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CommentLuv v2.9

ComLuv 125x125

CommentLuv

As anyone who has ever commented on this site will know, one of the more visible plugins I use is CommentLuv. CommentLuv is designed to allow commenters to receive link backs to their own site without risking being known as a spammer by dumping in links without permission.

Since it’s first release, CommentLuv has gone from strength to strength and is installed on a huge number of sites. This is probably because the plugin is solid and easy to use, but also because Andy Bailey, the creator and developer of CommentLuv, is directly involved in the support and promotion of the plugin and is keen to help other bloggers get a leg up.

Andy Bailey wishes to make the next release a big event. To that end, there is a video embedded below these words. Please watch it and follow the link and see what comes next. Read the rest of this entry

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WordPress v3.0 Released

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Image via CrunchBase

Hey gang. This post will show how much I love (or even luv (this will become apparent later)) you all. WordPress version 3.0 – codename Thelonius – is released and available. Blog owners should go now to their dashboard and, if the upgrade isn’t flagged up, click the relevant button to upgrade in seconds.

So, have you noticed anything different with the blog itself? No, me either. Everything went absolutely swimmingly – all plugins were fine and working and the theme is absolutely solid. So, for me, this was absolutely and utterly painless. Hopefully your own upgrade will be too.

I did make two smallish changes. Firstly I have turned off IntenseDebate. The only reason I had it, really, was for threaded commenting and WordPress does this natively these days so we don’t miss out by not having it. One thing I did forget is that Gravatars are a bit messed up with native commenting, so I’ll be looking at a fix for that… all fixed now, so no problem!

Now I have switched to the native commenting, I have re-enabled CommentLuv, a plugin I have used for ages and will always recommend to bloggers. Now that is native, I have more control over it. Comluv has been tested prior to WordPress 3.0 being released and it works like a charm. (This bit should hopefully explain the “luv” comment at the start of the post).

So that’s that. Hopefully you are seeing the blog in all it’s glory and with no issues. Please let me know if anything is broken, not working or doing something odd.

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Zemanta Revisited

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Image via CrunchBase

Way back in 2008, I wrote a brief post about Zemanta.  I think it’s about time I updated it.

I use Zemanta every time I write a post. The artwork normally to the top left of any post is usually picked from a selection suggested by Zemanta. The tags I pick are, again, from a selection suggested by Zemanta. And that little “reblog” icon at the bottom right of every post? Yep, that’s from Zemanta too.  Zemanta is a very useful tool in a blooger’s tool kit and I hope that this will persuade you to try it out on your own site.

Let’s take a look at what it does. From the Zemanta Learn page:

Zemanta is a tool that looks over your shoulder while you blog and gives you tips and advice, suggests related content and pictures and makes sure your posts get promoted as they deserve to be. We at Zemanta are thinking hard to help make blogging easier for you. We’re engineering better creative tools to help you get the most out of your blogging time.

Read the rest of this entry

Moving

Soon, this blog shall be moving home.  Mine host has decided to go for a better deal.  And no matter what you all say, I trust him on this implicitly.  There will be some preparatory changes, most of which you won’t notice.  The one that you will notice is that I shall be disabling comments during the move.  This is so that none of your wonderful comments are lost during the move.  If the move happens close enough to my extended holiday/honeymoon they will be re-enabled sometime in week 3 of June (or maybe week 4).  Otherwise, I’ll just tease you by re-enabling them and then disabling them.  Depending on how the mood takes me.

If this all goes as well as I think it will, you won’t really notice the move.  Otherwise, well, stock up on tinned food and ammo and batten down the hatches, it’s gonna be a cold cold winter.

Why You Should Upgrade

If you read this blog regularly (or even semi-regularly) you will know that I recommend upgrading

WordPress.org

WordPress.org

WordPress whenever the dashboard tells you to.  Quite apart from grabbing the latest features built into the latest releases, you also pick up any patches and security updates.  If internet history tells us nothing else, it tells us that sites that aren’t serious about security end up getting taken over.

It seems that there is a site offering a seemingly legitimate version of WordPress.org which is actually a backdoored version.  Which is a bit cunning and a lot malicious.  So what can you do to protect yourself?

Firstly (and most importantly), only ever get your copy of WordPress from the official WordPress sites: WordPress.org (for the single blog edition) or WordPress MU (for the multi blog edition).  Being the real deal, WordPress will only offer the genuine article and will not knowingly make you install software that will trash your system or will leave you open to attack.  And they will patch when they know about a bug or security issue.  Other sites may seem faster or better somehow, but the only way to be sure that you are downloading the genuine version is to go to the official sites.

Next, themes and plugins.  If you want to be completely secure, you will only go via the WordPress plugin page and theme page.  I have a small issue with this: the theme page has a limited selection, from memory I found this theme after going to the theme directory.  With plugins, I tend to start from the plugin directory and then navigate to the plugin’s web location – that way I get the latest version and access to any more documentation.  The natural caveat on this, though, is that you navigate away from the tested versions at your own risk.

If you do not understand what a non-official patch or hack does, don’t use it until you have run it past someone who does.  Personally, I know enough to be dangerous and know that tweaks I have applied will only, at worst, give me a blank page if they fail.  The WordPress.org support forums are a good place to go to if you need help – in fact, this is a good rule to follow for any computer changes.  I would also advise taking a backup of the site to ensure that if anything does go horribly wrong you can still roll back the changes.

None of this is rocket surgery (or brain science).  Stick with the official releases and upgrade when the message appears and you are making yourself as safe as you can be.  If you fail to follow the advice and you do get compromised you only have yourself to blame.

WordPress 2.6.3

When I dipped in to upgrade some plugins this evening, my dashboard kindly told me that I needed to upgrade from WordPress 2.6.2 to WordPress 2.6.3. Get the latest version here.

In short, it seems that the library used to fetch the dashboards feeds, named Snoopy, has a vulnerability and this upgrade fixes that.

So, if you are running WordPress 2.6.2 or earlier (especially if you are running an earlier version) then you should upgrade soonest.