Tag Archives: google

what do the pros read?

books
In an effort to promote both Google Reader and its bundles*, Google has asked leading journalists in technology, fashion and food amongst others to identify the blogs/websites that they read the most.

Some of the people that caught my attention were:

1. Chris Anderson (Editor-in-Chief, Wired)

2. Adam Pash (Editor, Lifehacker)

3. Thomas Friedman (Foreign-affairs Columnist, NY Times)

Would have been nice to have some presence outside the US and also some non-journalists mind!

[update] Forgot to add.. you can see the bundles online here.

*Google Reader bundles are lists of RSS feeds which you can subscribe to using Google Reader – it is a quick way to find other websites/blogs that have content that might be of interest to you.

[image credit: Kevin H.]

my 10 favourite wordpress plugins


Versions of this post have been sitting in my drafts for years.. it was interesting to go back and see the plugins I could not do without compared to today though I found that actually there haven’t been that many that have changed. Just new ones have come in and added to the funcitonality of WordPress.

Here are my favourite 10 today.

1. Akismet

I can’t really not mention Akismet. Made by the developers at Automattic, it stops spam in its tracks and is simple to use. What more do you need?

2. Disqus

I have dabbled with all the different third party social commenting tools over the years – Intense Debate, JS-Kit and Disqus – and lost comments as a result – but disqus seems to have a good balance of community vs features. There is of course Echo on the scene – which you can see here, which tracks reactions around the web – but whereas I initially thought it might blow Disqus out of the water, I am not so convinced now. Disqus already has that functionality. I think Disqus is already in a strong position to compete and grow.

3. All-in-One SEO pack

For all those SEO tweaks to help with your search rankings. Given the majority of people who reach this site come from search, its a pretty important part of the mix for me. I don’t use it enough.

4. Feedburner feedsmith

Another simple plugin which does what it says on the tin. Diverts people connecting to WordPress‘ RSS feed to my feedburner account. Keeps everyone in one place – handy if I ever want to change URLs. It also allows me to track the number of subscribers and measure interaction with my RSS feed. (The URL to the page hosting the plugin seems to have disappeared 🙁 )

5. Google Analyticator

I have used a few Google Analytics plugins over the years and recently switched to this one, mainly as I saw it get a mention within a Google blog – its as good a recommendation as you will find 😉

6. Google XML Sitemaps

One of those that helps make sure the various search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask) get updates of changes to your website.

7. Tweetmeme

I have used Sharethis in the past but this reduces the barriers to sharing even further (albeit with the loss of sharing with other networks) – from a rollover and click to just a click 😉

8. WordPress Mobile Edition

iphones, androids.. they can all surf the real web.. none of that WAP stuff of years gone by but that doesn’t mean you cant make the interface more easy to read.

9. WP Super cache

Cache your blog, reduce the load on your blog server and increase the number of visitors your blog is capable of dealing with.

10. Zemanta

I started using Zemanta again last week. It adds value to your blog posts (links, images, related links). Before it did it in a way to really seemed to highlight Zemanta everywhere. Now it is more subtle and just as usable. This one looks like it might stay a while this time.

I think it is worth doing this post annually to see how it changes even if it means I might have to increase it to my favourite 15 😉

finally some interesting new webservices

project-tomorrowIt has been relatively quiet when it comes to launching new webservices/products/companies lately. A global recession does that to the world. But recently there have been a few new services worth mentioning:

foursquare: Not available in London (come on guys!) yet, this company has been launched by Naveen Salvadurai and Dennis Crowley, who was one of the guys who founded dodgeball.com before it got bought (and ruined) by Google in 2005. It’s all about using the location based technology of your mobile phone to have fun and find new ways to explore the city. Like dodgeball, it helps you meet up with your friends and (here’s the game part) let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people. It sounds like a cross between Qype (a local search website for restaurants, bars etc) and dodgeball (an early location based social network).

lazyfeed: there has always been a tonne of information flying around the net, and google helped you find it all. Then Twitter happened and we all realised that what we actually needed was information about what is happening now as well as yesterday. There is too much information. Lazyfeed pulls in your footprint (or sites/keywords you are interested in) online (through services like Twitter, blogs, Flickr and delicious) and presents you with the latest and greatest content without you having to look for it. Great for lazy people 😉  It is in private beta right now, but if you follow them on twitter here, I am sure they’ll let you know when new invites become available.

GoogggggDennis founded dodgeball.com, one of the first mobile social services in the US, which was acquired by Google in 2005.

[image credit: andy castro]