WordPress Takes SXSW 2012!

The South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) holds a special place in the history and heart of WordPress. Though the conference has changed in the years since I first met Matt in the hallway in 2003 — before WordPress even had a name — it’s still arguably one of the most influential events in our industry, and we’ll be there again this year. Will we see you there?


There will be a WordPress booth at the SXSW trade show March 12-15. Our booth was packed to overflowing last year as we helped people with their blogs and gave away WordPress swag, so this year we’ll have more space to meet as many of you as possible. Stop by if you need a helping hand with your site, or just to say hi. We’ll also have buttons, stickers, and t-shirts again this year.


This year’s WordPress party will be hosted by the WordPress Foundation on Monday, March 12 from 6-9pm. Space is limited, so make sure you RSVP (no SXSW badge is required). The party this year will be at the Buzzmedia Pure Volume House, and the story of how we hooked up with them is pretty cool.

Once upon a time, David Wang had a business called Buzzmedia in Malaysia, with the twitter username @buzzmedia. When David changed gears and started ClickWP, a WordPress support business, he stopped going by the Buzzmedia name. In the U.S., a company also called Buzzmedia wished it had that Twitter username, and asked if they could have it since David wasn’t going to use it anymore.

David, feeling the WordPress community love, said he would give them the name, and suggested they do something in return for the WordPress Foundation. So, everyone talked to everyone else and it worked out that Buzzmedia was willing to donate a fantastic venue for this year’s party as well as covering the bar.

In the end, the Foundation got a great SXSW party, Buzzmedia got their twitter username, and David got the warm glow of having used his power for the good of the WordPress community, and they all lived happily ever after.

Seriously, though, the PureVolume House is always a great SXSW venue, so thank you David and Buzzmedia for your generosity! We’ll have drinks and snacks and a few hundred WordPress-loving partygoers, so you know it will be a good time. Kind of like a WordCamp afterparty without all the work of a WordCamp. :)

The venue can hold 500 people, and based on last year, we’ll hit that pretty quickly. The one requirement is that you use WordPress. On the RSVP form, you will be asked to enter the URL of your WordPress-powered site (if you have more than one, just pick your main site). If you fill in this field with something other than what’s requested (such as “N/A” or putting in a fake url) your RSVP may be deleted, so please make sure to enter your real site.

WordPress News

(Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog)

Tomorrow, September 28, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will deliver his annual State of the Union Address. In these turbulent times, we wanted to give people a chance to make their voices heard and ask their questions about the EU. So we teamed up with broadcaster Euronews and invited President Barroso to answer your questions in a special, live YouTube World View interview that will take place on Thursday, October 6 at 10:00am Central European Time.

Starting today, we invite you to submit your questions for President Barroso via youtube.com/worldview. Questions can be on any topic, from the Euro crisis and austerity measures to growth and jobs, from foreign policy and immigration to ethnic minority issues, human rights and the environment. You can ask written or video questions—and view and vote on other people’s questions—in any of the European Union’s languages, thanks to Google Translate.

During the interview on October 6, hosted by Euronews anchor Alex Taylor, the President will answer a selection of the most popular questions, as determined by your votes. The interview will be streamed and broadcast in multiple languages on both YouTube and Euronews.

President Barroso’s interview will be the first multi-lingual livecast in the World View series, which gives anyone with an Internet connection the ability to pose questions, vote on what’s most important to them and get answers directly from senior politicians and world leaders. President Barroso’s interview follows interviews with U.S. President Obama, President Kagame of Rwanda, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Whatever your question, President Barroso wants to hear from you. Be sure to submit your question via the World View channel before midnight CET on Wednesday October 5.

The Official Google Blog

With her vocal talent and songwriting skills, Taylor Swift has won four Grammys, six CMT Music Awards, 13 Teen Choice Awards, the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award—and a tremendous following of loyal fans. Now, she’s taking questions from you on YouTube.

Starting today and until 12 p.m. PT on August 31, you can submit written or video queries on Taylor Swift’s channel, and vote on your favorites. She’ll answer the most popular ones as part of our YouTube Presents program.

Visit the YouTube blog for more info, and keep an eye on the YouTube homepage to see Taylor’s Q&A as soon as it’s uploaded.

The Official Google Blog

I once went to a water park and spent the entire day beating the Top Gun arcade game over and over with a buddy. By the end of the visit, two quarters was all we needed to blast our way through to the end, two skinny kids with dripping neon swim trunks and cheap sunglasses hanging from our necks on Croakies. Constantly aware of girls with their oh-so-tan shoulders, leaning in at the edge of the cabinet, watching our progress.

Good or bad, the 80′s was where I spent my formative years and arcade games were a huge part of that.

That’s why the iCade is so awesome. It’s a tiny arcade cabinet that’s built to resemble the hooded arcade cabinets many of us grew up with and houses a standard iPad or iPad 2.

There are 8 arcade-style plunger buttons and an 8-way stick. The build quality is great and pretty much nothing about it feels cheap. Unfortunately, until more games support it, its real potential is yet to be seen.

The  iCade is the result of an April Fool’s joke by distributor ThinkGeek. After the jokey iPad arcade product got an incredible level of interest, the company decided to actually source a manufacturer and get it out there for customers to actually own. The original design featured some copyrighted Nintendo graphics, which have been stripped off in favor of some early 80′s flavored ‘iCade’ signage, but other than that, the current production model is pretty much what was shown in the original listing.

My testing of the iCade has left me incredibly impressed with the overall craftsmanship. The casing is solid fiberboard and plastic and once it’s together it feels solid and dense enough to withstand some real button pounding action. While light enough to lift and more, it’s heavy enough not to scoot around like crazy when you’re using it on a table top. This is aided by rubber feet that provide a scratch barrier as well.

The front is covered in an appropriate faux-wood decal and the sides have the aforementioned bright graphic panels. In a nice touch, the top flips up to give you easy access to the ‘dock’ area where your iPad sits. The front features an illuminated dummy coin slot that serves an additional role as an indicator of power. Since there is no on-off switch, the iCade has a short auto-off timeout. Simply stop using it for a couple of minutes and it will power down.

The whole cabinet is powered by a set of AA batteries that are inserted into the underside. I’ve been able to get several days worth of casual play out of one set.

The buttons and stick all feel very robust. The throw and strength of the springs in the buttons is a bit more aggressive than I’d like, which makes it hard to get the rapid fire clicking you’d get from a Street Fighter or another traditional cabinet, at least so far. I have a feeling that the buttons will wear in over time though and feel a bit less stiff.

The stick has a large dead spot, as you get with most arcade-style sticks, which are meant to be slammed around and rotated. The stick is a standard 8-position, which makes it great for games that require lateral or vertical movements like Tempest or Breakout. It’s not quite as pretty a picture once you get to stuff like Missile command though, which was originally controlled by a trackball.

The iPad seats nicely into the holder, although it can get a bit wobbly if you really go at it. Simply extending the slot across the entire width of the cabinet would fix this problem. There’s no real reason for it to only be 3″ wide.

So far, everything is wine and roses. The iCade really delivers on quality and aesthetics. It’s easily worth the $ 99 that it runs on ThinkGeek. Unfortunately, you also need games to play and currently that is pretty much limited to the 99 games available in the Atari Greatest Hits app, most of which you have to purchase on your own if you want things to play.

The iCade connects to your iPad over Bluetooth as a keyboard. You can actually see the key mapping of the directions of the joystick and the buttons on the underside of the top cover. Because it connects as a keyboard it’s fairly easy to build in support for the cabinet and there is already an SDK out there for developers who want to support it.

This means that we should start seeing iCade support in more games soon, which is the only thing that would stop me from recommending the cabinet to any arcade fanatic. I’ve spoken to developers like Bjango who are already integrating iCade controls into their app, so hopefully it won’t be long before we have more options.

As far as what’s available now, we played quite a few of the Atari games like Breakout, Centipede, Missile Command and Tempest, as well as many of their Atari 2600 cousins. Some of them translate better than others though and many would need a lot of tweaking before they had the same feel with the iCade as they did in the arcade.

The iCade is an incredible reproduction of an arcade cabinet at iPad size and a rare example of wish fulfillment for people with an arcade fetish and an iPad. The build quality is top-notch and the feel of the controls are well within tolerance for an old arcade junkie.

The only thing holding the iCade back from an unreserved recommendation from us is that the stable of supported games is fairly anemic. With a growing number of game developers like Bjango and Manomio, the creator of the Commodore 64 emulator for iPhone, now getting their iCades and starting to work on support, that could all change quickly. I would really love to see larger game companies like Capcom start to make Street Fighter and other games compatible as well.

This could make the iCade a must have for anyone looking to take a trip back to when you could impress girls by beating Top Gun on two quarters.

The iCade runs $ 99.99 at ThinkGeek.com.

TNW Aggregated Feed

On Monday, Apple announced iMessage, which is essentially a full IM client that happens to live inside your standard Messages app. The “BBM killer” caused RIM’s stock to sink to its lowest level since 2007.  Now, Nokia is fighting back and has just announced its own free messaging platform: IM for Nokia, which is an instant messenger program that allows you to send messages to anybody with the same app installed, as well as one or all of the following: Ovi Mail account, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MySpace IM.

IM for Nokia is currently available from Ovi Store, but will come pre-installed on new devices over the coming months. To use, load the app in the applications menu of your Nokia phone and log in using your Ovi account or other accounts such as Google Talk. Then press the menu button on the bottom left of the screen and select Add friends and import via email address or Contacts. To chat, just press a friend’s name to open a chat window. Press Hide to keep the app running in the background to receive chats throughout the day.

The homescreen widget to the right is your control board for chat. IM for Nokia is available for Nokia X6, Nokia 5230, Nokia N8, Nokia E7 and will come preinstalled on Series 40 phones.

While early adopters and tech enthusiasts in U.S. and European cities are tantalized over the idea that iMessages may free the iPhone from the carriers once and for all, Nokia’s platform is especially strong in developing countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. But its free messaging platform will only benefit users with free WiFi access or a reasonable data plan in those developing countries, otherwise standard SMS could still be the preferred method of communication.

TNW Aggregated Feed

In October 2010, a small application called Firesheep had Internet users quivering in fear that their social accounts could be hacked instantly, with a small Firefox extension able to hijack Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr and Amazon.com sessions whist they were connected to unsecured wifi.

With Firesheep requiring a desktop computer to steal a users cookies and authenticate them as any user browsing on the same wireless network, the potential for attacks was rather limited. However, an enterprising developer has taken the same concept and shoehorned the technology into an Android application called FaceNiff, providing a user with the ability to take over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts simply by joining a network and running the app.

FaceNiff requires a rooted Android handset, a barrier for a few but with a wealth of information on the Internet, easily achieved by many. Securing a network doesn’t seem to help either, as the application can snoop information on WEP, WPA and WPA2 WiFi networks.

The application reinforces the need for all social networks to employ SSL encryption on their services, stopping tools like FaceNiff from working in seconds. Both Facebook and Twitter have such an option embedded within the settings but many users are unaware of the option.

The app is meant to be a proof of concept and only used for educational purposes but has been confirmed to work on HTC Desire CM7, Original Droid/Milestone CM7, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, Samsung Galaxy S, Nexus 1 CM7, HTC HD2, LG Swift 2X, LG Optimus Black and LG Optimus 3D.

The APK file is limited so it can only be used to hijack 3 social profiles. Despite this, developer Bartosz Ponurkiewicz says that users can donate via PayPal for an unlocked version of the application.

To help protect your social networking profiles and assist you in securing your accounts, you can click here for information on how to encrypt your Facebook traffic and here for information on how to secure your Twitter account.

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