New Version of Serendipity (s9y) to WordPress Importer Available

There is a new version of the Serendipity importer available for WordPress. It can be downloaded at here. Note: The old location no longer works.

This version is a bugfix version addressing issues of unassociated comments and unassociated categories. This should be considered a beta release until I get more user feedback.

To use, upload

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serendipity.php

to your WordPress blog in the

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wp-admin/import

directory.

Predictions 2007 – Gaming Industry

I don’t have alot on the gaming business right now.

I might be burned out from the prediction thing. Nevertheless, there are three major things I am seeing that will happen in 2007.

MMORPG’s are going to connect at a meta level. Someone is going to create a true metaverse where everyone will connect at a top layer.

Wii will lose its novelty and become the hacking platform of choice. I dub thee “The new Amiga”.

PS3 has better sales but stays elite and the rumored $2500 version bombs here but is a hit in Japan.

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2007 Predictions – Web 2.0 Landscape

The whole web 2.0 is just so over. Everything labeled 2.0 is stupid and it is a short term mistake because now that you have versions you won’t have long term innovation.

Here is my two cents on the market for 2007:

Digg – They have set off a revolution but the hype is going to peak. Netscape actually has better news and is more relevant. Make money or sell soon.

Facebook
– Arrogant Founder, turns down $1.5B offer because he thinks its worth $8B. People are just wanting this to implode. I have one word for you – Friendster.

Myspace
– MySpace will offer paid content or new revenue share models. As many people say that Web 2.0 is an after market for Google, media sites and design shops will become an after market for MySpace. We will see a whole new set of companies specializing in “MySpace consulting”.

Office 2.0
– This area will make some incremental headway as the apps get more sophisticated but the trick is going to be offline use.

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2007 Predictions – Apple

There are tons of blogs doing predictions and Macworld rumor control.

Macworld and the reactivation of the reality distortion field (RDF) will be in full effect in a few days.

I take an approach that is different and looks more at obvious trends than wild guesses.

To sum it up: Last year for Apple was the “Year of Intel”. I believe that this the “Year of The Living Room”.

Here is my short list for the year:

iPhone – I would usually believe Kevin Rose because he nailed the nano. This has become the “Tech Industry unicorn”. Unless it can let you call God, it will not be good enough because of all the hype. I still like having a phone and an iPod.
Mac Pro 8-Core – This is inevitable but I think they will still keep the older Mac Pro to create a more entry level professional system.
iTV – Details at Macworld. Available in March. I think this sucker is gonna be the new Mac Mini and have hard drive capability. It can’t just be a video Airport. Why don’t these guys just buy Tivo and Netflix to make the holy trinity of video entertainment.
Google+Apple – This will link to the iTV and I think there will be a YouTube front page for the iTV. Can’t resist saying portal here.
Leopard – Lots of features I am not even able to imagine. However, it will have more virtualization capability like Parallels. Macs have the potential to be the tri-wizard, I mean tri-OS, hardware of choice. Imagine, Mac OS X at the center with Windows apps and Linux Ubuntu running select apps. This means limitless power. It might be at this point that we can reveal ourselves to the Jedi…
Displays – This is a gimme. No updates in 2 years, iSights are out of stock. I will go even further that they will have a 42 and 50 inch TV to go along with the iTV announcement.
iPods – Upgrade in storage at Macworld. Separate announcement later in spring for Video iPod. This will coincide with the iTV revolution they will claim. They need to move HD movies into the living room to make money.
Announcements – More studios, new video editing capabilities with their recent acquisitions.

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2007 Predictions – Overall Tech Industry

Let’s move on to the tech industry which is looking to be a great year and the best since 1999.

Enterprise 2.0 will be the most over used phrase of 2007.
Since Web 2.0 has even made it to the cover of Time magazine, people are wondering how this will actually improve their businesses. This is why people pitching solutions to companies will hook on to the Enterprise 2.0 moniker. Much like the Internet when it became popular in the early to mid-1990’s the first way it made money was to the public user or consumer. Soon intranets became popular and then enterprise portals made web technologies have real impact on businesses. The same is happening now and companies will move en masse to be Enterprise 2.0 service providers.

Vista will not get adopted by IT departments and might suffer from the Osborne effect. It will be force fed to us in new systems purchased and not by IT companies looking to upgrade. They will want a real advantage and it looks like the next Microsoft OS revisions will have the WinFS and other stuff.

Search will move to niche markets. This is because Google is good for somethings but not all things. Many search engines are helping with specific areas like Jobster and

RSS Technology will evolve and a new technology will be launched on top of it. RSS is just too hard to work with and there will be a new technology that will sit on top of RSS making communication and content creation even easier.

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2007 Predictions-VC Market

As I get back in swing of blogging after a few months off, starting the new year with a predictions entry is a good way to start.

I thought I might do this topically to keep things organized. This is also going to be separate into easier digestible posts. Let’s get started with my outside looking in thoughts on the VC market.

Overall Venture Capital Markets
Deal flow will be steady but not bubble like. Increase and investment will grow at a steady 5-10% amount on average. As many VC’s continue to invest with a herd mentality, look for lots of “green investments” in clean technologies. Software will increase but media will be the darling after the YouTube exit. I believe that trends in social networking like Social Shopping, Social Search and Social Commerce will take it to the next level. Funding and M&A activity will be heavy.

More funds will go international. The amount of deal flow in the US is fine but those looking to make great strides will be going to India and China. This is supported by the NVCA survey (downloads pdf file) courtesy of the VentureBeat site.

The Carlyle Model becomes more popular. There are only so many companies that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft will want to buy. Carlyle Group has made a name for itself as a conglomerate and there will be more of a “Keiretsu revival” where instead of in the 90’s when people invested and then tried to tie them together, companies will form in order to buy established companies that will work well together. Why try and create another Yahoo when you can buy 15 companies that together make an even better one?

The IPO market will be almost back in full swing. The housing market will continue to crap out so people will be looking to put their money in the market again. This means IPOs but it doesn’t mean bubbles. People are smarter these days and companies will have to really be making money and have a real plan otherwise they should hope to be acquired by Google or a Hedge Fund.

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How did I do? Review of 2006 Predictions

I have read so many predictions for 2007 and it caused me to go back and look at my predictions for 2006.

Let’s see how close I got:
“2006 is going to be the year of Video” – With the acquisition of YouTube and all its competitors making waves with “User Generated Content” I got that one right.

2006 Apple Predictions
1.) Macworld is all about the Mac Mini and content announcements
I don’t see much here on the iPod horizon, but I do see Macworld being about content and distribution. This means that you are really limited by having content on your iPod. However, if you can download content, play it to your TV with your Mac Mini and dock you iPod to take it with you, well now that is scary.
WINNER – They announced iTV and will launch it at Macworld 2007

2.) Intel switch is not as huge as everyone thinks it is.
Everyone knows it is coming. Everyone believes that you will have a machine you can boot Linux/Windows and OS X (now really who would want to do that?). What it will really do is make machines a little faster and make people more comfortable about the platform.
The real winner? Application developers.
Because applications don’t need virtual PC to emulate Intel, companies will make applications for PC and Mac and will slowly erode the advantage of applications available for OS X. To be honest, I am getting ready to make the switch and in my opinion, almost everything is available for me to make the move.
LOSER – They announced it and the switch has improved market share and applications like Parallels has prompted switchers to move fast.

3.) Music prices will go dynamic
Because the record companies are breathing down Steve Job’s neck, he will move iTunes to a dynamic pricing model, with more expensive popular singles on their debut and moving down to $.99 and even lowering less popular songs in price.
LOSER – Never happened.

4.) G6 desktop in Q3 2006
I believe that once the Intel Powerbooks and iBooks are moved over in Q1 and Q2 to the Intel platform, it will be time for the G6 in a sweet quad configuration. This will allow enough time to port all of the powerful applications to the Intel Mac platform, Adobe CS3 will be out and written for this platform. All the children will rejoice.
Partial WINNER – They did announce the Macbook and Mac Pro. CS3 is planned for spring 2007 much to everyone’s dismay.

5.) Steve Jobs gets humble
I have to have one that will absolutely not come true…..
WINNER – Because I predicted it would never happen.

COMING NEXT… Predictions for 2007

Happy 2007!

Welcome to 2007. This is a prepublished entry as I am likely drinking heavily and playing Xbox 360 right now, but I wanted to post my own contribution to the world of new year welcomes.

This past year has been huge for me. Jan 1 of 2006 saw me separated from my wife, working three jobs, seriously in debt, and basically just treading water to survive. One year later, my world has changed. My wife and I are back together and very happy. I have quit all the jobs I worked last year and am working fulltime in the Web 2.0 world. Much of my debt is eliminated. I now blog for money as opposed to blogging just to hear myself talk.

It’s not all about this blog though. This blog has almost doubled in traffic. I’ve dumped 4 blogs and picked up Suicide Fan and began contributing to the Washington Hotlist. I’ve contributed at Problogger, Blog Herald and the WordPress development blog.

My profile has grown, my reach pushed out and my contact list expanded.

As we go into 2007, I recognize where I’ve come but I recognize that my readers have helped me get there. I love you guys for it. Thanks!

Happy New Year to you and yours. May your dreams come true in this new year as so many of mine have in 2006.

10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.0

If you’ve been seriously blogging for any bit of time at all, you’ve heard of the juggernaut that is WordPress. WordPress, of course, is the most popular self-hosted blogging platform utilized by independent writers. The official launch of WordPress 2.0 is upon us and, no doubt, the blogosphere will be buzzing about its launch. As a tester of the product since the early days of the WordPress 2.0 alpha builds, I’ve watched, participated and even assisted in the development of this software.

While this entry might get a bit technical, it is only because thecoolest new features are under the hood. For new users who don’t feel like tinkering with code and expect a shiny new piece of software out of the box, fear not… you will not be disappointed. The software provides a much more interactive and user-friendly interface. And for those of you who love the color blue, you’re going to love the new admin panel!

However, if you want to get into the real glorious nitty gritty of what you can do, then read on!

Here are ten things you may or may not know that can be extremely beneficial to know about WordPress 2.0….

 

  1. Thumbnails of Downloaded Themes – In the past, whenever you’ve gone and looked for a shiny new theme for your WordPress blog, you might have had the luck of seeing the theme in action. However, I can’t be the only one who has looked at a theme created 6 months earlier and wondered what it looked like on a blog because the author had changed it since publishing. With WordPress 2.0, theme authors are being encouraged to include a screenshot, entitled screenshot.png, in the theme folder. By doing so, the thumbnail will be loaded for the blogger to see in his theme list prior to enabling!

 

  1. Capabilities and Roles – In previous versions of WordPress, users could be given ‘limited’ permissions by assigning user levels. User levels, in the past, have relied on a scale 0 to 10, with 10 having unlimited administrative permissions. Various levels in between allowed ‘guest’ bloggers or contributors to have appropriate rights on your blog. In WordPress 2.0, this has been completely revamped. Without going into a lot of repetitive details on the nature of the various capabilities (Ryan explains capabilities and roles in great detail), the new features open up a whole new avenue of flexibility for plugin authors.For instance, there is an API function called 
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    current_user_can()

    , which allows the plugin author to match a currently logged in user against a list of capabilities. These capabilities range from ‘moderate_comments’ to ‘publish_posts’. Ryan’s article has the entire list, but it can also be found at the bottom of the wp-admin/upgrade-schema.php file.

  2. Importing from Other Blogging Platforms – As WordPress becomes an even bigger entity with a higher profile, it’s likely more defectors will want to migrate their existing Blogger, Moveable Type or other style blog to WordPress. I certainly wouldn’t blame them. Old-style import scripts that were included with WordPress have been scrapped for a couple reasons. For one, the other platforms have changed over time and the importers no longer work or the changes to WordPress over time have required a new approach to getting user data into WordPress accurately and effectively. There’s also the little detail of shoddy or incomplete code.

I, along with others, have taken to creating easy upgrade paths for folks coming from Textpattern, Blogger and Moveable Type. If you’re not on one of these platforms, but still want to come over to WordPress, the core software also permits import from an RSS feed!

As a bonus, for readers who have been monitoring the merger of b5media and About Weblogs , you might be interested to know that the tool of choice is a custom Nucleus CMS importer that ultimately will be submitted to the WordPress core code. But that won’t make this release!

  1. Built In Caching – Caching is the idea of storing files for quicker page load time. The concept as a whole is not new. Browsers cache all the time. Internet Explorer uses Temporary Internet Files and Firefox has its own cache. These help individual users load pages faster, but does not help a site load faster across the board. With WordPress 2.0, caching is built in. Queries to the database are saved because, if a page or setting has been loaded once, it is stored on the server file system for quicker load for all users.This is generally beneficial but can also cause problems, particularly if you wish to move your blog from one folder to another (For instance, if you have had your blog in http://example.com/blog and wish to move it to a new folder such as http://example.com/wp). Because database options have been cached, WordPress still thinks it is at another location.To get around this, edit wp-config.php and add the following line before the closing ‘?>’.
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    define('DISABLE_CACHE', true);
  2. Image Uploading – In previous version of WordPress, there was an “Upload” feature available through the admin menu. That menu item is no longer. It has been replaced with an uploader on the edit page. In theory, bloggers can upload images and then drag-and-drop the image into the post. Unfortunately, this feature has caused much heartburn for some testers. There are options to use a full-size image or a thumbnail in the entry, but either way in pre-release versions, this feature seems to be iffy at best with various platforms and browsers.  This will probably be an item that is improved upon, but for the time being, manually editing the HTML with specified dimensions is best practice.Also note that dragging and dropping images when not using the Rich Text Editor will only create a permalink to the image.
  3. Use WordPress for Social Networking – There are probably a thousand social networking tools out there – many of which have plugins for WordPress available to them.  Someof these are Flickr , del.icio.us or Digg.  However, WordPress has built-in integration with such a tool in that allows search engines understand your relationships with other bloggers.  It is called theXFN (XHTML Friends Network).  XFN allows bloggers to establish links in their link manager (blogroll) as “friend”, “co-worker” or “crush” among others. It even allows you to designate whether you’ve physically met the person.

 

  1. Hooks and Filters – Hooks and Filters are a boon for plugin developers. They are what allows plugin developers to modify the behavior of WordPRess without actually changing the core files. Of course, filters and hooks are not a new concept… there’s just more of them in WordPress 2.0. Filters are functions that do as they suggest – filter. Items like a subject header can be filtered through to create an effect or change the way an item is displayed. Hooks give the developer a way to ride the coat tails of an existing “element” (such as a header or the rendering of a post, etc) and perform an action of some sort. An example of this would be to have someone emailed whenever publish_post occurs. (Of course, this is already something that can be done so it is a poor example).

 

  1. Built in Anti-Spam – WordPress 2.0 now ships with Akismet, a built in spam-filter. I’ve been using Akismet spam filtering since October 25th, the day it was launched and I have had one spam comment make it through to my moderation queue. There are alot of other plugins that do spam filtering, but in the past it has often required blogs to use two or more plugins just to get a good grip on comment and trackback spam. There is one hitch though.  Akismet users will need to register for an API key in order to use it. It’s free and worth it.

 

  1. Don’t Use the Rich Text Editor – WordPress developers will likely scorn me when they read this, but it’s my entry, right?  WordPress 2.0 includes TinyMCE, a javascript Rich Text Editor that gives bloggers a familiar Microsoft Word-like editor complete with common shortcut keys like Ctrl-B for Bold, Ctrl-I for Italics, etc.There are a couple problems I see, as a web purist, with this approach. TinyMCE, though it will probably continue to be improved, creates really shoddy HTML in some cases. Empty tags, funky cut-and-paste, and the now-internally-infamous shoddy image feature makes it great for quick and dirty entries but poor for day-to-day usage. I don’t use Safari, the preferred browser for most Mac users, so I can’t be sure if it works yet for you Safari users, but last time I recall it didn’t.
  2. WordPress as a Content Management System – Suppose you like WordPress as a blogging tool and you wish to use it to run non-blog sites. This is a distinct possibility, and not necessarily WordPress 2.0 specific. In fact, I’ve been doing this for the past few years in one form or another.Let me give you an example of one such site. My father is a pastor at New Covenant Community Church in Audubon, New Jersey. (Feel free to visit. I’m sure he won’t mind!) This site is completely WordPress 2.0 driven and it doesn’t even resemble a blog! The question is, how did I accomplish this?Well, there’s a couple of things I did and I’ll bullet point them for quick reference.
    1. Because we wanted the front page to have a different layout than the rest of the site, we created a special template file called NCCC_Main_Page.php. To make it usable for our front page, we needed to add this block of code near the top (after the opening ‘<?php’)
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      /*
      Template Name: NCCC_Main_Page
      */
    2. We created a “page” with our home page content and selected the NCCC_Main_Page  template from the Page Template drop down.
    3. We then downloaded the Static Front Page plugin and followed the instructions to install it.
    4. We created the content for our home page and assigned it a page slug of “home” (Note:this is most easily done by assigning the page title of home and then changing it to something more useful after publishing)
    5. Because most non-blog sites, including NCCC’s, have a manageable number of pages, we were able to create Entries in WordPress and create a static menu using the entry permalinks. There are built-in functions and plugins to make larger amounts of content more manageable and automatic.
    6. As a bonus, we did create a non-blog blog of “Upcoming Events” by posting under a specific category. The permalink to this page was a mere category archive permalink with the specific category used in the archive call.  This provides added benefit of enabling an RSS feed of upcoming events.

10 Rules for Dealing With Snow

Since we had such a large snow storm this weekend, it dawned on me that some folks might not be equipped to handle the elements. In Maryland, we are prepared for such events so this entry is geared towards people from places like Buffalo, Chicago and Massachusetts who may not be prepared for the devastation of such events. I am originally from Buffalo, so I am blessed to have been allowed to live in a place like Baltimore where the bad habits learned from my time in upstate New York could be effectively unlearned. Here are some tips.

1. Other Drivers: Firstly, the roads are filled with people. This is a result of the unparalleled population growth and the need to be places. So you must learn to drive defensively. Always keep at least 2000 feet between yourself and the next car. And drive SLOW! Do not exceed more than 5 mph on secondary streets and increase that to 25 mph on highways. This will inevitably cause anger in drivers following you, but it’s all for safety!

2. Heat: In a cold weather event, please remember to take all necessary precautions to stay warm. Nature provides a wonderful insulation for your car by piling a blanket of snow on it. Use this silver lining to your benefit! This blanket is a natural insulator and will help trap warmth inside your vehicle. Only clean enough snow off your car for you to be able to see through your windshield. Make sure you create a small opening in the snow so you can see your mirrors as well. It’s got to do with defensive driving. See rule 1 above.

3. Alcohol: A lot of people will tell you that alcohol is bad for your body on a cold day because it thins your blood. This is an old wives tale. Drinking alcohol will cause your body to feel warm. You should make sure that whatever you drink has a high alcohol volume content. This should be prominently displayed on the label. The higher the alcohol volume, the more warm you will be. I recommend brandy, better yet, vodka. The Russians have been drinking vodka for years to stay warm. Take it from the Siberians on this one!

4. Supplies: You will usually know a few days before a large snow event, so this should be something you can do with just a little foresight. Make sure you have plenty of bread, milk and toilet paper. These are hot commodities during a snow storm. Ironically, stores usually stop stocking these supplies so you may have to look around a bit. If you do come to a store that has one or two of these items remaining on their shelves, do whatever it takes to secure them. I witnessed an old man get beat up for his milk. It’s an extreme example, but please take all the necessary actions to make sure your family will have what it needs.

5. Black Ice: Please be careful on the roads. Plows usually make their best effort to clear all snow and ice from the roads, but occasionally there are instances where black ice will develop on a road. Black ice is no more deadly than white ice and is a relatively new phenomenon in the past few years as a result of an affirmative action lawsuit filed by Jesse Jackson.

6. Sport Utility Vehicles: When trying to get around, it is important to have a good set of wheels. Usually, you can pick up an SUV from somewhere – new, used, doesn’t matter. The important thing is that SUVs are equipped to handle inclement weather – especially ice.

7. Four-Wheel Drive: If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle you’re set. However, be warned that four-wheel drive is actually a sales gimmick used by the car manufacturers to get more money. All four-wheel drive means is that it has 4 wheels and if you don’t have a vehicle with four wheels, you shouldn’t be on the road. I’m sorry folks, I’m just trying to be realistic and sometimes the truth hurts.

8. Entertainment: For those days that you are stuck indoors, you may want to make sure you have a good stock of DVDs and CDs to watch and listen to. However, Blockbuster is not usually a good place to go for these as everyone goes there. That said, going to Blockbuster allows you the chance to drive in circles in an empty parking lot with your four-wheel drive vehicle.

9. Information: There is a concerted effort to make sure the public stays informed. Usually, you can turn on your local television or radio station where they will provide 24 hour coverage of local Denny’s Restaurants, 7-11 convenience stores and government “war rooms” where important information such as a) where to find milk, bread and toilet paper (see #4), b) what yoga classes are cancelled and c) how many of your neighbors are without power can be gleaned. Pay close attention to it. In Baltimore, WJZ has Don Scott and Marty Bass to provide coverage from 4am to 4pm during these events. This is critical information that you should lock your TVs into.

10) Preparation: Finally, you may not get a snow storm. Sometimes weather conditions change at the last-minute and push an impending storm in a different direction. But you should always be prepared. If a storm is predicted, make sure you leave enough time the day before to get home safely. The storm may not come for another day, but at least you’ll know you are safe at home. You may need to go get milk, bread and toilet paper as well.

I hope these tips come in handy. People from Chicago and New York, especially, should take note of these tips. In my time driving in these areas, it’s apparent to me that these people do not respect the elements. Snow storms can be devastating. Slow your car down. Prepare. And whatever you do, don’t panic!