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.

Latest WordPress Version 2.8.4 Exploited

This evening I did my twice-weekly check to see if any of my WordPress blogs have been exploited and what do you know…CenterNetworks has been exploited. I was checking every day but moved it to twice a week checks after the last security patch for WordPress that moved the blog to 2.8.4. The exploit took place last night as far as I can tell and has already been indexed in Google so there goes my traffic and earnings.

When the “big hacker” event happened earlier this month, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg noted, “The only thing that I can promise will keep your blog secure today and in the future is upgrading.” As of this evening, I can only assume his promise no longer stands valid.

I can’t tell whether the exploits are coming through WordPress or my host, Rackspace. Rackspace always says it’s on the WordPress side. I am happy to provide whatever I can to WordPress to help them figure out what happened and I can only hope that eventually they get this fixed. Rackspace personnel called me this evening and noted that the permissions are all set correctly on the server. If it’s something on my end, I’d like to know that as well.

Update Midnight: Rackspace is now running a XSS checker on this site.

Update 4:30pm Saturday: Rackspace is now saying that they believe someone logged into CN and manually changed the template file. They are supposed to be sending over some logs soon.

Update: 8pm Saturday: I’ve received the log files – unfortunately they don’t show much beyond someone editing the footer include. If someone from WordPress would like the files, please contact me.

Each and every time that my WordPress sites are exploited and/or hacked, I seriously regret moving away from Drupal where in over three years I wasn’t hacked once.

Related: The Good, The Bad and The Exploited – My Move from Drupal to WordPress

WordPress Security Tip – Change Your Theme Name

This is a quick tip – never use the “default” theme in WordPress. Even if you decide to use the default theme for your blog, change the name to something unique. I have started to think about my theme names like passwords and am using unique names for each site.

It appears that many times the hackers and exploiters will get into your site and edit the default theme. If you change it to something else, it can make it a bit harder to be exploited. It doesn’t mean you won’t be exploited, just that it might help a bit. Think of it as that little chain you put on your front door. It won’t stop a criminal from getting in, just make them kick the door harder.

Changing the theme is easy – here’s how I do it.

  • Login to your admin panel and select the appearance option
  • Select the themes option (you may already be on this page)
  • Now FTP to your blog and change the name of the theme from Default to something unique (e.g. sd2tge0)
  • Reload your themes page and select the newly renamed theme

Related: Our commentary on the good, bad and the exploited in our move from Drupal to WordPress.

The Five Best Free iPhone Apps

If you’ve got an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you should really check out the apps I’m going to highlight in this post. All of them are free, and all of them are great. I am leaving out some of the obvious ones, like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, WordPress, Google, etc., as just about everyone that uses those services already knows about the iPhone apps that go with them. I want to highlight the fact that this post is strictly based on my opinion. I’m sure it will irritate some people, and others will wonder why such-and-such is not listed, but these are just the ones I enjoy the most. Therefore, without further ado, here are my top five free apps for the iPhone (in no real particular order):

Homesite is No More – Adobe Discontinues Development

My favorite text editor for as long as I can remember is Homesite. I still use it today to edit HTML, PHP, etc. Homesite began life as a product developed by Nick Bradbury. Nick sold the software to Allaire. Allaire was acquired by Macromedia and then most recently acquired by Adobe when Adobe acquired Macromedia.

Adobe has announced that it no longer will support Homesite and is pushing customers into Adobe Dreamweaver CS4. Adobe notes, “After careful consideration, Adobe discontinued development of Macromedia HomeSite software effective May 26, 2009. Field and channel sales of the product ended on May 26 and sales across all channels, including the online Adobe Store, ended June 18, 2009. Existing customers are encouraged to consider the development environment of Adobe® Dreamweaver CS4 software.”

A real shame as Adobe really has no product that is lightweight and works for raw coding. I will continue to use Homesite as it meets my needs for coding. You can read my last review of Homesite 5 from a few years ago.

Comparing 3D Environments in Your Browser

Editor’s note: Austin from MuseGames put together this comparison of how 3D environments render in a variety of browsers. Muse Games is a destination site that finally brings fun 3D, multiplayer gaming in to the web browser.

Being peddlers of 3D content, we thought it appropriate to take a look at the current state of 3D in the browser. How do the different browsers stack up? Read on to find out, and if you’re using IE6, please, for the love of your developers, upgrade.

 Safari 3 (and 4)

Safari 3D

Rating: BEST

Download:  Mac  PC

Both Safari 3 and 4 dominate all the other browsers in terms of speed, performance, and aesthetics, with 4 being the latest and greatest. We of course realize Safari is not all that popular, particularly with Windows users, but the sheer technical superiority of Safari warrants giving it a shot. In terms of specifics, Safari 4 executes javascript faster than any other browser (with the exception of Chrome, where it is about evenly matched), it supports the latest standards for website design, and it exhibits no threading or memory issues related to rendering 3D in the browser via an ActiveX plugin(see Firefox).