WordPress Plugin : WP Instagram Digest

For a while now I enjoyed automated Instagram Digest posts in Yana’s blog.  I’ve decided I want the same for my blog too.  A quick Google search suggests that these are done with WP Instagram Digest plugin.  So I’ve downloaded and installed it.

The configuration is not too complicated.  You’ll need to login into your Instagram account and then go to the developer’s center to register the application and receive the API key and secret token.  Hopefully, eventually this will be a part of automatic configuration, but not yet.  Once you do that, you get can configure the plugin to run at certain times and post to specific category and/or with specific tags.  The cool thing is that you can control the minimum number of new images needed to create a gallery posting.  This feature will prevent empty posts or posts with a single image.

 

I had to consider if these kinds of posts would be too annoying.  Firstly, I already have an Instagram widget.  That looks nice, but it doesn’t really send out any notifications.  Secondly, when I publish to Instagram I often cross-post the image to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and sometimes Foursquare.  I don’t really want to annoy the people with both the individual photos and the digests.  Thirdly, my blog posts are broadcast to Twitter and Facebook, and sometimes Google+.  So, would it be too annoying?  I guess not.  Because since I’ve switched the Social 2.5 plugin, my blog posts aren’t broadcast to Twitter and Facebook automatically – I push them through with a click of a mouse.  So, I guess, I just won’t be pushing the digest posts through and all should be fine.

The first Instagram digest will be out today at 21:00 (server time).  Let’s see how it shows up.  Hopefully it will also work well with the Lightbox plugin for the image popups.  Curious…

P.S.: I’ve also introduced a separate category (Photography->Instagram) for these digests and a new tag – “automated” – that I will try to use for any kind of automated postings.

Jumping off the Cloudflare bandwagon

Since I’ve recommended CloudFlare on this blog quite a few times, I thought it would be fair to let you guys know that I’ve removed my site from CloudFlare yesterday.  The domain management is back to GoDaddy.

Why?  Well, now that CloudFlare is getting bigger by the day, it seems to be getting more and more attacks and partial downtimes globally.  There are also a few temporary quirks happening every now and then, where connections would get reset and such.  Not that these are too annoying to have, but not knowing whether an issue with the site is a CloudFlare one or not – that’s annoying to me.  I can live with my site not working right, as long as I know what exactly the problem is.  Because if I know where the problem is, I usually know how to fix it and how much time it will take.  When its a CloudFlare issue, I am out of the loop and I am out of control.  And that I can’t have.  Even if that happens rarely.

Regarding my recommendation to use CloudFlare, I still stand behind it.  I think that if you haven’t tried the service, you definitely should.  And, you especially should if your site has global audience and you don’t have technical team in place.

The digests are gone

Back a few month ago I ran the poll on how much you guys hate my automated digests – daily posts that were aggregating my Twitter activity (which in turn was aggregating all my other online activity).  And you guys clearly voted that you hated the digests so much.  I heard you loud and clear.  Since then, the digests were switched into the weekly mode, where they weren’t as annoying anymore.

Today, I am giving you more good news – I have completely disabled them.  As I mentioned previously, my new blog theme now supports custom post types, such as status updates, quotes, videos, images, and links.  I am using these post types now to publish directly on the blog, and then push content to Twitter and Facebook.  Because of this, there is pretty much no other activity on my Twitter (except a few replies and re-tweets here and there).  And thus, Twitter digests became obsolete.  This one is the last one I’ll have.  Until something changes again …

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Crowd Favorite for their awesome Twitter Tools plugins, which I am now disabling in favor of Crowd Favorite’s WordPress theme and Social 2.5 plugin.

I’ve noticed that the site got a bit slower in the…

I’ve noticed that the site got a bit slower in the last few month.  That’s probably because more and more is thrown onto the poor server. Anyways, I’ve just installed WP Super Cache plugin, which should make things a bit faster again.  As always, please, let me know if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

FavePersonal 1.1 – new look, old feel

Welcome to the new look of mamchenkov.net!  Before I tell you the long story, here is a customary front page screenshot (because, practice shows, it won’t look anything like that in a few days).

So, now for the long story.  First of all, why, why the change?  As always, for a number of reasons.

Continue reading “FavePersonal 1.1 — new look, old feel” »

Upgraded to WordPress 3.4

WordPress 3.4 was released a few days ago.  I didn’t have the time to take a better look at it, but once I read through the new features today, I got excited.  Theme options preview and embeding tweets are the two sweetest features.  Here is a test for the tweet embed.

Which features are your favorite?

Social networking reshuffled

OK, now that I’m almost sure that new setup for social networking works, I can give you guys an idea of what I had and how I changed it.  In case you’ll notice any differences between this description and the actual behavior, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve things, please let me know.  Without any further ado …

In my previous setup, I used Twitter as my social glue.  Everything was synchronized with Twitter – my Google Reader, Evernote, delicious, a few RSS feeds, Foursquare, Flickr, YouTube, etc.  Periodically (once a day until recently, now weekly), my tweets were automatically aggregated into a blog post using Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress.  This allowed me to make sure that I had a record of my online activity synced back into my own blog, something that I own, cherish, and backup.

That setup had a serious drawback.  Not everyone is on Twitter.  A lot of people are using Facebook these days.  And while in my previous setup there was an automatic push of tweets to Facebook, it wasn’t ideal.  Tweets are more limited than Facebook posts – in length, previews, and formatting.  Which means that even though something was synced to Facebook, I wasn’t taking a full advantage of Facebook.

From now on I have a different setup.  I’ll still use Twitter as my social glue, but I won’t be limiting myself to only Twitter.  I will push content independently to Facebook and other social networks when appropriate.  I will try to keep Twitter in sync by posting directly to several social networks simultaneously.  My tweets will still be aggregated at my blog on a weekly basis.  But there won’t be any automatic synchronization between Twitter and Facebook anymore.  The con of this setup is that not all content will get pushed everywhere. But it is, I think, fairly compensated by a pro of having tailored content and format for each social network.

Either way, nothing is set in stone yet. And even if it was – things move and change way too often, and I’m just trying to keep it real.  Let me know if notice any issues with these changes, and, especially if you know how to make things better.

P.S.: Yes, if Twitter and Facebook had better integration in terms of links, photos, videos, and locations, none of these would have happened.  “Blame Canada!” (c) South Park.

Trying out Social 2.5

A few days ago, Alex King announced the release of the new version of Social plugin for WordPress.  It’s one of those that can broadcast your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook.  But not only that.  It can also synchronize Twitter re-tweets and replies and Facebook shares and comments back into your blog, as comments.  Now that sounds pretty interesting.

I’ve installed the plugin and connected it to both Twitter and Facebook easily – no need to create your own apps or anything like that.  But given that I already have some sort of synchronization between Twitter and Facebook, I wonder how weird things will go.

This is a test post.

Update #1: Social plugin seems to work really well.

Update #2: Disabling broadcasting to Twitter from Twitter Tools plugin should decrease the amount of dups posted.

Updated #3: It is still not obvious how to keep the synchronization between Twitter and Facebook while avoiding dups.

Site speed improvements

Here is a partial screenshot from Google Analytics that shows how much improvement in site speed the recent move to the new server brought.  We are back at the previous “normal” levels – 10 seconds per page load on average versus 45 seconds, and that’s before any kind of server tuning or optimization.  In the next few days, when the dust settles a bit, I’ll optimize the server configuration a bit and everything will be even faster.