WordPress Wednesday: GASP Anti-Spam Plugin

Published on Aug 31, 2011   //  WordPress

Growing a popular blog is very much a double-edged sword. It’s great when you have lots of new readers leaving lots of new comments, but that also means that your site is more likely to attract all the comment spammers and spambots out there.

Akismet has been the go-to tool for this problem for quite some time, but it is not without its flaws. It “detects” many false positives: comments that are legitimate can oftentimes be flagged as spam and never seen by the blog owner. An alternative to Akismet is GASP and it claims to be more accurate in this regard.

Developed by Andy Bailey, the same guy who made the popular CommentLuv plugin, GASP stands for GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin. It works to combat spam from spambots by implementing a very simple feature. There is a checkbox that needs to be ticked before a comment can be posted. The text next to this reads, “Check box to confirm you are NOT a spammer.” Real comments get through and spambots do not.

Check out Basic Blog Tips for more information about GASP. The plugin can then be found as a free download through the usual WordPress.org Plugin Directory.

Business 101: Balanced Priorities

Published on Aug 30, 2011   //  Business Topics

When you have a new product, whether it’s physical or digital, you want to make sure that you get the best distribution possible. At the same time, you want to make sure that the public actually knows about the product and wants to have it.

Taken together, this could mean two things. First, you want to give product samples to the buyers for various retail outlets and other types of stores. This will help to convince them that you have a quality product that will sell. Without having a product in hand, it may be more challenging for the buyers to make that kind of decision.

Second, you want to give product samples to the media, both online and offline. They can review the product, highlight the product in an article, or otherwise provide you with that “press” and “exposure” that you need. The public learns about the product, how it works, and what purpose it serves. From this, they can extrapolate why they would want to buy one.

Naturally, giving out product samples comes at a cost and you may only have so many samples to go around. Do you give priority to the buyers or to the media? In the end, like so many other things in business, it’s about finding the balance. Both groups need to be kept happy.

Great Gadgets: Samsung Galaxy S II 4G

Published on Aug 29, 2011   //  Gadgets

Great Gadgets: Samsung Galaxy S II 4G

The world of Android smartphones has certainly come a very long way since the original HTC Dream G1 that was released so long ago. Today, one of the best Android phones on the market is the Samsung Galaxy S II, a device that builds on the huge success of the Galaxy S series that preceded it.

With this iteration, Samsung has preloaded Android 2.3 Gingerbread to go along with a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The real star here, aside from the sizable performance bumps under the hood, is the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen display. Photos don’t really do it justice and it really needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. The color saturation is amazing.

Some of the other notable highlights on this Android smartphone include the 8MP camera on the back with 1080p/30fps video support, Gorilla Glass display, TouchWiz v4.0 UI, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, stereo FM radio with RDS, and remarkable 8.5mm thin profile. The current version ships with HSDPA, but a 4G LTE version will be shipping soon.

More information about the Galaxy S 2 can be found on the Samsung website and through the comprehensive review on Mobile Magazine.

BlueFur Customer of the Week: Tatam Reeves

Published on Aug 28, 2011   //  BlueFur Customer of the Week

Some of the most creative people in the world prefer BlueFur for their web hosting needs. These include a range of graphic artists, handicraft artisans, and professional web designers. Tatam Reeves is another example of this bustling community of creativity.

Tatam is a musical artist based out of the Edmonton area in Canada. According to his bio, his music offers a “unique sound consisting of acoustic and vocal melodies that paint a rich portrait of life’s light and shadow.” Musical influences include Tori Amos and Kelly Joe Phelps.

To get the best sense of the kind of sound Tatam brings to the table (and to your speakers), be sure to check out the music samples he has posted on his site. There are also sections with videos, photos and press, as well as information about the dates and times of live performances.

Do you use BlueFur to host your websites? Let us know and we can feature you in a future blog post. Send an email message to blogfeature@bluefur.com with your name, website URL, and a brief description of what you’d like to see highlighted.

Showcase Saturday: Blocks Theme

Published on Aug 27, 2011   //  Showcase Saturday

When it comes to WordPress, you have many different options for many different looks. Whether you want a more casual-looking theme for a personal blog or a more corporate-looking site for an online store, there is a WordPress theme out there to suit your needs.

One theme that recently hit the web is Blocks. It carries a very simple, but functional layout that can work for a range of niches and site types. As its name implies, the theme features several squared off edges and clear definition between the sections.

There is a single sidebar on the left where you can add your widgets, like the search bar, list of recent comments, archive listing, and ad code. The footer is also widget enabled with four separate areas. The primary color scheme is black, blue, and orange, but you can easily change that by slightly altering the code.

Check out the live preview and then go to Empty Nest Themes to access the free download link.

In the Sphere: No Easy Button

Published on Aug 26, 2011   //  In the Sphere

Let’s see what the bloggers around the web are talking about this week.

Vance Sova is a regular attendee at Dot Com Pho and he is sharing a few videos that she shot at the most recent meetup. In the videos, the Internet gurus talk about Android and beer, though not necessarily the relationship between the two. The iPhone 5 slots into the conversation too.

Buzz Bishop recently went for a trip through the Rocky Mountains and learned what what tourists do in Canada: they do goofy things for funny photos. This is no different than when people pose in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, pretending to prop it up. Memories may change, but photos are forever?

Patti Stafford has an article up on Blogging Tips, reminding readers of a hard fact of life: There is no easy button. Despite what the Staples ads may lead you to believe, you can’t fix life’s problems by tapping on a big red button. Be ready to work and put in the effort if you want to achieve any kind of real success.

Bob Buskirk has reached another milestone in his life. He just turned 27 years old. This officially makes him a member of the “late 20s” crowd, whatever that means. He’s happy with the progress he has made in his web career and he looks forward to the many challenges that lay before him in the future.

Raul Pacheco continues with the birthday theme, but on a completely different spin. Rather than soliciting gifts, he plans on celebrating his birthday by doing charity work. That’s a fantastic attitude to have, because there are so many people, causes, and organizations that need our help!

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