ZOMG! Schmick Words Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Blackwells Bookshop.
Image via Wikipedia

The Oxford English Dictionary Online has added 25 new words to their growing collection of the English language. Including many abbreviated words used in technology such lappy (laptop), ZOMG, NSFW (not safe for work).

‘The world of computers and social networking continues to be a major influence on the English language’ says the OxfordWords Blog and recent events have helped shape the additions of badware, for bad software; social graph, a graphic which represents your social connections; and network neutrality. Technology industry words such as infographic, breadcrumb trail, permalink and website-specific words of Twittersphere and unfollow are also included.

These additions come after the March 2011 additions of online slang such as FYI (for you information), LOL (laughing out loud), OMG (oh my god). Words have also taken on a new meaning, for example, searching from an earlier edition of Oxford English Dictionary Online for ‘lappy’ returns the rare usage of ‘resembling a lap or lobe.’


LulzSec Takes Hacking to the World with Social Media

LulzSec Logo
LulzSec logo

LulzSec has turned into a very public hacking group using social media websites to taunt opponents and publicize news. Twitter users have followed the Lulzsec on Twitter by the thousands. Their first public hack was the stealing of personal data from Fox which earned them 250 followers, a number which raised to 799  after they targeted Fox for in their three-phase plan. The number of Twitter followers for LulzSec has now risen to 7,462.

LulzSec administrators run the Twitter presence. LulzSec said, last month, that three people had access to the account. The main members of the group codenamed ‘Whirlpool’ and ‘kraken’ in various chat logs released by the official Twitter. LulzSec uses the anonymous public paste tool, Pastebin, for distributing lists of stolen passwords and ‘press releases.’ Previously, the group has had their pastes removed from the website as Pastebin’s acceptable usage policy does not permit password, email and personal information to be posted.

LulzSec’s persona is based purely on memes from the nyan cat background and monocle-eyed logo. LulzSec say they are doing it for the ‘lulz.’ Tweets from the group have included basic security tips, details of hacks and banter. Here is an example of the group’s dry humor tweets:


The group encourages asking questions on Formspring, though their last answer to a question was from two weeks ago. LulzSec doesn’t keep a web presence separately, only on major networks such as Twitter and Formspring servers, though they have recently said ‘we’re working on our website’ on its Twitter timeline.

Distraction-Free Writing Arrives at WordPress.com

Distraction-Free Writing on WordPress

WordPress has today debuted a new distraction-free writing feature. By clicking on the newly redesigned icons by Ben Dunkle for full-screen, a new distraction writing environment will be used. The icons fade and all that’s left is the post and title; when the mouse is in focus, a toolbar with the most use icons will appear.

Internet Explorer 6 support has also been phased out with users using Internet Explorer 6 given a bright red notice advising them to upgrade to a newer version. Previously, the dashboard used complex workaround code to stay in support with Internet Explorer 6. The staff from Automattic have even created a website encouraging visitors to upgrade called Browse Happy.

One of the most noticeable changes, though, is a redesign of the dashboard which the staff say is ‘just a little facelift intended to make managing your content easier.’

Via WordPress Blog

WordPress Seals Deal with MLB.com

MLB WordPress Migration
Major League Baseball has today announced a change to the WordPress.com blogging platform from Movable Type. According to reports from MLBlogs, WordPress staff have helped in the process of ‘migrating many thousands of established blogs.’ Though the platform will change, all domain names will remain the same in that http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com/ does not change to the WordPress.com equivalent. It, however, appears that users are given a WordPress domain in the format of mlblogs(name).wordpress.com which redirects to the original MLBlogs domain name.

Rolling over to WordPress began on ’10:30 a.m. ET on Friday’ and members should receive an activation email and more information for users is available in detail at MLB.com.

The change has added three new themes for WordPress.com under the ‘Friends of WP.com’ link in the theme options. This will be useful for Major League Baseball followers as they can be customized to support your favorite team. WordPress.com has published an official FAQ list for MLB bloggers here.

Symantec: Facebook Applications ‘Accidentally Leaking Access’

Privacy settings in Facebook Apps

An official blog post from Symantec Corporation says that 100,000 Facebook applications were inadvertently leaking user information. Nishant Doshi, the writer of the blog post for Symantec, said that in the span of a few years ‘hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties.’

Access tokens are used on Facebook so an application can interact with your user page, allowing permission to publish content and ‘likes’ to your wall and stream that is visible to friends, photographs, chat and other personal profile details. The leak is blamed on legacy Facebook API and using certain parameters in the redirect code.

Doshi said ‘Facebook was notified of this issue and has confirmed this leakage. Facebook notified us of changes on their end to prevent these tokens from getting leaked,’ confirming the issue has been corrected.

The Money in WordPress Themes

After three months with premium themes on WordPress.com since the launch in February 2011 Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has made $127,785 alone on premium themes with an uptake of 2135 blogs now using premium themes. Of course, this profit figure would have to be split with the designers of the blog, something we do not know. If you were to buy every theme you would spend $564. So far the most popular themes were the original February introductions with Shelf and Headlines. Here is how much money was earned on each theme (click on the graph for a larger size):

Notice how the graph is divided into three parts for each month the theme was released. The average price of premium themes is $62, the highest price being $75 (for Pretty Young Thing, Basic Maths and Tapestry) and the lowest being $45 (for Headlines and Crisp). Number-crunching the sales behind the themes done using the price and the amount of users in the theme showcase and are correct as of 1 May 2011.

Gawker Media Page Views Dive After Redesign

Statistics publicly released on Gawker media blogs including Lifehacker, Gawker, i09, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jezebel, Jalopnik and Deadspin, show an increasing downwards trend in unique views after questionable redesign. The February 2011 redesign on the Gawker blog shows the January 2011 high of 8,871,678 to 2,153,178 during the redesign and down to 631,825 in April 2011 (see below graph).

Statistics for Gawker Media after Redesign

The same unique page-views is true for Gizmodo, a popular technology blog run by Gawker media. Views have fallen from the January 2011 high of around 16 million to 4.5 millon in February to the low of 1.3 million in April.

Gizmodo Views after Redesign

The redesign has been highly controversial with many users unhappy with the new redesign with many taking it to the forums for the redesign. The redesign takes the format of the magazine and makes it extremely hard to view older articles which are in a small scrolling area.  Gawker has attempted to fix some issues, such as incompatibility, adding a ‘blog view’ option.

Users Flee Myspace, Facebook on the Rise

Myspace Website

Myspace has lost 14.4% of its user-base in one month from January to February 2011 according to comScore statistics. MySpace has plummeted from 73 million visitors to 63 million visitors.

Earlier this year,  MySpace had announced nearly halving its workforce leaving 500 people without a job. News Corp. purchased MySpace for $580 million in 2005 near the height of MySpace’s popularity which enjoyed a nearly 200% increase in views from 2005 to 2006.

Facebook overtook its social networking competitor, Myspace, as early as April 2008 according to comScore statistics and MySpace seems to be unable to regain its winning formula (and users).More than 50% of internet users in the United States of America aged over 12 years old are connected on Facebook, according to Edison Research in a 2,020 persons survey.

FYI, LOL, OMG! New Words Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Cover of "The Oxford English Dictionary (...
Cover via Amazon

The popular online terms FYI (for you information), LOL (laughing out loud), OMG (oh my god) have all entered the Oxford English Dictionary in the March 2011 update. The first symbol in the dictionary was also added: ♥. The heart symbol is most popular in the advertising from New York in the I Love NY campaign.

Another acronym added was ‘wag’, referring to the wives and girlfriends of a group of professional football players. The term is ‘notable for the extremely fast journey from its introduction to the language to its use as usual English vocabulary.’ The word has been used in debates on whether the wives and girlfriends were distracting to the football players and in newspaper articles.

Many of the online acronyms had earlier lives in the English language, for example, LOL is also an American expression meaning ‘little old lady’ according the Oxford English Dictionary. In a 1960 book, Only in San Francisco, ‘A traffic officer bellowed at an LOL who didn’t seem to know which way to turn her car,’ Now that would seem a little odd to add to a text message!

WordPress.Com Dashboard Up After 4 Hours Downtime

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress.com bloggers can now load their back-end dashboard system. Linear Fix and many other WordPress.com blogs were unable to post any new content after the four-hour downtime; caused by server issues which caused “a series of failures,” according to a WordPress tweet.

The downtime was not caused by a denial of service attempt which caused the last major downtime on WordPress.com earlier this month. Statistics on WordPress.com hosted blogs are now updating and the situation is being monitored. WordPress.com has being keeping users up-to-date with frequent tweets.