Recently, there was a bill being fast tracked through the US congress called SOPA that was “supposed” to be targeted at stopping internet piracy. Like many bills and laws passed, however, the wording was vague enough to give free reign to governments to censor the internet. Well… the people have spoken, the numbers are, and the largest online protest ever done has stopped a bill that surely would have led to a global degradation of free speech, rights, and censorship. Here are the numbers from SOPAstrike.com.
I’m not American. There is not a whole lot I can do about this situation. If you are not familiar with the SOPA/PIPA situation, here’s three words… We’re all fucked. Please spend the four minutes to watch this short film, it will scare the hell out of you
The US Congress is about to pass internet censorship, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.
This effects the WHOLE world, so tell your American friends to get off their asses and do something about this. Coming soon to a country near you… Here’s a website to go to if you want to help Stop American Censorship
Here are some thoughts from Jane Wells, at WordPress. They usually stay out of politics, but had to get involved here:
- In the U.S. our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, and that people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
- Laws are not like lines of PHP; they are not easily reverted if someone wakes up and realizes there is a better way to do things. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
- The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves.
I switched to a Mac recently, and was going through the process of getting it “just so”. After quite some time on a PC, I was learning the ropes on the Mac, found some things waaaaaay better and some pretty stupid. Overall, however, I was quite happy. I had used XAMPP on my old machine and had found it very easy to set up. I thought things would be the same on the Mac… I though wrong.
Why use a local host?
Many, myself included, use it because you can test and build quickly, without using FTP, and without waiting if your connection gets slow. Also, you can play and make changes without messing with the live site.
I consulted my good friend Google and read a whole bunch of articles on how to set up XAMPP, and almost every one of them had comments with users having issues at one point of the set up, or another. It mainly dealt with permissions, and had some interesting fixes that worked for some and not for others. I found I could get it all set up but then not upload themes and images! Sure I could drag them into the folders in buried in the local files, but that seemed more like an ointment instead of the heavy duty antibiotics required to FIX the issue. I’m not an idiot, but I’m also not a complete guru when it comes to “deep tech”. I found many of the steps necessary to MAYBE fix it were a little advanced for people who just wanted to set up something to build or test websites before they went live.
MAMP: Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP
After several attempts resulting in complete and utter failure, I started exploring other options. MAMP to the rescue. SUPER easy set up, all permissions in place, It took next to no time at all. Sorry XAMPP, but for a Mac, MAMP kicked butt for an easy set up. As much as I can recommend XAMPP for PC users, I had way too many issues to ever touch it with a Mac again.
Overall, (machine depending) both are great options for a local web host. There are some great articles out there with detailed information and set up instructions for the respective programs. A couple of searched will get you where you need. Both programs are free, so thanks to the Dev teams on that!
Check out MAMP for Mac
Check out XAMPP for Windows
After trying out many sharing plugins, many bloggers may start to tire of the many selections, MANY share sites, and slow page load. What do you do when you have share overload, and can’t decide what’s important? SIMPLIFY, bitches.
Let us buzz has developed a great share plugin that ONLY deals with the big boys of sharing. It incorporates:
- Twitter Tweet button
- Facebook Like button
- Facebook Share button
- Google Plus One button
- LinkedIn button
There are a few key features I really like about this plugin. It allows you to pick what is displayed, and choose “big” buttons, or “small”. It also does align or float, and supports shortcodes and php function. The other major benefit to this plugin is that it can be loaded in the header or footer, depending on preference. One of the best features, however is the use of $type. This allows you to have other instances of share buttons without the scripts interfering, something I find other plugin do a lot.
When using $type, it circumvents the Database settings. Meaning, you do not have to have Facebook Share Enabled in the standard automatic implementation to get it to show up. This way you can use the Database implementation AND the individual type showing a different network without confusing the two. Example: Show Facebook Like, Google +1 and Twitter, then somewhere else show Facebook Share in template shortcode. In the Database you would have to have Like, +1 and Twitter enabled but you would not have to enable Facebook Share. This is nice so the two functions shortcode and standard function don’t interfere with each other when using $type. Main reason for doing this is the Facebook limitation you mentioned. They do not automatically show the # count when using large icons for Facebook Share. This disrupts the flow of the buttons when put together.
-Alexander Conroy (who added the $type functionality to the shortcode)
I felt this was important because on one of my sites, FoodOddity.com, I am using this plugin plus the XFBML version of the Facebook LIKE button (for the comment functionality), which doesn’t always play nice with other scripts.
Overall, I know enough html and php to be dangerous, as most bloggers using WordPress do, so adding a plugin is sometimes the best way to go, rather than trying to implement all the scripts for sharing yourself. The other thing to keep in mind is what to add, and adding too many “sharers” will just bog down the blog, and are rarely used. Almost 99% of Sharing on the web is done by these services.
Recently, I have been in contact with the developer, and he is working to allow 1 extra service, that can be easily implemented and added to the plugin. I agree with his vision of simplicity, but sometimes you need something particular for a niche site. As FoodOddity deals with strange and weird stuff, I felt StumbleUpon would be the perfect service. This may work for me, maybe not for others, but remember to keep it simple if you choose to add an extra service yourself.
You can see the plugin in action here (feel free to test it by sharing a post!) , check it out on the developers website, or download it from WordPress Tweet, Like, Google +1 and Share. Thanks for the great work!
If you want a scrolling share bar, check out his other plugins:
Photo from Laguna Beach Media