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Posts published in “Social Networks”

Occupy Diaspora

The first and last time I visited Diaspora was back in 2010, when the social destination was still in it’s Alpha release. Although it had a reputation, as alpha releases do, of being buggy, I was surprised at how well it worked. It was impressive, a lot like Facebook but also quite different in its design. The problem was, there was nobody there. It was like entering an eighteen story highrise apartment building in which all the tenents had been evicted, hollow and filled with virtual echoes. So I ran back to the noise of the crowd on the virtual party that is Facebook.

I stay on Facebook for the same reason everybody else stays on Facebook – because all my friends are there. We’re not talking about the folks I hang with in Winston-Salem, who I can see anytime I like over at Washington Perks or Krankies. Nah, we’re talking about people that go way back, people I knew back in the 1970s when we were trying to ignore the coming of disco and, worse, Kiss, and pretend that we could keep the spirit of the 60s alive, like forever man. We’re talking about brothers and sisters who were gone forever from my life, who I was sure I’d never see again and who were already planted in the ground or turned into ashes as far as I knew.

WordPress Plugins for Usability & Traffic

After you’ve installed plugins to configure your WordPress site for your server and protect your site from spam, it’s time to get your site up to speed. You may have guessed this will partly require more plugins. Some will be for the purpose of visibility, to help people find you. Others will enable you to offer different kinds of content. For example, a music site would probably install a plugin to work with YouTube videos; a photography site would want to make sure to have an effective way to offer slide shows. At this point, every site’s needs are unique.

Before you get started, you might want to go through the WordPress repository to get a gander of what’s available. You probably have an idea of some functions you’d like to add to your plain vanilla install. Start your search there. It also might be useful to check out sites you like for features you think are cool and look to see if there’s a plugin for that feature on WordPress. Don’t install a plugin until you’re ready to use it, as it’s easy to install too many plugins and have a lot of dead weight hanging on your site. Remember, every new function adds some new security risk, however small, so there’s good reason not to install a function if you’re not using it.

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

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

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

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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