Monthly Archives: January 2012

5 Reasons to Use WordPress for Your Website

WordPress Logo

1. WordPress is Easy

Once you get the hang of it WordPress is a beautifully intuitive system to operate. Ok, some things are a little tricky but they're a lot less so with WP than any and all of it's rivals. The complication comes from it's power, but for most functions it's wonderfully intuitive.

2. It's the Biggest and Most Popular CMS in the World

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world, which means more people run it, innovate with it and improve it than most of the leading rival systems put together. That scale of use means it evolves and improves faster than all the others.

3. Over 17,000 Ways to Enhance Your Site for Free

Plugins for WordPress are like apps for your smartphone; they massively increase the functionality and possibilities for your website. The vast majority are free and there are more developers creating new plugins or updates to plugins than any other system. This includes shopping carts, photo galleries, currency converters, Google Maps and thousands of other very handy functions to beef up your site and help your visitors do more.

4. Themes - Get a Highly Professional Look for under $100

Because the content is always kept separate from the design, you can simply switch between layouts and designs in seconds. Over 1,400 themes are free but from about $25 to $75 you can get professionally designed themes which would cost $1000s to have done just for you. They're all hugely customisable so you don't have to worry about too many websites looking the same.

5. WordPress is Free

Unlike so many dreadful push button, turn key website solutions, the WordPress.org system is open source and completely free.

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Friday Shorts Jan 27th

"Hmm" from Penny Arcade
"Hmm" from Penny Arcade

How to Become an Effective CEO, Chief Emotions Officer: Tim Ferriss introduces a guest post by "most innovative" award winning CEO and boutique hotel owner Chip Conley on his latest book 'Emotional Equations, Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success'. It may sound a little schmalzy, but there's some good constructive and positive stuff in there.

Why Facebook is Making People Sad: As Facebook becomes a more powerful influence in our daily existence, researchers are looking into how the social networking giant changes our perception of the lives of friends and family members.

Why Startups Succeed or Fail: 10 Fascinating Hardvard Findings: Key insights into what makes entrepreneurial success from a Harvard Business school working paper, some confirm what we know, some are quite counter-intuitive.

How to Make a Splash in Social Media: In this funny, rapid-fire 4 minutes, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit tells the real-life fable of one humpback whale's rise to Web stardom. The lesson of Mister Splashy Pants is a shoo-in classic for meme-makers and marketers in the Facebook age.

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Warning: Irish Government Pirating Your Rights

Update 27/01/2012:

The number of signatures on the petition against "SOPA Ireland" (or "Sherlock's Folly" as some are calling it) is now hitting 60,000 - an incredible number for a petition started just days ago. If you're an Irish citizen and haven't yet, please sign it.

There was a brief 15 minute debate in an empty government chamber last night, but thankfully a little common sense seems to be applied to the situation and we'll have a 50 minute debate on Tuesday next.

Mark Dennehy has a great blog post on his work to get reforms in legislation and why he thinks the system itself needs an overhaul:

I've given up on the idea of working legislation in this country at this stage in almost any area of life. We'd need major change to fix the system of government before we'd get decent legislation for anything

We're going to get some more debate on this issue, but Sherlock appears intent on signing. He seems naive enough to believe that his legislation is fine as it is, and that the courts will deal with any spurious legislation. This beggars belief - we've seen the film and music industry in America taking dead people and people who don't even own computers to court for online copyright violations.

Individuals and small businesses who can't afford to fight won't stand a chance - when they get a threatening letter they will not risk the chance of court costs, regardless of how spurious it is.

--

Original post:

Last week, we had SOPA and PIPA in the US. This week in Ireland, in an even less democratic fashion, we have a "statutory instrument", which requires no parlimentary or public debate, ready to be signed into law by a single minister's pen.

The "Statutory Instrument Number (TBD) of 2011 European Communities (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2011", otherwise known as the "Irish SOPA" is allegedly being enacted in order to comply with EU law, but the European Commission – which monitors implementation of EU law – doesn't seem to think Ireland is in breach and hasn't taken any action against Ireland for failure to introduce blocking.

The situation can no longer be tolerated where Irish Ministers enact EU legislation by statutory instrument. The checks and balances of parliamentary democracy are by-passed.

Very wise! Who said that? Why, the current government in their Programme For Government 2011!

So we have a law being rushed in by the government, with no parlimentary debate - against the wishes of the government's own programme, in order to comply with EU law that we're probably not in breach of. It gets worse! (more…)

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Friday Shorts 20th Jan

Tech support. Cartoon copyright J.D. Frazer - UserFriendly.org

Anonymous Take Down FBI

Anonymous Take Down the Websites of Dept of Justice, Universal Music, BMI & the FBI:   Hacker Collective Anonymous attacked and took down dozens of websites yesterday in retaliation for the FBI shutting down several sites that they believed pirate media illegally.

Facebook Begins News Feed Ads Rollout: Facebook began a slow rollout of ads to the news feed today, but the units are not called Sponsored Stories as some anticipated.

HP Unveil Giant 11 ft x 7ft Touchscreen For Retailers and Businesses: The HP Vantage Point system is powered by two computers with one graphics card and six monitors, yet this touchscreen can simultaneously register input from 32 fingers. It extends the portfolio of "immersive displays" from HP Labs and is designed as a tool for showcasing retail goods or enterprise data.

The Best Definition for 'Entrepreneur'?: As an entrepreneur, you surely have an elevator pitch, the 15-second synopsis of what your company does and why, and you can all but repeat it in your sleep. But until recently, most of us have ever seen a good elevator pitch for entrepreneurship itself. What you do that all entrepreneurs do?

As always, your thoughts, opinions and comments are most welcome and appreciated

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SOPA: Killing Freedom of Speech for Hollywood Profit?

Stop SOPA

There's been a lot of buzz and backlash these last few months around the tech blogs, websites and forums regarding this controversial new bill which was due to go before the US Congress. SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act and the parallel PIPA or Protect IP Act, both aim to protect the Intellectual Property market and industry, protect jobs and revenue and is said to be necessary to strengthen enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.

In many ways that sounds quite reasonable. Intellectual Property and copyright owners must have some rights to protect their creations, don't they? They do and they should. That aspect is not the problem with the bill, what is the problem is the knock on effects and the potential for severely excessive use of the bill against freedom of speech as well as destabilising and making less secure the foundations and very structure of the internet.

The eminent Yoast of Yoast SEO fame, one of the foremost and respected WordPress SEO experts unusually ventured into political territory with a recent blog post strongly against SOPA entitled Stop SOPA Help the Internet. In it he directed attention to a video concisely explaining the the very real dangers the bill poses to the safety of the Internet as well as freedom of speech and entrepreneurial innovation. Watch this video as it's a concise summing up of the argument against SOPA:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

So who supports SOPA and who's against it? Hollywood and the entertainment industries such as the big studios and tv networks, book publishers and music industry players support it which isn't a huge surprise. View the complete list of SOPA supporters here. More enlightening maybe, are the lists of those in strong opposition or express concern with SOPA. All the big tech and internet companies are there; Facebook, Google etc but also the usually non-political WordPress and somewhat subversive but pro-democracy organisations such as 4chan. The anti-SOPA list really is a who's who of the internet, tech and pro-free speech, first amendment world.

Maybe more interestingly again however, GoDaddy, Electronic Arts, Sony and Nintendo were on the pro-SOPA side and defected over, many believe due to the extraordinary public outcry against the bill and the bad PR for those who supported it.

There was a crucial turning point for the anti-SOPA camp when the White House stated that they will not support the bill.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,"

Nicely put by the White House. Artists need to get paid otherwise they will struggle to make more art. But we're not really talking that much about 'artists' here, we're talking about cases being brought by large Hollywood studios, tv companies, and giant corporations, many that churn out repetitive low grade schlock. These are the companies that could afford to take advantage of the SOPA bill, even banning personal youtube videos and accounts that have their song in the background.

Still, they have a right to protect that schlock or indeed quality work, as any author does. Almost everyone, supporters and detractors of the SOPA bill, agree that it is well meaning in what it's trying to do in protecting Intellectual Property rights and the jobs of those who create works, it's just how it plans to do that and on the devastating tertiary impact it will have that people massively disagree.

A few hours following the White House opposition to the bill, Congress shelved SOPA putting off action on the it indefinitely. It's quite refreshing when democracy and the voice of the people is listened to, but it's equally terrifying how close we came to this madness becoming reality. Obama may have been the final nail in SOPA's coffin, in this guise. But how long before it's back with a different name but a similar danger to freedom of speech?

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Friday Shorts 13th Jan

Duty Calls

"Duty Calls" from Xkcd

 

ReCatcha

How ReCaptcha Works

6 Startups to Watch in 2012: Mashables pick out 6 bright young things of the startup world for our insight and pleasure. Most insightful of all however is to see which directions they think technology and its adoption is moving.

Google Integrates Google+ with Search Results: Google takes another step in personalising your search results with information from your Google+ account, customising your experience of the web one step further.

Harness Water to Power Your Smartphone: Swedish company myFC have devised a two-in-one device that consists of both a fuel cell battery pack and replaceable fuel cell cartridges which will charge smartphones, cameras and other such devices.

Luis Van Ahn's Large Scale Human Online Collaboration: After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. At TEDxCMU, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the Web quickly and accurately and all for free.

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Friday Shorts 6th Jan

Copyright of Xkcd.com

Copyright Xkcd.com

MIT To Give Free Education to All: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced they will launch an online learning initiative called MITx, offering MIT courses to anyone in the world free of charge. MITx will not allow students to earn a degree but those who demonstrate a mastery of their subject can attain a certificate of completion.

 The Pros and Cons of Google+ For Small Business:  Mashables surveys many of it's small business contributors and rounds up their responses in 7 for and 7 against using Google Plus.

30 Social Media Predictions for 2012 From the Pros: A host of Social Media experts and pioneers give their predictions for the changes and developments on their way this year. Let's see how many come to pass.

5 Reasons Online Video is So Persuasive: What Makes Them Click!? Find out with insights from the psychologist as to why online video is so captivating to audiences.

We love to hear your thoughts, so please leave us some comments!

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