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Posts published in “Internet”

WordPress Plugins for Security & Robustness

Yesterday I wrote about how WordPress has evolved into a first rate platform that can be easily customized. One of the ways that WordPress is customized to meet the unique needs of a site is through the use of plugins that add functionality. Most of these functions are visual and offer visitors a richer experience while on your site. Others are never even seen by the visitor and only indirectly affect his or her experience.

During site design, it can be easy to become so blinded by the the former group, the plugins that add lots of gee-whiz bells-and-whistles, that we ignore the later group that does the grunt work to increase our site’s performance. However, judicious use of these behind-the-scenes plugins can make our WordPress sites more secure and help reduce server loads, making for a safer and quicker site and a better experience for our visitors.

WordPress: Not a Toy Anymore

About five years ago I was publishing a content site running on PostNuke when I inherited a political blog with a killer name and a decently designed theme from a friend who had lost interest. There was one little problem, however. The site was running on WordPress, a platform that didn’t impress me in the least.

In hindsight, this may have been partly due to the fact that WordPress made many tasks too easy. In those days, the concept of blogging was fairly new and I didn’t like bloggers, who I saw as amateurs who hadn’t paid their dues. Blogging platforms like WordPress made running a website too easy, I thought. I had learned to be proficient on PostNuke through lots of sweat, work and mistakes, and I thought this new breed of web writers/publishers should have to work, learn and sweat like I had. In other words, I’d become a cranky old fart opposed to change.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Evil Empire Buys Skype

Hmm…. I never had a chance to use Skype.

All of my friends are using it; talking to lovers in Europe, or to spouses in other states, or to FB “friends” who are who-knows-where. It sounds so cool, so romantic, sitting in the familiar confines of one’s living room in front of a laptop webcam, conversing with a friend across the continent or across the ocean as if they were right there in the same room. Until now it seemed so cool that I just knew I’d have to be a Skyper soon.

But then Skype went and got sold to the Evil Empire for $8.5 billion, which seems to be an awful lot to pay just to keep me from becoming a Skyper.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Facebook’s Open Source Green Machines

Wow! Can it be? Has Zuckerberg and Facebook actually done something ethical, on their own, without any pressure from outside forces? For the moment the answer would seem to be affirmative, but I’m not quite willing to trust this one yet. Experience teaches me that Zuckerberg’s moral compass sometimes turns north into south.

What I’m talking about is the new 150,000 square foot server farm that Facebook has opened in Prineville, Oregon. It seems that in building this facility, Facebook’s developers have tweeked, tweeked, and tweeked again to come up with a data center that’s extremely green, as in environment not as in golf course.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Mum’s the Word at “Linux Today”

There seems to be trouble in the works over at Linux Today, and everybody’s keeping damn quiet about it.

The first hint that something was wrong came on Saturday when the site posted no new content. This seemed odd, but not too unusual since weekend postings are often slim on the site. But when usually busy Monday came and went with still no new posts, the “what’s-up-with-that” factor was raised. Things started to get back to normal on Tuesday, however, when new posts began showing-up on the site again, though the pickings were slim, only six posts on a day when normally there would be four times as many.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Feds Want to Crack Your Blackberry

If you’re wondering why Research In Motion (RIM), maker of the Blackberry, was loathe to cooperate with the authorities in Dubai and India when they demanded access to encrypted Blackberry calls, it’s because they knew no matter how little they cracked that door, it would eventually open wide. Need proof? Take a look at Monday’s New York Times in which we learn that the Feds want new regulations to force companies like RIM to design back doors into their offerings to allow easy wiretap access by law enforcement. It’ll be hard for RIM to say “no” to the U.S. when they’ve already said “yes” to other countries.

“Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct ‘peer to peer’ messaging like Skype – to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.”

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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