My experience looking for an RSS service to replace Google Reader

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This morning I spent some time investigating feed readers and services to replace Google Reader. A lot of internet users have been since Google announced Reader is going away this summer. It’s easy to pull up a list of possible alternatives, but ultimately I found it necessary to just dig in and try them out to see which works best.

I dug in, and here’s what I found out.

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The Story of WonderThemes: Why starting a WordPress theme marketplace isn’t easy

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The Story of WonderThemes and building a WordPress theme marketplace

Photo and graphic: Michael Kimb Jones

Michael Kimb Jones — or Kimb, as he prefers people call him – sat waiting for his time to stand up and speak. There he sat, on the ground floor of Surgeons Hall at the Royal College of Surgeons, running over the things he was about to talk about. His presentation was for WordCamp Edinburgh in 2012, the largest WordPress unconference event in the UK.

The slide sitting behind him on the projector, waiting for him to start, read “How I Made WonderThemes.” His pitch on the WordCamp Edinburgh wiki said that his presentation included the initial concept for WonderThemes, cost breakdowns, development struggles and how he sometimes felt like he was “punching [himself] in the face.”

Because this presentation wasn’t all positive. In it Kimb would tell his WonderThemes story, as well as the various elements that contributed to him closing his WordPress theme marketplace down and moving on.

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Recap: WordCamp Grand Rapids, Day 1

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WordCamp Grand Rapids day one is complete — barring the after party of course, but details of those are never published anyhow. For the tl;dr folks out there: this was a great first WordCamp event put on by a group that obviously understands event organization and WordCamps with a group of speakers that would rival some older camps. Nearly everything that could have gone right went right.

For those willing to read a bit more, continue on. The speaker’s notes and slides are linked up below as well, including further thoughts on the events and the presentations I sat in on.

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Making the most out of WordCamp

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People are descending on San Francisco from around the world as I type. I leave tomorrow morning earlier than I go to bed some nights. WordCamp is an excellent opportunity to meet a ton of people in the WordPress community. Most normal people (myself included) only get to attend one or two a year at best. Let’s make the best of it!

Here are some ways to make the most out of WordCamp:

Don’t be afraid

Introduce yourself to people around you. There’s a chance you use one of their themes or plugins. Maybe the person next to you wrote the code for your favorite WordPress feature. They’re right next to you! Talk to them.

Do you know someone you admire in the community will be at WordCamp? Track them down! Maybe not in a weird stalkerish way, but make sure you find them and let them know that you appreciate what they do, or let them know you use their stuff. I bet it’s hard for anyone to get sick of hearing that. Don’t be intimidated!

Here’s the attendees list for WordCamp San Francisco so you’ll know who’s going.

Get out of your personal boundaries

“I’m a designer.” Or, “I’m a developer.” Or, “I’m a marketer.” So what! Check out a couple of sessions that make your head spin.

You’re probably pretty good at what you do, and there’s likely a lot to of good subject matter on that at your WordCamp. But if you’re a developer, you don’t have to stay in the development track all day. Crawl over to a design session, or better yet, a user session. Sometimes seeing what’s important to other types of people will open your eyes to how you can do your own job better.

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Community Poll: What’s your favorite feature in WordPress 3.4?

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With WordPress 3.4 “Green” out in the wild, and of course our review of all the top features you want to know about (you’ve seen that, right?) now is a good time to see what our collective favorite new features are. Which new feature is the most welcome, according to you?

Vote in the poll below (just after the jump) and leave a note in the comments explaining your choice. You can pick up to two features when you vote.

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Feature Breakdown of WordPress 3.4 “Green”

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Today saw the release of WordPress 3.4 “Green”, the most recent version of everyone’s favorite open source publishing platform. And no matter how closely you might follow WordPress development, there seems to always be one feature or another that sneaks by and you miss it. In this feature breakdown of WordPress 3.4, hopefully I can help remedy that by pointing out all of the noteworthy features I could find.

If there’s something in particular that you find useful, let me know in the comments so we can make sure it’s included in the roundup.

Let’s dig right in.

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Empowering journalists with WordPress

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Is blogging journalism? Are bloggers journalists? Have you ever heard these questions, or questions like them, before? For those interested in writing and publishing, as I’m sure many of us are, these are important questions. Words like “blogger” and “journalist” are important and carry a lot of meaning.

But I think asking whether bloggers are journalists is asking the wrong sort of question. It’s mixing up ideas. Asking whether bloggers are, or can be, journalists, is like asking if those who email can be poets. See what I mean, about it being the wrong sort of question? We can’t mistake the method, the format, with the content.

Now, that said, it’s important to recognize the writing style that typifies blogs and the writing style that journalists practice. Generically speaking, blog posts aren’t concerned with sources, other people’s opinions, and the kind of ethics we wish to hold our journalists to. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bloggers who do think and care about those things. I think there definitely are, just like there are journalists who don’t care for them so much.

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Behind the Site: Mojo Themes, a WordPress theme marketplace

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Ed: Brady Nord is one of the founders of the popular WordPress theme marketplace, Mojo Themes. Brady offered us a look behind the scenes of their site, which is (of course) built on WordPress. It’s the perfect addition to our ongoing Behind the Site series.

In this series, a WordPress site’s owner walks us through what makes their site unique and how it does what it does. At this point I’ll hand it off to Brady, who wrote in-depth about their popular WordPress marketplace below.

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Behind the Site: Tripawds, a user-supported three legged dog community

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Ed: Tripawds is, in all honesty, a very touching site. It is a community of bloggers and users supporting canine amputees. The site is run by Jim and Rene Nelson, and just so happens to be running on WordPress. Jim offered to share some background information on Tripawds when he saw our ongoing Behind the Site series.

In this series, a WordPress site’s owner walks us through what makes their site unique and how it does what it does. At this point I’ll hand it off to Jim, who wrote about he and his wife’s site below.

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