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May 26, 2008

PMetrics Adds Daily Features

And by that I don’t mean that they add features on a daily basis, that would be madness!

PMetrics is Performancing’s web analytics service, a growing tool for bloggers wanting to take control of their stats. It’s something similar to Automattic’s WordPress.com stats plugin, but a lot more fleshed out, with premium packages for larger sites and publishers.

Raj Dash profiles the new features, showing what the daily visitors are doing, in a post. Looks interesting, and I’m sure my fellow bloggers using the PMetrics service will be pleased. If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out for your stats needs.

Disclosure: Performancing is a fellow Splashpress site. That doesn’t make the PMetrics service any less great, though…

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May 21, 2008

Blogo 1.1 Released, Adds Twitter and Drupal Support

The Mac desktop blogging client Blogo was just updated to version 1.1, which includes Twitter support, as I’ve reported previously. Blogo supports WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, TypePad, Movable Type, and Typo. Drupal and Twitter are new since 1.0.

Blogo 1.1 is rolled out for free for paying users, so you don’t have to cry about those $25 you coughed up the other week.

A press release highlights the following:

New formatting options:
Text can now be formatted as quotes and lists, and can be aligned or justified.

Twitter support:
Users can now post status updates and send direct messages from Blogo, as well as view friends’ and friends-of-friends’ status updates. Blogo can even be configured to send a new status update whenever a new article is published.

Drupal support:
Blogo now supports Drupal, a popular content management system and the third most popular blog system after WordPress and Blogger.

Improved interface:
The interface has undergone a complete revision, with a more streamlined look as well as a new black theme.

Custom thumbnail cropping:
Image thumbnails can now be cropped independently of the full-size image, giving the user a finer level of control over the post layout.

Expanded support for more file formats:
Blogo now accepts most raw image formats in addition to PDF, PSD, EPS, JPEG, GIF and PNG.

Integration with NetNewsWire and Safari:
Blogo responds to the “Post to Weblog” command in news readers, and comes with a bookmarklet which can be added to Safari to send the current web page to Blogo.

Growl notifications:
Growl is now used for all user notifications.

A free 21-day trial is available from the Blogo website, also relaunched, so do try it out if you’re a Mac user interested in desktop blogging applications. Blogo competes with the likes of Ecto and MarsEdit. Don’t miss the comparison piece on Devlounge, talking about these applications.

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May 10, 2008

3 Reasons to Use Disqus

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The Disqus blog commenting service is catching on – with many popular blogs such as Scripting News signing on to use the service.

VC Fred Wilson talks about three reasons to use Disqus in a recent post:

2a) Email Replies – Disqus emails every comment to the blogger. If the blogger wants to reply to the comment, he/she simply replies to the email and it is posted as a reply (with the indent described above). This feature, which I requested the day I met/saw Disqus for the first time, is the single best thing about Disqus and has transformed my blog comments because I can now participate in them in real time throughout the day as the conversation develops. This is a BIG DEAL.

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May 8, 2008

Blogger To Add Star Rating System To BlogSpot?

It looks as Blog*spot users will soon be able to insert a ratings system in their Blogger blogs which will allow readers to rate an individual post from one star to five.

Unfortunately it seems as if they launched the feature prematurely, and the Google team has currently disabled the feature–at least for now.

(Blogger Status) Some users may be seeing star ratings on their posts without having opted in to this new feature. This is an experimental feature that was accidentally enabled on some users’ blogs. We’re currently working to remove star ratings on all affected blogs. In the future, you’ll be able to choose to opt-in to this feature; it won’t appear automatically.

Update: The Star Rating feature has been disabled for the moment.

Previously the only way Blogger users could insert star ratings (or something similar) was through OutBrain and Spotback, the former who previously raised $5 million in a financing round.

There is no word on whether a user will have to register for a Google account in order to rate, although if so, they will hopefully add OpenID users to the mix (since Blogger is an official provider now).

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May 1, 2008

Future Posting Now Live On Google’s Blogger

blogger scheduled posts

Google has given the green light for future posting (or scheduled posting) to go live across blog*spot blogs on Blogger.com.
read more

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April 24, 2008

New Version of Desktop Blogging Software Blogo to Support Twitter

The new version of Blogo, a Mac desktop blogging application, have native support for Twitter, including a Microblog Viewer to read your tweets, as well as simple posting to your Twitter account. This version is in beta now, but I can attest that at least the Twitter functionality seems to be working as it should. The release is imminent.

Blogo isn’t the first piece of blogging software to support Twitter, but as far as I know others, like Ecto, require you to install addons, scripts, extensions, or whatever they support.

Possibly related: My Devlounge post on Mac desktop blogging applications

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April 22, 2008

WordPress MU 1.5 RC1 is Out Now

Donncha O Caoimh have announced version 1.5 RC1 of WordPress MU, which incorporates the design from WordPress 2.5 and other things. It is said to be stable, but being a release candidate it’s not meant for production use just yet. Version 1.3.3 is the current version.

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April 21, 2008

Trackback Declared Dead… Again!

Filed as Features with 3 comments

Trackback is one of the major blog features that has been declared dead over and over again. This recently led Kyle Eslick from Hack WordPress to ask his readers “Does WordPress Need Trackbacks Any More?” Eslick’s own answer is straightforward: “In my opinion, blogging has outgrown the trackback and the pingback has made it irrelevant.”

The question is not so much if spam or the Pingback killed the Trackback but rather if the medium has rendered it obsolete. The medium and practice of blogging are entangled in the blog software and with the introduction of Pingback the inter-blog notification system became automatic instead of manual. When I described the difference between the manual Trackback and the automatic Pingback in On Using Manual and/or Automatic Link Notification Systems I also described how I mainly relied on Pingbacks.

Gathered from the discussion in the comments (and the slowly disappearing Trackback URI on blogs) it seems that especially the newer generation of bloggers, including myself, is not aware of the Trackback feature let alone use it. Does that mean that WordPress, or any other blog software for that matter, should remove the feature? If Trackback is only being used by spammers should we keep that little Trackback box that hardly anyone uses?

I am sure users would raise hell if WordPress would remove the Trackback feature because as Martin Emmerich comments: “Trackbacks and pingbacks are the threads of the blog web and part of the blogging culture.” Trackbacks play(ed) an important part in our blogging culture and they have helped to shape the blogosphere as we now know it.

So what should we do with the Trackback? Should we do anything at all? Anil Dash from Movable Type, who developed the trackback, replied to a first wave of “trackback is dead” declarations in 2005 that we should fix its problems:

Finally, the familiarity and utility of TrackBack, especially now that current-generation tools reduce the likelihood and reward value of spamming, means that there can be a base for a new generation of TrackBack, featuring necessities like authentication and richer content payloads. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater in regards to TrackBack would be as silly as throwing out email because it’s been abused.

Mend it, don’t end it! :)

Did Pingback fix TrackBack sufficiently to render it obsolete? Should we remove obsolete features from the already abundant options in the blog software interface? Troy Duncan shares my wish of further developing conversational techniques: “Instead of removing choices, I would like blogging platforms to develop more ways to extend the conversation.”

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April 17, 2008

MySQL, now owned by Sun, is beginning to limit some features only to paying customers

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Open Source database system MySQL, now owned by Sun Microsystems, is beginning to limit some features only to paying customers, according to this article from Computer World:

Open-source darling MySQL is facing a new uprising within its customer base over plans disclosed this week to reserve some key upcoming features, and their source code, for paying users of its namesake database.

Officials at Sun Microsystems Inc., which acquired MySQL in February, confirmed that new online backup capabilities now under development will be offered only to MySQL Enterprise customers — not to the much larger number of users of the free MySQL Community edition.

It will be interesting to see where this restriction on features heads in the long-term. MySQL is likely the most popular database system for dynamic blogs – including most WordPress sites and The Blog Herald.

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April 8, 2008

Will CushyCMS Take From Blog Platforms?

It could, you know.

CushyCMS is a hosted CMS solution that basically lets you edit parts of your sites by logging in to CushyCSM and alter the content. It’s a wysiwyg editor for anywhere on the web that you control, all you need to do is add a CSS class to the part of the site you want to edit, and give CushyCMS FTP access to your server. Then login and edit away.

That’s no blog.

It is, however, an easy way to manage a static site. And for all of those who uses blogging platforms such as WordPress and Movable Type to power more or less static sites, it might sound a bit more convenient, yeah?

Check out the promo video, and then listen Guy King, CEO of developer company Stateless Systems, demo it for Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch, all in fluent Australian.

CushyCMS is in beta until April 15. I’m seriously considering trying it out for a friend of mine.

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