WordPress Comments – Top 10 Useful Plugins

wordpress_logo

The following is a guest post by Syahid Ali of TechMalaya.com

WordPress is undoubtedly one of the best blogging platforms that one can use because of its stability and extensibility of the system.  Comments meanwhile, are :

  1. The heartbeat of a blog that keeps posts alive
  2. Useful to grab a reader’s attention
  3. An important indicator of a popular post

Thus with this post, I’ve listed 10 useful plugins to enhance your WordPress comment section. Here they are in no particular order:

1- Subscribe to Comments – Allow your readers to subscribe via email to keep up with subsequent comments on a particular post.

1-best-comment-plugin-subscribe-to-comments

2- Highlight Author Comment – Automatically differentiate and display author’s comments with custom CSS styling.

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3- AJAX Comments WPMUified – Let your reader’s post their comments without having to leave the same page. It even has a very nice post effect too!

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4- Commentluv – Append a reader’s latest blog post to your comment section. Show them that you care.

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5- WP-Ajax Edit Comments – Allow users to edit their own comment from the same page, for a period of time. Great for correcting comment typos.

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6- SezWho – A very good comment rating system. Allow your readers to rate their favorite comments and separate the best comments from the worst.

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7- Hide or Show Comments – Let your reader focus their attention to the post by letting them to hide or show the comments section on demand.

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8- Riffly Webcam Video Comments – Bring some spice to your page by allowing audio / video comments with the help of Riffly.com .

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9- 4Avatars – A simple plugin that allows you to add avatars to comments on your blog. Supported avatars are from MyBlogLog, Gravatar or Avatars.pl .

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10- WP-Grins – Adds clickable smilies to be used on your comment section.

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What WordPress comment plugins do you like?  Let us know in the comments!

This has been a guest post by reader and frequent commenter, Syahid Ali of TechMalaya.com.  Stop by his site to get a good view on tech updates, tips, free software, blogging and photo editing.  Want to guestblog for this site?  Drop me a line!

[tags]wordpress, blogging[/tags]

How to Quickly Backup Files to Your Email

backup

If you’ve ever wanted a simpler solution to backing up your files online – this article is for you.

I currently use Gmail as a quick and dirty online backup solution where what I typically what I do is : Login to Gmail, attach the file, and then I email it to myself.

While quick, this is still a 3 step process… So here’s how to get it down to one move!

‘Backup to Email’ (BTE) is a great piece freeware which simplifies everything.  Just right click any file or folder, and select ‘Backup to Email’.  That’s it!

One thing I love about BTE is that it’s incredibly intuitive.  Here are some examples.

  • If you choose to upload a folder, the folder will be automatically zipped and backed up.
  • No limit on file / folder size.  Files/folders larger than 10MB will automatically be split to slices of 10MB, so your email can cope.  When you download the split files, you can easily join them up again with a feature that comes with BTE.
  • Easily manage of multiple email accounts to backup to
  • If the connection is disconnected at the middle of a file transfer, it initiates an auto-retry every 2 minutes

Looks like my quick and dirty backup solution just got quicker, but cleaner!

Bonus tip #1: Configure a Yahoo email account as your default backup account.  While Gmail currently offers more than 4.7Gigs of storage space, Yahoo Mail now offers unlimited space. 

Bonus tip #2: Setup email filters to automatically steer all your backups into a folder so it does not clog up your inbox.  Here are the instructions on how to do it for Yahoo Mail and Gmail.

(Backup to Email: BTE)

Do you backup your files online?  Let us know in the comments!

[tags] email, backup [/tags]

How to Backup Your Software Effectively

“Computer Backup – To spend or not to spend?”

A while back I asked the same question and ended up recommending ‘Comodo Backup’ as a free backup solution.  While free, it had a fair amount of flaws – most noticeably the lack of CRC checking to ensure the file integrity of your backups.

With that in mind, here is another head to head comparison of commercial vs freeware backup software – both of which – in my mind, is a better deal than Comodo Backup. 

Backup4All (Commercial Product)

backup4all

Key Features:

  • This backup software allows defining multiple backups and saving them for future use.
  • send custom emails after a finished backup with success, error, warning notifications.
  • Backup on FTP and removable media (USB/CD/DVD etc)
  • High security encryption
  • Supports multi-threading to execute a whole group of backups at once, and show the progress of each backup.
  • Scheduler using the available scheduler configurations to make unattended backups.
  • Allows testing of backups (using CRC32). This ensures that the files have been backed up properly and the backup is safe
  • Many other powerful features

Pricing:

Benchmarked against other commercial grade backup products (Backup Platinum for example) is pretty affordable.   By offering multiple tiers (from USD$20-$50), it caters to everything from the simple guy who just wants to keep himself safe… all the way down to the system admin who wants to ensure his network of computers are well protected. 

Drawback: It’s not free

Cobian Backup (Freeware)

cobian

This is an excellent program which does almost everything Backup4all does, incremental backups, high security compression, email of log files etc.  In fact I wish I had found this earlier as it is much lighter on the resources than ‘Comodo Backup’ and even provides CRC error validation for backed up files.

While an exceptional piece of freeware…The key drawbacks of Cobian Backup, are:

  1. It does not allow backup to CD/DVD
  2. It has no professional support.  This program has since gone open source – normally a good thing, but in the case of backing up and restoring critical data, this is a serious problem when used in a commercial environment.
  3. Cannot copy locked & open files – which means you cannot backup your backup your email without closing Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or other email clients. 
  4. Slightly less intuitive interface

 Verdict:  

I am of the opinion, the program you choose would depend on the environment you are in.  I don’t need DVD backups, professional support, and do not use Outlook in my home setting, so there I would use Cobian backup.

I can however see the real need for Backup4All in a commercial setting as it offers up a more complete set of features and support.  Multiple price tiers also mean that while not completely free,  it is still relatively affordable. 

Download Backup4all
Download Corbian Backup

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for mobile phone backups, check out Zyb.com

Disclaimer: Backup4all has paid me to review this product, and to give an honest opinion.  Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by the manufacturer.

[tags]backup, backup software, corbian backup, backup4all [/tags]

How to Track New Software Updates – FileHippo

filehippo

How do you get the latest versions of your favorite software…without checking different sites every day to see if your software’s outdated?  FileHippo makes it easy with their free update checker. 

It scans your Windows registry and lets you know which software needs some upgrading, and provides useful information like the size of the download, the current and latest version, and of course a link to download the latest version of the software itself.  Simple, and incredibly effective.

According to the site, none of your data is stored with FileHippo so you don’t have to worry about your privacy being violated.

Bonus tip #1: If you’re looking for OLD version of your software, try out OldVersion.com & OldApps.com.

Bonus tip #2: If you’re on a Mac, try the App Update Widget

[tags] software updates, software downloads, [/tags]

How to Recover Deleted Files

We’ve all gone through that sinking feeling. You empty your Windows recycling bin, only to realize 5 seconds later that you really needed that file you’ve just wiped from your PC. There’s no robust undelete functionality built into Windows – so what choices do you have?

Handy Recovery (Commercial Software)

This solution is an all encompassing one. Among its key features are:

  • It allows application of filters on the results
  • Shows the probability of successful recovery for each file
  • Recovers files from deleted and formatted partitions
  • Creates disk images for deferred recovery
  • Supports restoration of compressed file formats

The only disadvantage is that it must be installed to a PC (as opposed to a free standing file in a USB stick), thus restricting it’s mobility.

Undelete Plus (Freeware)

This popular piece of freeware was released to rave reviews, and does much of what Handy Recovery can do in terms of data recovery.

It has one distinct advantage in that it has a version which does not need installation. This means you can pop it onto a thumbdrive and it becomes a mobile file recovery device. Also, because it is not installed on the hard disk, you minimize the use of it, maximizing the chances of data recovery.

Sorely missing though is the ability to revive entire partitions, and the ability to make a image of the hard drive to defer data recovery and make backup of the drive at the same time. Also, the management of the recovered files can be less user friendly when compared to Handy Recovery. All this makes Undelete Plus a free, and good – but ultimately incomplete answer to file recovery.

Conclusion:

If you prepare ahead and need to recover files, Handy Recovery is the complete package. Aside from the fact that it costs USD39.95, and it’s less mobile than Undelete Plus – the features are very complete. With data recovery, you can never be too careful.

Bonus Tips – Data Recovery FAQ:

1. What should I do immediately after accidental erasure to ensure that I can recover those files?
The most important thing is to prevent the erased file from being overwritten by another file. To do so, avoid any use of the disk where the file was erased, until after the erased file is recovered.

2. Can I do something in advance to increase my chances of file recovery?
Yes, keep your disk in good shape by regularly defragmenting it.

3. Why is recovery to the same disk not recommended?
Recovery to the same disk may overwrite the very segments of the disk that you’re trying to recover files from. That will not leave you another recovery chance.

Disclaimer: Handy Recovery has paid me to review their service, and to give an honest opinion. Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by Handy Recovery in any way.

How have you dealt with data recovery? Tell us in the comments!

[tags]file recovery, undelete, system restore [/tags]