Archive for September, 2008

Charles Simonyi to Become World’s First Repeat Space Tourist [Space Cadet]

30 Sep

Not content with his first astronautic experience, Ex-Microsofter billionaire Charles Simonyi is now training for a second trip to the International Space Station in Spring 2009. Simonyi will be the first repeat Space Adventures customer since the company began sending private citizens into the final frontier in 2001.

The last time he went (in 2007), Simonyi paid roughly $20 million to participate in a lower back muscle study, map the station's radiation environment and test HD camera components. This time around, he'll have to pay $30 million thanks to inflation and increased costs. [MSNBC]

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10 WordPress Plugins Your Blog Probably Needs

30 Sep

At the time this article was published, states that there are over 3,000 plugins on the site that have been downloaded nearly 13,000,000 (yep, 13 million) times. This does not include the hundreds or thousands of plugins that are not listed at the official site. Wading through so many plugins can be difficult, inefficient and annoying so we’ve selected 10 of our favorites for you and will itemize why you’ll probably want to use them.

All in One SEO Pack

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 3/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

This plugin is a difference maker. Installing this plugin can drastically improve your search engine rankings and can bring in more targetted traffic. Here’s a look at some of what this plugin offers:

  • Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
  • Generates META tags automatically
  • Avoids the typical duplicate content found on Wordpress blogs
  • It works out-of-the-box. Just install.
  • You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
  • You can fine-tune everything

WP Super Cache

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 5/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Technically, this plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress files. After a HTML file is generated, your server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more resource-intensive WordPress PHP scripts. In real-world terms, this plugin can be a life-saver if your blog is getting close to outgrowing it’s server because it is a ‘greener’ solution and is able to conserver precious server resources. Donncha Caoimh, the plugin’s author also claims that most sites will become “digg-proof” with Super-caching enabled. Though it will probably help, the only way to “digg-proof” most sites is to have a kickin’ server that can handle that kind of load.

Google XML Sitemaps

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 3/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Google XML Sitemaps creates a Google-Sitemaps-compliant XML sitemap of your blog. The plugin is intelligent enough to grab all of your posts and pages even if they’re not linked to from other pages (unless you don’t want that). Every time you modify or create a post (or page), the XML sitemap is automatically updated and sends an update to the major search engines., Google, MSN Search and YAHOO are all notified about the update and will re-crawl your site to grab the new content.

Post Templates

Ranking ( 5/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 5/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 3/5
More Info | Download

This plugin seems to be a relative newcomer to the WordPress plugin scene. Averaging less than 300 downloads a week, most of you probably haven’t discovered what an insanely valuable plugin this can be. Author Vincent Prat outlines it’s use well: (paraphrased)

It happens quite often that a blogger publishes posts or pages on a regular basis that have similar structures. Think about, for example, a “picture of the day” post. With WordPress’s unaltered setup, we need to spend a lot of time doing copy/paste between posts instead of actually writing content… I have developed a plugin to maintain post templates and allow simple writing of templated posts.

The only downfall is that it is not as easy to create a new post from a template as one would expect. However. after having used the plugin for a few days, you’ll realize the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Wordpress Automatic Upgrade

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 5/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Updating WordPress can be a hassle. Frankly, it’s annoying to deactivate all the plugins, download and upload the new files, etc. This gem does all the tough work for you. As the name implies, WordPress Automatic Upgrade automatically upgrades WP by completing the following steps:

  1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
  2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
  3. Downloads the latest files from and unzips it.
  4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
  5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
  6. Upgrades WordPress files.
  7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
  8. Re-activates the plugins.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an easier solution for upgrading… Unless you opt for the built-in automated mode that doesn’t even require you to click a link to complete the upgrade. It is important to note though that WAU could potentially overwrite files you didn’t want to have overwritten. If you’ve customized any of the core WP files, you should proceed with caution or continue to upgrade to new releases manually.

Maintenance Mode

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 3/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Are you sick of embarrassing errors popping up while you perform maintenance on your blog? You should check out Maintenance Mode. This one temporarily replaces your content with a customizable splash page. This lets visitors know that your blog is down for maintenance. The real beauty is that logged-in administrators still get full access to the blog and can view the site as if it were live to the public.

By default, visitors will see the following message: “Maintenance Mode - [SITE-TITLE] is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please try back in [X] minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

[SITE-TITLE] will automatically be replaced with your site’s name and [X] number of minutes can be quickly set in the plugin’s settings panel.


Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 4/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 4/5
More Info | Download

There’s not a whole lot to discuss regarding this plugin. It simply creates an easier way for users to backup the database that contains the WordPress installation. This can save a few minutes for experts and novices alike.

WP Easy Uploader

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 3/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 4/5
More Info | Download

Here’s an interesting extension of a capability that is already built-in to WordPress 2.6 and higher. If you’re using 2.6 or better, you’ve likely noticed that you can now upload media (pictures, audio, video, etc) right into your new post. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), there are plenty of bloggers who want to upload and use other forms of media in posts or need to upload files to the server for other reasons.

WP Easy Uploader allows admins to add plugins, themes, and any type of file to WordPress directly from inside WordPress. You can completely bypass loading up an FTP client just to upload simple plugins or to upload a text document for people to download. Additionally, you can select to have archives automatically extracted to their destination. This means that plugin and theme extractions can be taken care of for you, and WPEU also allows you to zip up a large set of files and upload them quickly into a folder on your site. Currently supported formats include: zip, tar, gz, tar.gz, tgz, and tar.bz2 archives.


Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 4/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Like plenty of WP plugins out there, this one adds links to social networking sites to your posts and pages. Unlike plenty of others, Sociable actually seems to have some grasp of how simple a plugin of this nature should be. The plugin is nearly ready to go out-of-the-box but still offers plenty of customization.

Search Everything

Ranking ( 4/5
Ease of Initial Setup: 5/5
Ease of Use After Setup: 5/5
More Info | Download

Rounding out our list is another simple plugin. Search Everything increases the ability of the default Wordpress Search. At your discretion, you can have users’ searches rifle through the usual posts and such AND the following options:

  • Search Every Page
  • Search Every Tag
  • Search Every Category
  • Search non-password protected pages only
  • Search Every Comment
  • Search only approved comments
  • Search Every Draft
  • Search Every Excerpt
  • Search Every Attachment
  • Search Every Custom Field (metadata)
  • Exclude Posts from search
  • Exclude Categories from search
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3DART от Zamak (29 фото – 9.43Mb) » – Фотоблоги интересных людей

30 Sep

3DART от Zamak (29 фото - 9.43Mb)


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The Hunt For Nonexistent Experts on Social Networks

30 Sep
Steven Hodson via WinExtra shared by 7 people

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. - Laurence J. Peter

Ever wondered why we place so much faith in experts; and I don’t mean those people that we see pimping themselves on newscasts or any other ten second soundbite about how they know all the how’s and why’s of any given situation. Those people are usually no better than vacuous filler between commercials and their opinions change with whoever is signing their consultancy checks.

No, true experts are those people who have a deep passion and and even deeper understanding about a subject that drives them to learn something new each and every day. They are the people who realize that for everything that they think they know there is just as much that they don’t know and are the first to admit it.

These are the real experts and you aren’t going to find them hanging around on some stupid ass social network wanting to be your friend. Their time is too valuable for that useless type of distraction - there are too many things to learn to spend it standing around some virtual water cooler. Unfortunately though we have been lead to believe in this silly idea of the wisdom of the crowd and seem to think that all the answers are going to be found on social networks like Twitter, FriendFeed or some such other water cooler. The reality is that this is the farthest thing from the truth and this is something that people like Robert Scoble are beginning to find out, much to their chagrin:

I find I’m becoming a lot more like Andrew Keen. That scares the shit out of me. Why? I find I’m looking to experts and elites more and more, because the crap I’m seeing out of all of our mouths is just so, um, wrong. As my history teacher back in the 1980s used to say “the masses are asses.” This is shaking my belief system pretty thoroughly, because I actually do believe that a decentralized system is stronger than one with one guy or gal in the middle controlling everything. But for a decentralized system to work we have to 1. be smart and 2. believe in each other. Those two things are proving to me to be pretty trying right now.

Even the idea that a Nobel Laureate of Economics or a discoverer of the Human Genome are going to be found sitting around there computers chumming it up on FriendFeed ot Twitter is ridiculous. Like really, give your head a shake if you believe that. Supposing though that for some incredible reason you did find someone like Stephen Hawking on your friends list do you even thing you would be able to comprehend what the hell they were talking about. Not likely.

So Robert, here’s a suggestion for you. Forget even thinking that places like FriendFeed or Twitter are anything more than really cool places to get together with friends and chew the fat. You know .. just like the old newsgroups or web forums. You want the experts - you’re going to have to go find them where they live because they’re too damn busy to find any value in our silly little corner of the Internet.Similar Posts:

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No Money Down

30 Sep

Because of current events, Arthur magazine just posted the column I wrote for their upcoming issue, written a month or so ago, about what's happening right now. I figured I'd share it with you here:

I poked my head up from writing my book a couple of months ago to engage with Arthur readers about the subject I was working on: the credit crunch and what to do about it [see “Riding Out the Credit Crisis” in Arthur No. 29/May 2008]. I got more email about that piece than anything I have written since a column threatening to defect from the Mac community back in the Quadra days.

Many readers thought I was hinting at something under the surface—a conspiracy, of sorts, to take money from the poor and give it to the rich. It sounded to many like I was describing an economic system actually designed—planned—to redistribute income in the worst possible ways.

I guess I’d have to agree with that premise. Only it’s not a secret conspiracy. It’s an overt one, and playing out in full view of anyone who has time (time is money, after all) to observe it.

The mortgage and credit crisis wasn’t merely predictable; it was predicted. And not by a market bear or conspiracy theorist, but by the people and institutions responsible. The record number of foreclosures, credit defaults, and, now, institutional collapses is not the result of the churn of random market forces, but rather a series of highly lobbied changes to law, highly promoted ideologies of wealth and home ownership, and monetary policies highly biased toward corporate greed.

It all started to make sense to me when I attended Learning Annex’s Wealth Expo earlier this year—a seminar where teachers of The Secret, the hosts of Flip This House, George Foreman, Tony Robbins and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan [pictured above in banner from Learning Annex website] purportedly taught the thousands in attendance how to take advantage of the current foreclosure boom....

or if that's overwhelmed

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

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Found: Artifacts From the Future

30 Sep


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Startups Best Positioned To Weather A Downturn

30 Sep
Mark Hendrickson via TechCrunch shared by 6 people

Now that Congress has failed to bail out Wall Street, the country (and world, to a lesser extent) has begun bracing itself for nuclear winter. The technology sector is no exception, even if the Silicon Valley tends to fancy itself as immune to broader economic turmoil.

As Fred Wilson points out, startups fortunate enough to enjoy venture capital will fare the best during these hard times. So we compiled a list of all the technology startups that have raised at least $25 million over the past two years, according to CrunchBase. The ~160 startups to stockpile that much capital recently are listed below.

Facebook tops the list with $455 million raised over the last two years (the bulk of its total $496M). Clean tech comes in highly as well with Nanosolar having raised $300 million, eSolar $140 million, and SulfurCell $134 million.

Of course, to know truly how well-prepared these startups are for the next few years, we’d have to see other figures like burn rates, revenue and head counts, not all of which are publicly known. Nevertheless, their recent funding rounds provide a good guideline.

Have we missed any relevant companies or funding rounds? Submit them to CrunchBase and we’ll update this list.

  1. Facebook - $455M
  2. ZeniMax - $310M
  3. Nanosolar - $300M
  4. OverSee - $210M
  5. OANDA - $200M
  6. Kayak - $196M
  7. GridPoint - $167M
  8. Plastic Logic - $150M
  9. eSolar - $140M
  10. Demand Media - $135M
  11. SulfurCell - $134M
  12. Modu - $120M
  13. United Mobile - $115M
  14. Zhaopin - $110M
  15. Ning - $104M
  16. Glam Media - $104M
  17. hulu - $100M
  18. 9You - $100M
  19. SpinVox - $100M
  20. Specificmedia - $100M
  21. Rearden Commerce - $100M
  22. Ausra - $97.8M
  23. CDNetworks - $96.5M
  24. Move Networks - $91.3M
  25. Spot Runner - $91M
  26. Tesla Motors - $85M
  27. Big Fish Games - $83.3M
  28. Realtime Worlds - $81M
  29. Adconion Media Group - $80M
  30. The Active Network - $80M
  31. HelioVolt - $77M
  32. Youku - $77M
  33. Datapipe - $75M
  34. Trion World Network - $70M
  35. A123Systems - $70M
  36. Vantage Media - $70M
  37. Arcadian Networks - $70M
  38. Boston Power - $68.6M
  39. Infinia - $66.5M
  40. LinkedIn - $65.8M
  41. Fisker - $65M
  42. Brightcove - $64.4M
  43. SilkRoad technology - $64M
  44. Coremetrics - $60M
  45. ReachLocal - $55.2M
  46. Veoh - $55M
  47. Federated Media - $54.5M
  48. Slacker - $53.5M
  49. RockYou - $52.5M
  50. - $51M
  51. Slide - $50M
  52. Blowtorch - $50M
  53. HealthCentral - $50M
  54. GarageGames - $50M
  55. ChannelAdvisor - $50M
  56. Revolution Money - $50M
  57. obopay - $49M
  58. Strands - $49M
  59. JumpTap - $48M
  60. ice - $47M
  61. Greenplum - $46M
  62. Internet Mall - $45M
  63. Clear - $44.4M
  64. Jingle Networks - $43M
  65. freebase - $42.5M
  66. Avail Media - $42M
  67. Amobee - $42M
  68. BitTorrent - $42M
  69. Metaweb Technologies - $42M
  70. Teneros - $40M
  71. Undertone Networks - $40M
  72. Enforta - $40M
  73. SiBEAM - $40M
  74. Trilliant - $40M
  75. Turbine - $40M
  76. Pure Digital Technologies - $40M
  77. SearchMe - $39.6M
  78. fabrik - $39.2M
  79. Zynga - $39M
  80. Turn - $38.5M
  81. LifeLock - $37.9M
  82. Digg - $37.2M
  83. GreatCall - $36.6M
  84. Yodlee - $35M
  85. Bestofmedia Group - $35M
  86. Segway - $35M
  87. Angie’s List - $35M
  88. hi5 - $35M
  89. Lehigh Technologies - $34.5M
  90. Sermo - $34.5M
  91. ooma - $34M
  92. Dailymotion - $34M
  93. meebo - $34M
  94. Clearspring - $33.5M
  95. XunLight - $33M
  96. Seatwave - $33M
  97. Cuil - $33M
  98. Dilithium Networks - $33M
  99. Waterfront Media - $33M
  100. Mzinga - $32.5M
  101. PicScout - $32M
  102. Vuze - $32M
  103. Vanu - $32M
  104. Pando - $31.9M
  105. Etsy - $31.3M
  106. BuzzNet - $31M
  107. Global Roaming - $30.5M
  108. NebuAd - $30.2M
  109. MFG - $30M
  110. Eyeblaster - $30M
  111. Zazzle - $30M
  112. Leapfrog on-line - $30M
  113. GodTube - $30M
  114. Batanga - $30M
  115. VideoJug - $30M
  116. Zillow - $30M
  117. IGA Worldwide - $30M
  118. Viagogo - $30M
  119. - $30M
  120. MobiTV - $30M
  121. Metacafe - $30M
  122. badoo - $30M
  123. MOLI - $29.6M
  124. Automattic - $29.5M
  125. Genius - $29M
  126. Intacct - $29M
  127. LiveOps - $28M
  128. RadioFrame - $28M
  129. PGP Corporation - $27.3M
  130. Milestone Systems - $27M
  131. Tideway - $27M
  132. Palo Alto Networks - $27M
  133. BlackArrow - $26.8M
  134. ChoiceStream - $26.5M
  135. Solarflare - $26M
  136. Ruckus - $26M
  137. ContextWeb - $26M
  138. Quantcast - $25.7M
  139. Become - $25.5M
  140. DeviceVM - $25M
  141. Verimatrix - $25M
  142. Optaros - $25M
  143. Zecco - $25M
  144. SpringSource - $25M
  145. Splunk - $25M
  146. InMage Systems - $25M
  147. Meraki - $25M
  148. Yelp - $25M
  149. Nimbuzz - $25M
  150. Dash - $25M
  151. Trulia - $25M
  152. Gemini - $25M
  153. Firefly Energy - $25M
  154. PharmaNation - $25M
  155. Visible World - $25M
  156. Reunion - $25M
  157. Retail Convergence - $25M
  158. Mimeo - $25M
  159. Koolanoo Group - $25M
  160. Aurora Biofuels - $25M

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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Lux Tip: Art is Meant to be Seen. Go See It.

30 Sep

Filed under: ,

Know what? Your local art gallery wants you to come look at the art. It's not all about money. You don't have to be a prospective buyer. Most art is made to be seen and digested by the public.

While an invitation to, say, the Louvre's special exhibition opening party might be hard to procure, your local art gallery is probably advertising their next opening in your newspaper or event magazine, and it is probably free!

Art openings often include free wine and free hors d'oeuvres, and always include mingling with interesting arty people and, best of all, the ART.

So, go to art gallery openings.

It's just another easy way to make life more lux for cheap or free.


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How to Connect Your Email Address to Your OpenID Account

30 Sep

OpenID is an excellent solution for establishing a single identity for all your online accounts, but many people haven’t even tried it yet. For some, the concept of using a URL address for a login ID instead of the traditional email address is still completely foreign.

However, Email to ID could be what the doctor ordered and what these creatures of habits need. It could also be what OpenID needs in order to expedite wide-spread acceptance as the single sign-on identity standard. You can now link your email address (or several of them) to your OpenID and then use that email address (any of them) to log into any online service that supports it! The beauty rests in the simplicity of it all. Best of all, it’s all free and easy to do.

First, a little background information on this process

Email to ID is based on the EAUT (Email Address to URL Translation) protocol that allows standard email addresses to be transformed into URLs for services like OpenID. As far as concerns regarding security and who controls everything, EAUT was designed to work in a distributed fashion, so that there isn’t a single authority in charge of everything. Each email service controls how email addresses at their domain are resolved into URLs. 

Even though EAUT is designed to be decentralized, it will take time for email providers to add support. In these cases, a fallback service can be used, which can translate ANY email address to a URL. Relying parties can use any fallback service they wish, but Email to ID is recommended.  The need for a fallback service will decrease as more email providers support EAUT natively. 

Why a fallback service like Email to ID?

Emailtoid was designed as a technology prototype to act as a temporary solution to a usability problem in OpenID. Email to ID always defers to the email providers first and only falls back to the local resolution service if the email provider does not support email-to-OpenID resolution. 

What’s important for Email to ID’s long-term Success?

There are a couple of things that need to happen in order for Email to ID to become a normal part of our online experience. First, OpenID needs to formally and officially support the EAUT protocol. Second, all email providers need to get on board and support OpenID and EAUT. It’s not only good for their members but for them as well, so it’s really a no-brainer. The same is true for all online services and their stance regarding OpenID support - the more services that embrace OpenID, the better for us all.

How to do it

Here’s how easy it is to connect your email address with your OpenID account. It literally takes a couple of minutes. When completed we will show you how to use it with a site that supports EAUT such as Magnolia.

1. First, you’ll need an OpenID account. You might already have one because many services like AIM and LiveJournal include an OpenID for members. You can check here. If you don’t already own one then just create one from any of the official OpenID providers on that page. Popular providers include ClaimID, myOpenID, myVidoop, and VeriSign’s Personal Identity Provider. 

2. Go to Email to ID and add your OpenID account along with the email address you want to associate with it. You can add multiple addresses if you want. You’ll receive an email with an access key you can enter to complete the connection or you can simply click the link in the email. Either way works fine.

That’s it, really. It’s that easy. Enter the email address and OpenID account and they’ll be connected. You can just as easily disconnect them or add another email address or change the OpenID provider should you want to do so. It’s very flexible and puts you in control.

How to use your new email to ID account on a service

Now that you’ve linked your email address with your OpenID account, you can use your familiar email address on any site that supports it. In this example, we’ll use the popular social bookmarking service, Magnolia.

1. Go to the Magnolia sign in page and enter your email address in the OpenID box instead of the usual OpenID URL. 

2. You’ll be redirected to a confirmation page on your OpenID provider’s site. Click continue to complete the transaction. 

3. That’s it. You’re done. No need to enter tedious profile information or even a password. Just create the screen name you want and the email address and you’re done with the sign-up process in a fraction of the time that it usually takes. Email to ID and OpenID handles all of the dirty work for you.

Final thoughts

You’ve just gotten a glimpse of what could very well be the future of online registration thanks to the OpenID single sign on identity system along with the Email to ID URL translation based on the EAUT protocol. As mentioned earlier, in order for this much improved process to become a common standard and available everywhere online, more services need to support OpenID and EAUT. The good news is that increasing new services are in fact supporting OpenID. To keep up with all of the new additions to this list go to the OpenID Directory or subscribe to its RSS feed which updates constantly.

Related Articles at Mashable | All That's New on the Web:

The Daily Poll: How Often Do You Use OpenID to Login?
Another Victory For OpenID: Yahoo Announces Support
Blogger’s OpenID Support Now Official
Wikispaces Adds OpenID Suport
Blogger Beta Gets OpenID Support
Wetpaint Adds OpenID Support
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM and Verisign Join OpenID Foundation

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The Paperclip iPhone/iPod Touch Stand [DIY]

30 Sep

If $100 is just too much for you to pay for a homemade iPhone stand, then this paperclip version might be a better option. And to anyone who has ever paid more than 50 cents to hold any pocket electronic, hopefully this fan-made pwnage will keep your money in your pocketbook/child savings accounts next time. [via Lifehacker]

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