Tag Archives: blog

Google Wave opens to more users as it reaches 1 Million Users

As per google wave blog, the top most feature request is more invitations. Everyone s eager to try it out. So now google is doing something about it. More and more people are getting invited to google wave.

Google says,

We’ve been working to increase the capacity of our preview setup and have sent invitations to everyone who requested an invite through our online form. If you’d like to request an invitation, you can still sign up here.

Also more invitations are added to the existing users, so that they too can invite their friends. Google wave here says something about the number 1 Million, and that means atleast for me, it is going to reach 1 Million users for Wave. The headline of th blog post is “A million stamps licked … and counting”. So it is going to reach 1 Million.

Also if any one you need Google wave invites, Contact Me. I can give you as of now.. :D

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Google Launches Real Time Search

Google strikes again. Now this time with a real time search feature. And the good thing is, this is available for mobiles also.

This real time search made a huge wave in the internet world, when twitter announced it. And from that day everyone just love it.

Google blog post regarding the same says,

First, we’re introducing new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.

This is how it looks,


Here is a video from the google.

This real-time search updates as stuff is happening around the Web — for example, live tweets, Yahoo Answers, news articles and Web pages now stream in on the actual result pages for your query.

Google says the features aren’t available to everyone yet, but will be within the next few days.

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Here comes automated Password Cracking for WordPress ,Make Your WordPress passwords more secure.

Its been reported that, Hackers have developed a distributed WordPress admin account cracking scheme that poses a severe risk for the security of blogs whose owners select insecure passwords.

What it does is,

There are some PHP scripts which run on some servers which can be virtual. These php scripts are programmed in a way to do BruteForce or Dictionary Attacks on the wordpress blogs that they select.

ISC security watcher Bojan Zdrnja wrote,

“While this particular version is relatively simple, the power behind the script and the MySQL database allows the attacker to distribute the attacks not only by sites, but also by passwords tried as well.

Finally, if you are using WordPress (or any other blog tool), be sure that access to the admin interface is as limited as possible. This means choosing strong passwords, changing the admin username if possible and limiting access by IP addresses.

WordPress brute force attacks have been around for quite some time already (similarly to SSH brute force attacks, for which we at SANS ISC are getting reports daily), so we can expect that the bad guys will start using such advanced techniques for attacking other services as well.”

Well so its time to change your wordpress password. I am changing mine. ;-)

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How To Blog: A Beginner’s Blog Publishing Guide

How to blog is something that a lot of us old hands take for granted, but for the beginner it can seem like a daunting tangle of questions and issues to be resolved. In this guide, I have gathered all of the essential resources you’ll need to get started. Here’s how:

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Photo credit: Konstantinos Kottinis

Gathering a number of resources from both Master New Media and other useful websites, I have tried to answer here the common questions that new bloggers have.

While it would be impossible to cover everything, you should find here all of the basics, and more, on how to get your first blog set up, niche-targeted, and read by someone other than your best friend. In short, a simple primer on “how to blog”, that will take you from choosing your subject and blog platform, through to making your blog text stand out and grab your readers’ attention.

I answer the following questions:

  • What is a blog?
  • Why should I blog?
  • Which blogging platform should I use?
  • Can I publish from a desktop application?
  • What should I write about?
  • How can I make my blog content stand out?
  • Where can I find free or cheap images to use in my blog?
  • Where can I find more blogging resources

So dip in, take what you need, and get yourself on the road to being an independent online publisher. There’s never been a better time to get started.

Here are the details:

You’ve almost certainly heard the word “blog” before and you might have a rough idea of what a blog is, but as you will see opinions may differ a lot, and some time to better understand and clarify what you are about to embark on, is always a time well spent.

The word blog is a contraction of “web log“, a phrase not so commonly used these days. In the simplest definition of the term, then, a blog is a log of your thoughts, ideas, useful links, photos, videos, or the latest news.

How to blog is something that a lot of us old hands take for granted, but for the beginner it can seem like a daunting tangle of questions and issues to be resolved. In this guide, I have gathered all of the essential resources you’ll need to get started. Here’s how:

What Is A Blog?

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You’ve almost certainly heard the word “blog” before and you might have a rough idea of what a blog is, but as you will see opinions may differ a lot, and some time to better understand and clarify what you are about to embark on, is always a time well spent.

The word blog is a contraction of “web log“, a phrase not so commonly used these days. In the simplest definition of the term, then, a blog is a log of your thoughts, ideas, useful links, photos, videos, or the latest news.

Deborah Ng, over at About.com, explains it like this:

Technically, a blog is a series of posts arranged in chronological order. Most agree, however, they’re an important form of expression. Though many modern blogs are personal observances updated on a regular basis, the earliest blogs weren’t rants or observances. They were lists of links maintained by a handful of tech savvy individuals. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that blogging evolved into what we see today.

A ‘post’ is just another way of saying an entry, like an entry in a diary, or a column in a newspaper.

Posts are actually arranged in reverse chronological order, which means that when you visit a blog on the web, the latest story will appear at the top of the website, and the earlier ones will descend in order beneath it, by how recently they were published to the web.

Deborah Ng goes on to define some common characteristics of a blog:

  • Posts have a subject or header – just as a newspaper article, or email does
  • They then have a subject or body – the main part of the post, again just like an email
  • They most usually have comments – a way that readers can respond to what’s been said. This is an important part of blogging, which is much more conversational than print media. As soon as you write something, your readers have a chance to respond to it
  • They quite often have a time and date stamp – so that readers know how recent the post is. Commonly people aren’t so interested in reading out of date posts. Blogging is very much an “of the moment” phenomenon, and while you might create “evergreen” content, it’s likely that at least some of your posts will be time sensitive.

Over at Problogger.net Darren Rowse has gathered some more definitions of what constitutes a blog. He offers, among others:

A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order

So there you have it – a blog is an easy way of publishing your thoughts to the web, and here are in their own words 100 different people telling you how they personally feel about what a blog really is.

Why Should I Write A Blog?

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There is no single reason to write a blog, as it very much depends on your motivation. Nevertheless, blogging can have a number of benefits, whether it is to help boost the presence of your business online, or just to share and debate ideas with like-minded people.

Jeremy Wright discusses some of the reasons that people blog in his post Why Blog, Zat Is Ze Qwestion”:

Blogging’s something for anyone and everyone. I can’t think of anyone who can’t benefit from knowing more people, never forgetting a thought again and improving on their thoughts with little or no effort. For some blogging will be like a diary: a historical record of their thoughts at a moment in time.

For others it’ll be like speed-networking. You get to know people in a shallow way and then develop a relationship.

So whether you use blogging as you might a photo album, to record your memories, or as a great way of connecting to other people who share the same interests or business goals as you, there are plenty of reasons to give it a shot.

Deborah Ng thinks up a good few more, including:

  • Recognition – the chance to develop a following and stand out as a subject area expert
  • Employment opportunities – the opportunity to be discovered by a potential employer, or have a body of work to show off at your next interview
  • Revenue – the very real chance to make money from your online writing, whether directly through advertising or indirectly through spin-off publications, speaking engagements, consultancy and all manner of other revenue generating means

For business owners the imperative is even greater. For one thing, search engines favour websites that are updated regularly, and blogging is a great way to make sure that your content is always fresh, and thus regularly checked in on by Google and company. This gives you a much better shot of appearing high in the results of Google search.

Another great reason is supplied by Corporateblogging.info:

In a forum where your main objective not is to sell, you’ll have a more personal relationship between you and your customers. Blogs are a fast way to join the customers’ discussions, provide tips and insights or receive feedback.

So whether you want to reach out and communicate with fellow hobbyists, give your customers an opportunity to interact with you, or boost your online presence, blogging is a great way to go about it.

Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?

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A blogging platform is the software you use to publish your content to the web. Just as you might have a choice about which word processor or web browser to use, there are also a range of different blogging platforms available to you.

Some are free, while others will cost you a monthly or yearly subscription. Some are hosted online for you, while others require you to host them on your own web server. Some are meant for individual blogging dome others for group publishing o to create small networks of bloggers. So which one is likely to suit you best?

Hosted Blogs

By far the easiest way to get started is a hosted blogging platform. The most popular choices here are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Both of these services are free to use, and you can get started on your blog very easily, with a minimum of setup.

Darren Rowse writes about hosted solutions:

“This is the type of blog that many bloggers start out with, simply because they are easy and usually quite cheap (if not free). Probably the most popular of these systems is Blogger.com – but there are others like WordPress.com and MSN Spaces. TypePad also runs hosted blogs – although have the option to go with a type of standalone option also through remote hosting.”

If you aren’t sure about blogging and want to give it a try first, these are nice solutions that will provide you with plenty of options as to how your blog looks and displays your text. The big downside with these services – Typepad excluded, which is a paid service – is that you can’t use your own domain name.

So, instead of having masternewmedia.org, for instance, if you were using blogger, your website address would read masternewmedia.blogspot.com. While this won’t bother some people, and it is possible to hide, professional users might prefer to have their blog hosted at their own domain.

Stand-Alone or Self-Hosted Blogs

If you want a greater degree of control over the presentation, modification and location of your blog, stand-alone or self-hosted platforms might be more suitable for your needs. Far and away the two most popular solutions are WordPress.org, which is open source and free to use, or the subscription based Movable Type.

Both platforms are highly extensible allowing you to easily add different “themes”, designs for your blog, as well as “ plugins“, which add extra functionality to your blog.

Optiniche provide an excellent screencast tutorial on how to get your WordPress.org blog installed on your own domain.

Thankfully the Movable Type team have created a useful screencast video demonstration on their website taking you through the installation process, too.

WordPress is very popular due to the fact that it has an enormous amount of Open Source, free support from its active community, and a huge array of free themes and plugins to enhance your blog with.

Movable Type, on the other hand, provides excellent support, as it is a paid service. LeRoy Brown of Blogging Blog also notes:

Movable Type-the top choice to control multiple blogs from one spot. The free version allows unlimited blogs under one login, so you can sure save some headaches if you run several blogs. The bad part? Movable Type is rather difficult to set up.

Nevertheless armed with a good video demonstration of the process, this is not an unmanageable task.

Personally I would recommend a self-hosted solution if you are looking to blog professionally or as part of your business, and a hosted solution if you want to blog for fun, or as an experiment to see if you enjoy blogging.

Can I Blog From My Desktop?

Usually speaking blogging takes place right within your web browser. You log in to your blog, create a new post, just as you might write an email, providing a subject line or title, and then a body of text beneath.

The problem with writing online is that browsers can crash, or your web connection can suddenly cut out, leaving you high and dry. One solution to this problem that a lot of people use is a desktop blogging application. This is very much like a word processor or desktop publishing program, only it sends your finished work over to your blog.

There are some great free and cheap blog editing applications on the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, so whichever you are using, you can write (and save) your posts without the need to be online.

Windows Blog Editors

Brice Dunwoodie reviews some of the Windows options over at CMS Wire, and while he doesn’t get along with these applications 100%, the most promising of the bunch seems to be ecto, which is also a Mac application.

Personally, my own favorite Windows-based blog editing application is Windows Live Writer. It’s totally free, works with most blogging platforms, and will even set you up with a Windows Live Spaces blog if you’d like. While much has been added since my video review of last year.

Mac Blog Editors

Mac users might want to check out Earl Moore’s review of three desktop blogging clients . His personal favorite, and the one I have personally found best in my own blogging is ecto.

Linux Blog Editors

Linux also has its fair share of desktop blog editors available, and the options have been gathered at Terinea Weblog. There are a good five alternatives listed here to get you started, but unfortunately they haven’t been reviewed. Linux users would be very welcome to add their personal recommendations to the comments of this post.

What Should I Write About?

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Quite beyond the technical questions of how to blog, one question that often gets asked by beginner bloggers is what they should write about.

While this will obviously depend on why you are blogging in the first place, one piece of advice you should definitely consider is trying to find yourself a niche. Unless you are writing for your family or a couple of friends, the best way to distinguish yourself and build a readership is to focus on a particular niche topic or interest.

Whether that’s creating glove puppets or PHP programming, the way people will find your blog most commonly will be through a search engine, and they will be searching for something that they want to know more about. That’s where you come in.

Answering the question of what to write about Matt DeAngelis of the Affiliate Blog writes:

Why not start with yourself? Take a moment right now and list your interests. What do you search for on the web? Put that on the list. Think about all of the things that fill your day at work or at home. While you are living your life run stuff through the niche filter in your mind — there’s always something that you can add to the list. If you don’t have something to write it down on, call yourself and leave a voice mail. I’ve done it many times. Everyone says I wish there was a [insert something here] on the Internet. Some of us say that a lot. Put it on the list.

It also pays to do a little research in the first instance, as Daniel Vukadinovic points out at Daily Blogging Tips:

Ask yourself, does your blog have potential? Before making any moves go out and learn the competition. Visit as many blogs and websites as possible about the niche you’ve chosen and see if there’s any room left for you. You don’t want to get sucked into a net of gazillion sites about the same thing because chances are you’re going to fail. There’s no need for ten million blogs about soccer where there are only few of them about baskeball.

With that said, the key is to drill down further. Rather than writing a blog about football or basketball, why not write about your local team, about basketball sneakers, about the lifestyle of a particular football player. That way you are sure to find a niche that doesn’t already have a million competitors.

Robin Good points out the role of the blogger as someone that helps their reader to navigate an infinite, ever growing sea of information:

Bloggers sift through and edit the information for the readers, helping the readers find information from around the web in one place, at the same time bloggers become the “go to” expert. The more people who value or trust what a blogger has to say, the more people will link to and recommend her blog.

A blogger navigates readers around the web to find information that is relevant to her niche audience.

There is bound to be something that you are passionate about, that really motivates you, and that is in some way unique to you. That’s where to begin your blog from.

How Can I Make My Blog Content Stand Out?

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So you have a niche, you’ve found somewhere to host your blog, and you’ve set yourself up with a desktop editing application. What’s next?

Well, it might be worth thinking about the way that you present your content, and how you can make it truly jump off the screen and grab your readers attention. A lot of beginning bloggers will write something more appropriate to an essay than to a blog post. Here are a few pieces of advice that make sure that you leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Perhaps the most important part of any blog post is the title.

Why’s that?

Because that’s what will make a reader that finds your content through a search engine decide whether to visit your website or not. This is the make or break point that determines whether you get read or passed over in favour of someone else’s content.

Robin Good, in his article on How To Write Great Titles And Headlines For The Web notes that:

Do not try to make the title “smart”, by using irony, word play or other “journalistic” approach. The title to be built must be thought as of a label to your article in the unlimited virtual library that the Internet is.

Inside newspapers the reader is already captive and searching, within the page, for items of possible interest.

On the Internet, headlines are often displayed out of context. The reader is searching for your content and will only get to it, if a most appropriate, serious and well thought out label is attached to it. On the web, readers often don’t get the chance of applying background understanding to the interpretation of the titles they are presented with.

Just like in a real library.

This is just one of several essential pieces of advice that Robin gives on titling for the web. Of course you want your titles to be snappy and maybe even funny, but if this is at the expense of ever being read, it makes perfect sense to adopt a more pragmatic approach.

Once you have a great title the next thing worth thinking about is what happens when your reader actually arrives at your website. Sure, it would be nice to think that they will read everything you wrote once they’ve clicked through. In actual fact, a lot of readers will disappear from a site in seconds unless they are captivated and encouraged to stay.

Muhammad Saleem writes for CopyBlogger that:

“Readers will often read content diagonally to determine its usefulness before giving it a proper read. And in order to pass this direct filter test, you need to write for “diagonal” readers who scan your content from headline to close in a zig zag pattern.”

Muhammad suggests that you have ten seconds to convince that reader to continue and dip into your full post. I would say that figure is closer to five seconds.

So how do you make your text “scannable”?

Robin Good provides some excellent tips on writing for the web in his post Information: Beginners Blog Design. Here Robin points out such techniques as “chunking”:

Chunking is an approach to the formatting of the text that strives to “modularize” contents into the greatest number of meaningful text blocks possible. Similarly to what is done in poetry, each concept and idea is given greater space to be read and understood. There is no packing of paragraphs into long blocks of text that know no pause. There is no saving in having less digital screen space used… A must-abide to rule to use when wanting to chunk content effectively is the one of never going to the next line after a period. Either you proceed on the same line with the following sentence, or you leave an empty line and start a new paragraph below.

Robin also suggests that bolding can be used effectively as a means for readers to scan your content:

In order to facilitate readers scanning page contents, it is a great idea to use some “bolding” to highlight the first three or four words of content paragraphs that are particularly important. In contrast then with traditional editorial and formatting approaches where bolding is used in the middle of sentences to emphasize relevant content elements, my personal suggestions is to use bold to again highlight opening words of critical paragraphs.

Robin finally suggests that the use of images in your posts is an all but essential component that will really help to grab your readers attention.

But where are you going to find those?

Where Can I Find Free or Cheap Images to Use in My Blog Post?

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With a bit of time on your hands, it’s quite possible to find royalty-free, cheap or free photos and graphics to include in your blog posts.

Garr Reynolds, who runs the beautiful looking Presentation Zen website, suggests some of his favourite sources for the images he uses:

I use iStockphoto.com the most (as well as more expensive sites — though I do that much less now — and high-quality photo discs from Japan). A few people gave links to their favorite free or inexpensive sites as well.

Garr goes on to list both cheap and free resources you might use to track down great looking images.

Robin Good has also compiled a very extensive resource of free image websites, with the benefit being that this is updated regularly. At the time of writing there are some sixty-six websites for you to explore.

If that still leaves you wanting, which is highly doubtful, you might also check out the pared down version of Robin’s guide over at TechSoup.

Where Can I Find More Blogging Resources?

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Once you have a great looking blog up and running, you might want to start thinking about other things, such as how you can spruce up your design, start making money from your content, or making sure that you promote your content to as many people as possible. To get you started, here are some useful links to take you to the next level:

Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and titled “How To Blog: Publish Your First Blog To The Web” – Edited and illustrated by Robin Good

Photo and Illustration credits:
Red question mark – Vacuum 3D
Red high heel shoes: Elnur Amikishiyev
Writing inspiration secretary – Bruno Passagatti
Santa Claus – Free Images – Andres Rodriguez
Blogging Platforms – RSS Pieces
Blog? – Marco Montemagno
Blogging Resources – Sanja Gjenero

–Happy Blogging.

Facebook Twitter integration Reaches a new level

According to a blog post in the official blog of facebook, facebook will be providing an option for updating the status on twitter account according to facebook updates. The links in twitter updates will be of corresponding facebook pages but not profile pages.

The blog Post Reads,

Over the next few days, we will be releasing a feature that allows administrators of Facebook Pages to publish their Facebook updates to their Twitter accounts automatically. This will only link Facebook Pages to Twitter, not your individual profile.

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If you manage a Facebook Page, you now will be able to decide whether to share updates with their Twitter followers, and you also will be able to control what type of updates to share: status updates, links, photos, notes, events or all of them. If you have multiple Pages, you will have the option to link each of those Pages to different Twitter accounts. This new feature will soon be available at http://www.facebook.com/twitter.

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