Dale Dietrich
friedman: always supply your comparative advantage
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How to Add the Twitter Widget into a WordPress Site

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twitter widget

Taking a queue, once again, from Dave over at ZNF, I added the new Twitter Widget to the Daleisphere (currently below my Disqus comment box) and my other WordPress sites.

Previously I had used Twitter Widget Pro and Twitter for WordPress for this purpose with mixed results.

The most important benefit of changing to this widget is that it works! The other widgets yielded spotty results with too many fail whales.

The other obvious benefit is that it allows me to embed many more tweets in my sidebar than the others did – through a scrollable interface.

Downsides:

twitter fail whalePerformance: Occasionally it doesn’t work. The result, a  black fail whale rectangle with nothing in it. While annoying, so far the black rectangle appears less often than the fail whales I experienced with the other Twitter widgets. Also, sometimes the black box turns into the proper widget if you give it long enough. Odd.

Flash: On the downside the widget requires Flash. As a result, it does not work with the iPhone. Note: There is an html version of the widget available – though it’s not as nice or useful.

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How to Integrate Disqus within WordPress 2.7 Blogs

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disqus logo

Earlier this month I described How to install Intense Debate in WordPress 2.7 blogs. In my ‘Why I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus’ post [coming soon] I describe why I made the switch.

The Disqus installation instructions are out of date (written for pre WP 2.7 blogs) and surprisingly difficult to follow.

Happily, both Disqus and IntenseDebate mirror/sync comments within a blog’s databases (though there are still problems with threaded comments not retaining structure – see part 6 below). This makes it possible to switch back and forth between the two at will.

Below I provide a step-by-step guide for integrating Disqus within a WordPress 2.7 blog. I first make some preparatory recommendations. Then I describe the steps needed to set up with Disqus, download and install the Disqus WP plugin, how to import your historical comments into Disqus and, finally, how to reclaim straggler comments.

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How To Install IntenseDebate in WordPress 2.7

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intense debate logo

Since listening to this net@night podcast back in May 2008, where Amber and Leo interviewed Daniel Ha, the founder of the Disqus, I have been interested in implementing this kind of a community-oriented, commenting/discussion system on my blogs.

Early on, I had compared the feature set of Disqus and its competitor, IntenseDebate (“ID”), and Disqus’s feature set and looks won. Concerns surrounding the ability to import, export, sync and otherwise control my comments, held me back. I was not going to join any system where I lost ownership/control of my users’ comments.

In the interim, both Disqus and ID have added dynamic comment importing, exporting and synchronization features. I became comfortable that I would not be locked into any commenting system if/when I chose to leave. Scot Jangro’s December 30, 2008 post, ‘Comment System Review Redux’, compared the the two systems afresh and gave me substantial comfort that ID’s feature set had evolved to near parity with Disqus (see other comparisons: inquisitr.com | Mashable).

But the clincher came on Sept 23, 2008 when Automattic, the owner of WordPress, purchased IntenseDebate. (See: Matt Mullenweg’s commentIntenseDebate’s commentDisqus’s comment). I expect Automattic to integrate IntenseDebate’s community comment / discussion system into the WordPress core at some point. So, as a WordPress user, it seemed a no brainer to go with IntenseDebate.

[January 23, 2009 Update: Despite what I wrote above, I ultimately switched to Disqus not long after implementing Intense Debate. In my ‘Why I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus’ post [coming soon] I describe why I made the switch.]

IntenseDebate’s WordPress Plugin features are discussed here.  The newest WordPress Plugin (v 2.0.18) has been completely overhauled, making the installation and comment import/export/sync process much easier than it was.

Below I describe why I installed ID. I then walk you, step-by-step, through the IntenseDebate installation process in WordPress 2.7.

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WordPress 2.7 – First Impressions

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wordpress 2.7 - dashboard
(click image for larger view of this dashboard image)

[Update:As of December 14, 2008, the final release of WordPress 2007 is now out.]

I happily installed WordPress 2.7 RC 1 on my four WordPress sites yesterday. A ‘Holy Grail’ feature I have wanted since I started using WordPress a few years ago is finally here – core auto-upgrading (see below). And it works – Yippee!

For a good summary and description of what’s in WordPress 2.7 I suggest listening to Episode 48 of the WordPress Podcast where (starting at time index 39:13) core developer, Mark Jaquith, walks through the new WordPress features.

Upgrade Automatically

For years, every time a new WordPress version came out, I always sighed. It has been such a pain to update. I’d frequently let many versions slip by without installing them.

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon upgrading my four WordPress installs from v. 2.5 to v. 2.7. No longer!! Upgrading the core now takes just seconds. To do an upgrade all you need to do is select “Upgrade” from the “Tools” menu (see picture below), then click on the “Upgrade Automatically” button:

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WordPress 2.5 – First Impressions

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WordPress 2.5 rc 1 was released on March 18. I am using my new blog, The Daleisphere, as a WordPress 2.5 testing ground before rolling it out to my other video game law and imedia law blogs.

[March 29 Update: The Final 2.5 Release is now available for download here]

Daleisphere WordPress 2.5 Editor

So far I’m impressed!

There has been some controversy over the new design. They’ve moved some commands/menus around, removed some superfluous options, updated the dashboard and a few other odds and sods. So far I think it is intuitive, elegant, attractive and easy to use. Heck, its downright purdy! Installation was easy. All of my plugins and themes but one (see below) work fine. In the five days I’ve used it I haven’t experienced a single glitch.

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