you can about SEO, and put in a lot of time and effort, you can also monetize your blog in order to turn your passion to profession.  Unfortunately, you’re bound to hit a few bumps along the road.  Even if you claim to be a writer, blogging is a whole different ball game.  Imagine writing a book that’s infinitely long and you only add a page a day; that’s a difficult proposition, but it’s blogging in a nutshell.  So if you’re interested in ramping up your blog, here are a few common pitfalls to avoid.

1.       Burnout. Writing posts on the same subject, day in and day out, can prove harrying for the blogger without a strong constitution.  Not only will you run out of topic ideas, you may also find yourself losing enthusiasm for a subject that you were once passionate about.  Plus, if you are trying to monetize your blog, you are likely working another job in the meantime and devoting every spare moment to your blog, turning what started as a fun and exciting project into an increasingly hefty monkey on your back.  read more

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