January 26, 2007

Wordpress 2.1 Ella released

Link: Wordpress 2.1 Ella released

Filed under: Internet, Webmaster, Software, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Wordpress has released it’s next stage software platform for bloggers, Wordpress 2.1 - named Ella.

Improvements to the software include the ability to make it work better as a Content Management System (CMS). According to Matt Mullenweg, lead coder at Wordpress, the use of SQL queries has also been extensively revisited to make Wordpress more efficient.

Additional improvements include over 550 bug fixes.

Wordpress has fast become the most popular blogging platform on the internet. Not only is it free, but it also offers a range of useful features, and a very extensive developer support community, meaning that there are an extended range of additional options available for users of the software.

While blog spam has traditionally been a problem throughout the blogosphere, Wordpress comes with a powerful anti-spam plugin called Akismet which is extremely efficient at preventing blog spam on Wordpress blogs, when activated.

For those new to blogging, Wordpress offers free hosting of blogs to make the process easier via Wordpress.com, which showcases some of the more popular blogs.

Overall, it’s good to see the Wordpress platform continue to be improved, though there is still yet room to improve it’s functionality as a dedicated CMS.

January 9, 2007

MyBlogLog acquired by Yahoo!

Link: MyBlogLog acquired by Yahoo!

Filed under: Internet, Yahoo!, Blogs by Brian Turner


Yahoo! has acquired popular blogging platform MyBlogLog for a rumoured $10-12 million.

The acquisition continues Yahoo’s trend of acquiring social networking sites.

According to Yahoo! VP Bradley Horowitz, the site will remain a distinct entity - but will allow signup via a Yahoo ID, as well as being integrated with Flickr and Yahoo Answers.

MyBlogLog is unusual in that it developed into a Web 2.0 property without any angel funding or Venture Capital investment - however, it has developed increasing buzz over the past few months.

One of the key features of the service is the free provision of stats tracking for bloggers, as well as the ability to show which other MyBlogLog users are visiting the site.

Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand provides more information on what MyBlogLog users can do.

Overall, the acquisition of social networking sites continues - and a primary asset from them is the extensive user data that can be collected. While privacy concerns may arise at some point in the future, for the time being data stored by smaller companies is rarely regarded as too much of a threat.

However, now that Yahoo! can directly collect data from popular blogs, it remains to be seen what concerns this could raise, if Yahoo were to share it across other Yahoo services for commercial purposes.

December 28, 2006

Microsoft bodges Vista promo to bloggers

Link: Microsoft bodges Vista promo to bloggers

Filed under: Internet, Microsoft, Webmaster, Marketing, Blogs by Brian Turner

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft sent bloggers a laptop installed with Vista for Christmas - now these bloggers are outraged to find they are being asked to get rid of them.

The ruckus was caused by a marketing promotion partnered by Microsoft and AMD, and managed by PR firm Edelman, which saw prominent bloggers provided with free Acer Ferrari 1000 laptops.

Bloggers sent the 12.1 inch laptop included Scott Beale, Barbara Bowman, Brandon LeBlanc, Mauricio Freitas at Geekzone, Mitch Denny, and others.

They also reported they were sent a note “from Loki”, which identified the gifts as part of Microsoft’s Vanishing Point Game - a viral marketing campaign intended to promote Microsoft Vista.

However, a comment by Aaron Coldiron, from the Vista development team, stated that these were review copies only, and that these should be returned or given away, rather than kept.

The suggestion was that this was made clear to the bloggers - but the bloggers disagree, and report that no such statement or request came with their gifts.

The result is that a high-flying promotions campaign is fast turning into a public relations disaster.

The bloggers who received the gifts are being perceived to be taking bribes to post positive reviews - something ex-Microsoft employee Robert Scoble also made clear at first.

The bloggers are also angry that they felt improperly informed about the purpose of the gifts, especially that they are now no longer part of a viral marketing campaign, but instead simply “reviewers” with no brief on disclosure.

The overall effect is that the marketing campaign has backfired quite badly.

Additionally, it has also raised an important case study for marketers on the issue of sending free gifts to bloggers for promotional purposes.

November 21, 2006

Social networks Digg false stories

Link: Social networks Digg false stories

Filed under: Internet, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Internet users were reminded to be wary of social news sites, after Digg posted a false story claiming that 650,000 Playstation 3’s had been recalled.

The story continued to be front-page news on the site, even after a slew of community members had flagged it as false.

Marketer Michael Gray has already commented that there is an inherent bais in social media sites, and that pro-Apple and Nintendo, and anti-Microsoft and Sony, stories, are frequently regarded as front page news.

For some time there has been a rising war cry online that bloggers and social media sites will replace traditional media - but unfortunately, all we’ve seen them do so far is replace the bias.

November 7, 2006

Technorati releases blog tracking stats

Link: Technorati releases blog tracking stats

Filed under: Internet, Webmaster, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Technorati has released it’s State of the Blogosphere report for the year, providing valuable statistics on blogs and bloggers.

The study also shows that the most influential bloggers online post much less frequently that less known bloggers - but that they have done so more regularly for a longer period of time.

Key statistics include:

  • 100,000 blogs are now created each day
  • 1.3 million blog posts on average each day
  • Technorati now tracks 57 million blogs
  • Mainstream media is the first call for news, but blogs make up the Longtail

Most popular blogging languages:

  • English - 39%
  • Japanese - 33%
  • Chinese - 10%
  • Spanish - 3%
  • Italian - 2%
  • Russian - 2%
  • Portuguese - 2%
  • French - 2%
  • German - 1%
  • Farsi - 1%
  • Others - 5%

Overall, it shows that blogging as a phenomenon is here to stay - and that while mainstream media still captures user attention most, blogs remain a significant influence online.

June 16, 2006

Pentagon datamines social networks

Link: Pentagon datamines social networks

Filed under: Internet, Security, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

New Scientist reports that the Pentagon is datamining social networks.

This is to allow the US government to draw up detailed personal profiles of individuals, according to what they post to the internet.

It is also intended to work out which individuals are connected to blacklisted organisations, either directly, or through people they interact with online.

Ironically, attempts by the W3C to make the web more interaccessible via different data formats - the so-called semantic web, using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) - will expedite this process.

While it’s certainly a debatable issue as to how much privacy individuals should be allowed in a post-9/11 world, the simple fact remains that data collection for its own sake benefits nobody.

The 9/11 bombers were known to the FBI - the London bombers were known to MI6 - but in both high profile incidents, even though terrorist suspects were identified, the intelligence agencies failed to act on the information gathered.

In the meantime, individuals should be very aware that anything they post online - at places such as MySpace - may not simply help the US government create a detailed personal profile - but this form of datamining is also likely to be used by commercial organisations.

June 8, 2006

Wordpress hacked

Link: Wordpress hacked

Filed under: Internet, Security, Software, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of the popular Wordpress blogging platform, inadvertently provided clues to a key password - allowing an authorised user full access to the Wordpress site.

The user simply posted a warning that the password had been easy to guess, rather than causing damage to the servers.

Although Matt Mullenweg has now corrected the issue, the incident underlines the importance of taking password protection seriously.

As posted previously on Platinax in Security begins with you, key recommendations for proper password management include:

1. Don’t tell anybody your password(s), or even drop clues
2. Make passwords difficult to second guess - acronyms are an easy way to do this
3. Use different passwords for different system, to limit damage if one password is compromised
4. Don’t leave passwords lying around
5. Provided temporary passwords to third-parties based on a different structure to your main password

Although the incident of Wordpress being accessed by a third-party ended happily in this instance, if a user with malicious intent accesses any system they can cause incalcuable damage.

March 29, 2006

Google deletes GoogleBlog - by accident

Link: Google deletes GoogleBlog - by accident

Filed under: Google, Blogs by Brian Turner


Google today admitted that an employee accidentally deleted the company’s official blog.

The Google Blog is an online journal that Google has primarily used as a public relations tool and method of communication with the public.

Although Google attempted to make light of the issue, it comes after a series of mistakes by Google employees.

These include private financial forecasts for the company being revealed online, and information on secret product developments being included in a presentation.

Google is famously secretive about individual projects and how it operates, but the current string of gaffes by some of the world’s smartest people is hardly going to be encouraging for investors.

UPDATE: vnunet provides more story on how a Texas student was then able to “grab” the address for the Google blog.

March 13, 2006

Police threaten copper bloggers

Link: Police threaten copper bloggers

Filed under: Legal, Blogs by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

“These blogs reveal what actually goes on behind the glossy, PR-friendly corporate image put across by most forces, and threatens to actually inform the public as to what police officers do.”

That’s the statement of police blogger Bow Street Runner, who claims that recent blogging guidelines issued within the Metropolitan Police are intended to prevent the public learning the realities of police work.

The Bow Street Blogger continues:

We’re also the enemies of performance management, the Key Performance Indicators we’re under pressure to meet and the various other bureaucratic instruments implemented to monitor how police ‘perform’ (in spite of the fact that efforts are then made to meet such indicators purely for the sake of meeting them…), since these blogs show such things actually exist and that we are under pressure to meet them. Certain authorities would rather this not be common knowledge.

The issue of company blogs and staff blogging remains a difficult issue for some organisations - but it needs underlining that any company with good staff morale and good working practices shouldn’t have too much to fear, so long as confidential information isn’t posted online.

In the instance of the police blogs, it’s blown up into an issue where a public-funded body is seen to be trying to save face, rather than allow the public to have a direct insight into police working life.

Already World Weary Detective has announced it is closing down, citing the need to protect his family’s income than risk annoying management.

Other police bloggers such as Cough the Lot continue to run for the time-being, but it’s only a matter of time before the Met starts examining bloggers on a 1-to-1 basis.

In that regard, we can only give them our best wishes, and hope that any public funded body considers paying more attention to keeping its own employees happy, rather than trying to shut them up.