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March 2012
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May 2012

WordPress 3.3.2 Out With Security Fixes - Upgrade Now!

Wordpress orgIf you are a user of WordPress, as I am for several of my sites, you really should update your site to WordPress 3.3.2. If you take a look at the Codex page for the release:

You'll note that the release is pretty much all about security fixes to underlying libraries and other aspects of the software.

While yes, I'm a "security guy" who may care about these kind of things more than others, the reality is that I'm in the "content business" and I want my content always to be available. Having my site taken down by attackers is NOT a way to do that.

So I always upgrade WordPress - particularly when there are security issues involved.

The beautiful thing is that you should just be able to go into your site and click the "Update automatically" link to make it happen. Yes, backup your database first to be safe... but do go in and do the update.

Particularly because if the upgrade fixes "cross-site scripting attacks", you have to know that attackers are out there right now trying to exploit those attacks against sites that have NOT yet upgraded.

So don't be a target... upgrade!

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WordPress Dominates Top 100 Blog/Media Sites

If you had any doubt about the outcome of the "platform wars" of the past few years for "blog"-type sites, one graphic can remove that doubt:

Wordpress top100blogs 201204

This comes from a just-released study from Pingdom and before you say "well, of course, this is all about blogs, so naturally WordPress would dominate"... please do scroll down the article and see the range of sites that Pingdom's study covers (the ones that are italicized use WordPress):

  • Huffington Post
  • Mashable
  • TechCrunch
  • Engadget
  • Gizmodo
  • Ars Technica
  • The Next Web
  • GigaOm
  • CNN Political Ticker
  • ReadWriteWeb

... and many more... the point is that what is classified as a "blog" for this study includes many of the "media" sites that many of us visit frequently - and many of those "media" sites turn out to be using WordPress.

The Pingdom article has many other great pieces of information, including this chart comparing the platforms of the Technorati Top 100 blogs in 2009 versus 2012:

Blog platforms

The outright (and not surprising) decline of some platforms like TypePad (on which this DisruptiveConversations site is still hosted) is very clear for all to see as well as the strong rise in WordPress usage.

The ecosystem around WordPress continues to expand at a phenomenal rate and studies like this are useful to measure that actual growth. What would be interesting to see, too, would be a study of "websites" in general, i.e. not just "blogs" but perhaps the Alexa Top 100 or some other set, to see what % of sites there use WordPress and these other platforms. As noted in the Pingdom article, the WordPress team has spent a great amount of time working on making the system more useful as a more generic content management system (CMS) and so the type of sites that are now using WordPress is expanding far beyond its roots in blogging. It will be interesting to see how that changes the web hosting dynamics over the next few years.

Thanks to Pingdom for undertaking the work - and I look forward to seeing what the field looks like in another three years!

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My Report into For Immediate Release (FIR) Podcast #646

In this week's For Immediate Release episode #646, my report covered:

If you are a FIR subscriber, you should have the show now in iTunes or whatever you use to get the feed. If you aren't a subscriber, you can simply listen to the episode online now.

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Twitter Can Help You Escape Kidnappers (in South Africa)

Fascinating story at Ars Techica: "Twitter helps free kidnapped South African from trunk of his car." A man in South Africa was stuffed into the trunk of his own car when thieves stole it, but they neglected to take his mobile phone from him... and so he texted his girlfriend... who then turned to Twitter!

Twitter and kidnappingIt's actually quite a good example of how Twitter can be used by a variety of different people to help deal with a situation happening right now. We've seen this kind of response using Twitter with disasters and natural events... nice to see the Twitter network effect also helping in the case of an individual.

And very good to hear that the gent in question made it out safely.

The full story is worth a read...

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Would You Buy a ".blog" Domain Name?

DotblogIf you could get a domain name ending in ".blog" for your blog site, would you buy one?

Over on Domain Incite, Kevin Murphy reports on the first applicant to publicly state that they are applying for ".blog" as part of the massive generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion by ICANN. Murphy expects that ".blog" will probably be the most heavily contested new gTLD, meaning that multiple companies will be vying to be the registry for ".blog". He points out:

Media analysts NM Incite (great name) tracked 181 million blogs in 2011, up by about 25 million from 2010. A gTLD that could grab just 1% of that business would still be a nice little earner.

I'm not sure, myself. I remain rather skeptical that people will break out of their reliance on ".com" and go for all these other gTLDs. We've seen some of the existing gTLDs like ".biz" and ".pro" that haven't really gone anywhere. (In fact, the only .biz address I personally am aware of is the FIR podcast.)

Still, with a range of more gTLDs perhaps we finally will see people starting to use and accept other domain endings beyond .com/.org or the various country codes.

But would I register ""? or ""?

Probably not, given that I already own the .com and .org variants on the names... although admittedly "" would be tempting purely because I do own .com/.org/.me/etc. and could see that one fitting in well with my "personal brand" online. Probably not for my other sites because I already have established names for them.

If I were crazy enough to start up another new blog, the ".blog" gTLD might be interesting... although to be honest I find the name "blog" to be a bit tired these days. I tend to talk more about my "sites" versus my "blogs" as the difference between what is considered a "blog" and what is considered a regular "web site" seems to get increasingly narrow. I'm not sure if I would want a new site to be labeled as a "blog".

What about you? If a ".blog" becomes available sometime in 2013, would you buy one?

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Video: Here Comes Another Bubble (The Richter Scales)

After yesterday's news of Facebook's acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion USD, a friend pointed out that perhaps the only response is this video from The Richter Scales... :-)

Note - the "credits" page has some interesting links to follow.

Wow - Facebook Acquires Instagram!

InstagramWow... here's one that I don't think most (any?) of us saw coming - Facebook has acquired photo-sharing service Instagram!

It's interesting to note Mark Zuckerberg's focus on the continued separate growth of Instagram:

That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

Time will tell how that will work out, but it will be intriguing to see what the acquisition enables on both sides. It will also be interesting to see the reaction of the Instagram user community...

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD and Emily Price at Mashable are both reporting that the acquisition price was $1 billion USD in cash and shares.

What do you think? Smart move for Facebook? Good or not so good for Instagram users?

UPDATE #1 - TechCrunch is reporting that Instagram received a $50 million investment with a $500 million valuation just last week. And the best response I've seen has to be this one by a woman named Tonya Hall on Facebook:

Remember this day. 551-day-old Instagram is worth $1 billion. 116-year-old New York Times Co. $967 million.

Crazy times, indeed!

UPDATE #2 - Interesting view from Om Malik - "Here is why Facebook bought Instagram"

UPDATE #3 - Some good answers to the Quora question about the Instagram acquisition

P.S. In full disclosure, I do have an Instagram account (danyork) but I have so far only ever posted one photo to it, preferring instead to still use Flickr, although that may change.

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