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?

RFC 6585 – Additional HTTP Status Codes

If you’ve missed it like I did, RFC 6885 has been published recently.  It introduces four additional status codes for the HTTP protocol.  The codes are:

  • 428 Precondition Required
  • 429 Too Many Requests
  • 431 Request Header Fields Too Large
  • 511 Network Authentication Required

Here is a blog post that gives a nice summary of purpose for each of the new status codes.

myGengo – human translation service that scales

Via this GigaOm blog post I came across an interesting service – myGengo.  I’ve had plenty of projects that dealt with multi-lingual issues, and professional, punctual translations were always a pain in the process.  So it is nice to see a company that uses, in my opinion, a very correct approach to the problem.

Right now, the translation market has two main segments: a high-end market dominated by full-time in-house translators, and a low-end market dominated by Google Translate. myGengo’s service aims to occupy the space in between the two markets by offering “human translation services at scale.”

Essentially, myGengo is like an oDesk built specifically for translation services. myGengo has assembled a group of more than 3,000 translators worldwide who work on a freelance basis through myGengo’s own dedicated software program. myGengo serves clients directly, and also has an API to let other startups include myGengo’s translation services in their apps. myGengo says it is targeted at people and businesses who occasionally need high-quality, fast translation services, but aren’t in the market to hire an in-house translator for the job.

0.5 USD cents per word, 1 to 16 hours per page (depending on the complexity of the document), human translation with pre-tested personnel, API integration – it sounds almost like a dream.  Of course, for now they only support a dozen or so languages, but given that they just received a $5.25 million Series A funding, I expect the service to expand quite a bit in the nearest future.

Upcoming WordPress 3.0 in detail

I know I’ve mentioned the awesomeness of the upcoming WordPress 3.0 release before.  But there is more to learn.  Dougal Campbell was running WordPress 3.0-beta for a few days and wrote a post describing the new features in detail.

Also, if you add a post thumbnail which is as big as (or bigger than) your defined header size, the image will be used as a custom header specific to that post or page.

Rebuilding mamchenkov.net – Step 3 – Targets

Once I installed the monitoring of goals and gathered some initial data, it was time to start with the changes.  One of the obvious problems from the previous step was that I actually didn’t have my targets on the site.  The action points were missing – no easy way to read movie reviews and no easy way to know that I want people to hire me.  So these were the first things to change.

If you have a look at the site now, you’ll notice that the main menu is re-organized. Most notably it features Movies and Hire me! items.  Movies will take you directly to the list of my movie reviews, which I also improved by filtering out generic movie-related posts.  Hire me! link will lead you to a page which briefly describes what I can do and suggests where to find more information and how to get in contact with me.  Neither one of these action points are in their final stage yet – more changes are coming.  I just needed to start somewhere, so here they are. I have, of course, updated my goal tracking  to use the reviews page and added the new “hire me” goal.

While I was at it, I decided to fix a few other minor things that annoyed me.  Here is what I have done so far:

  • Tags clean-up.  This is still work in progress, but I managed to get a large piece of this work out of the way.  I had almost 2,000 tags in my database and many of those were too generic, tagging a single post.  I renamed and re-organized quite a few of them and now I am left with approximately 1,500 tags.  There are a couple of hundred more that will go away shortly.  This re-organization will make tags more useful and will help visitors find related content easier.
  • Added ‘About me’ section on the front page.  After the main menu reorganization I thought that I had too much of me in there.  “Contact me”, “Hire me!”, “About me”.  So I moved the “About me” into a section and made appear only on the front page.
  • Fixed the RSS image.  The default RSS image from Studiopress theme read “Grab our RSS feed”, but since I am publishing alone on this site, the “our” bit wasn’t making any sense.  I just cropped the image to have the widely recognized RSS icon.
  • Changed search results to feature excerpts instead of full posts.  Full posts were on by default since the last time I edited the theme.  I don’t use search too much, so I didn’t notice how annoying it was.  I tried several ideas to make it better and the only one that actually remains now on the site is excerpts instead of full posts.
  • Changed the tag line from “You just stepped in a pile of posts” to “Thoughts on movies, technology, and everything else”.  I think this one is more focused and that it should help a bit for the search engine optimization.

I’ve also experimented quite a bit with split testing and Google Website Optimizer, but realized that it is too difficult to use for the changes that I am working on now and decided against it.  Later on, when I will test smaller changes, it will come handy though.