Ten WordPress plugins that make this look easy

In honor of Daniel’s Blogger break-up, here are 10 WordPress plugins I use and recommend:

  • Ultimate Tag Warrior: Does a lot more than build that ugly/hot/buzzwordy tag cloud over on the right, it gives search engines a leg up on knowing what you’re writing about, which makes it easier for people to find you. Then, once they’re at your site, it gives them lots of handy links to read what interests them.
  • Tiger Style Administration: Makes your Admin panel look a lot more Mac-ish, and more importantly, it’s just plain nicer to look at than the default WordPress backend.
  • BA Stats: Simple stats on page hits, referrers, IP addresses, browsers used by your readers, etc. Bug Owen Winkler to put the plugin back up for download, though, because the project appears to have gone dormant.
  • Get Recent Comments: It gets recent comments. Oh, and puts them where you want them, like in your sidebar, for example. Very configurable.
  • Fuzzy Recent Posts: Like #4, but with your latest posts.
  • Angsuman’s Referrer Bouncer, Trackback Validator, Spam Karma 2, Bad Behavior: It’s hard to tell which of these is doing the lion’s share of the work, but I rarely ever have to see any comment or trackback spam on my blog. Obvious honorable mention to Akismet. I don’t know how this stuff works, but it gets the job done.
  • Random Quotes: I love this. It’s designed to display a random quote from a list you make in a handy admin-panel interface, but in theory, I think it could be used to display random images or other hunks of code. I use it for the different ‘About’ blurbs you see on the top right corner of this site.

Yeah, I count 11, too. I’m not a math major.

Add the 12th by leaving a comment and telling everyone the one WordPress plugin you don’t leave home without.

My left armpit business model

[Ed. note: This post takes care of my smart-ass quota for the month.]

In the middle of an uninteresting handwringer where nothing new is written about the future/death/rebirth/downfall of newspapers (pointing out the existence of craigslist is so 2005), Michael Kinsley writes at Time.com:

“But there is room between the New York Times and myleftarmpit.com for new forms that liberate journalism from its encrusted conceits while preserving its standards, like accuracy.”

So the funny bit is that myleftarmpit.com is a fictional site, a figure of speech, but the link is live and the URL is available.

If I were just slightly more enterprising than I am, I’d buy that URL right now, set up a splog full of future-of-newspapers handwringing and plant a gazillion ads on the page, just to see how many Time.com readers would click through.

Think I could make back my nine bucks for the URL?

I’ll leave it to someone else to try.

I wonder if the URL was linked on purpose, or if the CMS just does it automagically, which is nice, except when you’re just pointing someone to some easy money.

The big shocker here is why no one already owns myleftarmpit.com.

Myrightarmpit.com? Also available.

The questions I want answered about the proposed Skype ban at SJSU

San Jose State University is throwing around the idea of banning Skype from its network, due to concerns over Skype’s grid computing model. In Internet layman’s terms, that means Skype uses everybody’s bandwidth to ship packets around instead of some big central server of epic proportions.

The folks behind Skype are the same people who built Kazaa, a pretty successful, and in the end, legally-challenged, peer-to-peer file sharing (read: music) network. So just imagine the technology behind P2P file sharing working to put through your phone calls.

Well, the story moved from Steve Sloan’s blog (more) to the Spartan Daily to the Mercury News, with quite a few stops at some notable VoIP blogs, but no one has yet mentioned the fact that SJSU’s 8-month-old wireless network was built out by Comcast, a company that happens to provide quite a bit of VoIP service of its own.

I’d love to know if there’s a connection there.

Second question: Is the proposed ban based on any actual data, or is it just something the UCAT admins think is a smart move?

If there’s data, feel free to share, guys. I’m sure there’s a few hundred computer science and computer engineering majors who use VoIP applications to talk to their families back home that would be really interested in helping you crunch those numbers.

“Powering Silicon Valley,” indeed…

Ten reasons I’m buying a MacBook as soon as I can afford one

I’ve been using Microsoft OS-based PCs since Mom and Dad upgraded from an electronic typewriter. The first program I remember using way back in the DOS days was The Print Shop. I made banners. It was the ’80s.

Times have changed. Here’s ten reasons I’m switching to Apple when I buy my next machine:

  1. Spotlight: Because Windows can’t handle the simple task of instantly finding little tiny digital files that are all physically within a few inches of each other. And don’t give me any “Google Desktop can do that” crap. Google can have my e-mail, my calendar, my search history, and my news subscriptions, but my melodramatic teenaged poetry does NOT need to be indexed, thank you very much.
  2. Genius Bar: In-person human tech support. Where do I sign up?
  3. CS2: Because I need an excuse to buy it. (I get a supercool discount at school.) I’m assuming the Intel-friendly Mac version will be out by the time I’m throwing money at a MacBook.
  4. Because I’m looking forward to the challenge of moving all my music and podcasts to a fresh install of iTunes. Okay, that one not so much. Luckily, I don’t buy any music from the iTunes store, so all I can expect to lose is some podcasts, and really, how many times do I need to listen to that Gillmor Gang from last February?
  5. That big honking touchpad, and the fancy mouse with the little dot in the middle. Yes, I mark out for buttons.
  6. Street Cred: If I’m going to get paid to be a hotshot web geek, a cranky malfunctioning giant loud overheating Toshiba A75 just isn’t the image I’m shooting for.
  7. iMovie: Because Windows Movie Maker isn’t exactly the last word in user interface.
  8. Because the 13-inch MacBook is smaller, lighter, and has longer battery life than the beast I’m carrying around right now.
  9. Hel-fucking-vetica.
  10. Because it comes in black.