WordPress 2.6 released… a month ahead of schedule

WordPress Logo Peel Those guys at WordPress are really at it!! They’ve been churning out code like crazy ๐Ÿ˜€ As a result, the all new WordPress 2.6 has been officially released – a month ahead of schedule!

Here’s a quick rundown of the latest features…

  • Post revisions – WordPress 2.6 features Wiki-like tracking of edits, in effect acting like a version control system. This comes in real handy in case you want to nullify any mistakes and go back to a prior version of the post.
  • Press This! bookmarklet – Inspired by the quick-bookmarking buttons that are a part and parcel of almost all social media / network sites, this new bookmarklet lets you embed blog posts, YouTube videos, Flickr images etc. into your blog post at the click of a button.
  • Google Gears Support – WordPress 2.6 now takes advantage of the Google Gears pack to give you that ounce of extra juice that really speeds up your copy of WordPress while using the admin interface (by caching all CSS and JavaScript files locally). More on this to come in future versions…
  • Live Theme Previews – Earlier on you were required to activate a theme before you could see it in action on your site. Not so anymore. You can preview the theme live, without activating it and letting the world see it concurrently.

Among the lesser (smaller) improvements are…

  • Word count! Never guess how many words are in your post anymore.
  • Image captions, so you can add sweet captions like Political Ticker does under your images.
  • Bulk management of plugins.
  • A completely revamped image control to allow for easier inserting, floating, and resizing. It’s now fully integrated with the WYSIWYG.
  • Drag-and-drop reordering of Galleries.
  • Plugin update notification bubble.
  • Customizable default avatars.
  • You can now upload media when in full-screen mode.
  • Remote publishing via XML-RPC and APP is now secure (off) by default, but you can turn it on easily through the options screen.
  • Full SSL support in the core, and the ability to force SSL for security.
  • You can now have many thousands of pages or categories with no interface issues.
  • Ability to move your wp-config file and wp-content directories to a custom location, for ‘clean’ SVN checkouts.
  • Select a range of checkboxes with ‘shift-click.’
  • You can toggle between the Flash uploader and the classic one.
  • A number of proactive security enhancements, including cookies and database interactions.
  • Stronger better faster versions of TinyMCE, jQuery, and jQuery UI.

Here’s a brief video on the same…

Whew! That’s quite a list. I’m headed for the download page rightaway. I need to try it out, NOW! How about you?

Determine the readability level of your blog

ReadabilityEver wondered who reads your blog or how easy (or complicated) is it for your visitors to understand your blog’s content? The Blog Readability Test, is one of those odd-but-fun-and-cool tools that analyses your content and based on the topics & linguistics (types of words used, terminology etc.), names the minimum level of readers who are able to decipher the content. I’m not really sure about the parameters used to come up with the readability score, but I’m simply making a wild guess on the most logical choices.

Using the tool is outright simple. You enter your blog’s URL and hit the Check Readability Now button. On an average it takes about 2-5 seconds to analyse the content (depending on your home-page size) and spits out a badge stating the readership level. My blog got tagged as College (Postgrad).

Chaos Laboratory Readership Level

Although I can’t vouch for the accuracy level of their algorithms, it may give you a decent idea on how much you need to perk your content up to get to the desired level.

What’s the Readability Level of your blog?

Quick Tip: Uncompress / defalte your zip archives online with WobZIP

WobZIP LogoWobZIP is a cool new (and free) solution to bypass any sort of installation restrictions that your sysadmin may have placed on your school computers thereby limiting your ability to unzip certain types of archives. WobZIP lets you upload and uncompress files on-the-fly.

The service is very easy to use and can come in handy not only in the situation mentioned above but wherever you’re in need of quick decompression and a desktop based decompression utility is not ready at hand. It could be your friend’s computer, at a cybercafe – virtually anywhere. Just select the file you wish to decompress and hit wobzip.

WobZIP Screenshot

The decompression procedure is pretty fast and you’re presented with the list of files which you’ve to individually click to download. This can prove to be a pain specially in case of large archives with a whole bunch of files – but then again, one can’t grumble given the scenario in which you are forced to use WobZIP. Password protected archives are also supported and there’s a virus scanner running behind the scenes that ensures that you don’t accidentally download and execute infected files.

The service supports a wide variety of file formats like, 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZHCHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS – though there’s a file-size limit of 100MB (for the archives).

Another rocking feature of WobZIP is the ability to unzip remote URLs – which in other words means instead of uploading a zip file, you can make WobZIP read it off another webpage directly. This can prove to be a very powerful tool for previewing the contents of a zip file prior to download, selectively downloading a couple of files (that you require) from an archive… the list of possibilities is quite large.

Try WobZIP and see for yourself.

Found via: TheySay

When Defensio fails…

Spam FloodFollowing my review of Defensio, Michael Hampton (of Bad Behavior fame) left a comment on the same post assuring that Bad Behavior would run just fine along side Defensio without causing any sort of hiccups for the latter. My thoughts exactly – since Defensio operates more or less on the same principles as that ofย  Akismet, whereas Bad Behavior’s modus operandi is a bit different.

Instead of filtering spam and diverting them to a hold (quarantine), Bad Behavior entirely denies access to your site to suspicious IPs (the ones from where there are an excessive number of requests within a short period of time). Logically, this shouldn’t hamper Defensio in any way. Michael’s comment had got me wondering if I should enable BB again and today’s incident gave me a hard shove in the same direction.

What happened today? Well… Defensio went for a toss, and that too for a good while (it’s till not back up as I’m writing this post). This is the second downtime I faced ever since I installed it, though I’m not certain of the cause. It may be because of lack of infrastructure to handle such high volumes of network activity or some other temporary server outage. Either ways, what I faced was a massive spam flood – the likes of which I never encountered while using the Akismet + Bad Behavior combination. Luckily, I had comment moderation turned on! End result? Here’s a snapshot of my inbox. See for yourself ๐Ÿ˜€

When Defensio Fails

Motivation enough to start using Bad Behavior again? I totally think so. Besides, as Michael pointed out earlier, it can’t hurt Defensio in any way other than denying their spam-harvester its share of spam.

Transform your Wii Remote into a digital whiteboard, a multi-touch screen and more…

Here’s a cool video showing how inventor Johnny Chung Lee transforms the Nintendo Wii Remote – a $40 game accessory into a digital whiteboard, a multi-touch screen and a head mounted virtual reality gear. Johnny is a PhD Graduate student at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at the Carnegie Mellon University and his project was recently featured on TED.

I needn’t say more… the video speaks for itself. There’s just one word for it – breathtaking.

The software required to make this hack work can be freely downloaded from Johnny’s Projects homepage. And while I was digging up more information on Johnny Lee, I came across one more of his innovations… a foldable interactive display. Here you go…

Chawt (free SMS service) isn’t so ‘unlimited’ after all

Following my review of Chawt – the free SMS service – a couple of weeks back, I decided to swing by again and check out the improvements (if any). To my surprise I saw a new message below the message typing box which states that your are now limited to sending at the most 15 messages per day. Poooof !! So much for the ‘unlimited’ part.

Coming to that, I really don’t get why these services (mostly start-ups) invariably try to make it sound big using the ‘unlimited’ catch-word and then never manage to live up to their claim. It’s a known fact that any such service provider has to shell out a fat packet to the SMS Gateway on a monthly or by package basis. Behind the scenes, internet to mobile texting doesn’t come for free – AT ALL. Unless you’ve got a very strong source of ROI (either through advertisements or by some other brilliant marketing tactic that you’ve come up with) – you can never hope to offer unlimited free service for long. Besides, the market for mobile ads isn’t as widespread as the internet yet and neither is the revenue generated from it. So why make the claim in the first place?

Problems with Chawt

The second problem I face was while trying to send a message. Every time I composed my message (well within their 80 character limit and in English) and hit Send, I kept getting an error message that said “Multilanguage message too long”. Multi… what? Since when did pure unadulterated English become multilanguage? And what’s with composing your message carefully to keep to their character limit!

And just to think that I had given them such a positive review last week… Sad performance on their part – in fact extremely sad performance considering it claims itself to be a Web 2.0 start-up.