The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013Have you been blissfully caught off guard by all of these new and fancy tech trends that are saturating the marketplace? Wonder which tech trends will stick around or which should be buried in the desert along with lost copies of Atari cartridges? Yeah, I hear you. Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be perusing and checking out these new apps and gadgets all on my lonesome, so usually it’s on the suggestion of a friend or maybe a rogue reader with a keen eye that wants to get my opinion. So I took a look over some pretty big tech trends that have made a big impact on 2013 so far. Take a look and add your own! You know, be interactive!

Tech Trends: The Apps We Love and Hate

Snapchat: So some Stanford University students got together and pieced together an app that would allow the user to take brief snapshots from one second to 10 seconds and, then they allegedly fade off into the ether, never to be seen again. Currently, the demographic model is full of tweens, teens, and baby-adults below the age of 25, which puts Snapchat in a weird position. Anyone I know over the age of 25 who owns Snapchat is adorably questionable, at best, or they’re curious just like most of us are. What does it mean? What’s the reason? Users can take lurid pictures, embarrassing selfies, and revealing portraits and think that they will vaporize the second they will it, yet dozens of programs on the Google Play store say otherwise.

Just searching “Snapchat” shows that obviously an exploit exists, as well as reports that those images of yours don’t exactly leave. No, in fact they are saved for at least 30 days anyhow, so obviously some smart little jerks have figured out how to save your preciously stupid brain hiccups that made you take snaps of your junk and post them up for mere seconds. Can someone screenshot it? Sure they can. What does the company think of this? Obviously it finds it deplorable but — hey — you’re the one trusting an app with your naughty bits, so who is really at fault here?

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
As you can see, Snapchat makes up only one application on this list of tech trends, and every other search brings up its dubious little screenshot thieves.

Vine and Instagram Video: Founded in 2012 and then quickly acquired by Twitter, Vine’s a nifty little program that helps you make and produce six-second videos that are easily condensed and posted up on social media without the huff and puff of most social media outlets like Facebook and such. Instagram would release its own quickshot video section to its app that allows up to 15 seconds as well as your normal Instagram filters. The fascinating thing about this is what people are doing with these videos.

People like Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, used Vine to post the most popular reaction on Twitter to the Red Wedding episode of her show, acted out in mere seconds by herself. Folks are getting creative in thrilling ways and using Vine and Instagram to show it off, and it’s never been more interactive of a world as when you give the people a way to let you see through their eyes, one sepia filter at a time. Some tech trends are exciting in simple ways.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame gives six seconds of fan reaction on Vine.

Candy Crush Saga: Who would’ve guessed that a candy-coated, brightly colored Bejeweled clone would so easily capture the hearts of people all around the world? But nobody can stop it. I had yet to have witnessed this confection that developers at King came up with in April of 2012 and less than a year later, it surpassed FarmVille in social media games. What was doing it? Was it how quick it is to pick up such a simple concept with adorable, harmless visuals? Possibly.

It might have something to do with the fact it isn’t a required time sink like most of those other “Ville” games happen to be. When you don’t need to constantly tend to crops, check on your city, or any other arguable waste of time, it opens you up to be able to enjoy something more at random. With only a set amount of turns, most levels don’t take long to complete. And while you are only allotted a certain amount of retries within a time period, it’s not such a bad thing to be told to back down and go do something else until you have more opportunities to bite into a level. Not too bad for a brand new title to bring in nearly $700,000 a day in revenue, is it? Quite a bit of money people are spending on those truffles, you know?

Real Racing 3: Is it possible we’re doing too much with our smart phones? Are they making us dumber? Are they making us think we have any business playing a racing game on our phones? Sure, I can understand tablets that are wide enough to handle and/or appreciate a game of this kind of high-definition, but I know people who are turning on their phones and syncing up to this game on an almost daily level.

Why are we doing this, hmm? Released in February of this year, Real Racing 3 absolutely wowed critics with its beauty and rightly so; the game has some incredible presentation, offers in-app purchases for vehicles and upgrades, and does what most free-to-play app games do but with the splendor and visuals of something you’d see on our current-generation gaming consoles. So it’s beautiful and it’s making money, but do we need it on our phones? On our tablets, sure, but our phones?

Playing this on my phone felt wrong and awkward, yet I was still compelled to play it just so I could see the visuals some more. Cars are crisp and beautiful, tracks are well laid-out, and this game could easily be something I’d purchase for $15 on the PlayStation Network and race against my friends. Instead? Phone. I’m stuck with it on a phone. Makes no sense.

Soundtracking: Bringing a “check in” approach to your music collection, Soundtracking is like setting a playlist for your day, not ahead of time but as your day happens around you! Listening to a song and it’s speaking to your current mood? Soundtrack it and the app will either listen to the sound around you if you’re listening out loud, grab it off of your phone, tablet, or Spotify, or you can search for the song you’re thinking of at that moment and let it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe people will dig your vibe and follow your Soundtrack, opening up brand new audiences to music at the touch of a button. Honestly, of all the things listed here in this article, I think Soundtracking is a tech trend that has turned me on the most with its quick, reflexive interface, its smart lingo, and its no-frills desire to share music with everyone I know.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
On Soundtracking.com, you can find some of the trending Soundtrackers today, sharing music from all over the world!

Tech Trends: Social Media and the New Niche Machines

While some of these tech trends are certainly not new, they’ve either faded into the background or blown up more recently and I’m thinking it has to do with the user experience. We’ve all changed, haven’t we? With more freedom comes far more responsibility, and when you let the world at large play with websites like Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram, we all become a little more in tune with the audience we built.

The lot of us have a song to sing aloud and when we know we have all these freedoms to say what we want when we’re doing it without the constraints of Facebook or MySpace (do people still use that?) to hide their pretty words and take away their creative process.

Tumblr: With a dashboard consisting of seven buttons sprawled out at the top of your page, you can get to ushering forth your message as quickly and evenly as possible. The tech trend of hashtags are like the private little Reddit pages that you keep all to yourself, pleasantly seeking what other users are creating, talking about and re-blogging from their minds or from the minds of others.

Microblogging has gone where bigger blogs couldn’t go, and that’s where Twitter sent them. When WordPress is too heavy and meant for those intensely dedicated to the words and audience at large, Tumblr just wanted to see what you had to say and without the pretense or complication. In June of this year, Yahoo! bought Tumblr and, as of August 8th, Tumblr hosts more than 100 million blogs. Not too shabby for the place that people too chatty for Twitter go in order to get their heavenly Internet sermons to the masses, be they photos, gifs, or rants about the upcoming season of BBC’s Sherlock.

Fitocracy: Combining the love of reaching levels and achieving goals in video games, Fitocracy is among tech trends that award users with achievements to boast for every fitness landmark they reach in goals set forth by fitness instructors, professional nutritionists, and more from all over the world. Completing quests always seemed like something out of World of Warcraft and those tech-savvy yet health-seeking individuals could do well to give Fitocracy a try and see if it fits, so to speak, with their trophy-requiring lives.

Does it work? Sure, dozens swear by it, and my feed is littered with wonderful achievements and fitness peaks that friends of mine worked hard to get and boast about with pride! See, getting some fun recognition doesn’t have to be reserved for video games only, but when you pump out some of those crunches before work in the morning, too!

Klout, Pinterest, and LinkedIn?: Are we still doing this Klout thing? Are people still “pinning,” and is anyone actually checking out their LinkedIn activity? To me, Klout always seemed like a place where people impregnated each others’ feeds with self-importance and over-inflated corporate sponsorship. Talk too much about some beverages and someone will consider you an “Influencer” so much so that, before you know it, bitches be offering you tea bags as a Klout Perk. Yeah, that happens. That happened to me. Some tech trends are kind of lame.

Pinterest?: It’s Tumblr for those without the attention span to push forward and send their own message so much as re-pin someone else’s neatly — it’s like scrapbooking on the Internet. It came and went and died a death when people realized the simplicity of other sites and how we could easily tell our stories outside of just repeated imagery on a corkboard.

As far as I know, not a single person has actually gained a job and/or done anything other than show off the people they know on LinkedIn. An ever-growing resume online, it becomes a quick study in Facebook for the workplace and nobody should be offering jobs to people based on some delightful little blurbs and resume-esque coding on a website. No, we need to see it as social media only and something that holds the same weight as Facebook because we can still, easily, control our message there.

Hell, I haven’t logged into my main LinkedIn page in years and if anyone were to look that up, they’d think I hadn’t worked at a new place since 2007. Is that true? Sure isn’t. However, when you look me up on Google, it’s one of the first pages you see. Now is that anything you should be regarding heavily when it comes to your professional career? No, because it’s still just another page on the search engine that can come and go with the fleeting fancy of the average human’s attention span (and fickle tech trends).

Tech Trends: So What’s Next?

It’s leaving a lot of possibility for the upcoming applications and social media mavens when you see just where we’re sitting now with tech trends, isn’t it? With rumors swirling about an Amazon branded gaming console akin to the recently crowd-funded OUYA, we could see integration with our current tech that brings not just gaming applications, but social media applications to a brand new front. It’s always been a cumbersome thing to take part in the Android world from the comfort of your television and such, but maybe that day is soon to pass.

The world is brimming with technology and its naturally forming tech trends, and the biggest and brightest are yet to come. Once we’re all wearing eyeglass smart phones and wearing small hard drives as watches, none of us are going to look back at 2013’s early half and think that the tech trends going on were anything other than a flash in the pan. We’re going places, kids. Look out.

What apps and websites have caught your attention this year and what are you hoping to stumble upon before 2014 rears its glorious head on us all? Sound off below and share your best guesses for future tech trends with the lot of us!

Header images thanks to Petr Kratchovil and Silviu Firulete — modified by the author. Application images sourced from respective sites listed.

Monitoring Your Facebook and Twitter Expressions Better

Monitoring Your Facebook and Twitter Expressions BetterAre you the type who looks to social media like Facebook and Twitter as an outward expression of your emotions? I think, to some degree, we all have a bit of that in us. However, not everyone has the kind of processing time or capability to really take a step back and think about the things they’re posting. Some would argue belligerently that “It’s my Facebook and Twitter! I’ll post what I want!” but that’s the irresponsible person’s way of thinking. Every once in a while, all of us need to be pulled aside and be given a few helpful tips on how to approach Facebook and Twitter that won’t make us flinch the second we log in later when the coals have cooled or the tears have dried up.

Good thing you’ve got me, right?

What Are You Trying to Say on Facebook and Twitter?

The important thing about social media like Facebook and Twitter is that it seriously bridges gaps between all of our lives, yet it’s done mostly through text. That, no matter how good of a writer you are, can be complex. I personally praise myself on being easy to convey through emotion and text, but if the person who’s reading what you’re saying has a different voice or tone in their head, what you’re saying and how you feel you said it on Facebook and Twitter no longer matters. This is something I still struggle with, so I’m not even going to tell you anyone has it truly mastered. However, there are ways to make sure you don’t bumble without meaning to.

Monitoring Your Facebook and Twitter Expressions Better
It also may seem silly that someone saw fit to write this book, but there you have it. Facebook and Twitter are serious business, you guys!

When you’re upset and your fingers want to start clicking against the keys to vent your frustrations on Facebook and Twitter, lift your hands up off your keyboard and form the words in your head. Think about it as if you have an actual audience who is viewing your message on a screen and think about the people in your feeds and on your Facebook and Twitter as if they’re each individuals with their own lives, emotions, and strains, too. How would they receive your message? Would they care? Would they see your anger or sorrow as valuable and want to help, or is it possible they will just scroll past it and your message would have been for nothing? Or, and hear me out, is it possible that they will have an indelible tally-mark now to notice that you have a hot-head and you can’t keep your emotions in check, thus changing the way they look at you? Yes, they may change the way they look at you based on a few quick-tempered words you put out on Facebook and Twitter for everyone to see.

Seems silly, doesn’t it?

It’s human nature, though. None of us are innocent of it, and while there are a few altruistic souls out there who would pity and want to help soothe your animal heart, not all of them are going to be that way. Some will see you as unpredictable and possibly short-fused or maybe they will consistently see you as morose. Are you always bitching about work? What about your kids? These things leave impressions, and God forbid you start in on relationships; nothing spells “Ditch the ship” like seeing someone consistently leave vague yet passive aggressive posts about their significant others on Facebook and Twitter

Remove the Chaff on Facebook and Twitter

If you feel that you’re possibly reaching out to a specific audience member or that maybe you feel like you’re not able to express yourself without fear of reproach — remove those people. Start a more private and intimate Facebook page or — better yet — blog about it. Sometimes we really need to get these feelings off of our chests and it’s easy to do it digitally where strangers can see it and not link back to our names. Personally, I own five Tumblr pages that none of you could and would be able to find but they speak leagues about who I am: my most raw feelings and emotions and expressions of myself that might not be ready for prime time. There are dozens of ways for you to express your inner-self online without damaging your family, friends and workplace relationships because you’re upset. You just need to get creative.

Another Tip: Lock it up! If you don’t want the public to see everything you’ve got going down, Facebook and Twitter have settings where only those who you add to your lists and feeds will be able to see your inner workings. If you feel you cannot possibly restrain yourself from your outpourings, at least — at the very least — limit your audience.

If you feel that you are an open book and you have people on your feeds that won’t understand or possibly care about the things you say — why are they there? It’s not a judgment call because, at one point, I had amassed 1,300 friends on Facebook and, to be honest, I knew 60 of them personally. We easily add people to our lists because we want to get to know them better, follow their lives, and understand who these new faces are, but I have issued a preliminary period. If I add someone and haven’t felt the need to comment, like, or even notice their posts, I remove them. I give it a week and if I feel they’re just sitting there, reading, and looking over my feed silently without approaching me either, I remove them. There’s no use in them being there to witness all of my personal stories and intimate details into my family life and such, if they’re not going to become active in it.

Don’t Be Vague on Facebook and Twitter

Look, I get it. Sometimes you just have to get it out. Sometimes you’ll say something like “Another one bites the dust,” and that will lead people to think you’re either having a Queen moment or you’re talking about someone. Possibly even them! Nobody will know though or possibly one person will see it and get the hint and then, before you know it, you’re conveying things through passive means that are looking innocent but are more like drone strikes of aggression in status message form. Don’t do that. That’s wrong. I know that because I did it. I never saw it as that, I always saw it as “Aha! He’ll know what I mean! Jerk!” and instead of actually communicating the issue with that person one-on-one, I was just being a little shithead and acting like a child. Don’t do that. Don’t use Facebook and Twitter to air your grievances out through song lyrics or four-word sentences. We all know you’re upset, we all know who it is about, and some of us don’t really care because our lives are heavy, too.

Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t post music videos and Spotify tracks if you’re really feeling the emotion there. Do it. That’s far more productive than just blurbing out text in hopes that someone who you feel wronged you will see it. At least put something on the landscape worth scrolling around, you know?

So these are my tips. Do you know someone who uses Facebook and Twitter as a means to blurt out their personal business? Do you cringe sometimes when you see their posts on Facebook and Twitter and other social media? What about you? Are you guilty of these same kinds of atrocities? Of course you are. We all are. What do you do in order to resist the temptations of blindly gushing on the Internet?

Image purchased by author at 123rf.com

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome AppsWhen a new browser came out, I was always right there. I was reading dev logs and peering over the new details of bug fixes and what modifications we’d see in future releases. To me, an Internet browser was the window to our digital life and, if it’s done wrong and it’s complicated to use, I can’t live. I worked my way past Internet Explorer and leapt at Opera, clamored for Firefox, and when Chrome came out and introduced me to something so simple and clean, I was in love. Absolutely.

After some slow-going roll-outs, Chrome finally introduced us to apps. Much like you could get on your phone, Chrome apps were a way that we could take the applications we loved on our phones and put them on our second most-used interface: Our Internet browser. This gave us a wealth of possibilities and none of these slid past me for even a second as I was right there to absorb all of the productivity enhancers and possible time drains that Google Chrome had to offer me.

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of scaling back and tweaking my experience to be one of customized heaven. What’s wonderful about the app selection in Google Chrome is that it doesn’t want you to take anything you don’t want. The app screen for your Chrome browser isn’t meant to fit a ton of items on one page and clutter up your screen if you don’t want it that way, you know? It just says: “Take what you want until you’re happy, but know you can always go back.” And I needed to see that. I remember when I got my first iPod touch and I knew I could download apps there — I went insane. I needed everything on there and, with a hard drive like you have on a computer, that can get kind of crazy. Nobody wants to see half of a terabyte devoted to silly apps, do they? No, they don’t.

What kind of apps did I choose? Why, I’m glad you asked! Among my favorites, I chose the ones I use on a nearly daily basis — and repeatedly. Check them out for yourself:

TweetDeck

Most of you who use Twitter are already familiar with TweetDeck and how spot-on it has always been for us desktop users. Sure, it has its home on mobile devices, but I always loved it here on my PC. As soon as I pop my browser on, this button is right here and waiting to be clicked.

Dropbox

I was a bit late in the game when it came to understanding cloud storage and became a full on supporter once I mastered the Amazon cloud storage and its possibilities. Dropbox offers just what I need plus an easy way to invite people to share the files I put there. You might be thinking: “But Google Docs?” And, no, until Google Drive is ready to go — bug free — I’ll be safe here at Dropbox with my several gigs of cloud storage at the touch of a finger.

PicMonkey

Now I’m well-versed in Photoshop and have been for years, but what about those quick shots you don’t want to have to edit in Photoshop? Maybe they’re just quick snaps of your breakfast or a new gadget? Not worth the trouble? Well, PicMonkey knew I would love it for simplifying color correction, minor editing, and sophisticated filters put into button format. It’s easy to use and it tends to even come in as a finishing stroke after I edit in Photoshop now. I absolutely love it.

Do It (Tomorrow)

This little program is my lifesaver in a world filled with Google Calenders, BaseCamps, and complicated scheduling utilities. I don’t need them because my life is already pretty streamlined and I like it that way. It’s like giving someone a Maybach to drive to the grocery store around the corner, you know? This is where Do It (Tomorrow) eases in and says “Look, you just need to remember what to do tomorrow. That’s it. Don’t go crazy.” and leaves you with it! Simple format, absolutely free, and has one of the sweetest little journals inside with handwritten fonts, coffee stains, and page-turning sounds. I love it. It loves me. End of story.

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

Mibbit IRC

Once in a while, I frequent some modification and emulation chatrooms that revolve around imported video games from the ’80s and ’90s and, when I go there, I need a quick shot into those rooms. Mibbit grabs that IRC link and turns your browser into a streamlined IRC chat client in the blink of an eye. Merely slap your nickname into the window and you’re off and running, regaling in stories about when the Sega Master System was the beginning of an amazing era of gaming.

WordPress

True, it’s really easy to just go ahead and type in your blog’s name and access the WP-Admin login system, but this little app knows you’re busy. It knows you’re obviously using WordPress for something personal and close to your chest and it gives you the ability to log in and get it all out. It’s simple, quiet, and without distractions of sidebars and craziness. Sure, I don’t really use it for work, but for my personal blog, it’s perfectly suited there on my app bar.

Pixlr Editor

Remember up there when I was going on and on about Photoshop and PicMonkey? Well, Pixlr Editor is in between those two worlds. Yes, when you edit as many photos as I do, you need a few middle men in the mix. Pixlr Editor is when I’m not quite finding what I want with PicMonkey but I’m on the go. It’s as sophisticated as one can imagine for being absolutely free and gives me the right amount of quick-fire detailing that I need to get to before getting into my Adobe mindset. If I’m going to boot up Photoshop, I know I’ll be there for days working and tweaking. Pixlr is a beautiful little app that cuts those processes down dramatically.

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

These programs are ones I use to keep my sanity at a reasonable level and you’ll notice that none of these have anything to do with the rich, casual gaming environment that Google Chrome has ventured into with its apps. You’re right. Why? Because I choose to do my gaming on a console or through Steam. I use Google Chrome to stay as productive as I can and leave the gaming for outside browser windows.

I’m curious what apps you use and if you find yourself drifting towards productivity or casual entertainment. Show off what you use and if you think (or don’t think) that including apps in browsers is far better than just simple extensions and add-ons. Our phones are like small computers in our hands that offer applications on-the-go, and Google actually gives us the opportunity to use those same tools on our computers. Excited? Elated? You know I am.

How to Embed a Tweet

Do you credit your sources? When you’re a source, do you find that others are crediting you sufficiently? For bloggers who write about anything social media related, we find that tweets used as sources are commonly being quoted in posts with no efficient way of citation. Twitter’s method of embedding tweets replaces the need to take a screenshot of the tweet and fiddling to embed it within the post correctly.

A service from Twitter called Blackbird Pie easily allows a user to create and embed a tweet by entering a small piece of code. By entering a URL from the chosen message, Twitter allows you to customize the way a tweet is embedded in a post.

By entering a URL from the source tweet into the service and clicking “Bake It,” the Blackbird Pie service will generate an embed code needed to properly insert the tweet into the Web site. Twitter’s service will allow you to style the tweet to accommodate to your site; it will even pick up on the styling of your site to make it look natural in the site.

The service is intended primarily for media purposes and has gained much traction from blogs and news sites who report with sources from Twitter.

To shorten and embed a tweet:

Navigate to http://media.twitter.com/blackbird-pie/.

Find the tweet that you want to embed and get the single tweet URL (e.g., https://twitter.com/#!/Craighton/status/81436433071611904).

Take that link and place it in the box on the Blackbird Pie page and click “Bake It.”

Take the embed code that is generated and place it into an HTML capable section of your site.

The tweet us now embedded on your site when you publish the post.

If you’re a WordPress user, there is an extension that you can install to use short codes and make this process easier.

5 Ways to Secure Your WordPress Blog

WordPress is one of the most popular self-hosted content management system platforms on the market today. It’s what we use at LockerGnome and on some of the most popular sites you might visit around the Web. Out of the box, WordPress has many security measures that protect your blog just fine, but there are always going to be hackers that are trying to find a way to crack into accounts or sites to cause damage. That’s why WordPress security goes beyond out of the box and includes methods to really lock down your WordPress site.

Below are some of the most common ways of keeping your WordPress blog safe and secure to malicious attacks.

1. Updates

This one might not seem so obvious to users, so it has to be said. No software is immune to bugs and vulnerabilities. Security holes are what bad guys look for to exploit and cause damage to sites. Keeping software up-to-date is the best way to protect yourself, because developers, like the ones at WordPress, keep their products up to date once security vulnerabilities are found.

Keeping your WordPress site up-to-date is one of the easiest things you can do. If you are running on the WordPress 3 platform, the developers have built in an easy way to one-click install updates automatically. WordPress also has a notifier to alert you every time a new upgrade is available.

2. Strong WordPress Account Password

This will be one of the first things that hackers try to crack when breaking into a WordPress system. You should consider changing your user password to something that is strong and unique, and not used anywhere else. When you go to change your password, WordPress will tell you the strength of it, but something to always remember is to avoid common words or phrases; use upper and lowercase letter and include numbers. A combination of those will ensure that you have a strong password that can hold up to the most brutal attacks. It’s also common practice to change your password regularly — probably once every six months to a year.

If you use a program like 1Password or LastPass for Mac or Windows, you can store your passwords to your browser and generate complex passwords on the fly, making remembering those passwords less of a chore.

3. Use Secret Keys in wp-config.php

With WordPress, the configuration file wp-config.php contains database information that WordPress needs to connect to store information. The file contains not only MySQL database information but has a neat feature that might have been activated if you installed a recent version of WordPress: secret keys.

Using secret keys makes your WordPress site more secure on the backend and makes it even more difficult for someone to access your account. See https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/ to randomly generate these keys, then copy and paste these results into your wp-config.php file to set up secret keys.

4. Use .htaccess

On almost any web hosting environment you can use .htaccess to set access limits to certain directories and limit to specific IP address. This means that only people from a certain location can access sensitive parts of your site, such as the wp-admin directory.

Configuring .htaccess can be a bit tricky, so do your research and ask questions before you set up custom rules.

5. Secure File Permissions

Often enough, hackers are able to gain access to your WordPress site because file or folders with permissions are set incorrectly and left open.

Depending on how you installed WordPress and your Web host, the permissions for files and folders may need to be changed. WordPress Codex has a guide of what permissions should be used. File and directory permissions can be changed via an FTP client or, if your Web host has it, an administrative page.

Are You Posting Comments As A Troll Or A Coward?

The Internet has made a great impact on all of our lives, allowing us to either identify ourselves for who we are, or allowing us to hide our identity or remain anonymous. Some are now challenging those who hide themselves by using fake names or by posting anonymous comments and are requiring they ID themselves. TechCrunch is experimenting with having comments posted using a Facebook ID before people post comments. TechCrunch states that comments are down since it employed what it describes as its ‘troll-slaying’ test.

According to the folks at TechCrunch, the numbers of comments is about one-half of what it once was. It also has come up with some evidence that supports its use of a Facebook log-on system to ID those who chose to comment. The TC people have stated that most of the anonymous comments were pure nonsense and had nothing to do with the discussion. The comments now appear to border on kindness and intelligence, which has surprised the staff.

But this one statement best describes what has happened:

‘Of course, neither is ideal. But nausea-inducing kindness is certainly better than rage-inducing assholeishness.’ I am continually criticized for my problems involving English grammar, so I am not sure of the word ‘assholeishness’ as a part of the English language. However, the word needs no Merriam-Webster definition to be fully understood.

Not everyone on the Internet supports nor condones this approach. Some are using the argument that those who comment will not be truthful having to log-on using their Facebook identity since their parents, friends, grandma, and others will see what they post. They believe that these family members and friends could do a Google, Bing, or Yahoo! search and see what they have said.

Robert Scobleizer claims that those who post comments hiding their identity are nothing but ‘cowards.’ He is attacking what he describes as the ‘authenticity’ crowd missing the benefits. He describes that the benefits of having more intelligent comments far outweighs the nonsense that previously was being posted in comments. The biggest benefit is that TechCrunch has not suffered from lower site views since requiring a Facebook ID before accepting a comment.

So here is my biased opinion. Having two blog sites here at LockerGnome is challenging and requires a good deal of time attempting to write articles that I feel may be of interest to you, our loyal readers. First we have to fight the spammers who never cease trying to get their shady products advertised in the comments section. Next we have those who hide their faces and make derogatory comments challenging me personally. One such comment posted last week mentioned that everyone knows that I work for Straight Talk.

Let me state that I do not, nor have I ever, worked for Straight Talk. My wife and I have Straight Talk phones that we purchased ourselves and we pay a service fee every month to use the it. I have received no credits, free products, nor other considerations from Straight Talk, nor will I seek any of these in the future. I just believe that Straight Talk provides a good service at a reasonable price.

I do not see any problem with having people identifying themselves before posting a comment. I believe it will eliminate the time-consuming process of having to manually deleting the trolls and cowards who do write idiotic comments.

So what do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – TechCrunch

Source – Scobleizer

What is the Best Free Blog Platform?

Someone asked recently which free blogging platform is the “best” one to get started with. This question is pretty impossible to answer. There are many decent free blog providers out there. As with anything, you have to research what they offer and see how well it fits your needs.


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Blogger is a good choice for beginners. It’s the one I used way back in the day – before it was owned by Google. You can also use WordPress. They have a free blogging area, in addition to the ability to download the software for use on your own domain.

I happen to own a site for Geeks, which has free blogging available. Any good content posted there automatically gets featured in my daily newsletters, so it’s a great way for you to be “discovered” by people looking for blogs to read. Doing something like this can help you gain a dedicated group of followers, who would then read what you’re doing on your own site someday.

We do have free blogs on Lockergnome, but we only accept people there who have excellent writing abilities. If you feel you can write far better than an average person, we’d love to have you. Keep in mind, though, that being able to write well is not something that everyone can master.

There are also services such as Posterous and Tumblr.

Figure out what it is YOU need in a blogging service, and then match that against what each of the providers can give you.

What free blogging service do you recommend – and why?

Blogging For Dummies

There should be an image here!Blogging For Dummies, the blogging bestseller, has been fully updated to reflect the latest tools and techniques available.

Blogging is forever evolving, and remains essential for anyone who wants a distinctive Web presence. There are many options that surround blogging-on everything from blogging software to hosting services-and this fun and friendly guide gets you started so can begin logging in hours of blogging!

Building on the success of the two previous bestselling editions, this latest revision includes essential blogging basics, the elements required of a good blog, and the tools you’ll need to get started. You’ll discover how to determine the right blogging software for you, whether you should run your own blog or use a full-service hosting site, and how to set up an account and write your first post.

  • Builds on the two previous bestselling editions and covers the latest advertising tools to attract an audience, methods for making money with your blog, and ways to measure your blog’s success
  • Includes updates to the major blogging software utilities including Google’s Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress
  • Walks you through the latest search engine optimization techniques for increasing your blog’s visibility
  • Reviews the newest plug-ins and gadgets that will allow you to extend your blog

If you’re in a fog about how to blog, then this easy-to-understand guide is the right book for you.

WordPress 24-Hour Trainer

There should be an image here!Don’t let WordPress intimidate you. WordPress 24-Hour Trainer is a unique lesson-based book that walks you through the essential parts of WordPress. Each lesson is streamlined to teach a specific aspect of WordPress, helping you to focus on just what you need in order to get the task accomplished. If you learn better visually, this book provides you with a video to accompany each lesson.

This book is the perfect guide to:

  • Planning and preparing your site for WordPress
  • Installing WordPress
  • Writing, tagging, and publishing a post
  • Working with the text editor
  • Styling paragraphs and creating lists
  • Working with media files
  • Linking, aligning, and sizing an image
  • Working with image galleries
  • Adding video and audio
  • Naming, scheduling, and managing posts
  • Making your site stand out
  • Helping others connect to your site
  • Becoming search engine friendly
  • Optimizing your site
  • Backing up your site
  • Installing and activating plugins

Is It 30M or 300K? Microsoft Dumping Windows Live Spaces & Who Does The Counting?

I recalled when I read the number of users Microsoft was claiming used Windows Live Spaces, the 30 million users, seemed to me just a little high IMHO. Now it seems that the actual number of Windows Live Space users that may transfer over their site to WordPress may be as low as 300,000. But who’s counting?

But it gets better:

Some Microsoft partners are none too happy that Microsoft chose WordPress as its “Plan B,” given that WordPress runs on Apache and MySQL, not Microsoft’s own stack.

Well at least those who make the change over, whether it be 30M or 300K , will have the knowledge that the WordPress servers are using reliable software. LOL

But did Microsoft over state the actual numbers on purpose? Some believe they did:

Wilcox, however, has managed to obtain internal e-mail messages exchanged between (yet unnamed) Microsoft employees that suggest far lower numbers.

However, according to a senior Microsoft manger e-mailing colleagues: “The net is: 300k sites are expected to migrate of the 30M ‘blogs’ — most are dead. WordPress is adding somewhere in the order of zero servers to handle this capacity. This was a ‘who has the best online service for blogging for our customers’ and had nothing to do with technology.”

Ouch – so basically most of the 30 million so-called active blogs are in reality dead, and Microsoft expects a mere 300,000 sites to effectively migrate to WordPress.com

This is just another example of why we Americans have become so skeptical of corporate America and our own US government.

Comments welcome.

Source -ZDnet

Source – TechCrunch

Microsoft Dumps Bloggers And Sends Them Packing To WordPress

Starting today Microsoft is eliminating its blogging section of  Windows Live known as Spaces, and sending everyone over to WordPress. The Redmond giant made the anticipated announcement which goes into effect starting today. Microsoft has stated that the “automated and easy, ensuring the movement of blog content, integrated media, comments and links is simple.”

In a recent article it also states that:

The actual mechanism for moving Spaces blogs over to WordPress blogs is an importer created by WordPress. Going forward, new Windows Live users also will be offered a WordPress.com blog if/when they choose to create a new blog.

As part of this project, we’ve added support for Messenger Connect as a Publicize option, which enables you to automatically share updates to your WordPress.com blog with your friends who use Windows Live Messenger.

We’re very happy that Microsoft chose WordPress.com as their preferred new blogging service for Windows Live users. It’s a sign of how strong WordPress.com has become, and credit for that goes to every one of you who’s been creating here.

Which makes one wonder. Just how trustworthy is Microsoft when it comes to storing our stuff? As many of you know, Microsoft is trying to compete with Google for cloud computing. If you choose Microsoft to store your valuable documents, how long would it be before it decided to dump the cloud and your account with it?

Comments welcome.

Source – WordPress

Five Major Differences In WordPress 3.0

This blog and many others around the Internet run on an open source public Web platform called WordPress, which has been around for quite a while now. Now with WordPress 3.0 being announced, WordPress is focusing on making WordPress into a CMS platform like Joomla or Mambo. With this, WordPress has announced many different features being added, including the five major ones below. Continue reading “Five Major Differences In WordPress 3.0”

After The Deadline

Normally I’m not one to get too excited about Firefox plugins, however I have to say that Firefox Facts has a knack for finding the kind of plugins for my preferred browser that catch my attention.

Recently the site had a post on something that caught my eye. Users of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook will be thrilled to hear that there is now a Firefox plugin that can help with grammar in any given text box. Aptly named After the Deadline, this plugin is not only easy to use, but it works as advertised.

After the Deadline has fantastic to for social media sites when you are in a hurry, trying to rush out a Tweet. It will make sure you did not miss something, forget a word or, worse, duplicate one.

After the Deadline now offers a WordPress plugin, as well. So this way you get all of the power from the Firefox version, wrapped up in a one easy to use blogging solution. In both cases, totally worth checking them out.

[awsbullet:wordpress plugin]

Overcoming Template-Browser Headaches With WordPress

Speaking as a guy who is anything but a Web designer, trying to get themes to play ball in every version of every browser can prove interesting. That said, generally speaking, WordPress themes tend to do okay here. Recently I was updating a blog for someone and discovered that it did strange things with the title of each post in Google Chrome. Not IE 6-8, Firefox, Opera, or Safari — just Chrome. Awesome.

Hours and hours into trying to adjust the stylesheet with browser specific versions, I finally had enough. The old theme worked great in Chrome; why not simply direct people to it? Being as I am not skilled enough to overcome this otherwise, bundled with the fact that most of the site’s visitors were not using Chrome, this made sense to me.

First stop was a plugin for WordPress designed for those who are dealing with issues when IE6 visitors stop by. Now obviously, this did me little good. So I did some tweaking so it would meet my needs. In the plugin itself, I located the lines:

if(strpos($_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’], ‘browser’) !== false)
$theme = ‘theme’;

I changed a few things around to appear as follows:

if(strpos($_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’], ‘Chrome’) !== false)
$theme = ‘My Theme’s Title’;

Here is where it is a kicker- the theme title MUST be what it shows up as in the folder, not what you have it labeled as yourself. Also, because my issue affected all Chrome releases, not just some, I played a wildcard of sorts and just made the user agent Chrome.

I uploaded the adjusted plugin, but I was not ready to activate it. I needed to make some adjustments to my Hyper-cache plugin. Unlike other caching plugins for WordPress, Hyper-cache does not get all creative with your htaccess file. It’s just as good and it is a heck of a lot easier to work with.

So anyway, in the Hyper-cache plugin, I went into the settings and located “add Agents to reject” at the bottom. The user agent I told it to reject was Chrome. Keeping in mind that the old theme is still installed, but otherwise inactive, I made all of these changes with the new theme activated the entire time.

Now here is where the magic happened. I now activated the modified IE6 plugin, went back to the Hyper-cache settings, and cleared the cache.  Then just to make sure I was working with a clean slate on my end, I cleared the cache of all my own browsers as well… including Chrome. Now for the test. I opened up the site in Firefox, IE, and Opera. The new template came up. Awesome, now for the moment of truth. I opened up the site in Chrome, and boom, it opened up in the OLD template. It worked… I could hardly believe it. I tested this on multiple networks and with both Chrome Linux/Windows, in addition to Chromium on Linux as well. Apparently this works with any variation of Chrome.

Are there better ways of doing this? Sure, I am sure this can be done with JavaScript/stylesheet combos. But based on my “Googling around,” this was a lot easier and it left nothing to chance.

[awsbullet:how to wordpress]

All Play And No Work…

I admitted in a video recently that I still enjoy playing with LEGO Bricks. I also apparently still like the Lite Brite!

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally letting your inner child come out to play when you’re a grown-up. I personally think it can help keep you sane and stress-free if you let your hair down once in a while, and take the time to remember what it’s like to play. What do you do during occasions like these? Do you indulge yourself with crayons? Do you prefer to duke it out with action figures?

What toys do your inner child still love to play with?

Yours digitally,

Chris Pirillo

@ Twitter
@ Facebook

One doctor has proven that stem cells can heal the lungs of newborn animals.

Do you get the most out of your gaming?

What was your favorite childhood toy?

Will you pay to tweet?

Are you looking for an easy way to come up with a great new domain name?

What type of volunteer work are you involved in?

If you want to pimp out the Safari browser, take a look at Glims.

Is this a real piano?

Everything was going well, until a BSOD crept up on our blogger hero.

How many more PS3s will the government buy?

Keep your eyes peeled for comment spam — they are tricky these days!

GoToAssist can help you provide instant support to clients, friends, or family members.

The 12 Gadgets of Christmas Song!

Drink a wine before its time!


News of Ubuntu One
is making the rounds faster than lightning.

Which version of Windows do you recommend for a netbook or laptop?

Do you know how to take good holiday pictures?

Check out the hottest new apps — freeware and shareware.

Take back parental control with freeware that allows you to decide what Web sites can be accessed from your family’s computers.

Create your own iPhone app!

New users switching to Linux may be confused about the amount of choices.

Do you know how to properly back up your WordPress blog?

The Murdoch effect is already being felt in the UK.

Rediscover your computer’s true potential and performance by running a regular scan with Optimize 3.0! This little piece of software will now do more than ever before to boost your speed, increase your stability and enhance your security.