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Category Archives: Announcements

FM/Toshiba Battle Royale Is A New Kind Of Marketing, Happens To Be Fun

federated media battle royale

By David Ponce

Don’t start flailing your arms because this involves sponsors; it’s actually interesting, so please hear me out. For the past few weeks, Federated Media (our advertising partners) and Toshiba have been hosting a new kind of advertising campaign. It’s called FM:Tech Battle Royale and it involves several high-profile sites answering one tech related question a week, and battling for popularity. There’s a couple guys from BoingBoing, Ken Fisher from Ars Technica, a few other sites and of course myself. Each week, the question is read by the ninja from Ask A Ninja and readers get to vote on their favorite answer. I’ll tell you, it’s sort of fun to be battling it out with these guys, even if in the end it doesn’t make much difference who wins. See, whoever leads in the votes doesn’t really get anything special. Only bragging rights, I guess. But this is where I ask all y’all to help me out a little and send a couple votes my way. I’m currently 4th in the rankings, a whisper ahead of Mark Frauenfelder from BoingBoing.

And for the record no one asked me to write this post, and I don’t get paid to write the answers. Toshiba (the sponsor) is running ads on this site (you might have seen them around) and that’s the only form of compensation in this campaign.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this thing.

[ FM Battle Royale ]

This Week On BotJunkie

botjunkie logo By David Ponce

Plenty of stuff going on in our little robotic world. Here’s a short sample from this week:

Full Steam Ahead With SteamBot ST-II

Robot Arm Is Rocket Powered, Has A Gun”

Gakken Mechamo Centipede Robot Kit”

A Thank You To Our Sponsors

By David Ponce

It’s that time of the month where we remind everyone that there’s a reason we’re able to do what we do, and bring you OhGizmo daily. That’s the sponsors, who believe in our product and are willing to associate themselves with us. And the other way around, of course. So, a big Thank You to the following companies.

PayPerPost
The company allows you to monetize your blog by writing reviews for cash. With over 40,000 bloggers signed up, their success is undeniable. And with clear disclosure now a requirement, there’s no more confusion.

Wicked Lasers
Long time readers of the site know just how great the lasers this company makes are (is this even grammatically correct?). If you’ve got the cash to spare, you’ll be amazed at how popular you can be with one of these babies in your hand.

HP
HP is the world’s largest IT corporation, and hardly needs an introduction. There’s not much in the tech world they’re not into, and that list now includes a smartphone. Good for them.

We’re Launching BotJunkie.com!

botjunkie launch

By David Ponce

Robots are cool. One day, they’ll wipe our bums and serve us martinis while we laze away on some beach; countless cybernetic minions hacking away at our menial tasks. Or they’ll enslave us all. Either way, with the launch of BotJunkie, we’ll be right in the thick of the action, chronicling it all for your entertainment. Our plan is to bring you a daily robotics-oriented news website with the same level of professionalism, dedication and attention to detail that you’ve come to expect from our team. It is edited by our very own Evan Ackerman with future contributions from everyone else, including myself. The logo is mostly the work of Andrew Liszewski (yeah, our Andrew).

The story behind this launch is long and winding… and I’ll spare you a retelling. But suffice it to say that we’re very excited about this, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it all together. Oh, and if something is broken, missing, stupid or sucky, please let us know. Here or there, it doesn’t matter.

[ Visit BotJunkie Now!! ]

[ Subscribe To The Feed ]

Woot-Off Underway

Woot!

By Evan Ackerman

Good thing I have nothing to do but go to work tomorrow; there’s a Woot-Off a’goin’ on. Woot.com usually sells one single drastically discounted electronic gadget every 24 hours, but during a Woot-Off, they go hog wild and sell things back to back, non-stop. If you can keep yourself awake, you’ll almost always find something you want. Not need, but want. Check it out at Woot.com.

Rather than madly refreshing the Woot page to check for new items, try some of these automatic Woot-Off Checkers.

Comments Are Working Again. For Now.

By David Ponce

Sorry to all of you who tried making comments over the last couple of days. We’re not trying to silence you (We don’t think you’re “cowboys”. If you tried to comment, you’ll know what this means). We’re just struggling in our fight with the spammers. The latest is that they somehow managed to sneak 300 or so spams with a date three months in the future. This caused WordPress to subsequently think every new comment was being posted within 15 seconds of the last one (which was three months in the future, remember), thus triggering the comments throttling built into WordPress.

We’ve manually deleted all these spams, and commenting works again. We’re going to put up the Bad Behavior plugin (recommended by Vic) in conjunction with Akismet and hope for the best. We’re still unsure how the spammers managed to post-date comments this way, and if anyone has a clue, drop us a line.

But for now, happy commenting.

Voice Posts On OhGizmo: An Explanation, A Disclaimer And An Example

By David Ponce

For the next few weeks, you guys are going to see “voice posts” on the site. Why? Glad you asked.

HP is re-entering the smartphone market with the iPaq, and it’ll feature email text-to-voice and voice-to-text technology. To get people thinking about communicating with digital audio messages, HP is sponsoring the voice posts in question. They’re sponsoring the idea of posting with your voice, and the technology, but not the content. Let’s be really clear about that: HP is not sponsoring the content of the voice posts. This means I’m free to talk about anything at all: other companies, breaking (non-HP) news or what I ate for supper two evenings ago.

Below you will find the very first voice post on OhGizmo. I’m not sure it’ll embed through to RSS (it might, I really don’t know), so peeps reading us on a feedreader, if you don’t see a flash player and wish to hear what yours truly sounds like, here’s your chance.



The Spammers May Be Winning, Help Us With A Little Test

We love’ums, them’s spammers. Just the other day, we found out that spammers had figured out a way to bypass Hotmail’s captcha and were creating hundreds of dummy accounts every hour to send waves and waves of spam all over the InterTubes. Well, sure enough, within a few hours, we too were being showered.

On any given day, we receive around 2,500 spam attempts. We run Akismet, who manages to catch all but maybe 30 or 40 of them. Cleaning these up is part of the daily chores on OhGizmo. But suddenly, two days ago, over 300 of them made it past the filter. That’s unacceptable, so we added a second layer of protection: Spam Karma, a WordPress plugin.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure if now Spam Karma may be overdoing its job, and giving us false positives. So, help us tweak its settings by leaving a comment on this post. If, by morning (11am EST or so), there’s a bunch of comments here, then we’ll know that you people have just been a little quiet of late and the settings are fine. If there’s nothing, then we’ll tweak some more, and keep you updated. We’ve received a couple of complaints of comments not making it onto the site already, so that’s why we’re doing this.

Thanks guys.

Update: The comments you see here (the first 7 anyway) were recovered manually. Strangely though, they were caught by Akismet, and not Spam Karma. I’ve disabled Spam Karma anyway, as I suspect that it has something to do with this kerfuffle. We’ll see what happens over the next few hours. Again, thanks for all y’alls help.

Update #2: Getting rid of Spam Karma seems to have done the trick. Probably an interaction between Akismet and SK made things go down the pooper. Spam Karma is supposed to be good, but it’s resource intensive. Akismet isn’t… but it tends to fail, sometimes massively. I’m holding my breath that I won’t have to delete 300 messages a day, again.

We’re Hiring!

Yeah, so it’s time for our regular recruiting round. We’re ready to pay for talent, but we won’t hire just anyone. Here’s what you got to have to write for us:

– A deep knowledge of the blogging business. This means you track several tech blogs through RSS or whatever, and you know gadgets better than your mama knows how to play with your mind. You can tell the difference between a marginally improved gadget (more memory, yay!) and something truly interesting. Generally, you think we’re morons, and you could show us how to do our jobs. Blindfolded.

– A fantastic mastery of the English language. Snark. Opinion. Controversy.

– An ethical disposition and the willingness to follow some basic rules.

Here’s what you get:

– You’ll get read by over 10,000 unique readers each day and almost half a million a month.

– You’ll get to play with gadgets from various companies trying to convince you their stuff doesn’t stink.

– Somewhat competitive pay, but nothing to take a fifth mortgage on.

If you think you got what it takes, send us the following to “editor” at “ohgizmo” dot “com”:

– One sample article.

– A short paragraph on why you’re suited for the job.

– Pay expectations.