Category: blogs

WordPress 2.3 gotchas (or got me's!)

Phew!

Finally done with that install – ouch! I wouldn’t want to go through that again in a hurry.

I hit several speed bumps in my upgrading of this blog from WordPress 2.2 to 2.3 – many of those could have been avoided if I had followed the instructions on the Extended Upgrade page instead of the Upgrade page!

Specifically, if you are upgrading, not only should you also upgrade all plugins before starting the blog update, but you should then disable all plugins before uploading WordPress 2.3.

I use the K2 theme on this site, so I checked it out, and sure enough there is a new version of K2 (K2 RC1) available for WordPress 2.3 as well. If you plan on upgrading to RC1, be aware that Michael Heilemann says in the release notes:

Because so many things have been upgraded since v0.9.6, a lot of the code hasn’t actually seen as much usage as the v0.9.6 code, and thus you should hold off until RC2 with upgrading if you like your stability over your ‘bling’

I decided to try out the widget functionality which comes with K2 RC1 but I came a cropper on a bug in the code and so reverted to using the less functional, but fully operational WordPress Widgets.

One of the biggest advances in WordPress 2.3 is the inclusion of Tags. This is fantastic news for anyone who hasn’t used tags up to now as it provides a simple way for them to begin. However, I was using a plugin (Ultimate Tag Warrior) for my tagging and this no longer works with WordPress 2.3.

WordPress 2.3 has the ability to Import existing Tags though (Manage -> Import -> Ultimate Tag Warrior) meaning all my tagging up to now hasn’t been in vain!

Ultimate Tag Warrior (UTW) had two great features:

  1. UTW presented you with a drop-down of all your previous tags when writing a post so you could easily chose one you had previously. This is missing from 2.3
  2. UTW had a Suggest option whereby it would scan the text of your post and suggest appropriate tags

Christine Davis, the author of UTW has already released plugins to fill in this missing functionality!

Other features added in this release of WordPress are highlighted here.

Donncha in Photo exhibition

Mallow Camera Club are holding an exhibition of photographs in Mallow Town Library for charity for the next three weeks and fellow blogger, photo blogger and WordPress lead developer, Donncha O’Caoimh will have one of his photos in the exhibition for sale – well done Donncha.

Head along if you get a chance, it is for a good cause.

Adblock – love it or hate it?

I wrote a post the other day talking about a blogger who stopped all Firefox users from visiting his site because they may have the Adblock plugin installed!

Adblock is a plug-in for Firefox which allows you to view sites on the Internet but avoid seeing the ads they display.

I am a big fan of Adblock (as I have mentioned several times on this blog) and so was surprised that in the comments of my previous post, several people I respect came our strongly against Adblock saying things like:

I can understand how he feels if his business revenue depends on ads

I do get irritated when I see people using AdBlock. As a web-developer I see it as part of the contract of using a website. We give you free content and you get to see some adverts

and

I’m very much against Adblock myself. I installed it once and it provided one of the worst web expierences ever. Adblock was presenting white areas where there would be ads, a lot of webpages looked very naked as Adblocked skwed the natural appearance of the site.

I would love to see Adblock and other ad blocking extensions illegalised but it’s never going to happen.

My attitude is quite different.

I read hundreds of websites per day. The majority of these sites I read through my RSS reader so even if they are displaying ads, I don’t see them. To the commenters, if you truly believe that people should only view your content if they also read your ads, you need to either stop publishing RSS feeds or start publishing ads in your feed.

As to the point that his business revenue may depend on Ads – if so, then stopping all viewers who use Firefox is only going to hurt his revenue, not help it. Firefox users are, in general, more tech literate and therefore are more likely to link to your site. Banning them from your site will only reduce inward linkage, drop you in search engine results and decimate your ad revenue.

As for the point of making Adblock illegal because it affects how sites are rendered, I think I can safely ignore that one 😛

Ads (especially Flash based ads or graphical ones) slow down the loading of sites and therefore waste my time without adding any benefit to me (I haven’t blocked Google Ads as they are non-intrusive, text based ads).

I have never clicked on an ad on a website and I have seen plenty of them (non-blocked Google Ads and when I use browsers other than Firefox).

According to Google Analytics, Search Engines account for 73% of traffic to this site. The majority of people who do click on ads are, I suspect, one off visitors to a site who land there from a search. This demographic doesn’t use Firefox, doesn’t use RSS and has never heard of Adblock.

For people who use the web all day, every day Adblock is a boon. It vastly speeds up your browsing experience, eliminates distractions (think flashing blinking ads) and cleans up the content on the page.

For ad publishers, Adblock makes you site far more palatable to the small demographic of users who know how to deploy it. This demographic wouldn’t click on the ads on your site in any case. And this user, is far more likely to promote your site for you, thereby driving traffic to it.

What do you think?

Site owner blocks Firefox users!

I saw this story on Techmeme this morning and I simply couldn’t believe it – but it is true!

A guy called Danny Carlton has decided to block ALL Firefox users from his site because:

The Mozilla Foundation and its Commercial arm, the Mozilla Corporation, has allowed and endorsed Ad Block Plus, a plug-in that blocks advertisement on web sites and also prevents site owners from blocking people using it. Software that blocks all advertisement is an infringement of the rights of web site owners and developers. Numerous web sites exist in order to provide quality content in exchange for displaying ads. Accessing the content while blocking the ads, therefore would be no less than stealing. Millions of hard working people are being robbed of their time and effort by this type of software

Now, you will be aware that not all Firefox owners have installed Adblock but no matter, Danny is blocking them too. As he says himself:

If you are offended by the Mozilla Corporation’s endorsement of dishonesty please contact the Mozilla Foundation and ask them to stop empowering internet theft.

This is so silly as to be laughable. Either the guy is trolling looking for links (you won’t find any here Danny) or he really is a tad challenged!

In the first place, as Mike Arrington notes

I wonder why he continues to provide a full content feed, sans ads, at jacklewis.net/weblog/atom.xml (and it has been reposted here). Those users are “stealing” his content, too. What about them? Perhaps he’ll now turn his attention to the evils of RSS.

and in the second place, there are adblocking plugins available for Internet Explorer, as well as Firefox.

Will Danny now block Internet Explorer users from accessing his site too?

Google Reader quick comments

I have now completely moved over to using Google Reader as my primary RSS reader. And it appears I am in good company!

I started using it regularly while on holidays on my phone and I grew to like it – particularly the ability to Star and Share posts.

Now I’m using it full-time, not only for these features, but also because I can use it on my Vaio, my MacBook Pro and my mobile phone (I still read and Share many items on the phone at home).

There is really cool trending software in Google Reader as well to help you figure out which blogs update regularly (with a one-click option to unsubscribe from ones which don’t), which blogs you Star and/or Share and it charts your reading activity by day (and by time of day).

The only thing which annoys me about it is that the list of unread items my phone displays differs from the list my computers display. I don’t know why this is, they are running from the same account, reading the same subscription list. Has anyone else noticed this?

If you’d like to follow the items I’m Sharing from my subscription list (i.e. follow what I am recommending) you can:

Full feeds lead to more page views

TechDirt has an article explaining why full feeds lead to more page views on your site than partial feeds.

From the article:

Full text feeds makes the reading process much easier. It means it’s that much more likely that someone reads the full piece and actually understands what’s being said — which makes it much, much, much more likely that they’ll then forward it on to someone else, or blog about it themselves, or post it to Digg or Reddit or Slashdot or Fark or any other such thing — and that generates more traffic and interest and page views from new readers, who we hope subscribe to the RSS feed and become regular readers as well. The whole idea is that by making it easier and easier for anyone to read and fully grasp our content, the more likely they are to spread it via word of mouth, and that tends to lead to much greater adoption than by limiting what we give to our readers and begging them to come to our site if they want to read more than a sentence or two.

I have long had full feeds on this site and have written numerous times about the merit of full feeds.

Further, I don’t subscribe to any sites which only publish partial feeds – it is a waste of my time having to click through to read the full article on the original site.

You can be sure I am not the only one who thinks this way!

Google Reader saved my life!

Well, that might be exaggerating it slightly 😉

Still, I was away recently on holidays for three weeks and I didn’t bring my laptop with me. I was offline. Cut off from the infostream for the first time in months.

Then one evening, while walking my son Enrique around the local plaza, I noticed there was wifi available on my phone (Nokia E65).

I fired up the browser on the phone, navigated to Google Reader and I nearly cried when I saw all my subscriptions load on my phone (sad aren’t I?)!

I was able to read my feeds, share interesting stories, and star ones I wanted to come back to – wohoo! I was able to get my info fix once more.

Enrique got taken for a lot of walks in that plaza for the rest of the holiday!!!