November 28, 2010

French Artists To Receive Royalties From YouTube

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YouTube Copyright - Royalties To French Artists

Google, owners of YouTube, agreed this past week to pay royalties to French singers when their videos and other forms of streaming music appear on the company’s video portal.

According to Google, they will pay royalties to French, Belgian and Luxembourgian artists, but only when views of their materials occur within their own respective countries.

The announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to industry analysts, since Google first announced they were meeting with SACEM, a French music royalty company back in September. read more

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November 27, 2010

VaultPress For WordPress: Now Better, Faster, Stronger

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VaultPress (a backup service for WordPress blogs by Automattic) has just announced a new feature for premium users which should make it harder for hackers to alter blogs undetected.

VaultPress knows which version of WordPress your site is running. For each particular version of WordPress, we know what the MD5 checksum for each of the core files should be (an MD5 checksum is a kind of digital fingerprint for a file, that can be used to validate the integrity of that file). [...]

This scan creates a baseline that we can compare against in future scans. If the MD5 checksum of a core file doesn’t match, we notify you through an alert in the security tab of your VaultPress dashboard. A variation in the checksum means that the file has been modified from the original version that came with your WordPress install. (Official VaultPress Blog)

Users who notice any suspicious changes can contact the VaultPress team who will then not only take a hard look at the core file but also help provide a remedy for you as well.

The improved security features should help separate VaultPress from less expensive rivals (like blogVault and BackupBuddy) as well as help them win a few converts (especially larger blogs who can not afford to suffer through a hack).

VaultPress’s security service is only available to premium members which is currently priced at $40/month per blog (note: this is a beta price as the final version is expected to jump to $50/month per blog), although users have to option to purchase the basic plan for $15/month per blog.

Update: Corrected article noting that VaultPress Premium will be $50/month (not $60). Thanks Paul!

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Movable Type’s Cooler Brother Re-entering Beta? (Melody)

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The creators of Melody (which is a fork of Movable Type 4.34) have been busy over the past few months squashing bugs and improving the user interface in preparation for the 1.0 launch.

While the core developers are planning on rolling out a finalized version of their platform in the near future, it looks the platform will be re-entering another beta round which might push the final release towards 2011.

After a short delay, we are happy to announce that Melody 1.0 beta 2 is finally available for download. This is an exciting release, not just because Melody is now more stable than ever before, but because we have made some exciting new enhancements as well. [...]

This release has over 200 bug fixes, enhancements and changes contributed by numerous members of the community many of whom contributed for the first time

And don’t forget, we are only planning one more beta, so now is the time to download Melody and begin trying it out. If you encounter any problems we have folks standing by ready to help. (Official Melody Blog)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

For those curious as to what Melody looks like from the inside, users can test out the latest beta for themselves upon Open Melody Demo which can give web masters a taste of the platform without having to install it upon their own server.

Although there is no word on how long the second beta round will last (let alone the upcoming third), hopefully we will see a finalized version unveiled soon as Melody could give Movable Type fans a reason not to defect towards WordPress.

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November 26, 2010

Hacked Twitter Account Leads To Panic For Millions

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Twitter Tsunami

Andi Arief, the disaster management adviser to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia, watch as his Twitter account was hacked this week.

While hacked Twitter accounts are nothing new, the hacker decided to spread a Tsunami warning to Arief’s followers, which in turn led to panic in the country which has already seen one recent Tsunami kill 100 people.

The message read:

“Besok jakarta tsunami.”

read more

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November 25, 2010

The Evolution of Email: Infographic

Email is something that we now take for granted and many of us use it as our primary communication method. Email is something that most people do not know how it works or when or where it originated from and most would be surprised at exactly how old it really is! We decided to take a look at the process of how your emails are sent and received and also the history of how it has evolved over a period of almost 5 decades. Finally, we look at dreaded spam, its origins and unstoppable growth since the turn of the century.

Enjoy this great Infographic from our friends at Infographiclabs

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Posterous To Challenge WordPress, Tumblr On Android

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After debuting their second iPhone app in October, the Posterous team is now preparing to invade the Android arena with a brand new mobile app.

In a post highlighting the inclusion of drafts as well as auto save in a brand new iOS update, the Posterous team not only mentioned their pending courtship of Android, but the need for a few brave volunteers.

And with this release, your posts are now automatically saved as you write them. When an unexpected crash happens, you can just pick up right where you left off.

Last but not least, we’re happy to share that Android love is coming soon. We’re looking for Android beta testers. (Official Posterous Blog)

Note: Emphasis mine.

Unlike iOS which boasts over half a dozen official apps, thus far Android has only been courted by WordPress, Tumblr and (in the semi-distant future) Squarespace.

Posterous’s entrance upon Android could help the company not only expose more users to its innovative platform, but also convince new users to make Posterous their default blogging client (as the service can auto post to a variety of social networks and blog platforms).

There is still no word on when the Android app will appear, although hopefully we will see one live upon Android Market before Christmas.

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Delicious Founder Receives Funding For Tasty Labs Project

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Joshua SchachterJoshua Schachter, best known for founding and eventually selling social bookmarking site Delicious to AOL has announced new funding for his latest project known as Tasty Labs.

His new project is fueled by Union Square Ventures, a New York investment firm that has stakes in various top company’s including Twitter, Zynga and Foursquare.

Very little is known about the new project at this time, although Schachter says on the new website that the company aims to put “the useful back into social software.”

Heading up Tasty Labs with Joshua is former Google engineer Paul Rademacher and co-founder Nick Nguyen. The move explains Nguyen’s recent departure from Mozilla. read more

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November 24, 2010

WordPress Ponders VaultPress Affiliate Program

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VaultPress (a real-time backup service for self hosted WordPress blogs) may give hosting companies an extra incentive to promote Automattic’s premium service (which currently is in beta).

@vaultpress my pleasure. Are you guys working on an affiliate or white-label program for web hosts like me? (via @DowntownRob)

@DowntownRob It’s been one of our top requests during the beta. We’re working on it and will announce once available here & on our blog. (via @VaultPress)

Although affiliate programs are nothing new, launching one for VaultPress could give bloggers an extra incentive to promote the service in order to help lower their monthly backup bill (not to mention generate some extra revenue on the side).

Automattic could choose to pay bloggers (and hosts) a commission based on the first monthly purchase or via a recurring monthly fee (as long as a user remains an active client of course), which could help the service become almost as popular as Akismet in the WordPress universe.

Automattic has not announced a time frame of when they will consider launching an affiliate program, although the company will probably create one after the service exits beta (as the service has yet to provide support for multi-site blogs).

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UberTwitter Invades The iPhone

It looks like UberTwitter (one Blackberry’s biggest tweet contenders) has made a belated entrance upon the iPhone, months after the official Twitter for iPhone client launched for iOS.

Unlike other third party iPhone apps, UberTwitter decided to release their app for free to the masses, albeit with ads near the bottom of the screen.

Although the app is fairly basic when compared against the likes of Echofon Pro or SimplyTweet, the app does pack one surprise that may make UberTwitter a “must have” tweet app for a few users. read more

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Akismet Gives Spammers 20 Billion Reasons To Hate WordPress

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Yesterday Akismet (a service by Automattic, the company behind WordPress) announced that they have killed off their 20 billionth comment spam in their war to keep bloggers comment sections free from ominous links.

Today Akismet caught its 20 billionth spam.

That’s an average of around 10 million per day over the 5 years since Akismet first launched. Currently we deal with 30 million spam comments on a typical day, or about 350 per second.

To put that in perspective: if Akismet users had to spend one second manually deleting each of those comments, it would have taken over 600 years to moderate them all. (And each new day’s flood of spam would add another year to the queue). (Official Akismet Blog)

Akismet is a freemium service by Automattic which offers bloggers a way to keep their sites spam free without having to utilize random quizzes, CAPTCHA’s (aka silly word puzzles), or force users to register before voicing their opinion.

Ironically Akismet’s success has forced other platforms (like Blogger) to develop real anti-spam features, especially now that spammers are resorting to cheap labor in third world countries to spam the blogosphere.

While Akismet isn’t the only tool available for bloggers in their never ending war against spam, its success has enabled bloggers to spend more time creating content instead of moderating their comment section.

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