Moving…

I’m stopping this blog. It was mostly an experiment to see how fast a blog could become popular, and it worked amazingly well. I was hitting well over 1000 uniques a day after the first day, and the traffic maintained for quite some time. My new blog is at peteroliver.wordpress.com (I’m Peter Oliver, btw. ;) ) It focuses mostly on web 2.0 and emerging trends, so feel free to check it out.

Thanks for the good times.

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Legal videos for your new iPod!

So you’ve come out of Christmas with a beautiful iPod that just happens to play video. Now you just need some videos to play on it! If you’re a regular visitor you may have seen the post on ways to get video onto your iPod. It has a lot of information on conversion programs and sites offering torrents of videos and shows that may or may not be legal to download depending on your location in the world. (Go ahead and assume it’s illegal unless you are in France.)

But perhaps you aren’t the kind of person who breaks the law. You want some good sources for legal video content, and you want them to be easy. Well, we’ve got you covered!

PodGuide.tv
“Podguide.tv is a new guide to the best video content available for the video iPod. Each week we’ll bring you our latest finds, handpicked from thousands of websites and RSS feeds, and categorized to make it easy to find something to suit your viewing tastes. Each has a “subscribe with iTunes” button that makes it simple to download videos and transfer them to your iPod.”

They also have an excellent list of other directories. We highly suggest you check it out, as we aren’t going to list sites from there, here. (at least that’s the plan).

Public Domain Torrents
Public Domain Torrents is an amazing site that has torrents of hundreds of public domain movies available in ready to play video iPod format. There’s not much more that can be said about this site, other than I hope you keep seeding your downloads from here when you have your video completed.

Free iPod Videos
“We provide a large database of quality videos that are completely free and 100% compatible with your iPod. Our site’s content for all videos is updated in real time via RSS feeds. As of now, there is no real standard for shows or videos being published on the web, but we only allow m4v videos.”

Video Blog Map
“VlogMap.org is an online resource which shows where participating vloggers are located around the world, along with links to key information about their video blogs. Anyone can submit info to VlogMap.org to be listed on the map, as long as you run a video blog.”

Free iPod Movies
This is an interesting site, and we’re not entirely sure if that’s a good thing. It does have a lot of information, though it’s strangely organized. Scroll to the bottom of the main page and there are a lot of links to pod/vid casts and their respective feeds.

Those are some of the best we came across. If you have any suggestions, please comment. We will be making a new list as soon as we see an influx of legal iPod video sites. So hit us up with your input.

Massive WordPress.com Spam

UPDATE
I received an email from Donncha on the WordPress.com team. They responded extremely quickly to the problem (turns out there was more than just that one blog).

The email read:

“We took care of the problem and we do have anti-spam measures in place.
Currently, the best place to report spam sites is through the feedback
form in your wp-admin backend. About 6 other people did so and since
feedback mails are always monitored it was quickly dealt with.

Thanks for being proactive, please report other spam blogs as you find them!”

Mad props to WordPress.com.

Original Post

Well this is certainly interesting. Upon logging into my WordPress.com account, I was greeted by quite a mess. The Dashboard on WordPress.com shows us the most popular and most recent posts from around the wordpress-dot-com-oh-sphere. The most recent section was (and still is) filled with posts by one iWilliam102.

You can see a screenshot here.

All of the links on all of the posts point to tires.321-info.com (but don’t go there, as Donncha on the wordpress.com team points out, why help his page rank?).

WordPress.com really needs to work to make sure it does not become the BlogSpot (or as some say, SplogSpot) of the new web. It’s an amazing service and hopefully will stay that way when they figure out this problem.

Hopefully the WordPress.com team can sort this out and figure out a way to prevent it from happening in the future, considering this post:

WordPress.com FAQ – Adsense and other Ads
“We currently don’t allow Adsense or other JS ad code on the site, though we probably will in the future. However right now it is keeping sploggers (spam bloggers) from exploiting WP.com and only a few legit users have asked for it.

We’ll announce when you’ll be able to add Adsense or Yahoo or Chitika to your templates.

We have a very low tolerance for blogs created purely for search engine optimization or commercial purposes, machine-generated blogs, and will continue to nuke them, so if that’s what you’re interested in WP.com is not for you.”

One of the comments made to that post is as follows: “How about some flagging or reporting system for wordpress.com blogs which are found to be created for just seo or false clicking??”

I would suggest that it be taken a step further and made so any blog that is subject to a large number of reports by other wordpress.com members is automatically disabled temporarily while the owner is notified. It’s a shoot first, ask questions later attitude, but in the world of online marketing and spam, it’s just about all we have got.

The Best Web Services Nobody Talks About

For some reason, there are lots of great web services that people just don’t seem to talk about. There is more to the net than just FeedBurner or Technorati. And while TechCrunch does a good job profiling new and exciting sites, even they miss out on a lot.

FeedDigest
FeedDigest is loved by those who use it, as can be seen by the front page statistics of 18,00 users and 43,000 digests. What FeedDigest does is allow you to combine feeds (RSS or Atom) into one feed, and manage it from there. You can organize the contents in different ways and such, but the main purpose is to output a digest, as they call it, onto a website. They allow output in HTML, JavaScript, WAP or PHP. All around good stuff.

Pingoat
From the Pingoat site: “Pingoat is a service that pings or notifies a number of services that keep track of weblogs and publish them. By pinging, you let the services know that your blog has been updated and hence, they crawl and index your site, publishing your blog contents, thus increasing your blog’s popularity.” That’s a pretty perfect explanation. Pingoat also has an XML-RPC server for auto pinging from your favorite blogging package. (It’s too bad that WordPress.com doesn’t allow us to do that. It’s in the stand alone version from WordPress.org, but not enabled here. Luckily, I use FeedBurner for RSS feed tracking, and it has a similar service called PingShot.) Pingoat also has a companion project: SplogSpot. An obvious play on BlogSpot, the free blog and splog epicenter of the world, SplogSpot is a database of splogs. It gathers its data from Pingoat when sploggers attempt to use the service in order to spread their vile fluff. It has an open API so that any developer may use the information, and is searchable through the website. Both Pingoat and SplogSpot are excellent services that definitely need to see more publicity.

TalkDigger
TalkDigger allows you to follow or track a URL around the web. It’s fairly simple. You enter the url to a blog post, new article, or whatever, and hit “Dig it!” TalkDigger then searches nine difference blog search engines and to show you who is linking to that URL. You would assume that the posts that are linking to what you entered are talking about the content of the link. You then have to hope that what they have to say is meaningful enough for you to care. Honestly, a lot of the time, it isn’t. But that’s besides the point. TalkDigger is great in that it allows you to track your own blog posts to see if your message is getting out there. There is also the ability to track the search results using an RSS feed you can subscribe to, located here. Try linking to this post and we will show the results later. TalkDigger is almost as useful as Pingoat, just in a different way. One allows you to get your content out there, while the other lets you track it once it is.

That wraps up this post. There will probably be a part two on this subject in the coming days/weeks. If you have any suggestions for extremely useful web services that you think others may not know about, please comment and let us know.

Ultimate Video iPod Resources

Since the release of the much anticipated Video iPod, the actual task of getting video on to the damned thing has been tricky. There are different codecs and resolutions that the iPod may or may not support (the limits are being pushed in both of these areas), so it may not be as easy as you think.

Hopefully, this list will help you out in this regard and make your video iPod experience a pleasant one.

Downloads in iPod compatible formats
One of the easiest ways of getting video on your iPod is to download it in already compatible forms. We suggest the following for this solution:

Podtropolis.com
iPodVideoTorrents.com
torPod.com
TorrentSpy.com – iPod Search
ThePirateBay.org – iPod Search
MiniNova.org – iPod Search

But what if you want to convert your existing videos to a format that is playable on the iPod? More and more software is emerging to handle this task. For now, there are just a few reliable apps out there.

Mac OS X
iSquint seems to be the best solution for conversion on the Mac OS X side of things. Not only does it have a great name, but it converts very quickly and is extremely easy to use. Oh, and did we mention it is free? If not, here we go: it’s free. The creator, Tyler Loch, has been working on it a ton. He is very active in the support forums and helps resolves any issues that come up with the app.

Amazingly, Tyler has also created the best DVD to iPod software for the Mac as well. HandBrake Lite requires only two clicks to convert a DVD to an iPod compatible format. It lacks in advance features and settings currently, but makes up for it in ease of use. Both iSquint and HandBrake Lite are still under development so check back to iSquint.org often for updates.

Mind you, there are other solutions for these conversions. Podner seems to work quite well, but runs $10.

Windows
On the Windows side of things, there are more (and more confusing) options.

The most trusted program seems to be theVideora iPod Converter. It’s free, fast, and has plenty of options. We’ve used it and it works like a charm. But there are other options.

Divx-Digest has an easy to follow article on using the 3GP Converter to make iPod safe videos. This seems to be a fairly easy solution.

There is also a solution by InterVideo called iVideoToGo. Although it costs $30, there is a free trial so you can test it out.

I haven’t found an easy to use application for converting DVDs to iPod compatible videos yet. But for those of you with a bit of cash ($20), XCopyPod seems very promising. They don’t have a trial to test out, so I suggest you look around for reviews on the product.

I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the video iPod, but for those of you running iPod Linux on your Nano, there is a very beta Easy iPod Linux Video Converter available. Currently in version .6 it seems to be a pretty straight forward way to get iPod formated videos for your Nano made quickly.

Wrap-up
Obviously this isn’t an all inclusive list, but it should give you everything you need to get video on your new iPod. If you have any suggestions or comments please go ahead and leave them. We will edit the post with any new information you provide us with.

Free Web Icon Resources!

All webmasters want to make a functional and friendly website. Much of the time, good icons can help in this. These are some of the best free icons we found from around the web. Feel free to comment and add your suggestions.

Created by Mark James, the icons available at FamFamFam are incredible. The Silk set contains more than 700 of the things. And… he takes requests!

The Tango Project is a bit different, but just as useful. “The Tango Desktop Project exists to create a consistent user experience for free and Open Source software with graphical user interfaces.” While it is focused mostly on desktop software, the icons created thus far as spectacular. Available as PNGs or in SVG form, the icons can be found in the Icon Gallery.

Next up are thirty-one pixel icons by ExplodingBoy. The download includes four different color sets. The icons are perfect for navigation and posting elements in blogs and forums, and could easily be made the perfect color with a simple hue tweak in Photoshop.

“The Drunkey Love iconset consists of over 100 16×16 icons in both GIF and PNG format.” A constantly updated set, these are mostly pixel icons. Well, they kind of have to be at 16×16, but that is besides the point. They match the Drunkey Love WordPress Theme to a T, which is always nice. Check back there every once and a while for updates.

GraphicPUSH has several great icon sets available, such as a set of RSS/XML icons, and a very good set for blogs and content management systems. There haven’t been any new sets posted in awhile, but what is there is great.

That wraps up this list of free web icon resources. Once again, please comment and add your suggestions.

LibriVox – Free Audiobooks

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net (podcast and catalog). Our objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.”

Seriously, this is cool. The sudden influx of out-of-copyright material ( Public Domain Torrents )is great. I just hope people continue to devote their time and energy towards causes like these.

LibriVox has a very good about page. I wish other projects or services explained themselves this well.

Enjoy your free content.

AdulTag.com – Adult Tagging!

Now this is just a great idea. Tagging free porn in one central location!

AdulTag (18+ only) is has a clean design (probably the only clean part about the whole thing), and is very straight forward.

The front page is simply the most recently tagged content. There are RSS feeds for every page. Once they get a bookmarklet, they will be all set to the adult entertainment world by storm! I for one predict massive success if these guys (I’m assuming) can get the word out.

We need more innovation on the web like this. Make things people actually WANT!

How to stick it to the RIAA

We have all heard the horror stories of being sued by the RIAA. We all know that their crazy antics are making more enemies than friends.

So how can we, as consumers, really prove our point and stick it to them?

Here is how! (And it’s really quite simple…)

Stop buying CD’s in stores. Stop buying music from the iTunes Music Store. Stop paying $10 a month to Napster. Cancel any legit music service you use!

Buy your music from semi-legal services like AllOfMp3 which cost hardly anything. (you can download CD quality files at a rate of $.02 a meg. Yeah….)

Of course, this hurts the artist and they will stop singing (or yelling, if you are into that kind of music).

So go to their concerts, promote their concerts and convince others to go. Buy their merchandise to directly benefit them and now the spawn of satan recording companies. Send them a check even.

A mass acceptance of this approach really WOULD affect the way the recording industry works. Go and do your part.

Mint – Web Analytics

“Mint provides a fresh look at your site. It is concise, flexible and timely. And to sweeten the deal, this delicious little bundle of PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript joy is referrer-spam-proof.”

At a price of $30, most casual bloggers probably won’t be interested in Mint. But for those interested in getting instantly up-to-date analysis of their traffic, Mint is a great package. It may not be ready for extremely high traffic scenarios, but if you are reading this post, that probably isn’t you.

There is a compatability test to make sure that Mint will work on your server available. That is ALWAYS a nice gesture. But one of the most interesting parts of Mint are the Peppers. Peppers are 3rd part scripts that let you see more information in different ways within Mint. Things like FeedBurner trackers and combinations of Google Maps with ip addresses.

More information is available on HaveAMint.com.