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Month: July 2008

A List Apart Survey 2008

ala-survey2008-logo

I just finished answering A List Apart Survey 2008 questions. Previously, in 2007, A List Apart also had a web design survey. You can read the last year survey result and download the survey findings. What’s this year survey all about?

This year’s survey corrects many of last year’s mistakes, with more detailed and numerous questions for freelance contractors and owners of (or partners in) small web businesses. There are also better international categories, and many other improvements recommended by those who took the survey last year.

If you make websites, it’s time to participate.

MyBlogLog Redesigns

I think it has been a long time since I logged in to MyBlogLog homepage. Today, when I went to MyBlogLog website, I found that they already come up with a new design.

MyBlogLog Redesigns

MyBlogLog Blog has some details on this.

Don’t worry, we still got all the features that you can’t live without; your stats, your widgets and, of course, the New With stuff. Only now everything is framed with shiny shadows and rounded edges! Also notice that on your profile we have moved the most recent visitors module, up on top, not down below the fold so you can quickly see who’s been checking you out…

We went and completely upgraded the featured blogs by scrolling through the top 20 sites (based on number of members), and displaying a more straightforward message about what we offer; Discover, Broadcast, and Connect. You’re going to hear these three words more often from us, I’d love to hear if this description it resonates with you.

Overall, compared to the previous design, it’s better.

WordPress 2.6 Upgrades

Today, WordPress 2.6 is available with code name “Tyner”. You can read what features shipped in this version at WordPress Development blog. I have been following WordPress 2.6 since the beta release from Sub Version, and it looks good. So, I upgraded my WordPress install right away. The upgrade process — from WP 2.5.1 — was smooth, without any issues. If you not using the latest version, it’s time to upgrade.

Probably, there are few things to consider before upgrading like plugin and compability. I was there too. If you have plugins that are not supported in the latest version, and you need them so bad, you probably need to wait until the patches are available. Luckily, I have all installed plugins work great here. If you’re still not sure, please do a complete upgrade mechanism: Backup everything. Not only the database, but also the entire WordPress files. It should not be difficult.

After upgrading, I made some adjustments on the settings. For example, the Remote Publishing Settings, and let’s not forget about some other features. If you haven’t touch your wp-config.php files, there are some other settings managed from the configuration file like Post Revisions and some security definition settings. Anyway, WordPress 2.6 has full support of SSL in the core and it has the ability to force SSL for security. Read Ryan Boren‘s post about SSL and Cookies in WordPress 2.6.

So far, my favorites are the Gears for faster browsing experience and Press This. The “Press This” is really smart!

For example, if you click “Press This” from a Youtube page it’ll magically extract the video embed code, and if you do it from a Flickr page it’ll make it easy for you to put the image in your post.

If you like posting short entries in your blog while browsing, make your life easier by this feature. Just drag the link — you can find it on the entry creation page — to your browser toolbar. Want to try it? Download WordPress 2.6 now.

Indonesian Railway LLC's Web Domain Expired

Anyone notice that the Indonesian Railway LLC‘s website (kereta-api.com) is inaccessible? Well, when I tried to get some train schedule from its website, I could not open the site. At first, I thought the problem was on the server. So, I waited.

I tried again after few hours. But, still… inaccessible. I whois-ed the domain name (kereta-api.com), and… surprise! It’s expired. Isn’t it amazing?

kereta-api-com

Added later: The domain had been renewed.

Google Alerts

google-alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. We can use this to:

  • monitor a developing news story
  • keep current on a competitor or industry
  • get the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keep tabs on your favorite sports teams

Anyway, remember about Yahoo! Alerts?

Remote Publishing Settings in WordPress 2.6

wp-bclient

WordPress Remote Publishing Settings, under Settings | Write.

If you’re using desktop blogging client to publish your content, and you’re using latest WordPress version (2.5.1), you should have no problems at all. But, if you upgrade to WordPress 2.6, you should adjust some settings. I tried to publish using a regular method (setting up a blog, pointing to XML-RPC gateway, inserting username and password) for WordPress 2.6-beta3, and I got something not working properly.

The problem occurs because we need to enable the Remote Publishing settings first. For WordPress 2.6, go to Settings | Writing, and choose the appropriate settings. Without having these settings enabled, we are not able to publish entries using remote publishing method.

lightning through my camera

I also added video from a minute before the lightning struck so you can get an idea of how hard it was raining. From what i understand, it went through my left hand holding the camera, crossed my back and exited out of my right hand holding onto the metal railing. No entry or exit wounds, just a really good zap! – source: Flickr video

Google Ad Manager Invitation

Today, I got an opportunity to access the beta release of Google Ad Manager. I got this because I applied for this program in last March. I just activated my account, and it seems good.

gadman

The interface is clean, but there are some terms that I do not understand easily for the first time. I just browse in to pages inside the Ad Manager, and after some moments, I can figure out about how it works. Basically, if you’re familiar with advertising script like OpenX, for example, it should not be hard to understand.

There are more detailed information about using this ad manager. Luckily, there is already a brief tutorial about setting up Google Ad Manager on our site or blog. Very useful article! Right now, I am setting up some ad slots here in my blog. Let’s see how it goes. If you want to get invitation, apply now.

Opera Web Standards Curriculum

Web Standards Curriculum (by Dev Opera) is a complete course to teach you standards-based Web development, including HTML, CSS, design principles and background theory, and JavaScript basics.

MOO Mini Cards

MOO Mini Cards

Finally, we have them delivered :)

WordPress.com is Gears-enabled now

wpcom-gears

If you’re using WordPress.com service, you probably notice that there is a new link in the upper right of dashboard navigation. It says “Turbo“. This is a new feature offered by WordPress.com, telling that WordPress.com is Google Gears-friendly website. In my other blog (using WordPress from SubVersion), I already enabled this. And, I can take benefit from this.

So, what is it all about? If you enabled this feature (this will work if you have Gears supported browsers like Firefox 1.5+, and also Internet Explorer 6.0+) and also have Google Gears installed:

  • We can have all images and other web components from WP admin area stored into our PC. By this, we can speed up our access to WP admin area and also reducing unneccessary web traffic.
  • All downloaded files will be used everywhere in the admin area.
  • We will have another great experience :)

This feature is not available for self-hosted WordPress 2.5.1. But, it will be a new feature for the coming WordPress 2.6. It will be great if this Gears can be made available for WordPress 2.5 via plugin. Possible? Well, if you use WordPress.com service, you can get this feature earlier.

Stop spammers and unwanted traffic

If you have your blog installed in your own webhosting account, there is another nice strategy to combat spammers and also unwanted traffic by Donncha O Caoimh (he is a WordPress developer). It’s because sometime antispam plugins like Akismet or TypePad AntiSpam are not enough. They can blocked comments, but do they also block unwanted traffic? I mean, they can filter comment spams, but that’s after the spammers’s comment being processed by the system (blog engine).

I think the approach offered by Donncha is very useful. Right now, I use another method to fight the spammers (and also unwanted traffic). For my WordPress, I have TypePad AntiSpam and Yawasp (Yet Another WordPress Anti Spam Plugin). I decided to remove WP-SpamFree for now. It’s a great plugin, anyway. But, sometime it caught real readers from sending comment, just because their browser settings are not cookie-enabled.

About dealing with unwanted traffic (it’s not directly related to spams), I use hotlink prevention using .htaccess. Another method is by having list of IP addresses in my .htaccess. I got the IP address from antispam plugins. If I got spammers, I just put their IP address into my ban list. I have some of them.

By this, I have less visitors (if I checked from my webhosting analysis tool). Probably, it’s because it checks all visitors (spammers and human). But, I’m fine with that. I think I will try the strategies mentioned by Donncha now.

Internet Browser Memory Battle

I have some internet browsers installed in my PC and laptop like Opera, Firefox, Flock, Safari (for Windows) and also Internet Explorer. For my OpenSUSE and Ubuntu, I only have Firefox and Opera. Among those, I only use two browsers regularly. For the other, I only use it for web development purposes.

Even I — think — I have enough memory to run some application at the same time, I love when those browsers do not eat too much memory. So far, I like Opera and Firefox (I use the latest version). Not only that I feel comfortable using them, but also because they have good memory management. If you want to reader some detailed analysis, there are some articles on the internet. Here are some:

The good think is that… I use my favorite internet browsers, and they’re also good. Nice.

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