MyBlogLog Improves Contact Manager

MyBlogLog Logo

MyBlogLog recently announced that they have improved the way in which users manage their contacts. When you click on the add/manage link that appears below your contacts, you’ll see the new screens. One thing I noticed immediately when checking out my own MyBlogLog profile is the large number of pending contacts. I had no idea that a large number of users added me as a contact. I wonder what the heck happened there. At any rate, you now have the ability to view pending contacts, contacts, and something called followers. Depending on the tab you select, you can add a contact, keep as a follower, block contacts and remove contacts.

New Options To Manage MyBlogLog Contacts

As a side note, MBL has also lifted the 15 contact requests/day limit due to the new contact management features.

By the way, this blog and myself are on MyBlogLog and have been for quite a while. I use MBL to create and manage a community of user’s interested in the content of this site. If you would like to be a part of my MyBlogLog community, click on the link that says “Add Me To This Sites Community” within the recent readers section of this website. Or, click here and click on the Join Community link.

Do You Verify For MyBlogLog

Verify MyBlogLog

This is what happens when you don’t have your feed reader open every day. Some things end up slipping by. At any rate, MyBlogLog looks to be starting a Verification process. This verification process will be visually displayed by a green checkmark. This checkmark signifies a “seal of approval” that let’s the reader know, that specific MyBlogUser has spent a few minutes verifying to MyBlogLog that they have write access to the blog in question.

As it stands, this seal is nothing more than a visual indicator, but MyBlogLog plans on using similar methods to provide various levels of “trustworthiness“.

To verify your site, check out your MyBlogLog community page and click on the “Verify my site” link.

After you verify your site, it will look a little something like this:


How it works

When a site owner begins the verification process, we give them a bit of code to put onto their site that only someone with edit rights to the site can put into the page. Verification happens by putting the code on your site, re-publishing, and clicking the “Authenticate” button on the verification page. MyBlogLog then goes out to the site to check for the code. If it finds it, verification is complete!

Once you complete verification, you can remove the code from your site.

What it means

The verified checkmark on a community page is an indicator that the community owner has completed the verification process. Verification can only be done by authors and co-authors of a MyBlogLog community. Community pages that have been verified will flagged as such in our database and this flag will be used in the future to provide more visability and other special mojo powers.

MyBlogLog Fixes Image Issue

MyBlogLog Logo

The MyBlogLog image and widget loading issues that have plagued the blogosphere the past 2-3 days are soon to be resolved. According to the MBL Blog:

We had a hiccup with our image serving system that displays your userpic in the Recent Reader widget. We’ve identified the problem and are running a script that is fixing this. Afterwards, we’ll be making some modifications to prevent this from happening again.

As it turns out, the CIVRF server must of been one of the servers that went down due to a power outage in a Rackspace data center facility located in Dallas, Texas. A truck smashed into a utility pole, causing the transformer to blow up. The generators weren’t enough to power the HVAC system so in order to keep the data center temperatures under control, they brought in 6-10 100KW generators to power the HVAC system.

This outage affected numerous sites such as LaughingSquid, 37Signals and RKNet.

MyBlogLog Avatars Failing To Display

MyBlogLog LogoFrom the looks of it, some of the avatars on MyBlogLog that are being hosted on are not displaying. I don’t know if CIVRF is one of many of the Yahoo servers but apparently, the darn thing is offline taking anyone’s avatar that is hosted on the machine with it.

I’ve been browsing around the MyBlogLog Blog and the MBL community and no one seems to have mentioned it or at least, no one seems to be talking about it. The images began disappearing starting yesterday. Is this happening to anyone else?

MyBlogLog And Gravatar Support

MyAvatars LogoIn a previous post I mentioned that I would highlight a plugin that enables avatars from both MyBlogLog and Gravatar to be displayed at the same time. That plugin is called MyAvatars MyAvatars displays avatar images from MyBlogLog and Gravatar yet, Gravatar support is not enabled by default. Among the obvious, MyAvatar sports the following features:

  • Added nofollow for avatars (from 0.2b)
  • “No image bug” solved (from 0.2b)
  • Title attribute for avatars in english ;) (from 0.2b)
  • “Big images” bug fixed (from 0.2a)
  • Improved XHTML validation (but we still use onload=””) (from 0.2)
  • Gravatar support (not active by default) (from 0.2)
  • Trackbacks/Pingback support (Works good, but it’s not perfect) (from 0.2)
  • Support for blogs with more than 1 author, works very well (from 0.2)
  • Separated CSS Style (from 0.2)
  • Email address is now safe!!! (from 0.2)
  • Customizable title for the avatars (from 0.2)
  • Gets MyBlogLog avatars of your commenters
  • Links directly to their MyBlogLog profiles
  • Easy installation & template integration
  • Added email support for retrieving profiles (from 0.1a)
  • If not MyBlogLog member will prompt the registration page (from 0.1a)

I believe everyone’s comments.php file is different but here is a screenshot depicting where I have placed the MyAvatar function.

Placement Of My Avatar Plugin

I’m not sure what impact the recent acquisition of Gravatar will hold for this plugin but so far, everything still appears to be working normally. One of the cool aspects of this plugin is that, if WordPress integrates Gravatar support within the WP core, you can turn Gravatar support off so it only displays MyBlogLog avatars. This will allow you to keep the functionality of displaying avatars from both services.

MyBlogLog Buzz Tracker Explained

MyBlogLog LogoThe What’s Hot In My Communities section of your MyBlogLog Profile is an easy way to track buzz worthy info but, how does MBL decide what’s hot and what’s not?

Simply put, the links you see within this area of your user profile represent the most popular links within YOUR MYBLOGLOG COMMUNITIES. If you are seeing links to porn sites or sites you deem unacceptable, the only way to remove them, is to find out which community your apart of that is posting that link, or information related to that link and leave that community.

If your thinking that tracking down the culprits within your large number of communities would be nothing more than a hassle, your in for some great news. MyBlogLog has added an interesting feature to their buzz tracker in the form of a question mark. This question mark will finally give MyBlogLog users the ability to figure out where those buzzworthy links are coming from.

Figure Out Where Those Links Are Coming From

For instance, let’s say you don’t want links such as to show up in your list. You would simply click on the (?) and figure out which sites are posting this link and leave their community.

Search And Destroy

According to the question mark, the site Casual Keystrokes, is the culprit behind this link. As an MBL user, you would look for that community within your list of favorites and click on the LEAVE COMMUNITY button.

It’s really neat to see how this all works and it’s nice that Robyn Tippins has finally published an article that easily explains the process. I have to agree that, clicking on these questions marks is half the fun in trying to figure out why they are creating so much buzz. Give it a shot and let me know what you’ve discovered.

Why Are Web 2.0 Sites Compressing Avatars?

I have a bone to pick with these web 2.0 sites and services. It may not be a huge bone but it’s an annoying one at the very least. Many of these sites and services allow members to customize their profile by uploading an image also known as an avatar. These images are usually .PNG, .GIF, or .JPG files. There is often a maximum dimensions rule as well as a maximum file size rule in place.

I don’t understand why these sites and services have to turn my images into pieces of crap. Most of my avatars that I have created in photoshop look great, until they are uploaded to one of these sites such as MyBlogLog or Technorati. Let’s go through a few Before And After pictures to try and illustrate my point. The first image will be the image as it should be seen, straight out of photoshop saved at maximum quality. The second image is what is seen after uploading the file to the service in question.

First up, Technorati avatars in JPG format.

Before Technorati Before Uploading To Technorati After Technorati After Uploading To Technorati

Now lets take a look at MyBlogLog avatars in .GIF format.

Before MyBlogLog Before Uploading To MyBlogLog After MyBlogLog After Uploading To MyBlogLog

In case you can’t see the differences notice how the second image always looks worst after it’s uploaded to the service in question. The image goes through some sort of compression and the end result is a crappy looking avatar. I have tried changing the images to .PNG and .GIF formats, saving them at the maximum quality level but the compression just rips these images apart.

Why do these sites and services have to compress these tiny images? Why can’t I as a user have a nice looking avatar without compression? I mean, take a look at that example for MyBlogLog, it looks like total crap. I urge you companies to turn that compression crap off. I think the file size limit along with the dimension limit is enough to restrain insane avatars from overtaking your hard drive space. There is no need to compress.

I wonder if I am the only one who has noticed this? Please let me know what you think.