WordPress Wednesday: Commentwitter Plugin

Published on Sep 30, 2009   //  WordPress

Some people have posited that the increased usage of Twitter and Facebook have diminished the number of comments that people leave on blogs. Rather than voicing their opinions on the blogs themselves, some people may choose to post their comments via one of the social networking channels instead. How can you encourage people to leave more comments on your blog again?

Developer Jon Bishop addresses this issue with his Commentwitter WordPress plug-in. The idea behind this plugin is that it can integrate the comments left on a blog with the tweets that people may post through their Twitter accounts, just as you may use some tools to publish your RSS feed through your Twitter account as well.

With Commentwitter, a simple link is placed at the bottom of the comment form in a blog post. By clicking on the “Post to Twitter” text link, readers have the opportunity to enter their Twitter username and password so that the comment left on the blog is also sent out as a tweet through their Twitter accounts. This can lead their Twitter followers back to your blog and, thus, you may have the opportunity go gain some new readers as a result.

However, Commentwitter may pose a security risk, since visitors need to supply their Twitter usernames and passwords to a third-party (your blog). Bishop says that this plugin is designed in such a way that WordPress will not save your Twitter username and password, so your information is only entered and used once. You are taking him at his word, of course, so exercise caution as usual. For more information, check out the plugin page on JonBishop.com.

Diddy Server Issues

Published on Sep 30, 2009   //  Network Issues

Data Center

The server has become unresponsive at 6:01 and staff are investigating the server to determine the cause. We will update this post with more details as we have them.

There is a staff member on site who will be working on the issue until it is fixed.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

UPDATE – 30/09/2009 11:30 AM – Server was rebooted and a a filesystem check was completed. The hard drive is responsive but we are not able to login. We are continuing to work on the server. If we can not get in the next several hours we will wipe the machine and pull from the most recent backups we have.

UPDATE – 1/10/2009 1:20 AM – Hard Drive was considered dead after several attempts to correct the issue. Hard Drive was formated and OS reinstalled. cPanel is currently beeing reinstalled on the server. We wil restore for the last backups we have stored after.

Business 101: Deceptive Scare Tactics

Published on Sep 29, 2009   //  Business Topics

Many of us have been exposed to deceptive advertising campaigns, but today’s topic is quite a bit more insidious in nature. Rather than being deceptive as part of an advertising campaign to increase sales, some companies make use of deceptive scare tactics to frighten people into paying. I won’t name the company in this article, but some of you may be familiar with these practices already.

When you park your car on a private lot, you are responsible to buy the appropriate pass or buy the necessary ticket so that you can park there for a set period of time. This isn’t a law in the same way that you are required the pay the meter when you park on public streets, but it is an implicit contractual agreement when you choose to park on the private lot of this private company.

If your ticket expires or if you park there when you should not be, this private parking corporation will give you what appears to be an official violation ticket, just like the one that you would receive from the city. This is inherently deceptive, because these “violation tickets” do not carry the same legal ramifications as a parking ticket from the city. That’s the first scare tactic.

If you choose to ignore the violation notification, you may be sent to a collections agency. This notification letter will say that you are being sent to something like the City Collections Company, making it sound once again that this is a government agency of some kind. It’s not. The so-called collections company is actually a subsidiary of the private parking corporation. That’s the second scare tactic.

As you can tell, these are very deceptive business practices and, to my knowledge, a class action lawsuit is in the works against this private parking corporation. When running your own business, it is important that you do what you can to increase revenues and reduce expenses, but it is unethical to use deceptive scare tactics like these to achieve your goals.

Great Gadgets: Logitech Quick Call

Published on Sep 28, 2009   //  Gadgets

Logitech Quick Call USB VOIP Speakerphone.

You want the ability to communicate with your business associates from all around the world, but the long distance plans through conventional landline telephone services can prove to be quite pricey sometimes. That’s why so many people have decided to take the VoIP route for many of their calls.

A great way to hold a conference call with many people in the room is the Logitech Quick Call USB VOIP Speakerphone. This handsfree and headset-free device opens up all kinds of possibilities for your VoIP conversations, since everyone in the room can be in on the call. You can also make your call private by attaching a headset via the built-in audio jack.

The Logitech Quick Call is compatible with Skype, as well as with AIM and Yahoo! Messenger. You get one-touch call buttons for easy call management and volume control, an advanced dual microphone array for quality audio, and a compact size for easy storage. It’s a relatively simple but very effective solution for both business and personal use.

And the best part? While it normally sells for $99.99, the Logitech Quick Call is on sale on Amazon for $14.99. The sale, to my knowledge, only runs for this week, so pick one up for the discounted price while you can.

In the Sphere: Celebrities, Sea World, and Beer

Published on Sep 25, 2009   //  In the Sphere

Summer may be officially behind us, but that means that we can start getting ready for some of the great events yet to come in the fall and winter. Are you already thinking about Halloween costumes? Considering where you want to spend your holidays in December? Before you get that far, let’s take another tour of the blogosphere to see what people have to say.

John Grohol is an expert in psychology, so he was particularly interested in the season premiere of a certain television show earlier this week. We saw House in a psychiatric hospital and, while there were some stereotypes being displayed, the overall portrayal is more accurate than most other Hollywood depictions of these kinds of institutions. Growth and development can be a long and challenging road, but truth and compassion can get us there.

Donald Trump may have faced bankruptcy on more than one occasion, but we all respect him for his business savvy and his ability to rise back into multi-millionaire mogul status. How does he do it? Trump values the importance of tenacity. It’s not about how many times you fall down and how many difficulties you may face; it’s about how many times you get back up and how many times you overcome your conflicts.

Justine Ezarik may be an Internet celebrity herself, but when she went to the 140tc Celebrity Panel, she saw someone who may be better known to mainstream society. A relative newbie to the world of Twitter, Pee Wee Herman was in attendance to promote his new show. The comedian-actor actually sent his first tweet ever right from the stage of the event.

Jeremy Schoemaker know that there are still lessons to be learned when you are on vacation. He recently took a trip to San Diego, learning business lessons from Sea World. More specifically, he took a trip to the midway arcade, analyzing the business model behind those games to win giant stuffed animals. Rather than work the system, Shoemoney decided to buy a giant Shamu for $30 instead.

Buzz Bishop is on his way to the Napa Valley for some wine tasting, but before he headed out, he went over to Steamworks in Gastown for some Great Pumpkin Ale. Some people enjoy wheat beers or dark lagers, but Steamworks decided to brew up some ale with what we would normally use for pie or Jack O’ Lanterns. For Buzz, it was too sweet and the spices were far from subtle. Your taste buds may or may not agree.

Marketing 101: Speaking Opportunities

Published on Sep 24, 2009   //  Marketing Tips

When most people think about advertising, they usually consider the more conventional forms of marketing. They may look at how to get a commercial on television, a flyer included in the local newspaper, or some sort of promotional item that can be distributed at a trade show. These can all be effective ways to get people to know about your company and your products, but you also have to consider less direct forms of marketing as well.

If you live or work in or near a major metropolitan area, there is a good chance that the local business community hosts different symposiums and similar events throughout the year. These could take on a more casual format like Tweetups and BarCamps, but these can also prove to be very valuable opportunities for networking with like-minded individuals. You don’t want to be the pushy salesperson at these meetings, but you can start building the foundation for great relationships down the road.

During these events, the organizers may look for speakers to give brief presentations on different topics. Are you an expert in WordPress? Search engine optimization? The real estate market? Whatever your expertise may be, this can be a great opportunity to be presented as an expert in your field. Your name and company will likely be featured in the agenda in some form, effectively giving you free advertising in exchange for a brief presentation. This can solidify your position in your niche.

Speaking opportunities can be great for your business, but make sure that when you are preparing for your speaking engagement that you don’t turn your presentation into a sales pitch. People don’t like that. They’re there for the valuable information and, if they view you as an expert, they’ll come to you for more advice down the line.

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