iPhone Firmware 3.1.2 Released

On Thursday, Apple released the 3.1.2 version of the iPhone firmware. The new release supposedly fixes a major bug found in version 3.1 that caused the iPhone to fall asleep and not wake up, requiring the user to reset the phone in order to get it working again. The update also supposedly fixes a video streaming issue (I never noticed this issue) and some cellular connectivity issues.

There is no word as to whether or not this update will address the battery problems iPhone users have been experiencing since the 3.1 update or not.

One Awesome WordPress Plugin: WordPress File Monitor

As many of you know, this site was hacked several times over the past year. Upgrading to WordPress 2.8.4 seems to have calmed the attacks. One of the things I do every day is to verify that the templates in WordPress haven’t been hacked or exploited.

Last week I installed a new plugin that monitors the file system and sends an email anytime there is a change. It’s called WordPress File Monitor and should be acquired by WordPress and provided by default.  You can select how often the plugin should check for changes, whether it should email you when there is a change, choice to check based on modify date or hash, and paths to exclude (like cache directories). The WordPress File Monitor can monitor files outside of the WordPress install as well.

Just one word of caution as my friend and uber programmer Till notes…it’s a WordPress plugin so if someone gains access to your admin, they can just disable the plugin and have their way with your system. So consider the plugin one level of security for your blog.

Setting Up Google Apps (Gmail) For Your Domain

The other day, I was talking with my friend Aaron (@riddlebrothers) about all of the various e-mail addresses we have and how we use them. At one point, after discussing the virtues of using Yahoo! Mail, I mentioned that the e-mail addresses I have hosted on my own servers are often unreliable. I told him that I rarely give out anything but my Yahoo! e-mail address, because a lot of messages get lost in cyberspace with my other accounts.

He asked me if I had looked into using Google Apps for my domain-based e-mail services. I honestly hadn’t thought about it before (in fact, I made a post a while back about how strange it was that everyone was moving to Gmail). However, his suggestion made sense. Following are some of the advantages I see in moving your e-mail over to Google Apps:

Zemanta Announces Movable Type Distribution

Blogging service Zemanta has announced new compatibility with the Movable Type blogging platform today. Zemanta’s goal is to bring together relevant databases and help enhance content across the Web and in email. They use a variety of databases including Amazon, IMDB, Wikipedia and Last.fm. The idea is that you write a blog post as you always have and Zemanta kicks it up a notch by adding related links content that your users will benefit from.

The interesting news is that Zemanta will be included by default in the new Movable Type 4.32. This is huge for Zemanta because it provides a great distribution play but also an awareness play. It also makes it easy for non-technical users to get started using Zemanta.

The Zemanta team describes the new integration as, “easy peasy lemon squeezy”. No, seriously that’s what they said in their announcement blog post. Easy peasy I’ve heard before but never combined with a lemon squeezy.

Earlier this year Zemanta launched Balloons – also check out our interview with Zemanta CEO Ales Spetic.

Is Being “Smart (DJ)” Better Than Being “Genius”?

software_smartdj_quickplayAs most people probably know, Apple’s iTunes media player includes a feature known as “Genius,” which attempts to look at your collection and create playlists of related music for you. However, they may not realize that the new version of the Zune desktop software includes a similar (on the surface, at least) feature known as “Smart DJ.”

Being completely open, here, I can’t stand using iTunes for many reasons, so I’ve only very gently used the Genius feature. Therefore, I’m not going spend too much time in this post comparing the two services; I’m just going to outline the properties of the new Smart DJ feature, and hope that some of our readers will fill in the gaps as to whether or not they are available in the iTunes Genius mode. From what I’ve heard from people that have used both, though, the Smart DJ feature seems to be much more intelligent than Genius.

Woopra Going Public

Woopra, the real-time Web statistics tracking application, has announced that it will be moving out of the private beta phase very soon. When it moves out of beta, Woopra will be introducing a “freemium” business model, allowing most non-commercial users to use the service for free. However, those free users will be limited to 30,000 pageviews per month (not a big deal for most non-commercial sites, I’m guessing) and will only be able to store 90 days of historical data.

I have to wonder, however, how popular the commercial model will be for Woopra. With so many other groups out there offering free stat tracking for Web sites, with little to no restrictions, will the real-time information and desktop application be enough to get people to pay for Woopra? I suppose only time will tell.