Friday Funny

Published on Jan 30, 2009   //  Cartoon

A cartoon created by artist Rob Cottingham.

facebook break up

If you have an idea for a future comic or would like to submit your own BlueFur cartoon let us know in a comment.

Twitter Question of the Week

Published on Jan 30, 2009   //  Polls

This week on twitter I asked, how many computers are in your home?

Here is what was said…

Thinkreferrals @bluefur 4 Computers. One Server , 1 WorkStation, 1 GameStation and 1 Laptop
ZenDreams @bluefur two laptops and probably an imac soon
COPIK_Chef @bluefur 1 pc, 1 lapton , 2 old hp’s, 2 dead printers :)
missingarrow @bluefur I currently have five Total, all PCs. Two desktops and three laptops.
stephenfung @bluefur I currently have 5. 1 Mac. 4 PCs.
JasonLandals @bluefur 4 total. Main desktop, Home Theatre PC, Laptop, and Test Rig
IcemanYVR @bluefur 3 laptops
mattfreedman @bluefur six, four of which are mine.

sheldonpearce @bluefur 3 macs!!!
legacyb4 @bluefur Does that include my PS3? 5 in that case; 6 if you include my Touch.
Jennerosity @bluefur 4 That work. Bits and pieces of old components.
Seagoon @bluefur 3
thatedeguy @bluefur Just working computers? ;) 3 total working. I think I threw the dead ones…
conepa @bluefur 2
The_Weakonomist @bluefur 7 if you include iPhones. 5 are computers. 3 of those work. Been meaning to turn old laptop into media server.
JonJennings @bluefur assuming you mean with keyboard, capable of booting now & running general purpose build of Windows/OSX/Linux, I think answer is 10
rayebersole @bluefur 8 computers – 3 pc desktops, 2 pc laptops, 2 mac desktops, 1 mac laptop
Henaway @bluefur – 2. One tower, one laptop. 3 if you count the Wii. I do web surf on it now and then.
nodebtplan @bluefur Functioning or total? 1 desktop, 2 true laptops, 2 older laptops
ReizaM @bluefur Working or non? 2 working laptops, 1 dead hard drive and a PC that’s out for repair.
KhensU @bluefur 8
JenTekk @bluefur 1 PC and 1 Laptop :)
BradyV @bluefur There we go. Our house has 6
cjw518 @bluefur functioning? non-functioning? both? :D
kdmurray @bluefur 6 counting laptops
changstein @bluefur Five
tusharm @bluefur 3. 2 laptops 1 desktop.
jasonandjodie @bluefur – Just 2 laptops
MubinAhmed MubinAhmed @bluefur 1 desktop 3 laptops

How many computers do you have?

In The Sphere: How Do I… ?

Published on Jan 30, 2009   //  In the Sphere
Off

Welcome to another rousing speedlink session that we like to call In The Sphere. In this weekly feature, we take a look at what people are talking about on the Internet and this week, we’re leaning how (and how not) to do things and how (and how not) to live life to its fullest. Let’s see what the blogosphere has to say.

Nate Whitehill has been using Twitter for quite some time now, networking with other online professionals and meeting all sorts of interesting people. Over the course of his journeys, he has also learned five ways not to use Twitter. Try to keep your complaining and spamming to a minimum, please.

Big Bad Bobby asks us a simple question that may actually take you quite some time to come up with an appropriate response. What do you want your life to look like? If you approach life haphazardly and without any sense of direction, you’ll just end up in limbo.

The Keyword Academy helps us decide on which domains are more valuable and why we should choose them. We already know that having keywords in the domain is a good idea, but is it better to use dashes or no dashes. What if you have to choose between a dashed dot com or an undashed dot net? Which is the better choice for SEO?

Neil Patel may be a pretty young fellow, but he’s already well-versed in the world of entrepreneurship. He may be successful now, but he explains why his first business failed. Take note of these seven reasons and make sure you don’t duplicate Neil’s mistakes when you choose to start your own business.

Eamonn Fitzgerald has noticed something that has slowly crept into our world. It came slowly yet surely and the phenomenon is very much real today. We live in public now. Whereas we may have once guarded our private lives from the outside world, we now let people know what we’re having for dinner through Twitter, our relationship status through Facebook, and our daily lives through our blogs. They know. The world knows.

Moving Beyond SSH: MySQL

Published on Jan 29, 2009   //  Development
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Moving Beyond SSH

This week we will be going over installing the database software MySQL. MySQL is one of the most popular databases and used by quite a lot of software written in PHP (WordPress, for example). It is important to note that you should be installing this software in the order we write these articles, as some software depends on other software.

Okay, as usual, start out by logging into your server via SSH. Now, head on over to the MySQL 5.1 download page and get a download link from the “Pick a Mirror” link beside Linux (x86). Then run the following command (replacing URL with the URL you just got from the MySQL site). This article assumes that you’re running this command when in the directory /.

wget URL

Now, we need to add a user and group for MySQL to run under. To do this, run the following commands:

groupadd mysql
useradd -g mysql mysql

Now, let’s switch to the directory where we we be installing MySQL to:

cd /usr/local

Now, we need to extract the .tar.gz file we downloaded in the first step. Replace mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz with the name of the archive you downloaded.

tar zxvf /mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz

So, now we will create a symbolic link that will allow us to have a shorter path to our MySQL installation.

ln -s mysql-VERSION-OS mysql

Change our working directory to our mysql files:

cd mysql

We now need to change the permissions and ownerships of these files to be under the mysql user and group:

chown -R mysql .
chgrp -R mysql .

MySQL now needs to be setup, we do this by running this command:

scripts/mysql_install_db --user=mysql

After we have run the setup, we need to remove some anonymous users and give the root user a password. Let’s start off with removing the anonymous users:

mysql -u root
DROP USER '';

Now, let’s set a password for the root user. Replace newpwd with a strong, secure password. Remember, if this password is hacked, the attacker will have full root access to all your databases.

SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('newpwd');

You can now press Control-C to exit out of the mysql command line. We can now start our MySQL server by issuing the following command:

bin/mysqld_safe --user=mysql &

Conclusion

Next week we’ll be going over how to install PHP, after that we’ll be going over some configuration stuff.

Marketing 101: Product and Package

Published on Jan 29, 2009   //  Marketing Tips
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You have the best product on the market at the most enticing of price points, but if it is not positioned properly and is not packaged properly, it will not sell. As discerning consumers, we may want to believe that we don’t fooled by fancy packaging, but there is an inherent reaction that we have when we approach certain products. This carries over to how we perceive the product itself.

For example, I remember hearing about a couple of lower-end brandy companies. One had long since established itself in the marketplace and people trusted its value for money. The other was a relative newcomer at the time, but it started to infringe on the market share of the former. It’s not like either company had much of a marketing budget, so advertising was not the issue. Distribution was roughly equal as well.

As it turns out, the first company was selling its brandy in a long and slender bottle, not unlike what you’d find for red wine. The new company, on the other hand, was selling its brandy in a shorter bottle with a stout appearance. It also had a fancier-looking label and was topped with foil. The foil gave an impression of quality, whereas the bottle shape gave a sense of a more authentic brandy.

With a quick change from the long bottle to the short one, the first company was able to recapture much of its market share. They did not change their marketing efforts, adjust the product formula, or do anything else to otherwise change the product. It was just the packaging.

How are you representing your product line? How are you packaging it?

WordPress Development: Actions

Published on Jan 28, 2009   //  Development, WordPress
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WordPress Development

This week on the WordPress Development series, we’ll be talking about another vital part of the WordPress Plugin API, actions.

As with filters, actions are fairly simple. They are used to hook into WordPress at certain points during execution to do something at that point. For example, you could make a plugin that hooks into the post publishing action, so that you could send an email everytime a post was published.

Using an action is very similar to using a filter. We first need to determine what we intend on using an action for, then we need to find the appropriate action. For this example, we’re going to add a tag to the head section of the current theme. For this, we will use the action wp_head (a list of available actions is available here). If you need to use some parameters that the action is passing to your function, you may need to look up the action declaration within WordPress’ source (actions are declared with do_action(). However, for this example, we do not need any parameters (and wp_head doesn’t provide any.

Alright, now let’s write a function that will add a tag to the head of the theme.

[code=’php’]function add_tag_to_head() {
echo ‘ ‘;
}[/code]

Unlike filters, actions tend to either just not output anything or to echo something. Returning something from an action won’t do much. Echoing in an action works because action are placed at certain points in WordPress’ execution of a page (or event). For instance, the wp_head action is usually located right before the ending head tag; meaning anything echoed to this action will appear before the ending head tag.

Now, we need to actually hook this function into the action. We do this by using the add_action function.

[code=’php’]add_action( ‘wp_head’, ‘add_tag_to_head’ );[/code]

The add_action function is identical to the add_filter function, just one works for actions and the other works for filters. The first argument (or parameter, if you want) is the name of the action we want to hook in to. The second argument is the name of the function that will be hooked into the action. There are also third and fourth optional arguments. The third argument is the priorty of when this action should be run. The default of this is 10, however if you need to have your action run earlier or later than other actions, you would lower or raise (respectively) this number. Otherwise, actions will just be executing in order. The fourth parameter is the number of arguments your function can accept, the default is 1 (there’s no need to make this 0 if the action doesn’t pass any arguments).

Conclusion

You should now be another step closer to completely understanding the WordPress Plugin API. Filters and actions are the most important part of the API.

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