WordPress Plugin Watermark

Watermark is the simple WordPress plugin which does exactly what its name suggests. A common request from users not familiar with photo editing tools such as batch processing, is the ability to easily apply watermarks without too much effort.

With Watermark, you can upload a transparent PNG and have this automatically layered onto your images, meaning that any users wishing to add a bit of protection / credit to their imagery will find that a custom watermark can automatically be applied to your content.

The beauty of this plugin is the method in which it applies this watermark, as explained on the official plugin repository;

What makes this plugin a really powerful one, is that the watermark is placed on your images through a htaccess and php file. This means your images are actually not modified. You can still download them from your FTP, and they will not have any watermark.

This method also means that old & new images will see the watermark, then as soon as the plugins deactivated so will the watermark to the entire media library.

WordPress Plugin WP Help

WP Help is a brilliant way to offer support directly from inside the WordPress dashboard, meaning that website owners always have a visible support tab as a go to. The beauty for the developer is that it alleviates the work load. If a website owner can reference the support documents in an easy fashion, the probability of a support call can be reduced if the content is broken down into clear and easy steps for a user to follow.

The icing on the cake with this plugin has to be the ease of use. Rather than installing the plugin on each of website and uploading support documents, the plugin has a rather impressive sync tool. You can essentially have a master site where you maintain the core support documents, from which you can obtain a sync URL. This URL simply needs to be inserted within the plugin settings on the clients website, to then allow the support documents to be automatically retrieved and once a day refreshed. The addition of the automatic syncing is a brilliant time saving tool, an edit on the master site can prevent the need to then go into each client site individually to apply modifications.

WordPress Plugin Gust

Gust sees the Ghost markdown editor being ported to WordPress in the form of a handy plugin, allowing users to use the Ghost markdown editor with posts & pages. In its early stages, the plugin still misses tons of the functionality the default WordPress dashboard provides, however for those looking to simply use the markdown editor to make writing content much more pleasurable this is the perfect tool.

As there’s limited options when using the interface, the Gust interface uses a separate dashboard, so you can use both the default WordPress dashboard and the Gust dashboard in conjunction with each other so there’s no need to sacrifice on functionality.

Media Streaming with Chromecast

The Google Chromecast is the simplest media streamer you’ll ever use in conjunction with your television. If you’ve got a HDMI input and a wireless connection you’re ready to go.

The device is like a bulky memory stick in size, with the addition of a micro USB input which provides power to the little device. Once switched on, you’ll be required to carry out a brief paring exercise to establish the network and then you’re free to begin streaming content.

I’ve been fiddling with two methods so far, via my Nexus 4 using Netflix which was extremely fast and a rather slick experience. Along with the Google Chrome extension which allows me to mirror a browser which is rather impressive but does come with some rather noticeable lag.

What’s really missing though is the support from apps to adopt the ability to Chromecast content, my main purpose is to stream my Netflix account onto the ‘big tv’ but it wouldn’t hurt to have a wider selective of major named service to opt from.

Daily Listens

Rather than music, podcasts help me focus whilst working, the following are my current subscriptions which keep on task. There are many others which are much more infrequent, the following are subscriptions which put out content on a regular basis, most of which is on a weekly basis.

Tell Em Steve Dave

Smodcast

The Big Web Show

The Vergecast

Podcasts which don’t appear to be on SoundCloud include;

  • Boagworld

  • Highlands: A peephole history

  • ShopTalk

The app of choice for listening to podcast content has to be Stitcher which allows you to listen via iOS & android apps along with a web player, all of which allow you to log in and resume episodes from where you last were when listening to a show.

Simple WordPress Security Steps

With self hosted WordPress blogs being attacked left right and centre, securing installs is becoming a top priority.

There are few security measures in place when setting up your install, resulting in insufficient steps being taken by the administrators of installers. Aside from looking at folder permission and your hosting setup, there are a whole range of plugins available to help users quickly deploy security measures.

  • Better WP Security

    This plugin will guide you through around twenty different security measures, most of which are basic but not necessarily obvious to the administrator of a one off WordPress install. From changing the prefix of your database, to removing the default user ID & username combo. Steps which all come together to help protect your install from unwanted attacks.

    Source – http://wordpress.org/plugins/better-wp-security

  • Captcha

    It’s a captcha, it simply adds a verification method when logging into WordPress, leave the captcha blank and the login attempt will fail, it simply acts as a very basic but effective method to determine false login requests.

    Source – http://wordpress.org/plugins/captcha

This post is really open to suggestions, I want to find out what you use to help discover new and even better tools.

Social Network Client Buffer

Buffer is a simple tool which allows you to connect a variety of social networks up, giving you the ability to cross post content easily from a central location.

There are many browser extensions & tools offering a similar service but Buffer seems to have cracked it for myself. With uniformed iOS & Android apps to accompany the web interface and browser plugins, Buffer excludes the need for any additional tools to distribute content.

For myself the main benefit is that Buffer allows me to automatically schedule the distribution of content, across various networks at fixed times on fixed days. It means that I have some consistency posting on networks, without necessarily being active when it appears I am. The reason for this is I’m really busy, during sociable hours my networks can become stagnant, then during the evening or at weekends I find time to updated the networks, which isn’t really when I want to be sharing content which is where Buffer comes in.

Currently Buffer supports the following networks;

  • Facebook profiles
  • Facebook pages
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • LinkedIn pages
  • Twitter profiles
  • Google+ pages
  • App.net profiles

For myself as an individual posting, rather than from my companies account, I do have my fingers crossed for the ability to post to Google+ profiles which I believe is a restriction currently imposed by Google+ rather than Buffer.

Head over to bufferapp.com to find out more

WordPress Plugin WP Remote

When you step outside of an individual WordPress build and look at your sites from a management perspective, there’s a need and market for tools to help with the day to day chores. A repetitive task which can be time consuming is the need to constantly monitor your sites for updates (plugins, themes and core WordPress updates) which depending on the amount of sites you manage could really sap up your time, which is where WP Remote comes to the rescue.

WP Remote is an excellent way to streamline your support process, which will ultimately save you time. To begin with you need to head to wpremote.com and sign up to the FREE service, secondly you’ll need to install the WP Promote plugin with the site you wish and simply paste in an API key to the WordPress install which links your website to WP Remote.

Once setup you’ll find the WP Remote dashboard lists all of your associated websites, with upgrades represented with very simple icons, indicating what type of install is required on each of the websites you manage. This ultimately means there’s no longer a need to manually login to each website to perform installs or even check if an upgrade is required with the ability to push out an install direct from the WP Remote dashboard.

Aside from the primary function of performing upgrades which I’ll be using this tool for, WP Remote also has additional functionality & uses which are fairly handy.

  • View what version of WordPress & Plugins you’re installing
  • List installed Plugins & Themes allowing with indicating what’s active
  • A history log will show all of your activity, so you can retrace when upgrades occurred
  • Generate a zip of files and databases associated with your website
  • Create groups to help organise your websites

App.net Project Amy

At the second ADN (app dot net) hackathon@stevestreza unveiled Project Amy, which essentially adds a new account type to the Messages app available within Apple Mountain Lion, allowing you to add your ADN account. Once successfully added you can use Messages to interact with the ADN private message functionality along with group chats. Project Amy also allows you to send file attachements making interacting with the platform using a fairly solid interface better than ever.

To keep up to date with the development of Project Amy, along with links to each update ensure you follow the official account @projectamy.

App.net Android Client Robin

App.net is in such early stages of its development that it’s still finding an audience, along with a purpose to really attract users. With this comes the lack of motivation to develop applications compared with established networks (especially the big two, Facebook & Twitter) which have a much larger user base. This hasn’t stopped some  early up takers of the network from integrating ADN (app dot net) into existing apps, or developing their own purely focused on the platform.

When looking for a app everyone has their own requirements and needs which it should carry out, in my case the criteria was as follows;

  • A clean interface which is consistent throughout
  • A smart icon
  • The ability to easily switch between applications

Regarding the first two points I might be coming across as slightly petty, however I like to use applications which at the end of the day feel good to use and are ultimately effortless, the stylish icon is an added bonus (it’s unbelievable how many applications have piss poor icons). The big purchasing point for me however was the ability to effortlessly switch between accounts, as aside from my personal ADN account (@jamesduffell) I also need to easily toggle to my work account (@3manfactory), a feature which was surprisingly missing from many of the other ADN clients I downloaded.

Head over to robinapp.net to find out more