Important Blog Changes Readers Should Know About (Updated)

/ 13 August 2008

Over the previous couple of weeks this blog has undergone some major improvements and changes that I feel are relevant enough to let readers know about. Some of these have more impact on the reader than others, but they all are mentioned here for reference. First of all and probably most important, the actual version of WordPress software has been updated to the latest stable build, 2.6, to allow for the newer features and more importantly the newest security improvements. Relating directly to the software update is a new plugin I installed that will automate the update process, meaning that I’ll keep this blog at nearly exactly the latest stable build instead of falling behind. The footer of this blog contains the WordPress version number if you ever want to see what version this blog is running.

The sidebar has a new addition added to it. That is what I call Commenter Cloud. It just has the names of each commenter in awareness of how many comments they’ve posted. This is just for fun, I don’t care how you use it, but please don’t turn commenting on my blog into a contest!

I’ve installed two statistical tools into my blog, one for giving stats about the RSS Feed usage, and one for giving me a more in-depth look at what devices (crawls, personal computers, etc.) are currently viewing my blog. The more in-depth one even provides a graph to show me it’s stats on the WordPress Dashboard.

As my MacBook is running Mac OS X 10.5.x and I enjoy the look so much I’ve installed a plugin that modifies the entire WordPress Backend to look more like OS X.

I’ve now got control over what WordPress Pages get added to the site navigation. I, in fact, now have a page that isn’t in the navigation that I’ll link to in the commenting interface in the future.

I installed a plugin called Plugin Central which gives me centralized access to update all plugins at once and to install plugins without needing FTP access to the actual wp-content folder.

This blog now has a full podcasting engine added into it if I ever end up wanting to take advantage of that.

If you happen to go to this blog on a PDA, AMD (Apple Mobile Device, iPhone and iPod Touch), Wii, etc. you’ll be greeted with a whole different interface for reading my blog that is designed specially for those mobile/ gaming devices.

I’ve installed a powerful caching implementation into this blog to allow for faster processing for each individual accesser, the end result is supposed to be that this blog will load faster and be more responsive.

Now on to the new features that all commenters will enjoy and thank me for (in the comments no less). There is no more need to fill out the displayed word to see if you’re a human, I’ve changed the way I do spam filtering to use a powerful background filter. This means that the spam filtering will likely be better, and on top of it you just need to fill out your user information and then comment.

The commenting is now threaded. This means that you can not only respond to my post, but also to other comments. I hope that this may render my blog more of a discussion area, and less of a news site.

You can now check a box before posting a comment that will subscribe you to that comment set. Therefore whenever a new comment is added (either threaded below yours or not) you’ll be notified in email.

Comments can now be more than just text! When viewing the comment area, you’ll get links to add either an audio-only response, or even a video response if you have a webcam (or iSight, hence all Intel Macs). This will hopefully (on top of threading) help liven up the comments on my blog.

If an entry is more than a week or two old the comment form will alert you of the fact so that you don’t necessarily post a question in the comments that is answered in a future post or comment on a future post.

As you type (or record) your comment there will now be a live preview of what your typing so you know what it will look like once submitted.

Wow, that’s all that has changed in merely a week (or two for the update) on this blog. I openly invite you to test all of the new features for commenting with this post if you’d like. Other WordPress blog owners: I found all these plugins on the WP Plugin Directory. Enjoy, Alex.

Update: Just about half an hour ago I added a line in the Footer of my blog that provides you with a simple form to contact me via email. It is the exact middle line of the Footer.