Just Not Sorry: the email plug-in that will make you more assertive

Women use too much self-deprecating language in their emails, apparently – but can a new Gmail add-on help them communicate with more authority?

Name: Sorry.

Age: As old as human error.

Appearance: Apologetic.

Sorry? You mean the word? Yes, the word. That’s the only possible thing I could mean.

All right, sorry. Don’t apologize. Not if you want to be taken seriously. There’s an app for it.

An app for apologizing? No, an app for not apologizing. Or, rather, a new optional plug-in for Gmail that alerts you whenever you use apologetic or qualifying words such as “sorry” or “just.” It’s called Just Not Sorry and underlines the words in red as if they are typos.

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Right. Sorry to be thick, but why? Because they are thought to undermine your authority. It’s being marketed as a way for women to communicate with men in the workplace.



Do they need that? There is a sense – and patchy formal linguistic evidence – that women use more circumlocutions, self-negating words and diffident phrasings in speech and writing that can lead others to misperceive what is being asked or required of them.

But what if you are sorry about something? Then you may ignore the red underline.

Can women do that? I thought they were great rule followers as well? Just so funny. Well done.

OK then – how about: what if suddenly leaping eight rungs up the authoritarian ladder induces more hostility than respect? How so?

Well, language is a delicate dance, innit? You can’t just suddenly start talking or writing about something you’re not. People pull away. Then that’s very sexist of them.

Maybe, but you can’t force them to change. At least, not without putting yourself at a massive personal disadvantage in the meantime. You mean, adopting the commanding tones of a military officer when you have hitherto been known as a mousy secretary may make a valuable wider point but end up doing you more harm than good?

Exactly. I see. Well, you could always install the plug-in but perhaps consider it an advisory service rather than a dictator.

Right. More Microsoft Word paper clip than Académie française. It’s a slow business, this feminism lark, isn’t it?

It is, I’m afraid, yes. Sorry. Just stop.

Do say: “What if you misspell ‘just’ and ‘sorry’ as well?”

Don’t say: “Double underlines, maybe? We didn’t plan for that, sorry.”

ScareMail plugin will flag all your email to the NSA
Gmail plugin appends scary-sounding gibberish to the bottom of all your mail – and the aim is to clog the spies’ filters
A supporter of NSA leaker Edward Snowden holds a picture of US president Obama.

An Illinois-based digital artist has created a Gmail plugin that automatically adds blacklisted words to every email in an attempt to protest against online surveillance.

Ben Grosser has designed the ScareMail plugin in a way that, he says, will ensure that even benign emails are picked up by the security filters of America’s National Security Agency.

Grosser’s idea takes the opposite tack to encryption tools including PGP and Silent Text, and to the IP-masking service Tor, which is designed to hide the contents of messages or the sender.

“One of the strategies used by the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) email surveillance programs is the detection of predetermined keywords. These “selectors,” as they refer to them internally, are used to identify communications by presumed terrorists,” said Grosser.

“Large collections of words have thus become codified as something to fear, as an indicator of intent. The result is a governmental surveillance machine run amok, algorithmically collecting and searching our digital communications in a futile effort to predict behaviors based on words in emails.”

ScareMail generates a chunk of text to append to the end of every email sent, containing as many selectors as possible.

“If every email contains the word ‘plot’ or ‘facility,'” Grosser writes, “then searching for those words becomes a fruitless exercise. A search that returns everything is a search that returns nothing of use.”

The text is deliberately gibberish to a human eye but formatted in such a way that it can’t easily be discounted by a computer. A sample paragraph reads: “‘I’m sorry. One crashes to fail careful.’ He mutated but had not important; we mustn’t vaccinate Palestine Liberation Organisation, seem it!'”

The plugin warns recipients by prefacing the text with the warning “Following Text Generated by ScareMail” — which would make it trivial for the NSA to ignore it in its current form.

“Our destiny paintings with Flash on mobile gadgets will be targeted on enabling Flash builders to bundle local apps with Adobe Air for all the major app stores,” Adobe stated in the declaration. “We will no longer adapt Flash Player for cellular gadgets to new browser, OS model or tool configurations.

“Some of our supply code licensees might also favor keeping running on and liberating their implementations. We will keep aiding the present day Android and PlayBook configurations with crucial trojan horse fixes and safety updates.”

The decision comes as Adobe plans to reduce 750 group of workers, basically in North America and Europe. An Adobe spokesperson declined to provide any figures for the volume of layoffs within the UK. The employer reiterated its expectation that it will meet revenue objectives for the fourth area.


Facebook ditches Flash video in latest blow to maligned plugin

Social network and its 8bn daily video views join YouTube in switching to HTML5, which could be the critical cut that finally starts Flash’s demise

Has Facebook finally struck the fatal blow in the long, slow demise of Flash by switching to HMTL5 video by default?

The social network has switched to HTML5 for all Facebook web video, meaning videos you upload or publish on your profile or fly through on your news feed will no longer require Flash. The experience will mirror that seen on mobile devices and the Facebook apps.

In a damning indictment of the much maligned Flash, Daniel Baulig, an engineer at Facebook, said: “Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook. Videos now start playing faster. People like, comment, and share more on videos after the switch, and users have been reporting fewer bugs. People appear to be spending more time with video because of it.”

Facebook continues to support Flash-based games, which titles such as Farmville and others typically require, but for video and adverts, Flash is now dead to the social network.

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Following YouTube’s switch to HTML5 video, Facebook’s dumping of Flash for its 8bn video views a day means that the majority of web video watched is now Flash-free. A few other video-streaming sites still use the plugin, but the number was holding out is shrinking fast.

Even Adobe is moving away from Flash. Like Microsoft with Windows XP, Adobe has been trying to migrate companies away from using its tools while putting out fires left, right and center. Recently it dumped “Flash” from the name of its creative tools, which shows just how toxic the Flash brand has become.

For Facebook users, it will be business as usual, for the most part, just a little faster and without having to worry about vulnerabilities in an aging, outdated video system.



Give as you Live tapped into one of the UK’s favorite and fastest growing activities: online shopping. Over 3,000 retailers have signed up to the scheme, and more than £4m has been raised so far.

In 2013 a staggering £91bn was spent online in the UK, an increase of £13bn from 2012. Give as you Live harnesses this boom in online shopping by re-directing a portion of the money shoppers spends to UK charities.

Give as you Live an affiliate scheme. It works in much the same way as a comparison site, with the retailer paying a commission for sending people to their sites – only in this case the commission is passed on to a charity of the consumer’s choice. On average, stores taking part send 2.5% of a customer’s purchase to charity.

To name their chosen charity, consumers download a plug-in. The technology works in the background, tracking the purchases eligible for a donation to charity and automatically calculating the amount the retailer needs to pass on. That means there is no need for shoppers to change their online habits, whether they prefer to shop directly with the retailer or search for items in a search engine. The only difference is that when they shop at certain stores, a percentage of what they spend is donated to charity.

Give as you Live works with all 20,000 UK charities and over 3,000 leading online retailers. At the end of January 2014 shoppers using Give as you Live had raised £4,199,940 for national and local charities.

In 2013, the scheme helped parents, teachers, and children at Bishop Gilpin primary school in Wimbledon raise over £1,000 for a new playground. The previous year is shopping through Give as you Live helped supporters of the Samaritan’s Purse campaign raise over £18,000, which went towards buying life-saving mosquito nets.

In 2014 Give as you Live won the title of “most committed company to the charity sector” at the annual Institute of Fundraising Awards. The year before, it won the business of the year and biggest social impact at the Smarta 100 awards.

Give as you Live has also become a source of valued advice and support.

The annual Digital Donor Review conducted by the scheme gives charities a detailed breakdown of how their supporters behave online, from their giving habits to general online behaviors. Each participating charity gets a customized report, giving them a unique insight into understanding their customers’ digital preferences.

“In greenback terms, it would be usual to look a preferred-hobby website lose 10%-15% of its sales,” says Blanchard. “For a site that serves 10 million page views per day, with three commercials consistent with the web page, offered at a price of $five CPM, this can translate into day by day losses of approximately $20,000.”

“One bizarre trick …”
“Purging awful commercials is just a begin to a higher net.” Photograph: Ad screenshot
The one thing all sides agree on is that the modern-day nation of on-line marketing is deplorable.

“I’d put it like this,” says Patrick Smith, of TheMediaBriefing. “The TV adverts in among the motion on the Superbowl in America are the most talked-about things within u. S . A . For a day or so after the occasion. People like them because they’re humorous, interesting, adorable or simply usually interesting. In style magazines, the marketing is part of the content material – there may be almost no distinction.

Over 500 charities have also signed up for a charity support kit containing marketing materials to help them create a compelling emotional connection with their supporters.

Give as you Live its revolutionary approach to online giving has the potential to raise billions. At the same time, with price comparison technology and big names like Amazon, Tesco and Selfridges signed up, shopping through Give as you Live a smart consumer choice.

Sky’s internet service mistakenly blocks web-critical plugin

Sky blocked jQuery, a plugin crucial to the operation of many of the internet’s biggest websites, after wrongly classifying it as malware on Sunday night

A plugin critical to the operation of thousands of websites was disabled for hours by Sky Broadband’s parental content filters over Sunday night and Monday morning.

Access to the code.jquery.com website was blocked by Sky’s content filters after the domain was mistakenly listed in the “malware and phishing” category. The site hosts code for jQuery, a code library which is used by over three-quarters of the top ten-thousand websites to ease the burden of creating responsive websites

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“JQuery was temporarily blocked this morning having been misclassified. Our review process kicked in shortly afterward, and the site was unblocked just over an hour later,” said Sky in a statement.



Without jQuery, sites like Google are unable to deliver the sort of instant response which internet users expect, and are forced to fall back to designs which require the entire page to be refreshed every time it is changing. The code required to enable those instant responses is usually hosted on one of three “content delivery networks,” run by Google, Microsoft and jQuery itself. It was this latter CDN which was blocked by Sky.

It is unknown how jQuery ended up classified as malware, and for exactly how long it was blocked, although it was eventually removed from the list at 9:45 am and understands that the most likely explanation is that an actual malware site was using code hosted on jQuery, causing the latter to be incorrectly categorised.

Due to the malware label, the network was even blocked for users who had selected “18+” on Sky’s content filters. Only those users who opted out entirely could access a fully working internet.

The news adds a further twist to the debate over opt-in content filters. Despite being introduced by most major ISPs in the midst of a debate about access to porn and child protection, the filters block far more than just sexually explicit material.

For instance, Sky Broadband Shield’s main filter also blocks sites classed as “dating,” “cyber bullying” and “anonymisers, filesharing, and hacking,” while BT’s parental controls offer parents the option of blocking “sex education” and “social networking” categories.

Some sites have been incorrectly filed in these categories; in December, for example, an LGBT charity in the capital called London Friend was blocked by TalkTalk having been classified as “pornographic.”
Thought you missed out on having your emotions tweaked by Facebook’s mood manipulation back in 2012? This free Chrome plugin is for you.

The brand new Facebook Mood Manipulator Chrome extension gives users the power to control their emotions by modifying their Facebook news feeds accordingly.

“Why should Zuckerberg get to decide how you feel? Take back control,” says Lauren McCarthy, the New York-based developer of the plugin on her site.

Happy Mood
As positive as it gets Photograph: Lauren McCarthy
Installing the plugin gives users four sliders for positive, emotional, aggressive and open emotions, which use the same system that Facebook used for its emotional contagion study, called Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC), to analyze the words in posts and remove those that don’t fit within the selected parameters.

“But with internet advertising and marketing we do not but have this dedication to nice: we have beside the point, out-of-context flashing banners and occasional fee advert network gifs about losing weight in a single smooth trick. We have rollovers that cross ‘over’ without being ‘rolled.’ There are autoplay video commercials, and lots else, to disrupt the enjoy.”

The debate isn’t approximately the pursuits of Adblock Plus, but the methods. “I do assume there is some thing slightly sanctimonious approximately Adblock,” says Smith. “I surprise if they’d be more successful as a strain group campaigning to make the web better, rather than a tollbooth for on line content.”

“Ironically… Adblock Plus is itself funded through marketing, via the whitelisted publishers,” adds Blanchard. “Overall, I assume it’d be fine for the Acceptable Advertising movement if an alternative business model can be determined.”

But the plugin also has a few unlikely allies. “I think they’re doing an amazing thing blocking off the one’s advertisements. It’s for the coolest of advertisers,” says Princely Bibi, a research specialist at advert organization Coast Digital. “People have to be able to select whether they may be served advertisements. Advertising is ready offering a carrier, so I must have a choice approximately what commercials are shown to me and what ads aren’t proven to me.”

Adblock Plus’s spokesperson says: “It’s likely a protracted manner off, but the logical final results of Acceptable Ads is a day with simplest marginal adblocking use – because advertisers might have eventually found out that they do now not want to annoy users. So in that feel, you can say that if our initiative is successful, it’ll lessen the desirability of the usage of ABP or different adblockers – that’s part of the reason that we want to increase additional merchandise with [parent company] Eyeo. As we say, purging horrific ads is just a begin to a higher internet.”

“Aw yes, we are all freaked about the ethics of the Facebook study. And then what?” asks McCarthy. “What implications does this finding have for what we might do with our technologies? What would you do with an interface to your emotions?”

Bad feelings
Feeling sad. Photograph: Lauren McCarthy
Users will be able to conduct experiments on themselves to see how they feel over time. It could revolutionize the Facebook experience to a much happier, brighter one. Or it could do absolutely nothing.

Either way, users can now “leverage Facebook’s own research to manipulate your emotions on your terms.”

Adblock Plus: the tiny plugin threatening the net’s business model

Are Eyeo, developers of the Adblock Plus plugin, campaigning for higher adverts, or simply keeping the net’s biggest organizations hostage?

The letter to Twitter, the United States employer, making ready for a $15bn stock marketplace flotation, sounded affordable enough – if cheeky. “We would like to associate with you to engineer proper, non-intrusive marketing,” stated the blog post from Adblock Plus.

But the sentence’s continuation appeared to carry a veiled hazard: “We need you to do it responsibly, with the aid of adhering to our Acceptable Ads recommendations.” And if Twitter doesn’t? Then it might remain on the listing of sites in which adverts are blocked by the browser upload-on, which its developer – a Cologne-based totally agency called Eyeo – claims has 30 million everyday customers, and has been downloaded 200m instances.

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Adblock Plus’s version is simple: unless a site is on its “whitelist,” then it blocks all of the advertisements shown there. And, because it makes clean, even big websites whose marketing techniques (textual content simplest, no flashy gimmicks) it finds proper has to hand over a share in their advertising and marketing sales for the praise of being at the “whitelist” and showing their commercials to visitors. “Small” websites – the suitable definition of “small” isn’t given – don’t ought to pay if their advertisements are deemed ideal.



Twitter declined to comment for this article on its considering Adblock Plus’s offer. But for the many web sites which depend upon advertising – no longer only Twitter, but Facebook, Yahoo and lots of media corporations the concept of tens of millions of desktop users now not seeing the ads that pay a massive a part of their payments is trouble. The idea of paying the enterprise which creates the problem to make the problem go away won’t appear palatable both.

“First it blocks your ads, after which asks for cash to unblock them.”
“‘Shakedown,’ ‘racketeering’ and ‘extortion’ are common phrases publishers we’ve spoken with have used when it comes to [Adblock Plus’s] ‘suited commercials,’” says Sean Blanchfield of PageFair. His employer offers analytical services for web sites trying to discover how plenty they may be losing to customers of advert blockers. “We think that is very unfortunate, as ideal advertisements are the best way to avoid greater people deciding on to install Adblock. The mafia comparisons are not helped with the aid of a lack of transparency across the financial phrases of being at the whitelist.”

Even a few customers of Adblock Plus agree. “I assume the ‘Acceptable Ads’ idea will best work out if there may be no cash involved,” wrote a person referred to as “freaky vibe” on the plugin’s message board while the concept of the whitelist became first announced. “If you were an internet site owner, could you percentage the ad income with ABP? I do not suppose so. First, ABP blocks your advertisements (without asking) after which asks for money to unblock them. Isn’t that extortion?”

Eyeo responds that “publishers and websites simplest take part with the aid of their volition; people who have had been thrilled with the effects of non-intrusive advertising.” The company does concede that it has “initiated conversations” as opposed to just looking forward to companions to technique it, however, emphasizes that “the order of approach is secondary to the procedure.”

Google’s perfect advertisements
Google’s “proper commercials.” Photograph: Ad screenshot
So effective is Adblock Plus that even the effective Google, which is based on showing advertising for 90% of its revenues, has been pressured to make an address the agency to pass its blockers. But in March it kicked Adblock Plus out of its Google Play keep for Android phones, stating that it “interferes with or accesses another products or services in an unauthorized manner.”

A spokesman for Eyeo says it “can’t talk publicly about unique contracts,” however, that “the carrier we provide paying websites gives them the possibility to gain more sales using producing better ads.” He stated the charge, that is paid by less than 10% of candidates, “is the primary component” of the organization’s revenue circulation.

Currently, there are just 148 websites at the whitelist out of 777 which applied, according to a blog post from Adblock Plus. For those who must pay – which incorporates Google, Amazon and Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine – the price for now not having their commercials blocked is reportedly the coins equivalent of 30% of the sales generated by showing ads.

PageFair’s information indicates that use of ad blocking off software program – of which there are some developers apart from Adblock Plus, inclusive of Adblock and Adblock Edge – is increasing unexpectedly. In some mainly tech-savvy sectors, more than one / 4 of site visitors block commercials but even preferred interest web sites see between 15% and 20% of site visitors the usage of it.

“An ad this is displayed but disregarded doesn’t provide value.”
In March 2010, technology information web page Ars Technica experimented with an outright ban on users who blocked ads. For 12 hours, they have been redirected to a blank web page, till Ars relented, with editor-in-leader Ken Fisher posting an evidence titled “Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you adore”, announcing: “Imagine jogging a restaurant in which 40% of the those who got here and ate didn’t pay. In a manner, that is what advert blocking off is doing to us.”

Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant spoke back that Adblock Plus users were not going to click on on advertisements anyway. “An advert that is displayed however left out doesn’t offer value.”

But web sites are not often paid “consistent with a click.” Instead, the same old metric for selling internet display advertisements is “CPM,” or “fee in keeping with mile” – the cost for 1000 perspectives. Even if customers assume that they’re ignoring adverts, advertisers perceive a price in putting brands in the front of them.



WordPress blogging platform hits 3.0

The blogging and content control machine (CMS) WordPress, utilized by thousands and thousands of blogs, has reached 3.0 – marking a tremendous point in its evolution as a platform for all styles of content online.

Or because the blog post at the WordPress website online places it:

“Arm your vuvuzelas: WordPress 3.0, the 13th principal release of WordPress and the result of half of 12 months of labor via 218 members, is now available for down load (or upgrade inside your dashboard). Major new capabilities in this release include an attractive new default topic known as Twenty Ten. Theme builders have new APIs that allow them to without difficulty put into effect custom backgrounds, headers, short links, menus (no more report enhancing), submit kinds, and taxonomies. (Twenty Ten subject shows all of that off.) Developers and community admins will respect the lengthy-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, developing the new multi-website capability which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the identical installation.”

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There’s a massive list of adjustments and upgrades.

The launch is called “Thelonius,” after the jazz pianist Thelonius Monk; previous versions were referred to as Mingus, Strayhorn, Duke, Ella, Getz, Dexter, Brecker, Tyner, Coltrane, Baker and Carmen – so that you can see that there is a kind of jazz factor going on.



But what will matter for plenty WordPress users is the query of protection. While WordPress does a remarkable job in the fundamental of offering appropriate safety, the truth that there are such a lot of blogs available the use of its way that vulnerabilities and exploits abound. As it’s open supply software program, you need to take that as you locate it – and there are masses of things that may be performed to harden it.

The WPSecurityLock blog, one among some which focus on reviews of security weaknesses or exploits in opposition to WordPress, has tested the claims made for three.Zero – of which the most outstanding right away is which you don’t should have an admin called “admin” any greater; you could exchange the username to some thing else. On its personal, that is probably one of the largest steps. From private enjoy, I’d say that the alternative step which makes the largest security difference isn’t always to allow external user registration (not simply flip it off, however additionally alternate the hooks within the code): that stops all manner of cookie- and injection-based assaults.

There’s also blog security, which has already located a “thrashing” attack based on the ability to retrieve posts which have been trashed (most effective in version 2.9 upwards). BlogSecurity hasn’t yet were given its enamel into 3.0. However, if you’re a WordPress user, it’s far properly worth maintaining a watch on both of these.

The other massive hassle will be what three.Zero does to the big wide variety of plugins written for WordPress, which upload functionality of one kind or some other (my personal favorite for killing spam continues to be Spam Karma 2, but it’s not likely this could be up to date for model three, but the code is now to be had for upgrade and improvement at a Google Code repository – though that does seem energetic.

Meanwhile, here’s the introductory video for WordPress three.0. (Note that it wishes PHP four.Three+ and MySQL 4.1.2+.)

There’s also Mullenweg’s 74-minute speech at WordCamp in San Francisco which he says is “jam-packed with statistics on the growth of WordPress, 3.Zero, what we are making plans for the destiny and the philosophy of WordPress.” (We’ll admit to now not having listened to it all.)

Open supply gadget can help small agencies lessen expenses and keep time
Small corporations are reaping the benefits of free open source software program. However, it’ll pay to be aware of the downsides
code and arms on laptop

Imagine if there has been a global network of tech specialists who had been independently building and improving virtual equipment that you may use loose. Tools that could assist you to provide a service for, and talk with, your clients.

Well, there can be. The open deliver community fabricated from beginner and professional computer coders who artwork on publicly to be had pc code. Businesses can then take the one’s strains of code from internet sites which include Github, to apply to their software program, services, and products.

Open supply tasks are helping small corporations everywhere within the worldwide to keep money and time.

If you run a web layout industrial enterprise, open supply content material control systems and picture modifying programs can also need to prevent hefty subscription prices; if you very very own an advertising agency, open supply answers to dealing with e mail campaigns or analyzing internet site visitors can be precious.

Time-saving system for e-trade groups
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The extremely-present day Future of Open Source Survey achieved yearly by software organization Black Duck, determined that the use of open supply software among businesses has reached an all-time excessive. Of the 1,300 survey respondents (which blanketed organizations of all sizes in sixty-four worldwide locations), 78% said they run at least a part of their operations on open supply software, which is nearly double the determine recorded in 2010.

Tim Perry, technical lead at software program consultancy Software, says that with an out open source software program, the company might now not be capable of carrying out. “There’s no realistic way we may also need to have constructed the same code ourselves from scratch,” he says. It could take in more time and useful aid than the organization can come up with the money for.

Jazz turned Matt Mullenweg into a ‘computer guy’.


He cherished the jazz saxophone and, as a schoolboy, discovered a unique manner to get free classes from the saxophonists of Houston, Texas: he constructed them websites. ‘I might barter web sites for song training,’ he says. ‘The websites have been quite awful but, for Houston, the jazz musicians were quite right.’

Five years in the past, Mullenweg still was hoping to come to be an expert jazz musician. Then he located blogging. It enabled him to ‘reach my tribe, and that become certainly powerful for me as an ungainly teen.’ He began tinkering with freely available, open supply software program to develop new weblog-constructing gear. The result becomes WordPress, a hard and fast of loose, self-publishing software with easy typography and smart functions that soon attracted a running a blogging elite.

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Mullenweg dropped out of college, in which he becomes analyzing politics and philosophy, to work for tech company CNET in San Francisco. Less than a 12 months ago, he released his start-up, Automattic. Still only 22, and obsessed with the electricity of open supply software program, he is now assisting bring in a new technology of blogs. He has additionally placed himself at the heart of the combat to cut down splogs, a catchily named new menace that threatens to smother the blogosphere. Like green algae on a pond, splogs – or spam blogs – suck the lifestyles from blogs. Mullenweg estimates that 9 out of 10 remarks posted on blogs are spam. We’ve continually idea of spam as undesirable emails for expensive watches and massive penises, but unscrupulous on line marketeers are growing computer packages that generate nonsensical blog feedback, tricking harmless customers to click on fake blogs stacked with advertising.



Mullenweg has created a carrier he’s referred to as Akismet, which enables bloggers together to block splogs. It is penance, he says, for ‘a silly mistake’ he made 18 months in the past. Then Mullenweg turned into uncovered and denounced by fellow bloggers for signing a contract allowing WordPress secretly to host seek unsolicited engine mail – tens of lots of articles containing hidden keywords to assist companies to get an excessive rating on search engines.

‘I changed into raised Catholic, and I can get pretty guilty about errors,’ he says. ‘Creating an anti-unsolicited mail service that’s blocked masses of tens of millions of spam for hundreds of heaps of bloggers is, in some ways, my penance.’ Akismet has repelled more than 225,000 spam comments on his weblog (photomatt.Internet) alone.

Running Automattic from his rental in San Francisco, Mullenweg is intentionally keeping things small with ten employees. As nicely as developing new tools to construct blogs (there have been 1.1m downloads of WordPress’s contemporary 2.0 release), he also without delay hosts greater than 300,000 blogs through WordPress.Com. With $1.1m of venture capital he raised the last yr truly untouched (‘I’m pretty cheap, to be sincere’), Mullenweg is bubbling with thoughts to make blogging even more available.

His expert zenith, to date, changed into when his idol, Jeffrey Zeldman, an influential web fashion designer, followed WordPress on his private website. ‘It’s like being a guitar maker and having Jimi Hendrix jam out to some thing you made.’

Even if ‘Hype 2.Zero’ is going bust, he believes ‘ordinary folks’ have now were given a flavor for what manipulate feels like. ‘I hope that feeling of control and transparency will start to leak into other components of lifestyles, like politics. That might be very thrilling. Hopefully, it’s going to manifest in my lifetime.’

What is Web 2.Zero?

People who would by no means, ever post on-line are doing it. The promise of the early net changed into that everyone should have a website, but there has been some thing missing. Maybe the generation wasn’t equipped. Now you notice people with no technical capability developing incredible websites accomplishing audiences they might in no way have imagined attaining.

What is your massive idea?

I don’t have huge thoughts. I once in a while have small thoughts, which seem to workout.

What is the next big element on-line?

The upward push of broadband and growing ubiquity of net access excites me the most. The global adjustments plenty when, regardless of in which you’re – within the center of a abandoned highway or in a bustling city – you can get high-speed broadband get right of entry to. The faster the pc receives, and the faster broadband receives, the greater interesting things folks like me are capable of doing. Five years in the past, jogging WordPress.Com would have been 1,000,000-plus greenbacks a month. Akismet began on a $70 server. Anyone can scrape collectively $70.

Because WordPress is an open supply assignment, it has also been clean to discover builders in the community that can work on Blue Ethos’s outsourced tasks. Software developers tend to specialize in wonderful coding languages and open source tools. However, WordPress abilities are commonplace most of the network. Perks says: “You can outsource [Wordpress] artwork all around the international.” The business enterprise has used freelance coders in Ukraine, the Philippines and us, so far.

There are troubles approximately the safety of open deliver software program, in comparison to its commercial counterparts. Some say that because the network is continuously running at the code, vulnerabilities are effects noticed and stuck. But the 2014 Coverity file (pdf) disputes this, saying: “Commercial software application [is tackling] protection vulnerabilities at a especially faster pace than in contrast to open supply software program.” The findings got here from an evaluation of extra than 10bn strains of open deliver code from 2,500 open supply tasks as well as an anonymous sample of industrial tasks.


Could WordPress be the next Tumblr?

Dan Gillmor
The tech world has visible some main acquisitions. However, WordPress stands out due to its open, but worthwhile platform

Giant media and net organizations keep scooping up social-media offerings: among others, MySpace went to News Corp, YouTube to Google, Instagram to Facebook, and now Tumblr to Yahoo. For the younger founders and their investors, the trajectory in each case has been 1) create a proprietary platform; 2) trap gazillions of customers; three) sell for large quantities of cash to a worthwhile business enterprise to discern out the way to monetize all the one’s customers.

Now keep in mind a 20-some thing entrepreneur named Matt Mullenweg. Like the founders of such a lot of different vital systems, he has been a coding maximum of his life. In the last decade of its existence, his blogging software program, WordPress, has grown to be an important part of the internet, powering about 20% of all websites. If the media and net giants have been bidding on Automattic, the determine corporation of WordPress.Com and a selection of ancillary products, I’m making a bet they had wave exams inside the range of the $1.1bn or so that Yahoo is stated to be paying for Tumblr.

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Sign as much as the Media Briefing: news for the information-makers
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Here’s the element, though. WordPress isn’t always just like the different merchandise I just stated, and Mullenweg, who told me overdue closing 12 months he has no goal of selling out, is an exclusive kind of founder. I take into account WordPress to be the most crucial platform round due to the fact it’s miles a) open and b) managed using a younger guy and team whose hearts and minds, from my angle, are precisely inside the right vicinity on the right time. I admire them notably.



It’s no longer that Mullenweg is in opposition to getting cash. In reality, he and Automattic make numerous it (though he would not say how a lot) thru WordPress.Com, which gives loose, hosted blogs and a ramification of for-pay offerings, together with the important company and media customers which include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and CNN. The sales are enough that the company has sunk “tens of hundreds of thousands” of dollars into WordPress improvement, to improve it and guide its tens of millions of users, individual, and company.

That’s WordPress.Com, the industrial arm of Mullenweg’s operations. But more crucial, in the end, is WordPress.Org, which gives the software program without cost, open-supply. This approach everyone can down load it at no charge, alter it at will and apply it to his or her server. I’m the various countless human beings who have completed that, and I’ve come to rely upon it for several blogs I preserve. (I additionally have numerous WordPress.Com blogs, which includes an area for some lecture room paintings).

The WordPress community is sizeable in component due to the fact, like different most important open-supply tasks, it has turn out to be the middle of an atmosphere. There are tens of thousands of extensions to be had for WordPress – software accessories that do everything from cut down remark junk mail to create on line shops to you call it, plus significant numbers of “themes” that deliver customers flexibility in how the web page will look and sense for the consumer. Automattic has created most of the plug-ins, but 1/3-birthday celebration builders have completed the giant majority. Some are unfastened to use, like the core software, while others include a charge.

Contrast this with all the other primary for-earnings platform operations, which include Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al. To a greater or lesser diploma, they allow developers to create programs to run on or alongside their structures, but they may be genuinely in control. The 1/3-birthday party developers and their merchandise live essentially on the whim of the platform proprietors, and so does the content material that we (you and I) put into their computers. We get convenience in go back, but we need to constantly preserve in mind who is jogging matters. With WordPress.Org web sites, we are in control.

As Mullenweg told my college students a final year:

“I suppose it’s surely crucial for the impartial net to have a platform, and to the quantity that WordPress can serve that function, I assume it is an awesome privilege and duty. We don’t all want to be jogging on Twitter and Facebook and (LinkedIn) profile pages and being offered to the highest bidder, basically, over and over once more, one thousand instances, whenever someone masses a page. I mean, we will do better than that.

So I’ve always tried to orient Automattic’s business model to now not be advertising, wherein your customers are the product which you’re promoting to someone else, however, to be subscriptions, which I feel is a lot extra honest, because your users are the people who are also investment it. So you’re certainly greater aligned with their hobby.”

Control, he told us, mattered even extra than a commercial enterprise version that didn’t make users the product:

“We nevertheless want this platform for longer kinds of self expression, and a place that human beings can have their own area on the net, that definitely belongs to them, that they have entire control of it, all of the way right down to the software program, the real code executing at the server somewhere in the cloud. You need to be capable of manage each unmarried line of that. And that’s the splendor of open source.”

A founder, he says, has two critical roles: hiring and growing an enterprise culture. And the tenets by which he operates have taken voice in a corporation creed. The maximum current generation is this:


Got WordPress? Time to get it hardened – and experiment for exploits

With the unfastened blogging program getting used increasingly, there are also higher ways to guard your self towards hackers – due to the fact they are obtainable

Photo from Flickr. I took it with my little screenshot.

Oh, that in the photograph above? It’s a manipulate panel that I discovered inside the Free Our Data blog. Click the buttons, and it’d let you do quite an awful lot anything you favored within the directory. Though as you could have surmised from the dire layout and coloration picks, it’s no longer WordPress-authorized.

Not in any respect: that is a manage panel established by a hacker, which I suspect used one of the holes in user registration on WordPress to install this. (I surmise that due to the fact the blog is on shared website hosting, and different WordPress installs at the equal host that I recognize of which failed to permit person registration have not been affected in an identical manner. If it had been an make the most throughout the entire web server, you’d expect that each one the blogs there is probably affected.)

Image result for wordpress

You’ll keep in mind that there was the latest scare over WordPress vulnerabilities: pretty a great deal every set up now not hosted at WordPress.Com became suspected of being at risk.



WordPress is essential due to the fact it’s so extensively used by humans who’ve been seeking out a brief; free weblog deploys for his or her very own website hosting: getting it walking is a cinch if you’ve got MySQL and PHP on your device. It’s extensively used, for instance, inside the civil carrier, wherein getting blogs up quickly has emerged as an critical attention.

However keeping in advance of the hackers is alternatively unique, and over the years there have been more than one occasions where short updates had been urgently required. There become even one event where an “update” grew to become out to were poisoned using a hacker who’d inserted their very own stuff into the base code.

It seems that turning off “person registration” is probably one of the best and only approaches of “hardening” WordPress. (Allowing other customers too, in impact, have to get right to entry to your database leaves the way open for privilege escalation which you may not like.)

And now, some more.

First, there is any other improve to WordPress (it is now at 2.8.5). The WordPress weblog describes it as a “hardening release.”

Much more critical, in my opinion, is the release of the WordPress Exploit Scanner plugin. Plugins are little extensions to WordPress and Exploit Scanner might be the following one you ought to deploy. (The first you should consider installation, in my view, is Dr. Dave’s Spam Karma 2 – which weeds out unsolicited mail feedback more successfully than anything I’ve ever seen, and is specific for your weblog.)

The Exploit Scanner does quite a number of things: it compares your files against an MD5 hash of the WordPress documents for anything version of set up you are running; it finds examples of suspicious code to your files – three principal ones being using “invisible” textual content via CSS; the use of iframes to embed code from different websites; and base sixty-four encoding, which may be used to obfuscate entire programs. It can even look through your posts and users to peer if there is whatever suspicious or spammy about them.

It turned into the third of these suspicious behaviours – the use of base_64 encoding – that Exploit Scanner talked about at the Free Our Data weblog, leading me to the manipulate panel pictured above. You could call it an finished bit of programming, using simply 21Kb to install a program as a way to analyse your machine for any vulnerabilities, will try and hack your password directory (there may be even a button referred to as BRUTE FORCE – for slogging thru looking to get at the one’s passwords), and notes everything probably vulnerable approximately your gadget. Remember that this, even though, is the hackers’ tool. Once Exploit Scanner had pointed me there, that part of the hacker’s toolbox turned into quick wiped.

I must mention although that Exploit Scanner did not word the files that the hacker had delivered pointing to a “Canadian” “pharmacy” – it is limited to comparing the files which might be there with the ones that it is aware of WordPress should have; the ones which might be there which should not be it ignores.

Scott Wilson is provider manager for OSS (open deliver software) Watch, an independent organization that offers advice for the use and development of open deliver software program. He says whilst comparing the protection and extremely good of open supply and industrial software software “it’s six of one, half of a dozen of the other.”

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He explains that due to the fact open supply code may be effortlessly accessed and studied on the line, an ability hacker can locate vulnerabilities. But this transparency, and the form of coders who can get proper of access to and change it, propose that vulnerabilities will be inclined to be constant. He compares this to commercial enterprise software where companies do not have to get admission to the code itself. Vulnerabilities internal it is consequently regularly no longer identified until they have already been exploited.

One factor about the default WordPress set up – from this revel in – is that the hackers concealed a stack of pages inside the “default” WordPress topic. Among the security steps worth taking is to put in a unique topic and delete the default: that could make the hackers’ assignment greater hard.

A very last observe: Exploit Scanner, like Spam Karma 2, is donationware. I’m making mine. How a lot is it well worth to you to have a comfy installation?

SoakSoak malware leaves eleven,000 WordPress websites blacklisted with the aid of Google

More than 11,000 domains pronounced to were blacklisted through search engine, however, greater than one hundred,000 web sites can be affected
The SoakSoak malware is a notion to have inflamed more than 100,000 WordPress web sites.

More than eleven,000 websites the usage of the WordPress running a blog platform had been blacklisted using Google when they were inflamed through the “SoakSoak” malware.

Security firm Sucuri, which first suggested on the blacklisting, claims that the malware’s impact might be some distance wider though, stretching to “hundreds of hundreds” of sites.

SoakSoak modifies a record in infected websites’ WordPress set up, then hundreds a Javascript malware from the soak.Ru area – for this reason the call.

Sucuri claimed that SoakSoak is using a vulnerability in the RevSlider WordPress plugin that it first noticed in September. However, that is often used within WordPress issues, meaning internet site owners won’t have recognized they needed to update it.

Image result for wordpress

“The biggest issue is that the RevSlider plugin is a top class plugin, it’s not something all and sundry can effortlessly improve and that during itself turns into a disaster for website proprietor,” wrote Sucuri’s Daniel Cid.



“Some internet site proprietors don’t even know they have got it because it’s been packaged and bundled into their themes. We’re presently remediating heaps of sites, and while engaging with our customers, many had no idea the plugin become even inside their surroundings.”

Cid added that even when internet site owners attempt to clean the two affected documents in their WordPress installation, they may be unexpectedly reinfected.

“This campaign is also utilizing some recent backdoor payloads, a few are being injected into pictures to assist further evasion, and others are getting used to inject new administrator users into the WordPress installs, giving them even greater manipulate long term,” he wrote.

“Some customers are clearing infections and getting reinfected inside mins, and the cause is due to the complicated nature of the payloads and mistaken cleaning efforts.”

Rival protection company Kaspersky’s Threat Post blog stated that there are extra than 70 million websites jogging on WordPress, although there aren’t any figures for a way many of them are using the RevSlider plugin.

Security researcher Graham Cluley recommended that Google’s selection to blacklist greater than 11,000 affected domain names quickly after the attack was publicized was “a short-wondering reaction which with a bit of luck will make it extra tough for the attackers to monetise their cybercriminal marketing campaign.”

Meanwhile, affected website online owners have been identifying the way to get their blogs cleaned up and returned on Google. If you’re one of them, this thread at the legit WordPress discussion board may be useful.

As a way to provide a return to the open supply community, Software invests time and electricity in improving the equipment that makes its work viable. Last December, it got here fourth out of 10,000 organizations in a worldwide opposition known as 24 Pull Requests (the identity is a nod to how an exchange to open source code is requested – it is then “pulled” into the venture with the useful resource of the network). The triumphing organization modified into the only that made the maximum improvements to open supply code that has been not unusual and included into present projects.

Perry says that contributing to open deliver is a priority for the corporation. “It’s taken a few years of development through hundreds of human beings to attain the point where we’ve were given modern day equipment, libraries, and languages for everyone to use. So our selection to invest time and skills back into that in the end approach that we’ve better gear available for our paintings.”

The community has additionally been essential to Chris Perks’s virtual marketing and marketing agency, Blue Ethos, which builds customers web websites using WordPress (itself an open deliver project).

I will by no means forestall learning. I may not simply paintings on matters which can be assigned to me. I realize there is no such factor as a status quo. I will construct our business sustainably via passionate and loyal clients. I will in no way pass up an opportunity to assist out a colleague, and I’ll don’t forget the times earlier than I knew the entirety. I am extra prompted by way of the impact than money, and I understand that Open Source is one of the maximum effective thoughts of our generation. I will talk as lots as possible because it’s the oxygen of a disbursed agency. I am in a marathon, no longer a dash, and regardless of how some distance away, the aim is, the handiest way to get there may be via setting one foot in front of any other every day. Given time, there is no hassle this is insurmountable.

The number one features of WordPress may be used completely free and come without a sizeable license charge, a cost that is not uncommon for businesses the use of closed, commercial structures. Blue Ethos tailors its customers’ WordPress-based web sites with its private plug-ins and widgets, constructed via its team of four software program developers.

For those on a first rate budget WordPress is an smooth choice. If the internet website is hosted with the resource of WordPress itself, there’s no price. If the commercial agency desires to host the web site themselves (with a tailor-made area call and format), it’s miles nonetheless satisfactory £20 in line with yr.

A disadvantage to open supply is the lack of expert help – there’s no helpdesk to name. Wilson says: “With open deliver, lots greater of the due diligence is the onus of the client. You have to perform extra of the evaluation yourself. [But] if the software program has a wonderful network with some people contributing, then it were going to be stepped forward and maintained through the years.”

WordPress blogs under assault from hack attack

Older versions of WordPress are prone to a diffused assault that hides whilst adding junk mail. Is this a turning factor for the loose product?
Wordpress blogs, one of the most frequent among custom deploy blogs (and used by corporations which include Downing Street and the Daily Telegraph) are prone – and being hit – via a malicious program that influences any old (i.e., earlier than 2.Eight.Four) model.

Details are right here (and also on WordPress’s website).

As Matt Mullenweg, who has played a key component in the improvement and commercialization of WordPress, factors out, it’s not an awful lot amusing in case you get hit:

Right now there’s a trojan horse making its manner round antique, unpatched variations of WordPress. This precise trojan horse, like many earlier than it, is smart: it registers a user, uses a safety worm (constant earlier inside the yr) to permit evaluated code to be done thru the Permalink shape, makes itself an admin, then uses JavaScript to hide itself when you look at customers web page, tries to clean up after itself, then is going quiet so you never observe while it inserts hidden junk mail and malware into your antique posts.

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Among the ones who have been hit is Robert Scoble, who fell victim to a preceding hack but has now been hit again:

A few weeks in the past a few hackers broke into my blog here (this changed into earlier than 2.Eight.Four become launched). At first I concept they just left a few porn sites in a couple of blog entries. So we upgraded WordPress (I turned into on 2.7x back then). Deleted a fake admin account. Deleted the porn websites. And the idea we had solved the hassle. We failed to.



They broke again in, but this time they did a lot of extra damage. They deleted approximately two months of my weblog. Yes, I didn’t have a backup. I must learn how to do backups (we’re doing them now). Life has a way of beating you if you do not have backups.

WordPress, being unfastened and open-source and based totally on MySQL and PHP (and so its customization requires competencies which can be in extensive supply), has spread widely considering its preliminary release in May 2003.

And, as an extensively used open supply utility relying on PHP, it is vulnerable to attack. The brand new one uses SQL injection through the “registered user” element, and so forth.

Its vulnerabilities had been stated: it is were given them.

The assaults are becoming extra frequent (as are the updates to close holes). At least upgrading is less complicated using the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin – it is a lifesaver which backs up and updates your WordPress weblog in place.

Once the updates were made and blogs secured or cleaned up (which may be tougher in some instances than others) then the questions will begin. Principally: does WordPress, with its scores of documents, provide too large a target for inspired hackers to be the blog platform of choice for large or small enterprises?

Open deliver may additionally have its troubles, however, with an energetic community enhancing contemporary code and growing new equipment small organizations can without troubles try out new platforms and drop them if they’re incorrect, without dropping coins. Wilson adds: “There are not any restrictions […] you could simply build on it and this is sincerely effective.”

SuiteCRM – this customer dating manipulates device has add-ons for reporting, workflow, and security, plus computer notifications and social media gadget.
Mautic – permits you to create net and electronic mail campaigns that track customer engagement and roll it all into unique reports. It moreover integrates with zero.33-party carriers, along with MailChimp and social media systems.
OrangeHRM – gives tools for employee control, which incorporates recruitment, standard overall performance reviews, depart requests and timesheets.
Odom – makes accounting, invoicing and undertaking control smoothly, with add-ons for warehouse management, stay chat and analytics.
Security Onion – this community safety device can assist with intrusion detection and presents logs of clients for inspection and evaluation.
Piwik – the open supply alternative to Google Analytics, Piwik includes metrics to your net website’s web page traffic (the variety, where they came from, wherein they visit) and has a customizable dashboard.
Gimp – GNU Image Manipulation Programme is the open-supply possibility to Photoshop.
You’ve got to love the Freedom of Information act. Especially its potential to show, in stark terms, quite how badly neighborhood authorities can screw up.

Yes, Birmingham City Council, I’m afraid I’m looking at you.

Heather Brooke, who kicked off the whole MP’s costs factor, made an FOI request to Birmingham CC approximately an internet site it becomes building.

And what do you recognize? The rate of the web site went from a budgeted £580,000 in summer time 2005 to, um, £2.8m using the state-of-the-art estimate.

It became additionally late. That may also have been prompted via concerns in the council that it might be the problem of ridicule; this no longer being helped by way of the fact that simply while it changed into because of going live in March, someone spotted that it could not cope with pound or euro signs, nor apostrophes or quotation marks. (When the 10,000 pages have been migrated from the antique machine to the new one, the one’s characters – and the only right now following – were given deleted.)

It is an bold undertaking, essentially looking to knit 35 websites working under the council’s umbrella right into a single one. But its expenses ballooned madly.

You may not recognize whether to snort or cry at this, although I suspect the council tax payers of Birmingham have some thing else in thoughts related to pitchforks and flaming torches. Although the plan becomes for the web site to head live this week, it hasn’t.

Some humans are already comparing it to Windows: such a huge goal that any assault is certain to hit a few huge fish, and lots of little ones. And how many people have sufficient manipulate or hobby of their blog to go to the problem of cleaning up? Windows botnets inform you what the scenario is like on Windows. Spam remarks inform you how matters are in phrases of cleaning up feedback. And what about cleaning up the hacked content material of your weblog?

It’s a key query, and the solution might also decide whether WordPress becomes either a key building block of the internet or “good day, consider while all of us used WordPress?”