The Evolution of myScoop

It has been over 4 years since I created myScoop, the once called “the real time South African blog aggregator”. Let’s face it, aggregation is dead. As with all things in life, change should be the only constant and this is the reason myScoop has been completely overhauled into something new – a premium blog network that offers bloggers the opportunity to monetise their blogs and offers advertisers the opportunity to get their message out to millions of South Africans in a relevant and unique manner.

The idea

I have been playing with this idea for quite some time now. Just like AdDynamo’s “sponsored tweets” concept, the concept of “paid blogging” is relatively new to South Africa and there have been a few discussions around it over the past year. I have been working full tilt to get the system up and running and I’m finally proud to announce the relaunch of myScoop.

How it works

It’s quite a simple tool at the moment. Bloggers have their choice of which campaigns they would like to be a part of and get paid according to how popular their blog is. Advertisers create campaigns within myScoop and then choose which blogs they would like to have writing about their brand, product or service. For ethical reasons, all sponsored posts need to be fully disclosed on the blogs. All of this is controlled through the myScoop App.

myScoop has over 1000 South African blogs registered giving potential advertisers the luxury of choice as to when and how their message is spread throughout the millions of South African internet users.

 

Introducing PingPong, site uptime and performance monitor

I’ve been feverishly working on my new startup, PingPong. It’s a website uptime and performance monitoring tool that sends you an SMS and Email as soon as your website goes down.

I believe this tool to be absolutely vital for any online business, agencies, and e-commerce websites. If you’re making money via a website or have a strong online presence it’s essential to reduce the amount of time your website is offline. It’s inevitable that your site will go down but knowing when it happens allows you to act quicker and get your site operational again. Hence the reason for creating PingPong.

PingPong is a site monitoring tool that:

  • Alerts you via SMS & email when your website(s) go down
  • Provides performance metrics
  • Provides error logs to help you debug your website downtime

There’s a few benefits of having such a tool:

  • If you’re in ecommerce and you’re site goes down, you obviously lose money.
  • If you are running AdWords campaigns and your site goes down, all your ads run the risk of being disapproved.
  • If you’re an agency, it’s helpful to know that a client’s site is down before they know. This allows you to act quicker.

PingPong is still very new and there is a host of features I plan on releasing over the next few months:

  • Automatic weekly/monthly reports (emailed to you)
  • Better, more modern user interface
  • More “checks” (such as checking if your mail server is up, checking if your MySQL server is up, etc)
  • Public page (allow others to see your downtime and performance reports)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my new startup.

Evernote hacked: 50 million user accounts compromised

EvernoteEvernote, the service and app that allows you to record anything about your life, business or ideas recently sent out an email stating that they will be carrying out a service-wide password reset due to suspicious activity on their servers. Although they mention that they are taking precautionary measures to ensure your account is safe, they do also mention that your user information has been compromised. Oh great.

Dear Evernote user,

Evernote’s Operations & Security team has discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service.

As a precaution to protect your data, we have decided to implement a password reset. Please read below for details and instructions.

In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost. We also have no evidence that any payment information for Evernote Premium or Evernote Business customers was accessed.

The investigation has shown, however, that the individual(s) responsible were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses associated with Evernote accounts, and encrypted passwords. Even though this information was accessed, the passwords stored by Evernote are protected by one-way encryption. (In technical terms, they are hashed and salted.)

While our password encryption measures are robust, we are taking steps to ensure your personal data remains secure. This means that in an abundance of caution, we are requiring all users to reset their Evernote account passwords. Please create a new password by signing into your account on evernote.com.

After signing in, you will be prompted to enter your new password. Once you have reset your password on evernote.com, you will need to enter this new password in other Evernote apps that you use. We are also releasing updates to several of our apps to make the password change process easier, so please check for updates over the next several hours.

As recent events with other large services have demonstrated, this type of activity is becoming more common. We take our responsibility to keep your data safe very seriously, and we’re constantly enhancing the security of our service infrastructure to protect Evernote and your content.

There are also several important steps that you can take to ensure that your data on any site, including Evernote, is secure:

Avoid using simple passwords based on dictionary words
Never use the same password on multiple sites or services
Never click on ‘reset password’ requests in emails – instead go directly to the service
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We apologize for the annoyance of having to change your password, but, ultimately, we believe this simple step will result in a more secure Evernote experience. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Evernote Support.

The Evernote Team

I for one have an account with Evernote, let’s hope I don’t get an additional 100 spam emails sent to me every day over and above the 300 I already get.

Best Live Chat Plugins for WordPress (based on reviews)

The other night, while looking for a live chat / live support solution for my wife’s new website, I managed to find a mountain of very similar plugins. As with most people in this situation, I decided to go with who had the best reviews. The total quantity of reviews doesn’t matter to me, it’s more about the average sentiment of all the reviews that counts. I.e. How many people actually love the plugin.

 

WP Live Chat Support

Price: Fully functional free version as well as a Pro version with lots of features at $9.95 once off

Description

The easiest to use Live Chat plugin. Chat with your visitors! Perfect for small businesses. No third party connections or subscriptions required. There’s no need to pay monthly subscriptions in order to better understand your visitors. This is a fully functional live chat plugin. Increase your conversion rates by communicating directly with your visitors when they’re ready to do so.

Average Review: 5/5 (4 reviews)

Best review: Highly recommend this plugin, i have used a few of the others which are far more complicated and expensive. Great support also, overall very happy with it.

Worst review:  None, all reviews have been 5 stars as at time of releasing this article

 

Com100 Live Chat

Price: 14 day trial and thereafter $21 – $49 per month per operator.

Description

Comm100 Live Chat is the enterprise-grade live chat software for website. Comm100 Live Chat enables you to have a 360 degree view of your website visitors and provide them with live support.

Average Review: 4.8/5 (10 reviews)

Best review: This plugin offers 14 Day trial, & is a Paid Plugin. If you are looking forward for a Free Plugin, You are at the wrong place.

Worst review:  No written negative reviews.

 

ClickDesk Live Support

Price: 30 chats per month for the free version. Thereafter $14.99 per month per operator.

Description

Comm100 Live Chat is the enterprise-grade live chat software for website. Comm100 Live Chat enables you to have a 360 degree view of your website visitors and provide them with live support.

Average Review: 4/5 (48 reviews)

Best review: Incredibly easy to install and configure, and you’re up and running in minutes. I reckon this plugin has delivered at least one third again on our usual business. Reliable, easy to use, non-obtrusive, and most importantly, our clients/website users love it. Five stars folks!

Worst review:  Be careful before you purchase from them. They do not have a good support and do not even respond to your requests once you have paid them.

 

 

How to move a large database from one Linux server to another

Suppose you have a virtual server with a massive database that you need to move from one Linux server to another. Let’s also assume that you don’t have copious amounts of bandwidth at your disposal to download and upload the SQL files. I have found that the simplest method to move large files between two servers, is by using an application called rsync.

rsync is a software application and network protocol for Unix, Linux and Windows systems which synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate.

Simply follow the steps below to transfer your database to a new Linux server.

 

1. Backup your database.

mysqldump -u root -p database_name > dumpfilename.sql

Once complete, type “ls -al” to view the details of your SQL file for interest’s sake.

ls -al

2. Compress your file.

gzip dumpfilename.sql

Take a look at this site for more information on compressing files in Linux

3. Install rsync on BOTH servers.

sudo yum install rsync

4. Transfer the file to your new server.

rsync -v -e ssh dumpfilename.sql.gz root@ipaddress_of_your_server:~

“dumpfilename.sql.gz” represents the zipped file that we just compressed using step 2 above.
“~” represents the home directory.
“root” represents your SSH username
“ipaddress_of_your_server” represents the, you guessed it, IP address of your server.

5. Decompress the file on the new server

gzip -d dumpfilename.sql.gz

6. Create your mysql database on the new server
Remember to keep the name the same as the old server’s database as we will be attempting to import it to a database with the same name.

7. Import your SQL file

mysql -u root -p  dbname < dumpfilename.sql

Your database move is complete!

Let me know if you need help or get stuck by using the comment section below.