Posts Tagged ‘Plugin’

Inbox Influence shows political contributions by the people in your email

21 Jun

While browser plugins like Rapportive tell you the social networks that people in your email belong to, Inbox Influence, from the Sunlight Foundation, uses their data from Influence Explorer, Transparency Data, and Party Time to show a different type of network in your inbox.

Inbox Influence is a new tool from the Sunlight Foundation that allows you to see the political contributions of the people and organizations that are mentioned in emails you receive. This easy-to-use tool can be used for researching influence background on corporate correspondence, adding context to newspaper headlines or discovering who is behind political fundraising solicitations.

Available for major browsers, the plugin is straightforward to use. Just install it like you would any other plugin, and then open Gmail in your browser. In the sidebar (where the ads usually are), you'll see contribution information for people in your inbox.

How much political influence is in your inbox?

[Inbox Influence]


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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SocialBrowse Opens its Doors to the Public

25 Sep

After three months in private beta, SocialBrowse has formally launched their public beta along with some new features. It appears they made a concerted effort to listen to their beta testers and actually implemented many of the most requested features.

SocialBrowse allows you to share any website with your friends and contacts with the click of a button, which is added to your Firefox or Flock browser. Click the button with the dialogue bubble and you can leave a comment for others to see along with the website you shared. The button with the SocialBrowse logo opens the sidebar panel, which displays the social feed for all of your friends and their online activity in real-time, so there’s no need to refresh your browser anymore.

There’s also a leaderboard that displays the most active and popular members of SocialBrowse when it comes to sharing links. You earn a point every time someone shares a link that you’ve shared with the community, so it’s a Digg-like reward system which encourages members to share high quality content. It also helps members find interesting new information.

SocialBrowse does something interesting when it comes to new members. Instead of starting with an empty friends list like most other social networks, they actually add several of the most active members in the community just to give you a jump start to using the service. Obviously you can delete them in time if it turns out that you don’t like what they share, but it’s a good idea for giving newcomers a taste of what the service has to offer right out of the gate.

One of the new features that becomes obvious right away is the integration with Google, which means new members can now join SocialBrowse with their Gmail account with a simple click. While it’s not as sexy as an OpenID connection, it’s the next best thing.

Profiles are now more revealing and thus useful. Each profile page will show the user’s activity in a single column, with tabs to let you filter by the type of activity (shared link, comment, message, or everything).

The in-page embedded icons are more noticeable and show how many users shared each link in the page. Hovering over the icon expands into a more detailed view of the user(s) who shared the link, and some of their other recent activity.   Also, commenting has been improved to toggle open/close with a single click of the toolbar button. Opening the comment menu shows all existing comments for the current page and lets you submit your own, without ever leaving the site you’re on.

When it comes to sharing links via the toolbar buttons, you can actually save them to different categories such as Technology, Sports, Entertainment, etc. It’s all part of the click n’ save process, so it’s rather quick and painless and should encourage members to tag more often. Also part of this process is the ability to send a link straight to Twitter once you add your login information in the account setup area.

SocialBrowse is unique because unlike other social networks that do their best to keep you on their site, SocialBrowse actually does everything in its powers to push you off their site and into the World Wide Web so you can use their tools to share content with your friends and everyone else.

One could say that SocialBrowse is like a hybrid of GoogleReader + Digg + Twitter. What’s nice about their approach to things is that it doesn’t interfere that much with the way you work and play on the Web. It doesn’t force you to change your normal routine, which is a breath of fresh air. I’ve used countless services that let you share links with friends and no one makes that process easier than SocialBrowse. No more copy and pasting links to email or social networks just to share things with friends or colleagues. You simply click and share and you’re done.

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

Firefox Plugin socialbrowse Expands Commenting Features (400 Invites)
Web 2.0 Invites for July 1st, 2008
Web 2.0 Invites for July 4th, 2008
Pownce To Launch Public API
coComment’s Google Desktop Widget Makes Comments More Portable
Socially Enabled Legal Documents?
Google Calendar Launches Public Directory

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