Goodbye Yahoo! Shortcuts, Hello Zemanta!

When it was released, the Yahoo! Shortcuts plugin seemed like it was going to be a HUGE help in making my posts more useful and more attractive, and while it helped, I finally got fed up with it and turned it off. There seemed to be very little development going on for it and some of the major bugs, like stacking the photo credits if you use the same picture for multiple posts and the fact it blew up and spewed code on my archive page led me to deactivate it. The Yahoo! search links were also not very helpful in adding other relevant content, and for some reason it didn’t like double spaces after a sentance. so blah! and bye bye.

Now, new on the scene is Zemanta, currently available as a Firefox plugin. I’ve installed it and am giving it it’s first run and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s still in heavy development but is very impressive, here are a few of things they are doing better than Yahoo! shortcuts:

  • Zemanta puts everything on the Write Post screen, With Yahoo! you had to jump to a new page, make your additions and then jump back and fix anything the plugin made a mess of.
  • Link suggestions are single click and go where you would naturally want. Right now you can generally pick between the site’s home page or a Wikipedia entry, more options are on the way.
  • Tag suggestions! Zemanta suggests tags for your post from your content and semantic search for related keywords you may not have written about.
  • Related Article Suggestions from around the web (see below). You may not like this if you hate the idea of sending a reader to another site, but it increases the benefit to your reader and that’s important for return visitors.

There are a few things that I would like to see added, or if they exist make it easier to find them:

  • A WordPress plugin. It’s not hard to install Zemanta, but if it were a WordPress plugin I could use it on any computer and any browser. Then it would have access to suggest from my existing categories and make use of other internal WordPress functionality.
  • Gallery Scroll for more pictures, everything I see now is Firefox and WordPress none of which I want to use so let me scroll for more than just the 9 available.
  • Internal links – give me a section of related links that are only from my site
  • OPTIONS! Give me options! What if I don’t want suggested articles with adult content and want all my inserted links to be no follow? Even changing the color scheme or the ability to turn off some of he features would be nice.

Overall, I’m impressed. I’m not real sure about the Zemified button down there, but I’ll certainly leave it up for this post!

TipJoy TipThis Plugin w/ Widget

The latest beta version of the TipThis plugin now has a sidebar widget! This will allow users who don’t want to spam their blog frontpage with Tip This buttons to have a way to accept tips on their main page. Just go to the Presentation portion of your WordPress admin dashboard and drag the TipJoy Widget onto the sidebar!

Download the latest version of TipThis with sidebar widgets form the TipThis home post.

Spottt WordPress Widget

If you are using Spottt on a WordPress blog you’ll have to insert the code that Spottt gives you to embed into your theme’s sidebar code. This is hardly user friendly. so I decided to put together the Spottt WordPress Widget for WordPress blogs that support widgets. Bookmark this post for updates!

The current version is 0.5 and is still in ‘beta’ but I have it running on Polled.info if you want to confirm it works.

Better documentation will follow but for now you just need:

  1. Download the widget
  2. Unzip and upload to your plugins folder
  3. Active the plugin
  4. Under Presentation -> Widgets drag the spottt ad where you want it
  5. Click the little notepad icon on the widget admin to edit the settings
  6. Title: Name the sidebar section, or leave blank for no title section
  7. Spottt ID: This is that long string of letters and numbers in the ‘Embed’ code
  8. Press Enter to save and check your site for the ad!

Upgrading WordPress on GoDaddy

GoDaddy makes it easy to install a WordPress blog by doing it for you for free, but after that you’re on your own. I had been content with the default install until recently, but I really shouldn’t have been. New features and bug fixes aside, you should keep your install current to stay ahead of security flaws. If a security flaw fix is released that means the problem it has corrected is generally explained in enough detail for hackers to exploit those who haven’t upgraded.

Upgrading looked like it was going to be a rough process, to do it right you should really follow these steps:

  1. Download the newest version of WordPress
  2. Create a backup of your WordPress Database (go ahead and copy your layout info as well)
  3. Put your site on “Hold” with a message that it’s being worked on and will be back soon
  4. Stop all plugins
  5. Apply the WordPress Update
  6. Turn plugins back on and upgrade to new versions as needed
  7. Return your site to it’s “Live” state

Sounds like a lot of work right? Well there are certainly plugins that will do several of those steps for you and I was going around collecting them when I happened across the mother of all update plugins, Automatic Upgrade! It does everything for you except download the newest versions of your current plugins.

Now upgrading your site on GoDaddy(or anywhere else for that matter) is a breeze, you just run the Automatic Upgrade steps from the Manage portion of your WordPress Admin and all the steps above are handled leaving you handle just plugin updates if they are needed.