Anything you say (on Facebook) may be used against you in a …

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We all know the Miranda rights which are given at the time of arrest or even detention in criminal proceedings and investigations. Even if you have never been on the receiving end you have heard them out of your television speakers. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”

What about in civil litigation? Read this article from today about Facebook photos, posts and comments (along with those from other online sites) being used in court to convict or defend. From Reuters – Atlanta actually, right here at home: Facebook posts used in court.

Question: Should Facebook now contain information in it’s Terms of Use, and other sites where posting of photos, text, video or audio are permitted, warning users that their content is subject to easy access from even local courts of law even in civil trials?

Reverse a short URL before you visit

UPDATE: 14-Dec-2011 sometime during the last few month the site featured in this article went bye-bye. However, here’s a great replacement at http://longurl.org/

I am the first to admit I love short URLs. In fact I have a project I play with which creates short URLs and generates a matching QR code which can later be edited. However there are times I want to know what I’m going to before I click. There is a way. In fact I’m certain there are several ways and you are invited to share the ways you know so the other readers can be informed as well.

While plugins are either already available or coming for every major web browser and multiple sites to handle this task we’ll look only at the web based one and a Chrome extension I like to use.

Firstly there is ExpandMyURL.com which works as a web page and also as a bookmarklet. I use the web page version if I am on an office computer because of the restrictions placed on installing extensions or bookmarklets. It’s pretty simple, just copy the short URL and paste it into the only text input on the page then click the “expand url” button.

Secondly, for users of Chrome, there is View Thru as an extension. It does not install an icon in the tool bar so there is no additional space crowding. You can see it in action here on a retweet from my good friend @NotEasyToForget.

If you know of any other available solutions or you have one you have created please let us know. If you are the author you may land an interview segment on Social Media Edge Radio.

How do you leave a Meetup group?

There you are, trapped in a litany of emails, invites and communications from your fellow Meetup group members. Only thing is you really want to get out.

There is only one way I know of to get out. Even though you would think this should be easy to find it’s somewhere between difficult and impossible. This is probably by design to keep you stuck in groups you’re tired of being in. Thanks to the friendly designers.

One way out

You could wait until the next time you get an email from the group and click the link to manage your email settings hoping to get out that way. Sorry, you’ll only find yourself in a maze of “where’s the @&#$ button”? So instead just login to Meetup, click on the “Account” link in the upper right corner. Then click on the “Membership and Communication” link in the left sidebar menu.

You should now see all the groups you are a member of and be able to click the “Leave this group” link. Oh, but you’re not done. Now you get the opportunity to explain why you want to leave. Actually, you should. As a meetup organizer I know how much this helps me and I’m sure others would appreciate that info as well.

If you know another way please leave it in the comments along with a link back to your group or site.

What are hashtags “#” on Twitter?

The topic came up this morning at Social Media Breakfast Atlanta in a round about way. During a discussion about how to “organize” tweets and streams on Twitter we tackled hashtags. You know – the pound sign. Number sign. Tic tac toe sign – #

I love “mind pictures” or “object lessons” and they are most valuable when speaking of an intangible but interactive event. A la Twitter.

One of the most common ways I speak of social media in general and Twitter in specific is like going to a party or to the mall. For this example let’s use the image of a party at someone’s large home. At our party there are hundreds of people all chatting, dancing, singing … a major cacophony. Entering the mansion where the party is being held it is difficult to separate out individual conversations from all the commotion.

You see a friend with whom you would like to speak across the room. While you certainly could shout to her from across the room the conversation would likely be a very short one and details could be missed because of all the noise in the room.

You work your way across the room until you are standing in the smaller group with your friend and you can now exchange pleasantries and engage on a more personal level. Although you can hear the other chatter and noise from the party you can still converse.

A topic comes up that requires a little more seclusion but not necessarily privacy. In other words you need a place where you can talk without a lot of interruptions and away from the noise to conversation ratio you are experiencing with the main body of the party.

You know the place pretty well so you pull your friend away to a parlor just out of the party. You leave the door open and people can come in and go out and they can, if they are so inclined, over hear the things you are saying. What you are talking about it not private – so private it would be “bad” if others overheard – so you’re fine with this arrangement.

That parlor is the Twitter equivalent of a hashtag. Everyone can still read what you are publishing because it is public. The hashtag you are using simply separates out what you are saying from the stream and gives it an identifying mark that allows you and your friend(s) to isolate that conversation from the stream.

Three simple ways which I use to isolate these hashtag identified/marked tweets are:

  1. Tweetgrid is one of my personal favorite third party sites for Twitter. There are no downloads therefore fewer memory and security issues. It runs in a web browser just by visiting their site. In one of the monitor panes I type my #hashword and Tweetgrid allows me to define a hashtag for my tweets so I can “stay in the quieter room” until my conversation is finished.
  2. In the Twitter search bar on the Twitter.com site I type my #hashword. Twitter is kind enough to show me only those tweets. I then can reply and manually add the hashtag to my tweets to keep them isolate.
  3. Tweetchat is something I use for longer chat sessions when I truly want to be isolated. Although everyone can see my tweets I will only be able to see tweets containing my hashtag for this conversation.

It is very important to remember that a hashtag does not hide your tweets. Everyone can still read them. If you want privacy use the Message function and sent a more private, direct message.

I hope this answers your questions about Twitter and hashtags to be used for a more secluded but not private chat.

Easy way to break in to your WordPress

… or not.

Okay, the title was a little rambunctious to make sure you read this. Why? Because the fix is really easy.

First, check to see which version of WordPress this site is running by clicking this link.

So you got a 404 page. Stuff not found. Yer lost. Cool, and that’s what you will get on your site when you delete your readme.html file. Are you still here? Oh, you don’t know why this is important!

Many WordPress updates are to cure security issues with WordPress installations. The WP community, and the cracker community, often locate easy ways to sneak in to WP or otherwise take advantage of an installation. The seasoned cracker will want to know which version of WP you’re sit is running on. It’s very simple to do this with a spider by checking http://YOURSITE.com/readme.html – which, if is not there, won’t render a result.

Your readme.html file is located in your root WordPress folder. If your site runs at root it’s in your WWW or PUBLIC_HTML file. Unless you run some augmented server config. Find that file and delete it. You don’t need it.

Here’s what one looks like the image to the right which was originally from http://wp31.icobb.com/readme.html

Using .htaccess to shorten or redirect links

It happens. You create a page buried deep in your directories like http://www.yoursite.com/data/new/articles/automobiles/new/ford.php – makes an okay link to click on but a little difficult to share in a print or broadcast ad. If, instead, you could have http://yoursite.com/ford you’d probably increase your sales.

This tip can be accomplished a few different ways depending on your available applications, server configuration and perhaps even operating system. This article assumes you are familiar with FTP and are hosting your website on a Linux machine with Apache. If so this is simple and quick.

Step One

FTP to your www (public_html) directory or whatever your web document root folder is called.

Step Two

Locate the .htaccess file. If one does not exist you’re make one in any editor that can save in plain text.

Step Three

Make a backup copy of your existing .htaccess file.

Step Four

Insert the following lines of code at the top of your .htaccess file

#long URL redirect  RewriteRule ^ford$ http://www.yoursite.com/new/ford.php [NC,L]

What happens?

The .htaccess file tells the Apache server how to act. When it is in the document root folder it runs before anything else happens. In this case when the browser requests http://www.yoursite.com/ford the .htaccess file sees that and rewrites it to http://www.yoursite.com/data/new/articles/automobiles/new/ford.php through the RewriteRule – a server level command.

Break it down

The RewriteRule reads the input from the browser and rewrites it to whatever you designate. You can point a local address to an offsite address. For example you could Rewrite http://yoursite.com/search to go to http://google.com/

The caret ^ is shorthand for http://yoursite.com/ (the directory the .htaccess file resides in)

The dollar sign $ tells Apache this is the end of the term to look for. It won’t look for (in this case) fords, fordy or even ford.

After the target URL are two directives NC and L. The NC tells Apache to ignore text case. This means ford, FORD, Ford or FoRd will all rewrite to your target URL. The L means Last. This stops the .htaccess process and immediately sends the browser on its way.

Got questions or need help using it? Call 877-7000-KEN which is 877-700-0536

Great plugin for managing page/menu order

Page Order Plugin

Page Order Plugin

While many WordPress themes have built in capabilities for managing the order of your menu (pages) some barebones ones do not. There are word arounds, certainly, and it’s not too complicated for the advanced user to create an add_action script. Even then you may not end up with something as simple to use as a plugin by Jake Goldman called Simple Page Order.

Jake has really made it simple by employing AJAX to allow the admin to simply drag and drop pages in the dashboard to the order they need to appear. No more looking up unique page ID numbers. No more assigning an order number to the page. Simply display your pages, he even included an option to show up to 100 page entries on a page, and drag them to where you want them to be displayed in your menu order.

Thanks Jake! My clients thank you, too. Jakes website and the plugin page are located at Oomph.

Blocking game requests on Facebook (Updated)

UPDATED 06-JUN-2014 – see the new graphic here:

blocking facebook games

Blocking all game requests on Facebook with one click isn’t possible, but this easy trick will help a lot. The video on page two of this article shows how to block all invites from one page…

  1. Find the game invitation in your notifications list.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over the little down arrow in the upper right corner and click on the X when it appears.
  3. Choose to Turn Off further invitations (all communications) from that game (not the person, just the game).
  4. Make sure you get the notification that you have blocked that Facebook game.

UPDATED 28-MAR-2013 – see the video at the bottom of the page on “How To Block Game Invites on Facebook”.

If you’re like me you don’t want to block or delete your friends but you really don’t want to play Potato Bug or Window Seal on Facebook. You also probably don’t want to block all invitations because you (a) want to know what your friends are into and (b) you may be up really late one night and decide to join.

How To Block Game Invites On Facebook

How To Block Game Invites On Facebook

If you haven’t known what to do just do this:

Log in to Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/appcenter/  look in the left sidebar and find the word “Requests”. It will look somewhat like Figure 1.

While you are there you can remember all those invitations you just deleted from your Notifications or you wall and revisit the dismay at your boss inviting you to play Twinkle Toes. Shiver. Once you block the app in the next step the invites are gone and you will not get further invites to play the game (or use the app).

Once you click the “Requests” link you will see all of the apps you have been requested to authorize (see the video). Click the “X” to block the app then follow the logical steps. That’s it, you’re done.

Each invitation comes conveniently packaged with an “Accept” or “Play Now” button. Should you want to accept you simply … accept.

You can also see who sent you the invitation to play and go to their wall and hound them with threats of “Don’t you EVER”. (Yes, I actually got one of those from someone and I never invited anyone to play Drunk And Disorderly. At least I’m pretty sure I haven’t.)

Should you wish to not accept this generous invitation but prefer to also either block the application/game and/or block your friend, you’re in luck. See Figure 2.

In Figure 2 you see you have the choice to block the application or ignore all requests from that “friend”. If you have friends like some of mine the second option may come in handy. then again you may still want to know just how weird your friend is.

I have to say I have played one game on Facebook. Yes, I played Farmtown. I met my friend Fred Tucker playing Farmtown and he’s a pretty cool and successful dude. So I’m not arguing against playing games or inviting people to play games – just demonstrating how easy it is to remedy the situation without actually offending anyone. Unless you have a friend who is as OCD as I am and they keep inviting you over and over and over and over. And over. And over. And over. And over … there I go again.

Oh, Figure 2. Step ONE in figure 2 is clicking the X. Step TWO is blocking the app or the friend.

Blocking games on Facebook final steps.

Blocking games on Facebook final steps.

The “yellow” block is where I have already clicked on the white X in the blue block. The X will appear as you mouse-over the game.

This post was originally published on January 13, 2011 and much has changed in the 2 years. When it changes again I will try and update as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading and sharing using one of the buttons below.

How to turn off Google Chrome autofill

Some of you will say, “but why? That’s such a cool feature!” Okay, if you fill out forms with the exact same information all the time I’ll admit, it’s cool and useful. I run the lead generation division for my company and often transfer leads manually to a separate online database which means all of those fields from address to phone number and more.

The way the auto-fill works makes filling in a complete form a snap. If you only ever complete your own information when you fill in a form this is really time saving. Basically you type the first letter of your name and any matching fields from previously completed forms automatically populates. My wife, for example, loves to complete online surveys (yes, she actually gets paid for doing it, that’s not always a scam) and for her purposes it is beautiful.

What if you, like me, complete forms with several different people’s information? It really becomes a major hassle when do so if you get to the end of the form and you accidentally overwrite the entire form with the wrong information. Trust me, it happens. And it’s frustrating.

Turning off this feature is not as intuitive as I would like for it to be so in an effort to help more of you learn how to do this here are the steps for turning off the auto-complete or auto-fill option in Google Chrome. By default Chrome is installed with this feature activated:

  1. Click on the “wrench” (spanner, tool) in the upper right hand corner of Chrome.
  2. Choose “Options”
  3. Choose the tab labeled “Personal Stuff” (Figure 1)
  4. Click the button labeled “Autofill options”
  5. Untick the check-box at the top with the label “Enable autofill to fill out web forms in a single click” (Figure 2)

Figure 1 - "Personal stuff"

Figure 2 - Untick the check-box

Why every small business needs multiple WordPress sites

The answer is obvious: because Ken feeds his family and pays his mortgage by doing websites and he specializes – and has for many years – in PHP/MySQL the language of WordPress. Then again there are some actual reasons to have a WordPress site even if you do not ever engage Ken for business. But wait Ken, you said “multiple”. Please explain.

Before we get too far into this let’s briefly explain WordPress. Many years ago I would have clients call me and tell me, “We want a website but we want to be able to update it ourselves.” This was not a problem because I knew Perl and could pretty quickly code a site that let users update the content of their site. They could add and edit text, upload a few pictures and even make a few minor changes to the formatting of the text on their pages. Cost (on average) about $5,000 for a simple website.

Attack of the nOObs

Pretty soon Dreamweaver and FrontPage came along and convinced everyone they could “do their own website” or their son, nephew, neighbor, etc., could do so. This resulted in years of some of the most hideous looking and horribly designed sites around. (Given, in the hands of a skilled craftsman some decent works could be turned out – but not about 95% of them!)

The need for a template driven site with easy add-ons and simple-as-email updates has existed since day one of the web. I created a few for a few people at pretty high costs and even eventually developed a very crude version of a template driven site which allowed for theme updates etcetera by a novice used. Cost was still in the thousands. Many of you or your friends used the sites and they became minimally popular in the real estate net. Still, too expense and not powerful enough.

While it is not the only DIY, theme driven solution on the market it is the simplest to use and most widely supported by developers, WordPress is the choice of solutions for nearly everyone looking to get online at all levels of the game today. WordPress sites, like this one, can be robust, powered by dozens of plug-ins (mini applications) and present everything from online catalogs to real estate listing to video hosting sites and even dating sites. There really is no limit to what a WordPress web site may be used for.

Ken, you’re boring me

Oh, right – the cost? Essentially $0 up to whatever you want to spend. WordPress, the core, has a cost of zero. You may pay for installation, customization, hosting, support and maintenance but you should NEVER pay for WordPress itself. In fact the latest version is always free and you can install it yourself on your own hosting account with most WordPress hosting services like our preferred one.

But why multiple?

Looking for business on the internet is not too indifferent from fishing. You can fish with a spear, a line, a line with multiple hooks, or a net. Or you could buy the ocean like Google. For the rest of us we need to find and interact with as many prospects and referral agents as possible for the least cost. Starting with something as powerful as WordPress for free is a huge head start. Now all you need is at least one domain name and one hosting account. But let’s back up and answer the question – “why would anyone need more than one WordPress web site?”

There are over 32 million WordPress publishers as of December 2010 – WordPress stats

Let’s say you own a restaurant on Main Street in Hometown USA. Now put on your “keyword” cap. You know, keywords. Those are the words most important to your prospective customers like pizza, beer, catering, delivery, drive-thru, anchovies … etc. Having a website with the title and URL of MainStreetPizza.com is great and that’s probably where you want to start so when people Google your name – Main Street Pizza – you’ll come to or very close to the top of the search results.

What if they want to have catering to their next softball tournament and softball just happens to be very big in your area? Yes, you can optimize a section of your site for softball tournament catering but, chances are, even a crappy website called PizzaCateringforSoftballTournaments.com will beat you in search results every time. As would PizzaBirthdayParties.com for the obvious and PizzaDeliveryHometownUSA.com for – use your imagination. I know it’s a stretch.

What about the costs?

That’s the beautiful thing. With WordPress hosting accounts like our preferred host you get unlimited accounts and unlimited installs. All you need to pay for is the new domain names. By the way, the first domain name is free with the master WordPress hosting account. Am I shamelessly plugging our $5.95 per month hosting accounts? Yes. It’s my blog and I’m giving you the information for free so thanks for reading :)

Sum it up already

There are people who will tell you it is possible to get too scattered. There is some truth in that but it’s not an absolute truth. There are SEO companies who will tell you they can beat all those sites with just one perfectly optimized website. Go ahead and ask their fee and see if there may be some benefit to them telling you this. Oh, and see how often you’ll need to have them revisit and update your SEO to match changes in algorithms or competitor results. I’ve been doing SEO for a decade and a half (as well as search engine development contribution) and I can tell you I could make a fortune doing SEO for fools. I won’t. And you’re not a fool.

Many of the Technorati Top 100 blogs use WordPress (as a matter of fact, WordPress is the most used platform among the T100). – WordPress stats

Get started with your first WordPress web site today. In fact if you caught me at the right time I’ll show you how to setup your first one when you use the hosting link provided for no extra cost to you. I get a kickback from the hosting company for sales (commission) and my gift to you for being a client is to help you install and setup the first WordPress core on the server. It takes about 15 minutes. And you can always phone me at 877-7000-KEN

Oh, did I mention it is easily optimized for mobile? Don’t get me started on another reason …

Image from http://www.openclipart.org/detail/99673