Max Foundry enters the paid theme space with Liftoff

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Max Foundry, which has in the past primarily concerned themselves with developing and releasing WordPress plugins, has entered into the commercial theme space this week with their new theme Liftoff, a landing page theme.

It seems just about everyone is getting into the commercial theme space these days. Do you think the theme industry is still booming, or is there no room for those jumping in now?

Educator’s presentation says schools should buddy up with BuddyPress

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WordPress has certainly taken strides in recent years to improves as a content management system, or CMS. But one area that is still being explored is the use of WordPress as an LMS, or a learning management system.

Vernon Fowler is the English Second Language teacher and e-Learning Coordinator for the Hawthorn Learning Centre campus of Navitas English in Melbourne, Australia. One of his most recent projects there has been incorporating WordPress, using the BuddyPress plugin, into their school’s coursework as an LMS. A number of Fowler’s findings, as well as his pitch to other schools to try BuddyPress out, are included in a presentation he gave yesterday.

He concluded that BuddyPress is capable of much stronger connections with students than other available systems:

Which learning tool would 86% of students use for homework? BuddyPress. It combines features of social networks like Twitter and Facebook with Learning Management Systems like Moodle and Blackboard.

Fowler’s presentation includes examples from their own use of BuddyPress and use cases based on their experience at Hawthorn.

The presentation is embedded just after the jump.

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WordCamp Las Vegas needs help to happen in 2011

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The organizers of WordCamp Las Vegas have posted a call for help on their site. The message, signed by John Hawkins, says that due to their extremely busy schedules they won’t be able to fulfill their usual roles as the organizers for the event in 2011. The callout is looking for new organizers to make this year’s event happen.

Anyone interested should see their message and get in touch with them.

Hey WordCamp organizers, I’m curious. How do you manage to balance your careers, responsibilities, and social life while also organizing a WordCamp? Do you have any advice for aspiring organizers—or those looking for a better way to balance the two?

Behold the new Catalyst marketing video. Behold!

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Have you ever wondered what a WordPress marketing video would look like if it was directed by Michael Bay? Wonder no longer. It’s all in good fun, of course. The video above was completed very recently and now sits on the Catalyst Theme homepage.

WordPress 3.2 RC3 and 3.1.4 are waiting in your Dashboards

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Once those core updates show up there’s only really one way to get rid of them, once and for all: update. Today we have something for the whole family: a security release in 3.1.4 and another release candidate for the upcoming 3.2.

Ryan Boren posted the news this afternoon, along with a bit of background on the security release in 3.1.4:

This release fixes an issue that could allow a malicious Editor-level user to gain further access to the site. Thanks K. Gudinavicius of SEC Consult for bringing this to our attention. Version 3.1.4 also incorporates several other security fixes and hardening measures thanks to the work of WordPress developers Alexander Concha and Jon Cave of our security team. Consult the change log for more details.

Hit those eager upgrade buttons for 3.1.4, and bring your testing sites up to speed with 3.2 RC3. If you aren’t sure whether you’re ready for 3.2 yet (your plugins as well as your hosting requirements), then, well, what have you been doing?

Miniraffe test site confirms plans for a WordPress plugin shop

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Adii Pienaar teased his next project Miniraffe this morning. Soon after we posted it a WPCandy reader alerted us that their in-development Miniraffe site is currently publicly viewable.

The full site design of Miniraffe, which you can view now at miniraffe.com/homepage/, seems to confirm that the next project from Pienaar and his partners James Koster and Mike Jolley will indeed be a commercial plugin shop. The gallery below contains the development pages, just in case the site is moved anytime soon.

Miniraffe pre-public website peek

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AppThemes hires WordPress core contributor Pete Mall

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AppThemes has announced that they have hired WordPress core contributor Pete Mall to their team as a developer. Shannon Dunn, AppThemes’ Creative Director explained how he sees hiring Mall as an important part of one of his larger goals at AppThemes:

Since joining AppThemes, it has been my highest priority to increase production resources. With more developers on staff, I knew we would be able to develop new products faster and release updates to existing products more consistently…

Pete will be a major force in future AppThemes products. He and Dave have already had discussions on how to make AppThemes products better and more powerful. You will be able to see some of the results of Pete’s influence right away.

Mall is a core contributor to both the WordPress and bbPress projects. He is also a regular speaker at WordCamps and other conferences, and (of course) blogs and tweets. Last we heard Mall was CubicTwo’s CTO, and looks to still be listed on their about page.

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Adii Pienaar teases Miniraffe, an upcoming studio to produce WordPress goodies

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Adii Pienaar of WooThemes and Radiiate fame teased a new project this morning on Twitter. It’s called Miniraffe, features a cute yellow giraffe floating on a cloud, and describes itself as “a tiny studio dedicated to producing first-class WordPress goodies.”

Pienaar is working on the new project with James Koster and Mike Jolley, who WooThemes collaborated with on their FaultPress theme release earlier this year.

There isn’t much to go on right now—just the email subscription form sitting amongst the leaves on their landing page right now—but we can still make up our own crazy theories right? That’s sort of what we do. Although we can likely rule out a business plan revolving around the airborne transport of large African mammals. Most likely.

Your turn: what do you think Pienaar and company have planned for Miniraffe?