WordPress SOPA Protest Plugins and Other Ways to Participate on Internet Blackout

Internet Blackout Day: January 18, 2012

It\’s never too late to take part in SOPA Blackout Day or Internet Blackout Day.

Wordpress.org has a post here with a lot of links about the ongoing efforts to protest Senate Bill 968.

You can learn more about Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) here:

What is SOPA and how does it work? The Stop Online Piracy Act explained

Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian On SOPA: “The Fight Isn’t Over”

What is SOPA?

EFF: Stop The Internet Blacklist Legislation

WordPress Plugins for SOPA Protest/ Internet Blackout

Here are the list of plugins that I recommend for the internet blackout day:

Stop SOPA Widget


I am using this one. It will only show a modal window with all the information the visitor needs to know about SOPA. It will not totally blackout the page or redirect to a blank page. The reason I am using this is because I am based in the Philippines and I just want to disseminate the information for all visitors.

Go Dark


This one is also a bit extreme as  it really puts your website on \”dark\” or \”censorship in progress\”. It is SEO-friendly and you can customize the message during the protest time.

Stop SOPA Ribbon

Simply puts a ribbon that says Stop SOPA. This one is for the conservative. You can also use this along with  Stop SOPA Widget.

For more extreme measures you can use SOPA Strike which will automatically redirect all users to http://sopastrike.com

If you want to experiment on other WordPress SOPA Protest plugins, you may try using other plugins tagged SOPA in WordPress Extend directory.

Alternative Method Using CloudFlare


My internet buddy Paul had written about the CloudFlare option here. If you are using CloudFlare you may want to set this up.

At first visit, the words on your site will be blacked out. Only  words longer that five characters will be blacked out so not all words will be unreadable on first visit.

The code can also be found in GitHub so you can use it on any website if you wish even if you are not on CloudFlare.

I think it\’s quite dramatic but if you just want to get the message across on what is SOPA is all about you can just use the WordPress plugins that I mentioned. It is SEO friendly too and you can schedule it.

Check out how  it works.

Other ways to participate

You can retweet this and read the link from EFF:
[blackbirdpie url=\"http://twitter.com/#!/EFF/status/159453277904310272\"]

Other leading websites related to Stop SOPA / Stop Censorship:



Share this post to your friends and other articles related to SOPA. Call your representative and take action.

We must stop it.



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Starting The Year Right — Welcome 2012

If you have watched the disaster movie 2012, that movie seems to be just a sick joke now. After all we\’re all here and still breathing.

I don\’t know about you but I regarded that movie like a prank. If you live each day like your dying day, there\’s no need to fear. Life is good and it is what we make of it.


For me, the year 2011 was full of blessings. There were some bumps along the way but the journey was enjoyable nonetheless. My first child was born. I completed a difficult project this year, a project that proved to be the litmus test for my patience and perseverance while facing adversity. And that\’s it. Yeah, that pretty much summed up my year. 2011 was all about my son and this big project that I finished.

I am now reaping the fruits of my effort. It appears that favor and providence is now overflowing but I know I will face more challenges this year. That\’s for sure because every man on earth face problem each day no matter how little of a problem that is. The best part is that we always have a choice.

I started re-reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People last month and I was reminded of the difference between proactive people and reactive people is literally the difference between night and day. Since  I have gone through The Seven Habit of Highly Effective People training 10 years ago, I believe that The Seven Habits still apply today. I believe it is more relevant now because in the information age we need more control on our decision-making. Act or be acted upon.

[blackbirdpie url=\"https://twitter.com/#!/metallicvapor/statuses/149419818162995200\"]
We are responsible for our own effectiveness, for our own happiness, and ultimately, I would say, for most of our circumstances.

Welcome 2012! God bless!

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The Best of MV Tech Blog: 2011 Edition

It\’s almost the end of another year and just like in the previous years this is the time for me to reflect on what happened in 2011 as we prepare to  move forward and welcome 2012.

I have written 79 articles this year; not my most active year in blogging but it is one of the most consistent one because I tried to write an article at least once a week to cover a great topic.

Based on stats, here are the top 10 favorites in MV Tech Blog in 2011:

10. Top 10 Business Models in 2010:  \”A compilation of successful business models in 2010.\” In this article the business models of successful startups such as Airbnb, Groupon and Spotify were revealed.

9. Does Texting Affect Your Spelling?:  \”When you use a lot of abbreviations or text speak, does texting really affect your ability in spelling? There are still debates whether this is true or not.\” I did a lot of research on this subject and I found out that it is still best to use proper spelling. I this article I showed my stand against improper abbreviation and spelling as a result of technology.

8. Run Android on PC with BlueStacks App Player and Cloud Connect: In this article I showed how easy it is to run Android on PC using BlueStacks App Player and sync Android apps from your mobile using Cloud Connect. Not all apps work out of the box because it is still in alpha.

7. Browser Wars Illustrated: \”So true and funny. This art is compelling beyond words.\” This is about an illustration depicting Firefox and Chrome fighting along with IE eating glue.

6. Facebook Japan Unique Feature: Blood Type: \”In Japan, users can post their blood type on their profile. Why can\’t we have this feature globally?\”

5. Free Facebook Mobile Access (Philippines Promo): \”You don\’t need to own a smartphone running iOS or Android to enjoy Facebook mobile. It is free for up to 90 days on Globe and Smart promo.\”

4. Google Black Navigation Bar: Remove, Disable or Change It:  \”Google Black Menu Bar (codename \’Sandbar\’) is a toolbar that attempts to unify all Google properties. Don\’t want the black bar? Remove, disable or change it.\”  Apparently many people wish to change its color.

3. Bluetooth Problems with Ovi Suite on Windows 7: \”Dear Nokia, screwing up your software will seriously discourage more people to buy any Nokia phone in the future.\” I hardly used any Nokia phones nowadays but this article is popular.

2. Kindle Comparison Chart – Kindle Fire vs. Others:  \”Kindle comparison chart comparing all Kindle versions, and Kindle Fire against iPad 2 and Nook.\” This is not a surprise. Kindle Fire is the only significantly successful Android tablet that came out this year.

1. How to Wisely Use DFA Passport Appointment System: \”For first time Philippine passport applicants and for those who are renewing their passport, here are my tips from my experience on DFA appointment system.\” This article turned out to be very helpful.

Well, as I reflect on these articles I noticed that there is no Apple headline at all. I\’m not sure why but I did cover Apple.

I wish I have the luxury of time to collate the best tweets and retweets that I received this year but I can\’t.

To all the readers and online buddies, thank you very much for being part of this wonderful year.

So long 2011. Let\’s welcome 2012!

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WordPress for Android 2.0 Released, Now Supports Tablet

Automattic just released WordPress for Android 2.0 and it added new features including:

  • a new dashboard and quick action bar to get one-tap access to everything you want with your WordPress blog.
  • upgraded  post editor – now includes rich text formatting bar and enhanced media features.
  • full support for Android Tablets.
  • Post Format support.

As you can see below, the interface gives you more access to the most basic things you can in WordPress: create a new post, new page, quick photo blog, quick video blog as well as list the posts, pages and comments in your blogs. As usual you can change the settings and video the stats of your blog.


The \”Read\” feature allows you to read blogs that you follow in your WordPress.com blog.


The post editor is now more useful because it gives you more formatting controls than before.

Post format support is added and you can choose from the options settings before you publish the post. The default post format is Standard.


Of your you can still view the list of posts that you created and you can view the status of each post. In the previous release you don\’t even know if the post was published. Now you\’ll know it in a glimpse.


The stats look the same but more importantly you can easily switch from one blog to another using the new action bar at the top. I know that the stats chart are improved but I cannot really pin-point what changed. It is also more responsive and it loads faster in my tests.



Not to forget, tablets are now support too! It\’s been a while that the Android app only supported mobile phones but with WordPress for Android 2.0, tablets can get advantage of this more feature-packed Android app.


So overall the new Android app for WordPress blogs is more useful than ever. I like it because it gives me more reason to blog while using my tablet and because it is free, you can\’t really complain for this awesome Android app. If you\’re not using Android there\’s an iOS version. That\’s what I like about Automattic, there is plenty of options for popular platforms.

Watch the video below for the short demo.

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WordPress Security Plugins 2011 Edition

WordPress has been one of the favorite targets of spammers and hackers because of its popularity and huge user base. A lot of those users are not updating regularly too and that is the main reason many WordPress blogs become perfect target for vulnerabilities and exploits. Fortunately, there are WordPress Security Plugins created to prevent vulnerabilities introduced by sloppy or unsecured plugins.

Below is a list of popular and best WordPress Security Plugins in 2011.


I\’ve used Akismet since time immemorial and I could say this is a necessity in every WordPress blog that you use. It also works with commenting system like Disqus and IntenseDebate so that you can filter unwanted comments more easily.

Notice how the  spam count in my blog dropped to half by May 2011 and by October 2011 almost reduced to no spam at all? Read along and I\’ll show you how.




If you have worked on several blogs for a while now, you know that  a lot of sploggers are out there. WangGuard not only protect you from sploggers but also cleans your database from them. Right now it is free for everyone but it will be a paid service for businesses soon. It will remain free for individuals. It also works with Akismet.

Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin

The Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin checks against StopForumSpam.com, Project Honeypot and BotScout to prevent spammers from registering in your blog or making any comments. It also works with Akismet just fine.

WP Security Scan

Some WordPress security plugins were created only for specific purpose but this plugin secures your WordPress blog for the top-most security issues like password strength, file permissions, database security, version obscurity, admin access protection and WordPress META tag removal.

You have an option within WP Security Scan to register at Websitedefender.com and scan for vulnerabilities. What I like about this is it shows you actionable alerts. For example, it tells you what vulnerability your WordPress install is susceptible to.



BulletProof Security

This plugin could be overwhelming at first glance because you have so many options to choose from but it\’s really easy to use. BulletProof Security protects your website from XSS, CSRF, Base64 and SQL Injection hacking attempts. It uses .htaccess to protect your WordPress installation and with a single click you can enable or disable protection even without FTP access.

Login Lock

You need strong password policy if you allow registrations; Login Lock can define the types of characters that can be used in passwords, minimum password length, and the expiry date of the password. It also prevents users from using 3100 common passwords.  It monitors login attempts as well and blocks them after too many failed attempts. Then, you can unblock the IP manually any time. You also have an option to log out idle users if they become idle.

Limit Login Attempts

If you are not allowing registration then this plugin is better suited for you. Limit Login Attempts simply limit the rate of login attempts. It prevents brute-force attack just like Login Lock but  it does something more important – it also works with reverse proxy.

WordPress HTTPS (SSL)

WordPress admin panel is the heart of WordPress so you have to prevent unauthorized access to wp-admin area at all cost. WordPress HTTPS (SSL) lets you use SSL in admin area as well as on any page such as forms or membership area.

WordPress has a complete guide about Administration over SSL just in case you want to do this manually.

Don\’t Forget These If You Are Suspicious

Just in case you are extra paranoid, here are more plugins that you can use to secure your WordPress installation.

Exploit Scanner

If you have been lazy lately in updating your WordPress blog, you may want to use this WordPress security plugin. Exploit Scanner searches the files and database of your WordPress install for signs that may indicate that it has fallen victim to malicious hackers.

Timthumb Vulnerability Scanner

If you have been reading about WordPress Security,  the popular image re-sizing plugin TimThumb is one of the most favorite target of Blackhole toolkit. If you don\’t update TimThumb, there is a big chance that your blog will be infected. Timthumb Vulnerability Scanner scans your wp-content directory for vulnerable instances of timthumb.php, and optionally upgrades them to a safe version.

TimThumb is almost everywhere even in freeware and premium WordPress templates so you should not ignore it. There are many security advisories regarding this alone, like this and this.


TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker)

You can also introduce vulnerability in WordPress by using malignant themes. This is one reason why you should consider buying premium themes directly from theme studios instead of hunting themes in the wild. Those who beg to differ might fall prey to sneaky tactics employed theme distributors.

Theme Authenticity Checker scans all of your theme files for potentially malicious or unwanted code.

One More Thing…


Installing CloudFlare not only gives you access to free CDN but it also gives you another layer of security against a number of online threats. These includes comment spam, sql injection, and DOS attacks. It acts as a reverse proxy, filtering out attacks using the knowledge of a diverse community of websites.


Remember the Akismet statistics screenshot above? Before I used CloudFlare I am getting  about 1500 spams each month.  The first month I used CloudFlare on May 2011, spams in my blog dropped to 550 and by October 2011 I only got less than 20 spams even though my page view increased consistently since May this year.

This is a testament that the more you use CloudFlare, the more it learns about the attacks and the more intelligent it becomes in protecting your blog.


What else?

Security threats are ever evolving. Therefore, as WordPress administrators and bloggers, we are responsible in patching up the vulnerabilities that are being discovered each day. WordPress is tightly secured by itself but just like any software there will be people out there that will try to steal your password or brute-force their way in.

Eternal vigilance is the price of security so be aware of security advisories related to core WordPress components and plugins.

I\’m sure there are many more tricks to secure your WordPress installs using other WordPress security plugins so feel free to comment below and share your inputs.

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WordPress Post Editor Evolution

\"WordPress\"I have used WordPress since 0.71 and I have seen how this simple blogging platform exploded in popularity and transformed blogging over the years.

From The State of the Word 2011, Matt Mullenweg revealed that out of 18,000 responses from users around the world,  the best thing about WordPress is its ease of use and [power of] community. It is so easy to use that for every 100 domains created, 22 of them are powered by WordPress.

WordPress is also one of the most elegant blogging platform out there. One of the latest addition is the zen writing mode which is also known as the full-screen writing mode. In State of the Word 2011, Matt showed the series of iteration before WordPress attained this level of user-friendliness.

Form ever follow function; Function reforms form perpetually.

The optimized UI is one of the top priority of WordPress to meet both speed and simplicity the users demand. The best example here is the WordPress post editor because it transformed so many times to fit  the evolving needs of users.

Can you still remember how WordPress post editor looked like in the early days of WordPress? Probably not. We forget easily even if we use it every day. Many bloggers are taking this for granted even if we bloggers spend most of our time using this tool.

Let\’s go back in time starting with WordPress 0.71  to see the transformation of the post editor user interface over the years.


WordPress 0.71

Gold (June 9, 2003)


This is how the first WordPress post editor looks like. There were very few options here since WordPress started as a fork of b2/cafelog. There was no dashboard panels yet. When you login as admin, this is the first thing that you\’ll see. Very simple but it does the job well back in those days.


WordPress 1.0.1

Miles (January 25, 2004)


This is the first release of WordPress with a code name after well-known jazz musician. Excerpt is now placed at the bottom and you have more formatting options.


WordPress 1.2

Mingus (May 22, 2004)

This release is notable for supporting plugins. To this day, this feature is my number one reason I keep on using WordPress.

It also supports automatic thumbnail creation, post preview and advanced editing options. Sub-categories were also introduced in 1.2.

Look at the buttons. They started to sport some style as well.


WordPress 1.5

Strayhorn (17 February 2005)

As WordPress added more features, sub-menus in the admin area appeared starting version 1.5.

The ability to manage static pages and template were also added in this release. As you can see in the screenshot above, post and page are now distinguished.

There are more hints of blue in this admin interface.


WordPress 2.0

Duke (31 December 2005)

Version 2.0 fully embraced the blue color in the admin area and it is the first major overhaul of the admin back-end.

In this version, rich editing (WYSIWYG) and image/file uploading were added, too. AJAX was also added for faster administration. The user could also resize the post text area starting from this release.


WordPress 2.1

Ella (22 January 2007)


Two very important thing added in the post editor version 2.1 are the spell check and auto-save features. These two  features probably saved thousands of countless mistakes already from careless bloggers. The visual editor was also made more robust.

The post editor in  versions 2.2 and 2.3 are essentially similar to the post editor of version 2.1.

Version 2.2 added a hook for WYSIWYG support in the future version of Safari and related browsers while in 2.3, WordPress supported native tagging thanks to the new taxonomy system.




WordPress 2.5

Brecker (March 29, 2008)


This version marked the second face-lift of the admin user interface – less cluttered and supposedly faster and cleaner. The blue tinge is now lighter. Concurrent editing protection was added which is very useful for multi-author blogs. The visual post editor does not mess with the code anymore as it supports more complex HTML with the addition of Shortcode API. There was a \”no-distraction\” mode in this release but I could not recall if it was helpful.


There was no major change in the user interface in version 2.6 but in this release a revision control was added so you can track changes in every posts and pages with a wiki-like tracking for edits.

More features added were, word count, support for image caption and drag-and-drop reordering of galleries.

Image control was also revamped to allow easier inserting, floating, and resizing and it was fully integrated with the WYSIWYG.

Press This! was also added which provides a fast and smart pop-up to do posts to your WordPress blog.

WordPress 2.7

Coltrane (December 11, 2008)


This is the third time the admin UI was overhauled. Version 2.7 was a departure from blue theme; the default interface is back to gray again.

The new dashboard lets you arrange the things that is most important to you simply by drag and drop. Many users loved this because it is easily configurable to your blogging style.

Versions 2.8 and 2.9 is very similar to 2.7 in terms of the post editor so I\’ll skip it.

WordPress 2.8 introduced Screen Options on every page at the top right hand which lets you setup up to  four columns of widgets instead of  the default two.

WordPress 2.9  introduced global undo / \”trash\” feature which eliminates annoying \”are you sure\” messages and protects you from accidental deletion of post or page. Built-in image editor and easier video embeds using oEmbed was also added.

WordPress 3.0

Thelonious (June 17,  2010)


There was a slight change in the look and feel of the dashboard in version 3.0.  The header that used to be dark gray became light gray. Contextual help was added in this version along with custom post types and custom taxonomies.

Version 3.1 is almost the same with 3.0 except that it introduced the admin bar similar to WordPress.com (which is off by default) and it added a redesigned internal linking capabilities.

The writing interface was also streamlined to hide infrequently used panels.  This created a simpler and less intimidating writing experience for new bloggers while power users can activate the hidden panels via the Screen Options.

For those who missed the blue colored admin interface, a refreshed blue admin scheme was added as an option.



WordPress 3.2

Gershwin (July 04, 2011)

Finally, WordPress 3.2. The focus of this release was to make WordPress faster and lighter. This is the 15th major release of WordPress and it sports a refreshed dashboard design to match that of WordPress.com

The post editor was redesigned and now features a distraction-free writing or zen mode. In this mode, all interface elements including widgets, menus and buttons fade away to give you a clean and plain white environment conducive to writing. Then, when you hover the mouse on top of the screen, the most commonly used shortcuts are made available. Just see the video:


It took more than 8 years for WordPress to showcase all these features in the post editor alone but the WordPress team is not showing any sign of slowing down.

What next for WordPress?

In the future, we can expect more HTML5 and CSS3 goodness. Mobile devices are proliferating  and WordPress will continue to support these increasing number of devices. The up-coming release will also introduce responsive admin interface which is adaptive to different screen designs. It is also geared towards better media handling.

In addition, new WordPress users can get proper introduction to WordPress with the help of New User Experience or NUX (as Matt puts, it\’s the opposite of SUX).

I\’m  really excited with the future of WordPress.

So, have I missed something about WordPress Post Editor? Feel free to drop your comments.

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Blogger Fiesta 2011 — A Success

So I went to Blogger Fiesta 2011 to meet some fellow bloggers here in the Philippines. This event made me realize that I am a bit \”anti-social\” when it comes to blogging since I never really attended any conference or convention related to blogging except Wordcamp. I am a little embarrassed with myself with this late realization. What have I been doing for the last 6 years?


I attended Blogger Fiesta 2011 because this event had topics related to Google Blogger platform. I missed the first Blogger Fiesta because I wasn\’t paying attention about Blogger last year. This is actually the first time after 6  years that I am looking at Blogger as a blogging platform. I abandoned Blogger years ago and used WordPress.org exclusively. Blogger was still called Blogspot then. I have done some consultancy in WordPress and Buddypress but I have not mastered those free blogging tools like Blogger, Posterous and Tumblr. When you are not very technically inclined or you just don\’t want to bother with the technical setup and security problems, those blogging platforms will be your primary options. I wanted to get acquainted with bloggers using Blogger to get my feet wet. I happen to know a few people in that event so I attended Blogger Fiesta 2011 to broaden my perspective about Blogger in general.
Below was the proposed schedule… which is a marathon:
10am – event opens
11am – networking hour with bloggers
12nn – presentation of speakers
1pm – Azrael Coladilla and Juned Sonido
2pm – Jhong Medina and Jonel Uy
3pm – Eurotel and Multiply
4pm – Carlo Ople and David Angelo
5pm – Jenny Manongdo and Bob Reyes
6pm – Marlon Guzman and Marnell Delos Reyes

Most attendants came in late. So late that I wish in the middle of the session there was a break to separate session A from session B. I could use that time to eat some snacks since I was not able to eat lunch.

I thought I was late because I came in at around 11am when the event was supposed to start already. It was my first time going to SM North EDSA since I had no reason to go there my whole life except this event. Unfortunately, the venue stated \”SM North EDSA\” only — I didn\’t know that SM North EDSA Cyberzone was located at the Annex building so I was a little frustrated trying to find my way there. It\’s partly my fault since I did not do a little more research. I have Google Maps and I could have easily searched for the venue but why am I nit-picking the invitation? Because when you give invitations you should give exact details to attendees. I have organized some events as well and that is the most important thing with the logistics. If possible provide maps, the exact floor and rooms for the uninitiated. I learned that the venue was free anyway so I won\’t blame the organizers since they did a good job for such a short notice (2 weeks only!) so I still give two thumbs up for Azrael. I\’m just saying that it could have been better. With this, I realized that SM North EDSA is one of the worst designed SM building and now I am not surprised why they are offering the venue for free for events like this. Megamall and Mall of Asia is so much bigger than most SM malls but I can find my way through the entire mall. In comparison, SM North EDSA is like a maze.

There were slight changes with the schedule but I won\’t go into details. I am just going to summarize the following presentation that impressed me.

Azrael Coladilla presented the new template designer for Blogger. I think this is brilliant because it looks easy to create a template with Blogger now. Before you have to mess around with HTML and CSS to make it look different but now you have plenty of options already. Again, I am a WordPress guy so this is out of my loop. I know that Google is adding new features in Blogger lately but for the last few years it was relatively stale. WordPress saw this opportunity that\’s why WordPress.com became popular and is still growing.

Next is Juned Sonido\’s presentation about online promotions. If you\’re reading my blog you know that I have stated my opinion about this matter already. He is involved with the DTI brouhaha over online promotions and he helped organize the meeting of bloggers to fix this issue. It is such a big topic altogether that some bloggers will organize a small meeting about the updates and ongoing discussions.

Jonel Uy and David D\’Angelo delivered two presentations related to branding which showed the importance of our blogs having a certain character. Having a niche and a certain perspective will give a unique personality to your blog and that is very important to differentiate your blog from other blogs.

Carlo Ople shared \”6 more Power Blogging Tips\” and what really caught my attention is how he do media kits. It is something that I really want to do for several months already but I have no idea how to do it properly.

Jenny Manongdo shared The Joy and Rewards of Blogging which gives us the insight that, as bloggers, we should be proud and not be ashamed that we are blogging. My take on this one is, if you are not proud to be a blogger, please delete your blog now because nothing good will come out of it anyway.

I got a chance to network with some fellow bloggers but I made a terrible mistake of not bringing my business cards! I\’ll definitely bring business cards for the next blogging event that I\’ll attend. I got the notice for this event last Friday so I only had a day to prepare. I know, it is such a lame excuse. Lesson learned.

Thank you Azrael for organizing Blogger Fiesta 2011. I believe the Philippines is the sole country to have a Blogger Fiesta event this year so far and I wish that this event will continue every year to become a venue for bloggers to share knowledge about Blogger and other blogging platforms as well, and impart lessons that new bloggers can use to jumpstart their blogging journey.

If you want to follow the speakers and read the thank you notes from Azreal, follow the link below.

Thank you for attending the 2nd Blogger Fiesta Manila 2011

Until next time!


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