Category Archives: WordPress

Using Artisteer to Develop WordPress Themes

Your theme is the first thing visitors will notice when arriving on your site. Although it may be the content that drove them there in the first place, it’s the design that will help them decide on whether to stay and read more.

The Artisteer program is one of those methods that can help you develop a great looking theme tailored to your desires. There are many features in this program that make it a wonderful tool, especially for those who plan on developing more than one website.

1. User Interface – The user interface of Artisteer is incredibly easy to manage. Each tool is self-explanatory and nearly every aspect of the website can be altered. The layout of the tools is chronological and will help any user customize a blog theme from top to bottom, literally. Adding images, font sizes, icons, and more can be altered to make your site look and feel exactly how you want it to.

The WYSIWYG editor will show a representation of what your page will look like when a visitor is browsing it. Any aspect you change can be seen within Artisteer and you can make easy adjustments in order to produce the theme you are envisioning.

Whether you need a specific pixel dimension for your blog’s width or imposing borders around the blog itself to give it a drop-shadow effect, the Artisteer software can handle it all. While the preset suggestions will randomize a look and feel for the website, you can change any aspect you wish in order to create the perfect look to fit your niche.

2. Graphics – Although you don’t need Photoshop or Illustrator to create impressive graphics, it doesn’t hurt if you have these skills. You can develop all of your graphics, icons, header images, and more using any image development program you have including Paint. As long as your image is saved as a supported graphic type such as a JPG, PNG, and others you can add them to your theme.

These images can range from small icons or bullets to as large as background images for your site. There is truly no limit to what imagery you can use within the software. However, keep in mind that your website could perform poorly the larger and more elaborate your images are.

3. Exporting – When you are done with your masterpiece, simply export the theme as a .zip file that is usable by WordPress. Once you are in your Admin panel for WordPress, browse and install the theme like you would any other. Your website will look exactly as it does in the Artisteer WYSIWYG editor.

Artisteer will allow you to save these .zip files for installations or .artx files for editing your templates for future updates. You may find that a specific font or color scheme isn’t widely accepted by your target audience and using the .artx file in Artisteer will allow you to make quick changes and theme version numbers to keep track of your progress.

Looking to add that personal touch so that you get credit for developing such a beautiful template? Artisteer will allow you to embed your name, link to your website, and version information within WordPress so that anyone using or seeing your template will know who made it and where it came from. This could help others click on the information at the base of the page to drive additional traffic to your own website.

4. Ideas – Artisteer gives you the ability to create as many themes as you want for any occasion. You can make a different theme for your blog corresponding with the seasons. Holidays can be accentuated by developing graphics and color schemes that match such as cool colors and white for winter. The possibilities for design are only limited by your own imagination. Backgrounds, overlays, and even java video can be used in this development program to provide a unique look that no one else in the world has.

5. Extenuation of Development – Artisteer doesn’t just make themes for WordPress. A wide variety of other content management systems are also able to utilize these templates such as Joomla, Blogger, and Drupal. You could provide themes and designs for friends and family. You could even assist others in a professional atmosphere by helping them develop an attractive site using the Artisteer program.

6. Continued Support – As Artisteer has gained so much popularity as being one of the best template and theme design programs from the various content management systems, there is little fear from the software becoming outdated. Versions and upgrades are constantly available from Extensoft, Inc. and available forums are constantly utilized by users in order to share knowledge and help with virtually any problem should one arise. The responsiveness of the staff is impressive and they can be very helpful if you’d rather contact them directly.

You can sift through the websites looking for that perfect theme for your blog, or you can create exactly what you want. You can pay someone to develop your themes for you, or you can buy Artisteer and make them yourself whenever you want.

You don’t need extensive programming or graphic design knowledge in order to create a lavish theme perfect for your content. You only need a basic idea of what you want your blog to look like.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

Comments Off on Using Artisteer to Develop WordPress Themes

Filed under Blogging Tips, Blogging Tools, Software, Web Site Design, Website Builders, WordPress

WordPress Password Fiasco

imageFair or not – “You don’t know what you don’t know” is a throwaway phrase, often used to describe a typical Internet users range of knowledge as it applies to security risks. What’s worrisome about relying on the truth of this statement is – it can be applied much more broadly – it doesn’t just apply to casual computer users. It applies equally to you – and, to me.

Virtually on a daily basis, another previously unknown (or, undisclosed), vulnerability in an application, operating system, website, cloud service, or in an Internet protocol is discovered by “security researchers”. Here’s today’s, from my Daily Net News column.

Improper SSL Implementations Leave Sites Wide Open to Attack – Security researchers are buzzing about the flaws in the Secure Sockets Layer system and the fact that a significant portion of the Internet is vulnerable to attack.

I’ll venture a guess and suggest – you didn’t know about this. Nor, did I. More to the point perhaps, what needs to be asked is – did cyber criminals know?

What about this one from two days ago?

 Kaspersky: 12 different vulnerabilities detected on every PC – Researchers from Kaspersky have sampled their customer base, and found out that on average, every PC has 12 different vulnerabilities.

The vulnerabilities described are not self inflicted – instead, they are specified, or unspecified, vulnerabilities in Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, and Adobe Shockwave. There’s no need to wonder if cyber criminals are aware of these vulnerabilities – they most assuredly are.

WordPress Password – I didn’t know, that I didn’t know.

More than once, I’ve made the point here, there are certain companies which put forward unrealistic assertions that their Web operations are inviolate – they can’t be hacked. One of those companies is WordPress.com.

So, I was hardly taken by surprise when I received the following email from WordPress, yesterday. Not surprised – but, pretty pissed at the approach taken by WordPress to describe a potentially devastating circumstance for WordPress bloggers who run popular sites.

Hello Bill Mullins,

We recently found and fixed a mistake that we’d like to tell you about. Passwords on WordPress.com are saved in a way that makes them extremely secure, such that even our own employees are unable to see your actual password – the one you enter to login to your WordPress.com account.

However, between July 2007 and April 2008, and September 2010 and July 2011, a mistake in one of our systems used to find and correct bugs on WordPress.com accidentally logged some users’ passwords in a less secure format during registration.

We’ve updated our systems to prevent passwords from being logged this way in the future, so this will not happen again. We don’t have any evidence that this data has been accessed maliciously or misused, but to be on the safe side we are resetting your password since your account is among those affected.

Please change your password using this link or copy and paste the URL below into your web browser:

https://wordpress.com/wp-login (I have removed certain parameters here)

If the password you used when you registered on WordPress.com was one you use elsewhere, you should change it there, too. In the future, remember that it’s good practice to always use unique passwords for different services.

We are terribly sorry about this mistake. No one likes having to create new passwords and we’d like to include a 15% off coupon to say we’re sorry. The coupon can be used for a custom domain, a design upgrade, VideoPress, or a storage space increase. Just use the code below on any of the upgrades on the WordPress.com Store:

pc21d064ae

If you have any questions, please reply to this email and one of our Happiness Engineers will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you,
The WordPress.com Team

Some salient points:

Why on earth would WordPress send an email that has all the hallmarks of a phishing scam – quote: “to be on the safe side we are resetting your password since your account is among those affected”. Huh – you’re going to reset my password? So there was zero chance of me clicking on the password reset link. The only secure method was a password reset from this blog’s Dashboard.

“A mistake in one of our systems” – At the desk I’m sitting at, I tend to call this type of “mistake” a vulnerability.

“In the future, remember that it’s good practice to always use unique passwords for different services.” Yeah, sure WordPress is just about the last organization I’d take advice from in terms of password control!

Offering a 15% discount on WordPress products “to say we’re sorry”, is ill advised and inappropriate. This “bad news” – “good news” approach, is out of bounds.

Finally, referring to support staff as “Happiness Engineers”, makes me wonder what these people smoke after breakfast. It’s a little late for ‘60s terminology, it seems to me.

I titled this article “WordPress Password Fiasco”, not because WordPress found itself in an unknown vulnerable position, which by extension applies to me as well – but because the manner in which a serious situation was handled, is appalling. At a minimum, WordPress has an obligation to disseminate news of this potential breach widely on the Internet. This is not business as usual.

Consider the number of serious breaches that occurred in the last year, which initially were classified by the victimized organization as inconsequential. Until, that is, information slowly leaked, that in many cases, the penetrations were disastrous. Think Sony.

I’m hopeful, that months from now, I won’t have to replace “Think Sony” with -“Think WordPress”. But, then again – “I don’t know what I don’t know”.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under Email, Internet Security Alerts, Opinion, Password Control, Point of View, Tech Net News, WordPress

Catch Your Online Grammar, Spelling, and Style Mistakes, With After The Deadline

imageChurning out two blog posts every day is hard on the eyes – not to mention the back, the wrists – well you get the point. As a consequence – I sometimes find myself looking (with crossed eyes) at words running into words, gross misspellings (easy to correct), or improper word usage (sometimes, not so easy to correct). Your versus you’re, and its versus it’s, for example, can be particularly difficult to pick up when used incorrectly.

Here’s a good example of this – recently pointed out by a reader.

Comment:

“You’re friends won’t – other than to deny that they watch it – or, perhaps to decry it’s prevalence” You’re means You are – so “you are friends won’t” doesn’t make sense, use “Your friends” instead.

“It’s” always means “It is” – so “decry it is presence” doesn’t make sense; use “decry its presence” instead.

Not a big deal, you might be thinking. Maybe not – but as often as not, common errors, particularly punctuation errors, can change the meaning of what you meant to say. I’m sure you’ve seen this example – Let’s eat, Mother. versus – Let’s eat Mother.

I write all my blog articles in open source LibreOffice (with grammar checker turned on), and then copy the articles to Windows Live Writer prior to posting into WordPress.

image

Despite an active grammar checker, proofreading, as time consuming as it can often be, is unavoidable. Still, I’ve learned that proofreading is no guarantee that the odd mistake will not slip through.

There is a partial solution (no technology is perfect), that can help you (and me), avoid the most common grammar mistakes, spelling errors (including contextual spelling errors), and style mistakes, in online interactions – including blog postings, emails (mistakes here can be deadly), Facebook, Twitter, etc.

After the Deadline – developed by the people behind WordPress – is an open source (free), language checker for the Web which is available as:

An add-on for Firefox.

An extension for Google Chrome.

A plugin for Windows Live Writer.

A plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs.

An extension for OpenOffice.org Writer (still in Beta).

Following installation of After the Deadline on my system as a Firefox add-on, I found it to be reasonably accurate – but not perfect (more on this later). Nevertheless, I’ll keep it on my system – at least in the short term (for the second time).

Installation, in my case, was the usual automatic Firefox add-on install, followed by an easy Options set up as the following screen capture indicates.

image

The following screen shots (click to expand) show spelling errors (an unrecognized word), and style recommendations – in a previous post.

image

image

The type of recommendation shown in the screen shot directly above (change “terminate” to “end”, or “stop”), is the primary reason I deleted this add-on previously.

Consistently, higher level words were marked down as “complex expressions”. It may be popular to assume that “dumbing down” is in vogue, but not from where I’m sitting.

Fast facts:

Checks Spelling – Spell checker looks at context and uses artificial intelligence to make recommendations.

Detects Misused Words – Most spell checkers assume any word in their dictionary is correct regardless of context. This means all misused word errors go unnoticed.

Checks Style – Style checker has thousands of rules and uses context to choose the best suggestions.

Checks Grammar – The grammar checker in After the Deadline protects you from common writing errors. After the Deadline uses statistics to automatically find exceptions to its grammar rules, making it one of the smartest grammar checkers around.

Explains Errors – The misused word detector, grammar checker, and style checker explain the mistakes and suggestions to you. Click an error and choose the “Explain …” option.

Download at: After the Deadline

After the Deadline checks English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish text.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

11 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Email, FaceBook, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Software, Twitter, Windows Tips and Tools, WordPress, Writing

Your Website Traffic Log – The Trap Door To Spread Viruses?

Checking your Website traffic stats is not without some risk, as guest writer Bruno Deshayes explains in this thought provoking article.

imageYou get pleasantly surprised to notice an unknown website apparently sending traffic to you. When you click on the link not only do you find that the page does not mention your site at all but at best security essentials blocks the threat or at worst your browser locks up and it is anybody’s guess what the pirate is doing under the hood.

Better close down your PC altogether and run a virus check. If you run a laptop even turning the machine off will achieve nothing – you have to physically turn the laptop over and remove the battery for a forced shutdown! How many files could get infected by the time you finally do it?

I find those fake referral urls showing up in cPanel | AWStats but also in blogspot | stats | traffic sources.

The old trick of course was to send you an email loaded with some html data rather than plain text. Viewing the thing in outlook would automatically launch the browser and – too late – the malicious website is already loaded and doing its nasty work unbeknown to you.

I used to handle that one by always checking suspicious emails this way: While having emails preview disabled: right mouse click and choose properties in the floating menu. Then choose details and message source to view the raw email text.

If they send me some base64 encoded attachment and nothing else you know it is a nasty payload. I have used Gmail for some time and still read it in outlook because I don’t like the ads or the heavy JavaScript used on the Gmail website. When I go there occasionally I am amazed at all the spam that got filtered out!

The internet in the last 10 years has become a very mature market with every man (woman?) and their dog blogging and every hacker from India, Russia and China trying to make a quid in broken English or else trying to rort the system.

The spread of botnets silently programmed to check every security loophole and delegating their activity to hundred of infected machines has come to the attention of the main stake holders. Microsoft who used to hide behind a whole industry of virus scanners is now taking the lead with effective and free maintenance tools. Well, their future depends on it. If Windows is crippled by security issues it makes Apple the alternative of choice. But behind the glitz the Steve Jobs camp is now having to face the music and made to understand that not everything can be fixed by the same marketing spin.

The worrisome factor is that in a global economy there isn’t a single entity to police the internet. If you look on the bright side the plague of email spam has been brought down to a fair extend. Interpol has nabbed pedophiles networks. The nofollow tag has tamed blog comments link spammers and even WordPress has come up with an advanced tool to keep comment interaction within its community alive and buzzing.

Bruno Deshayes is a writer, designer and developer who runs a portfolio of online services. He can be politically incorrect for the sake of stirring things up and engaging his readers.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging Tips, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Opinion, Viruses, WordPress

Blog Basics for Brisbanites: How to Set Up a Blog with Your Own Domain Name

Blogging can be used to support your image professionally, or just like a diary of your life for purely personal reasons. This article looks at setting up your own blog, choosing domain names, and then changing your blog over to your very own web address. Your blog can be up and running in no time, and you will be surprised at how professional it will look.

  • Get Started With WordPress. WordPress is by far the easiest. Go to their main website and set up your account. WordPress has many additional features which you can explore as you get used to manipulating your site. You could host your site yourself with their software but the best way is just to let them handle everything. You will choose the easiest option in the beginning. This will mean the whole thing is for free. The reason why they can do this is because they will get the revenue from any adverts on your page.
  • Getting Your Own URL. After you have set up your account, you will see that the web address of your blog starts with WordPress in the name followed by your account. It is always better to have the URL of your own choice. All you need to do is look for a domain hosting company on the internet. There you can see if the domain name is available that you want. Once you have purchased the domain name, which normally costs around $10-12 a year, you will need to proceed to domain mapping.
  • Mapping to WordPress. WordPress has full instructions, which are not very difficult to follow. Essentially they give you a few lines of text to update your information stored on the servers of your domain name. Your company that supplied you with the domain name will give you a log-in location where you can update your information. Once this has been completed, you return to WordPress.
  • Adding URL in WordPress. Inside your WordPress account, you will see a tab in the settings section of your account. Go to the domain names setting, and enter in your new domain name. This will update instantly and now if you type in your domain name, or your original WordPress domain name, you will see your blog.
  • Take it Step by Step. This is not as complicated as it sounds. Many people get a little lost or confused when they are trying something new on their computer, and the internet, because they don’t stop to read what is on the screen in front of them.
  • If You Are Having Trouble. Never panic, help is only a few minutes away. There are plenty of online IT services Brisbane, that can help you walk through any of these steps. If you think you don’t need that kind of help, you can always start with the help guide on WordPress.

This whole process should take about 15 minutes. Just remember to pay for your domain name and any support service with secure payment systems. Never give any supplier your full credit or debit card details.

Guest article from Sachin.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under blogging, Blogging Tips, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Social Blogging, WordPress

WordPress.com Hacked (Again)

imageAnytime a users email account, or web site gets hacked, it’s seemingly always the user’s fault – never the service provider’s fault. Or so we’re led to believe – full transparency is rarely a strong point of Internet service providers.

So, I’ll climb on the Kudos bandwagon, (with some reservations), and congratulate WordPress for coming clean on yesterday’s low-level server hack.

From WordPress

Tough note to communicate today: Automattic had a low-level (root) break-in to several of our servers, and potentially anything on those servers could have been revealed.

Our investigation into this matter is ongoing and will take time to complete. As I said above, we’ve taken comprehensive steps to prevent an incident like this from occurring again.

It’s not my intent to castigate WordPress, but they don’t get away entirely free. Looking back to June of last year, following a hack in one of my Gmail accounts, I made the following points.

………………. I am certain of this – ANY website, or service, can be hacked.

What I find very annoying is, Gmail, WordPress, and others, simply refuse to acknowledge, that vulnerabilities exist in their systems – especially WordPress.

Listen up WordPress – if the Pentagon can be hacked, and it has been, frequently, then WordPress is definitely NOT invulnerable to hacking – despite your assurances to the contrary.

If you run a WordPress.com site, here’s Matt Mullenweg’s advice:

Based on what we’ve found, we don’t have any specific suggestions for our users beyond reiterating these security fundamentals:

  • Use a strong password, meaning something random with numbers and punctuation.
  • Use different passwords for different sites.
  • If you have used the same password on different sites, switch it to something more secure.

I’ll throw in my own unvarnished advice: If you use the Internet, expect to be attacked – on all fronts.

In the past, when I’ve taken issue with WordPress (always based on their self declared invincibility to hacking), I’ve dealt with several reader comments which attempted to make the point that perhaps I was an ungrateful cur – after all, WordPress provides a free service. The reality is somewhat different.

My association with WordPress is the very definition of a symbiotic relationship – they provide the service free – I provide good content – they advertise based on my content – they make $$$$$$ – lots of $$$$$$.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under blogging, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Internet Security Alerts, Opinion, Point of View, WordPress

Tech Thoughts – 2010 In Review

Year end reviews and wrap- ups, bringing us up to date on the comings and goings in virtually every area of human endeavor, seem to be the thing at the moment. Not much of a surprise then, to see WordPress get into the act by emailing a 2010 Blog summary to all WordPress Bloggers.

Here’s the WordPress version of what happened on Tech Thoughts this past year. Not entirely accurate, but within spitting distance.

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

  • The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 1,300,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 53 days for that many people to see it.
  • In 2010, there were 823 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 2,003 posts.
  • The busiest day of the year was September 14th with 4,557 views. The most popular post that day was Cyber Criminals Know Your “Net” Worth – To the Penny!.

Where did they come from?

  • The top referring sites in 2010 were  Google Reader, mail.yahoo.com, google.com, and stumbleupon.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1 Cyber Criminals Know Your “Net” Worth – To the Penny! April 2010
2 Download RKill – Free Antimalware Specialty Removal Tool June 2010
3 Ten Beginner Tips for Using Google SketchUp June 2009
4 Your Account Information Has Changed Phishing Attack June 2010
5 EnhanceMySe7en – A Free Windows 7 Tweaking Utility August 2010

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2010. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

Thanks for flying with WordPress.com in 2010. We look forward to serving you again in 2011! Happy New Year!

If you’re a regular reader here, you have my thanks for making this Blog a fun place to write up my thoughts and opinions.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

12 Comments

Filed under Interconnectivity, Point of View, Reports, Social Blogging, Web Hosting, WordPress

WordPress Screwed Up – Big Time!

Yesterday, many of you might have seen the following when you attempted to connect to Tech Thoughts. WordPress had archived or suspended, my blog for a violation of their Terms of Service.

image_thumb1

I’m sure that this notice left you with questions – chief amongst them might have been, “I wonder what Bill did to incur the wrath of WordPress”. As my Australian friends might say, “that’s fair dinkum”. But, I can assure you, I did nothing wrong – nothing that justified the removal of my site.

I’m fully aware of the WordPress “Conditions of Service”, and I adhere to them scrupulously. Despite that, this is the second time in the last two years that I’ve gone through this “suspended” scenario. Both times, it turns out, WordPress has encountered a system glitch as the email (received this morning), and shown in the following screen capture, indicates.

image_thumb4

As a technologist, I’m more than aware that automated systems are prone to glitches – nothing is perfect. Nevertheless, I have strong objections as to how WordPress handled this.

It seems like a pretty heavy handed way to deal with an issue – giving no warning, and not being specific about the supposed transgression. REALLY heavy handed, given that my Blog is one of their top sites. Hell, it’s one of the top sites on the Internet.

From what I read in the forums on this, a common reason for suspension could be as simple as linking to a site they don’t like. Really! Once a suspension is in effect, there is NO appeal. Your site is gone, and WordPress will not allow you to recover your content. I kid you not! The only set of circumstances under which a site is reactivated is, as in my case, if WordPress has made an error.

Imagine getting fired for breaking a company rule you weren’t aware of, and when you queried your boss as to which rule, you were told – “Well, it’s my interpretation of a rule, and you no have choice but to accept it”.

In an adult world, I can’t imagine broad scale acceptance of that type of behavior. But, apparently in the world of WordPress, you’re expected to meekly accept some nameless, faceless person’s decision that you’ve broken a rule, and then go away!

At a minimum, WordPress needs to seriously review and then revamp their whole approach to the question of perceived violations of their Conditions of Service. In the meantime, if you blog on WordPress, it’s imperative that you backup your content religiously. If this can happen to me – it can happen to you. If it should, you may well be one of the thousands who did not get their site back.

Finally, I spent most of last night replying to the hundreds of regular readers who emailed me wondering what was going on. In virtually every case, those readers were astonished that WordPress had suspended my site. I trust that this article has answered your questions, and you have my appreciation for showing your concern, and loyalty.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

45 Comments

Filed under Blogging Tips, Opinion, Personal Perspective, WordPress, Writing

Does a Blogger’s Opinion Really Matter?

image As social beings, it seems to me that we have an insatiable need to offer our opinions (often unsolicited opinions), on virtually any topic – whether the topic is open to discussion, or not.

In an ideal world, one would form opinions based on experience, knowledge, and thoughtful consideration of the question at hand; without interference from any built-in prejudices.

But, the very definition of “opinion”, indicates that opinions are not always based on experience, knowledge, or thoughtful consideration.   The question of “who is right, or who is wrong?” is often not addressed – and prejudices, unfortunately, do get in the way.

We deal here frequently, with the state of Internet security, and I rarely hesitate to offer my opinion on this issue – it’s a mess, and it’s getting worse. And yes, I’m prejudiced. But that prejudice  is the result of years of experience, knowledge, and a developed analytical process dealing with the state of cyber space.

But, does my opinion really count? Is any one really listening? And, if so – who?

Recently, I wrote a piece – Canada’s Super Spies “Discover” Cybercrime is a Threat, a satirical article, which pointed fingers at the Canadian Government. A government, which continues to be lackadaisical in implementing a robust plan to address cyber crime; an industry of crime which is continuously being taken to new levels.

Not surprisingly, a combination of regular readers, and casual readers passing by, offered an amazing assortment of thoughtful and supportive comments. I can clearly state, that my opinion had impact with these readers. The question of “who is right, or who is wrong”, was adjudicated in my favor. And, that’s enough for me.

But, can a Blogger’s opinion have broader impact? In this particular case it seems it may well have.

In the weeks following the posting of “Canada’s Super Spies Discover Cybercrime ……”, the article was accessed by a surprising number of Members of Parliament, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (and a number of other International Police agencies), but most surprising of all – the Privy Council Office, which, “provides essential advice and support to the Canadian Prime Minister and Cabinet.”

As to what whether the article had the hoped for impact, there is no sure way to know. But, as I stated earlier, my readers were very supportive and shared my opinion – and that’s enough for me.

If you’re already a Blogger (no matter the audience you write for), keep on blogging – you’re making a difference. Your views and opinions do matter; they do count. If you’re not yet a Blogger, consider becoming one – make your views and your opinions, count. Get them out there for others to consider.

WordPress, which offers perhaps the easiest, and most robust free Blogging platform available, makes it easy to blog. Check it out here.

Just a quick note: I noticed that the Mounties continue to use IE 6 – often referred to as the most hacked application of all time. Sad!

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

23 Comments

Filed under blogging, cybercrime, Personal Perspective, Social Blogging, Windows Tips and Tools, WordPress, Writing

WordPress Back Online

image WordPress suffered an unexplained outage earlier today, and took down over 9 Million Blogs with it. But as of now, it’s back up. I know, you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise – right?

I read some interesting Tweets, Buzzes, and Blog postings when WP was down, many of them along the lines of “I’m going to move my Blog to self hosting, WP sucks”.

Yeah, right! As if Gmail, Hotmail, MSN live, Google, Yahoo, to name just a few, have never gone down! I have to say – their are more bitchers out there than I realized. Especially, when one considers that WP is not only a free hosting service, but arguably, has the best blogging platform at any price.

So, stop bitchin’ (those that are), learn how to be appreciative – learn how to say “THANKS”. To quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that”.

9 Comments

Filed under Bill's Rants, Personal Perspective, WordPress