January 12, 2009
Yesterday, a friend of mine on Twitter sent me a DM to alert me about a what she said “looks like aTwitter scraping tool”. I clicked the link expecting to find a social aggregator gone awry or a spam blog. However, instead, the link instead pointed to Joost de Valk’s new Tweetback plugin.
The plugin, as well as Dan Zarella’s plugin by the same name, searches Twitter to for tweets that link back to posts on the blog and displays those tweets on the site under their respective entries, much like a trackback, but with Twitter (hence the name).
These plugins do, by their very nature, copy and paste tweets, displaying them on the user’s Web site, all without the explicit permission to of the author. Where trackbacks are sent from the linking site and comments are left intentionally by the visitor, these plugins are different in that they activelhy go out in search of these “tweetbacks” (including parsing URL shortening services), even though the creator has taken no steps to ensure they appear on the site.
This, in turn, raises serious issues about copyright, scraping and more that have to be at least looked at. Is it legal to copy and publish tweets from others without permission, simply because they link back to your site? The answers are not as simple as one might initially think. read more
Tags: content theft, copyright, plugins, tweetbacks, Twitter, WordPress
January 5, 2009
Happy Monday, folks! First off, I’m sorry there was no Movable Type Monday last week. Seemed like most of the community had taken off for the holidays, so I decided to hold what I had for an extra week. But now it’s a new year and there’s lots of new stuff to talk about.
Custom Header — Byrne Reese put out a new plugin for uploading and customizing the header image on your blog. Custom Header handles the whole process of uploading, cropping, and positioning your banner image. This will be great for personalizing template sets, and it modifying an existing template set to use this plugin looks very straightforward.
Share — This plugin lets you add an “email to a friend” form to your blog posts. Created by Dan Wolfgang, Share is customizable and works with MT’s junk filters. Thanks, Dan!
Tips & Tutorials
Besides his Share plugin, Dan also recently wrote instructions for using his Poll Position plugin with jQuery. Poll Position lets you add polls to your blog. I’m a huge jQuery fan, so I’m glad to see Dan write this up.
Beau Smith wrote improved installation instructions for the Action Streams plugin. Looking at Beau’s method, it seems odd Action Streams isn’t set up this way to begin with. Glad somebody explained the right way to do it.
Writer Susan McNerney posted instructions on changing your banner image. It’s clear that Susan was frustrated by how much trouble it was to change her banner. Sounds like she needed Byrne’s Custom Header plugin.
Over at TMCnet, Tom Keating out does himself, writing a tutorial that offers several things one can do with MT assets. He starts with listing recent image assets linked to entries, then creates a related entries widget that includes images, and finally shows how to add images to the FastSearch plugin. Thanks, Tom!
Finally, John Walker describes how to install Image::Magick on CentOS 5.2 for your Movable Type blog. His instructions may not be limited to MT, but since ImageMagick is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to install for any blog platform, I wanted to share his instructions.
What have you done with MT this week? Let us know in the comments.
Tags: images, jquery, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins, templates, tutorials
December 16, 2008
Screenshot of a Motion social network
A few hours ago, Six Apart announced a new social networking application: Motion. Built on top of Movable Type, Motion is billed as a DIY social network, as well as an aggregator for content from around the web. Motion allows you to create your own microblogging community with a simple posting interface for quickly blogging images, video, links, and more. It uses the Action Streams plugin to aggregate your users’ content from other social networks onto their profile page. And it supports Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect and OpenID for signing in to comment.
I had an opportunity to try out a private beta of Motion. I have not installed the public beta that was released yesterday, so I can’t say what, if anything, has changed from what I tried. It was definitely a beta, so I wouldn’t advise putting it into production. I would suggest playing with it, though — this product has a lot of potential. read more
Tags: Microblogging, Motion, Movable Type, plugins, Social Networking, templates, Themes
December 15, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! Since it is a Monday, let’s start things off with some complaints about Movable Type. Phil Gyford wrote a detailed piece on some of the annoying things he’s dealt with in MT. The great thing about Phil’s post is that he doesn’t just complain about MT, he explains how he worked around its issues. Hopefully this post will help others that have dealt with the same things, and inspire new enhancements to MT.
Now, let’s see what else is new in the MT community.
Assetylene — Written by Brad Choate, Assetylene lets you customize the markup used to insert an asset into a post. If that sounds familiar to you, it should: Jay Allen wrote a similar plugin. Great minds think alike. If anybody’s tried both, let us know which you prefer and why. read more
Tags: assets, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, pagination, plugins, printing, templates, Themes
December 8, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! I’m sure by now you’ve heard the big news: Six Apart bought Pownce. The Pownce team will join 6A, and the Pownce service will shut down. It’s a shame they’re closing the site — it had some really nice features. Hopefully, we’ll see some of those social networking and microblogging features show up in a future version of Movable Type.
Speaking of MT versions, MT 4.23 — the security fix that I told you was coming over a month ago — has finally been released. This is just a security fix, so it should be an easy upgrade. If you’re using the community templates, though, you will need to update those. read more
Tags: email, IM, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins, Pownce, Security, SMS, Themes, Twitter
December 1, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! Before I get into this week’s news, I wanted to mention a blog post written by Chris Alden, Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, a little over a week ago. In it, Chris discusses the effects a US recession will have on blogging. His theory is that a down economy will encourage people to “invest in themselves,” which will mean spending more time blogging.
Whether or not Chris is right remains to be seen, but if he is, it should affect more than just blogging. Most blog theme and plugin creators are independent developers. Investing in themselves means creating more designs and writing more code. If Chris’s theory holds we should see a lot of new blog tools in the coming months.
Speaking of which…
Archive Uploader — ToI Planning released ArchiveUploader, which allows you to upload a zip, gzip, or tar archive of files to load into the Asset Manager. This is a great tool when you’ve got several pictures to upload to your blog. read more
Tags: action streams, get satisfaction, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins, qik, Social Networking
November 24, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! The biggest Movable Type-related news this week was the release of TypePad Connect, a service from Six Apart that combines a Disqus-style comment system with MyBlogLog-like profiles. TypePad profiles extend the existing TypeKey service and allow you to connect it with your other social networking sites, turning it into a lifestream of sorts. TypePad comments supports OpenID login and has TypePad anti-spam built in. TypePad Connect will integrate with any MT blog, and it works with other blogging systems as well. More features are on the way, including the ability to import comments into your existing comment system.
I’ll admit, I’ve never personally seen a need for a hosted commenting system like this, but Disqus has become quite popular, and now 6A is entering the market. Have you had any experience with one of these systems? Let us know in the comments.
vpod.tv — Six Apart Europe announced the release of a plugin that integrates vpod.tv into your MT blog. With this plugin you can upload video to your site and have it published on vpod.tv. The press release makes it sound like it should be available now, but I haven’t found it available for download anywhere. read more
Tags: Blog Design, comment spam, Comments, layout, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins
November 17, 2008
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: In an effort to reorganize and cut their expenses, Six Apart is laying off 8% of their employees. Hopefully, those affected will get back on their feet quickly. The thing to watch is whether this slows development of Movable Type and how it impacts community involvement and documentation efforts.
Speaking of our community, let’s see what folks have been up to this week:
ToI Planning released several plugins last week. Their descriptions in the Plugins directory are lacking in details, but from ToI Planning’s website and trying the plugins myself, I think I’ve figured them out. read more
Tags: custom fields, google maps, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins, templates, tutorials
November 10, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! I don’t know about you, but I sure was glad to see the U.S. elections finally come to an end. Of course, considering the past election season lasted almost 2 years, it may have finished just in time for the mid-term election season to begin!
I bring this up in order to share a bit of MT Presidential trivia: Both current President Bush (in 2004) and President-Elect Obama (in 2008) used Movable Type for their campaign blogs. Perhaps that will give them something to chat about as they are preparing for the transition of power.
Alright, enough politics, let’s get down to business.
This week, Brad Choate posted a proposal for trimming white space in templates. I love this idea, and hope it gets implemented soon. When you’re writing complex templates, it’s easy to have long blocks where all you’re doing is setting the values of MT variables. When your page gets published, you end up with lots of empty space. As an occasional Ruby on Rails programmer, I like the proposed implementation — the syntax is similar to that used in ERB templates. read more
Tags: documentation, formatting, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, plugins, templates, Themes, tutorials, web design
November 3, 2008
Happy Monday, folks! I have to say, in the short time I’ve been doing these updates, I’ve received a great response from the Movable Type community. If there’s any way I can make MT Monday more useful for you, or if you know of a blog or website I should feature here, please let me know.
Now, on with the news!
WebPurify & Mouthwash — Commenters must be getting particurly vulgar lately, since two profanity filters were released this week. WebPurify uses an online service for its filter, while Mouthwash — written by Dan Wolfgang — leaves it up to you to build your own list of bad words. read more
Tags: caching, LinkedIn, Movable Type, Movable Type Monday, MySQL, plugins, templates, tutorials