Akismet outage shows bloggers just how bad spam could be

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Did you notice your comments being overrun by a tsunami of spam today, leaving you powerless in the face of a wall of Cialis ads? No? Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Akismet, everybody’s favorite anti-spam service, experienced two partial outages earlier today. From the blog post:

The first [problem] was a network configuration problem that caused some servers to be unresponsive. Some users may have noticed problems during a 15 minute window starting around 12.30pm PST.

The second was caused by some spurious code that was inadvertently deployed to our production servers. The majority of API calls resulted in an invalid response for a 30 minute period starting around 11.00pm PST.

Servers were unresponsive and unable to process potentially spammy comments. Hopefully they can avoid any problems in the future. But hey, if you were seriously inconvenienced by this that means your blog is getting a lot of comments. Good problem, right? If anything this should remind everybody what a vital role Akismet and other spam blockers play in maintaining manageable comment systems on WordPress blogs.

Did you notice the outage or is this news to you?

Proof is in the pudding: Lorelle’s class fills up

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The proof is in the pudding, since Lorelle’s WordPress class has officially filled up. This is great news for both her and the WordPress community.

Lorelle’s class is just one more step in the right direction, and will help to take WordPress beyond tech geeks and corporations and to the general population. WordPress showing up within the education sector truly validates its value for users. In this sort of educational setting WordPress is seen as more than just a “blogging tool”, but as something truly valuable for its users.

I’m very proud of Lorelle for both taking on the task of teaching an official WordPress class, but also for being such a key component to the WordPress community for the past number of years. It’s such a pleasure having her in the community.

WordCamp Birmingham firms up schedule for incoming excellence

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The folks over at WordCamp Birmingham, also affectionately called WPY’all (I love that, by the way), have posted a firmed up schedule for the event which will take place next weekend on the 14th and 15th of January. They’ve got three different difficulty tracks, ranging from absolute beginner to developer with some big name speakers like Otto and Tammy Hart.

This is a very special WordCamp too because our very own Brian Krogsgard and Ryan Imel will be hosting sessions in the beginner track. With all these excellent speakers, this definitely sounds like the WordCamp to be at.

As a small side note, one cool thing I noticed is that they have a student registration option  that is only $20. Not only do you get full access to the conference, but a t-shirt and lunch too. If you are a student who lives around Birmingham and loves WordPress, buy this now.

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The 2012 Theme Hybrid Survey aims to improve their community

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Justin Tadlock of Theme Hybrid is asking for your feedback. He says Hybrid had a great year in 2011, but he is looking to make it an even better year in 2012 with updates to the Theme Hybrid Framework and themes.

Some of the questions he is asking for your feedback on are: documentation requests, plugin requests, theme requests, and what you love most about Theme Hybrid and its collection of themes and plugins so far.

So what are you waiting for? Head over and take the survey!

Modemlooper stops dialing in for BuddyPress

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Yesterday web developer Modemlooper announced on Twitter that he will stop working on his BuddyChimp project which was aimed towards bringing a social WordPress / BuddyPress to a mobile audience.

In a statement displayed on buddychimp.com, he said:

My concern is developing a business around another developers software that may not meet my goals down the road. I’m already seeing a road block/offramp in the horizon. Not to mention that BuddyPress wasn’t developed with a mobile first approach.

Even though BuddyPress is open source it’s future roadmap is controlled by someone else and like I stated they may decide to do something that won’t mesh with my goal; bringing a social WordPress to mobile that can be innumerably customized. Sure you can suggest things to be added or changed to core BuddyPress but it’s ultimately somebody else’s decision to allow it or not and if so could take longer than I or you’d like to accomplish a goal.

While I’m not sure what exactly happened, I do think it’s a shame to see another BuddyPress developer decide to calls it quits. Personally I always get a little sad when a plugin developer comes to a point where he no longer want to expand or even continue his current plugins.

What is your take on this? Do you think developers quitting projects is just something that is inevitable when dealing with open source community projects, or do you think Modemlooper‘s decision is too extreme?

For Modemlooper’s full message, see the text just after the jump.

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WordPress plugin directory goes near-real-time

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Just towards the end of the year, Andrew Nacin announced on the WordPress development blog that the WordPress Plugin Directory had been updated to work in near-real-time. Previously there was a fifteen minute lag between the time of committing code and the plugin actually being updated in the directory.

Nacin just made the announcement though. The real mastermind behind the changes was Barry Abrahamson, who is one of the Automattic system wranglers. Barry has been invaluable to the Automattic and WordPress teams, as he has been one of the driving forces behind HyperDB and he’s one of the go-to guys that helps keep WordPress.com humming along.

This is great news for plugin developers as it will help get plugin updates out faster to the users. Great job Barry, thank you!

BuddyPress.org gets bitten by the refresh bug

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It seems to be the season of change; even BuddyPress.org has the bug. In a recent update, they released a short list of the improvements they’ve made to the site’s design.

First, activity updates have been turned off. The decision to disable this form of contact was made to clear up the confusion of how to best get the support one needs. Now all support requests should be made via the Support Forums. Groups and member directories have also been hidden. The directories still exist but now links to them have been hidden. Since there’s no reason to visit them, they felt it was best to remove the links.

BuddyPress.org has been updated to the latest versions of WordPress and BuddyPress as well, to incorporate the new toolbar that was introduced in WordPress 3.3. Profile, plugins, themes, and showcase page styles have all been updated as well.

While this isn’t everything that has been done, or will be done in the near future, it seems to capture what most people will be excited to see.

If you haven’t checked the redesign out yet, you should really head over there. What other changes have you noticed around BuddyPress.org?

Shopp plugin updates to 1.1.9.1, fixes security issue

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Shopp, an e-commerce plugin for WordPress, has just released version 1.1.9.1, a security patch recommended for all users. This release addresses a security vulnerability related to catalog searches. The plugin’s developers discovered the issue when a member of their community reported it to them.

You can read more about the vulnerability and the fix on the Shopp blog, but in short: update if you’re using it on any of your sites.