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All About The Tech

Posted by | Posted in Technology | Posted on 11-02-2009

I’m almost bored with technology, but perhaps that’s because I have to use it nearly every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but having to use computers at work, or home, or round someone else’s house… it can all get a bit tedious.

However, you can do some pretty nifty things with technology. I read today that Google has added yet another nifty little feature to GMail that appends your geographical location to your email signatures. That’s after they recently redesigned the menu buttons at the top of the Inbox window. (Personally, I like how they look now, and the label filters are good, if only they weren’t so damn slow). I’m not quite sure why people would want their geographical location added to the bottom of their emails, but I’m sure there’s a reason for it. Although in my experience, Google seem to be one of those companies that design and build things first, and then ask who actually wants to use it later. Which is no bad thing, but in my opinion, that’s what produced Google Earth. I mean, what would you use that for?

Talking of technology again, today, the guys who make WordPress released version 2.7.1 of their popular blogging tool. I always like to keep my blog up to date, as it means you’re that little bit more protected against any new security holes found in the software. However, updating WordPress (including taking a backup of your existing site and database) was always a bit of a pain in the arse. I mentioned in an earlier post the Automatic Upgrade plugin, which allowed you to update your site in seconds, and also gave you a backup of your files and data at the end. That was probably the best plugin I used in terms of time-saving, although the SEO Optimiser and XML Sitemap plugins are also excellent.

With WordPress 2.7, however, they’ve introduced an automatic upgrade feature as part of the standard WordPress installation, and so there’s no need to use the plugin any more. In fact, I’m not even sure the plugin still works, as it didn’t detect that version 2.7.1 had been released when I tried it earlier today. (UPDATE: It doesn’t work with 2.7. It’s compatible up to WordPress 2.6.1). If I was that plugin’s developer, I’d be both miffed and proud at the same time. On the one hand, the developer created something that many thousands of people used, and they can be proud that it was good enough to make it into the standard installation files. On the other hand, the “fame and fortune” that being the developer of said beauty brought has now come to an end. Which I’d personally be rather miffed about. Still, it’s an excellent plugin if you’re running older versions of WordPress, and the built-in auto-updater of WordPress 2.7 works just well. Although from what I could tell, it didn’t give me the option to download any backups (but I wasn’t really looking for one).

I got an email today from SitePoint. SitePoint are a Melbourne-based web development community, which as far as I know, started off as a rather nifty forum, and has since grown into a full-on business, publishing books and holding web development conferences around the world. being an Australia-based company, and with the Oz bush fires still raging, they’ve decided to hold a sale to raise money for the relief effort. Basically, you get five PDF versions of their most popular books (of your choosing, I might add) for the excellent price of $29.95 (which cost me £21.06 using PayPal this morning). Now you can’t say fairer than that! And all $29.95 goes to the charities helping out with the fires in Australia. Apparently, they wont even take admin fees (which to be honest, they shouldn’t be doing anyway, seeing as it’s all done automatically anyway). I’ve done my part, and bought some excellent books on Photoshop, freelancing, AJAX applications, PHP tricks and tips, and (to get me started on something new) a Ruby On Rails book. The RRP of the books is $150, so it’s a great investment!

I hope everything works out for the Aussies – and I hope they catch whoever’s been starting those fires. I have to be honest, I haven’t been following the news so much over the last week, and I had no idea how bad it was. Hopefully the good nature and contributions of the global community can help them stop the death toll from rising over the 170 or so it’s at now.

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