Matt's Blog

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

SpotPlex Closed Down

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

SpotPlexSpotPlex, a Digg-like site based on page views instead of voting, has shutdown their site and their hyper bot.

TechCrunch reports that SpotPlex ultimately closed down due to insufficient funding.

I had an account at SpotPlex, and had their widget on this blog. According to my stats, over the time the widget was on my blog, they sent me a whole 2 visitors… Wow… Interestingly, I never received an email from them that they were closing down. I only found out because their widget was no longer displaying, and I went to their site to see if it was down, and I found that they had shutdown. I confirmed with Michael Kwan that he had not received an email from them either. The least they could do would have been to email their users to let them know that they would be closing down, and that they should remove the widget from their blog…

FeedBurner will be Integrated with Google Accounts; White Background to Follow

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

FeedBurner, which was acquired by Google awhile ago, announced today that they would be beginning the integration of FeedBurner with Google Accounts. They said that in the coming weeks, “selected publishers” will be given the option to merge their FeedBurner account with their Google Account. I’ve yet to be presented with this option. 😛

They also mentioned that FeedBurner will start to be integrated into other Google Services, like AdSense. Also that “FeedBurner will start to look and feel more like a set of Google services”. Which can probably be interpreted as getting the “Google style”, a clean design with a lot of white and blue.

Hopefully, FeedBurner will start to be integrated with Google Analytics soon, as that would be extremely convenient. I wonder when the FeedBurner blog will be converted into a Blogger-hosted blog…

Update [April 30, 2008 at 9:18 PM]: I just went to the “Monetize” tab in my FeedBurner account, and saw that I can now associate my FeedBurner account with my AdSense account. Upon doing so, it now allows me to add AdSense advertisements into my Feed. Interesting.

Update 2 [April 30, 2008 at 10:18 PM]: The AdSense part currently only adds the ads to your actual blog (through the general FeedBurner site stat tracking/FeedFlare code), and not into your actual feed. A little deceiving…

Make the WordPress Admin Section Full Width

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

One of the most debated and annoying thing in WordPress 2.5 is that the Admin pages have a max-width on them, which is set to about 980 pixels. Resulting in quite a bit of useless whitespace on the right side of the page, if you have a large monitor.

I have a 22″ monitor with my resolution set to 1680×1050. My browser window is almost always maximized, which meant that about 40% of the screen was being wasted with whitespace. It’s particularly annoying on the Write page, when writing a post felt claustrophobic.

Luckily, Dion Hulse wrote a small plugin, called Remove Max Width, which removes the max-width attributes, and allows the Admin pages to be liquid/fluid width, and use up the entire width of the browser window.

Personally, I now find the Admin section much easier to use, and makes writing a post more of a pleasurable experience. Try the plugin out, if you don’t like it, you can always deactivate it and the Admin section will return to it’s default max-width.

Speed Up Your Blog Using ZLIB

Monday, April 7th, 2008

With the release of WordPress 2.5, there is no longer an option to enable GZIP compression. This option was axed for the reason that it’s better to enable compression on the server, rather than through WordPress. GZIP is basically a compression “tool” that compresses files before sending them to the browser, if the browser states that it can handle GZIP compression. All modern browsers support GZIP compression, and send the appropriate header to the server to tell it that it can handle compression.

However, there is another compression library that is generally preferred over GZIP, called ZLIB. It’s essentially the same as GZIP, and is initiated by the same gzip header that browsers send.

We’ll be using ZLIB to speed up your blog. We’re using ZLIB because using GZIP causing TinyMCE (in WordPress) to be double compressed, and to stop working properly, using ZLIB works around the issue. Also, since ZLIB is preferred, we might as well use it.

Before enabling ZLIB compression, you’ll want to check with your host to ensure that PHP has been compiled with ZLIB support. I can confirm that BlueFur has it enabled on most (if not all) of their servers.

Now that you’ve made sure that your host can support ZLIB compression, let’s actually enable it. First of all, open your blog’s root .htaccess file. Then, you’ll want to add the following line to the file, above the WordPress code (# BEGIN WordPress):

php_flag zlib.output_compression On

Save the file, and reupload it. You should now notice improved speed in the execution time of your blog. On my blog, page execution has, on average, been reduced by 50%. However, your results may vary.

It’s important to note that, if you’re currently using any other compression or caching systems, you cannot use this in conjunction with them; you’ll have to choose between them or ZLIB compression.

This compression method will also work on any fairly dynamic site, it’s not limited to blogs.

WordPress 2.5

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

WordPressEarlier today, WordPress 2.5 was released. WordPress 2.5 includes some major changes and improvements. Here’s a list of the more important change in 2.5:

  • The Administration area of WordPress received a complete redesign. I’ll let you decide whether you like it or not. 😉
  • The WYSIWYG editor used in WordPress (TinyMCE) was updated to the latest version available.
  • A new Media Manager
  • Better Tag Management
  • Protection from two users editing the same post/page at the same time.
  • Automated Plugin Updating – WordPress now includes functionality to allow you to update plugins to their latest versions with just a few clicks.
  • Better password encryption
  • Lots of backend changes

WordPress 2.5 also ships with two different colour schemes for the Administrator Panel, “Classic” and “Fresh”. You can change the colour scheme in your user profile (click your name in the top-right hand cornor). The default is “Fresh”.

If you have not upgraded already, it is highly recommended that you do. I’ve upgraded already, and everything seems alright.

Download WordPress 2.5