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Category Archives: Announcements

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.

Site A Little Broken, Monkeys With Wrenches Working On Fix

That’s what you get for upgrading things: they break. In this case, we upgraded WordPress to the latest version, and somehow borked our navigation links in the process. So yeah, you can’t hit “Next” or “Previous” at the bottom of the page, like you usually can. We should have a fix soon. We think.

And if a WordPress guru reads this site, we could probably use your help right about now. We’ll even pay.

Sponsorific Sponsors Are Full Of Love

You know you’re living the life when you can walk to work in your PJs, unshaven and slightly smelly, and still get paid. That’s where the sponsors come in; without them we’d actually have to look presentable for most of the day, and for this freedom we’d like to thank them.

The company allows you to monetize your blog by writing reviews for cash. Ever since they tweaked their business model to force clear disclosure with every post, we’ve started liking them.

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.

Dell needs no introduction, let alone a description. One of the world’s largest PC makers happens to believe we’re worthy of some of their advertising dollars, and we’re flattered.

If your hosting needs have skyrocketed into the industrial league, you’re going to want to give Rackspace a thought. These guys have massive infrastructure, and offer “fanatical support”. We’ve heard nothing but good things, and they want our readers to know about them as well.

Joost Invitations Up For Grabs!

joost logo

By David Ponce

Allright, so I’m caving in. I’m not relishing spending my afternoon sending Joost invites, but I love you people. So I’m giving 30 away, that I’ll pick randomly from whomever leaves a comment on this post. I’m closing the comments Friday 11:59 EST, so get yours in before then.

Just give me your name, and type the email address where it goes, but not in the actual comment field, unless you want to share it with the world. I do need a first and last name, though it probably doesn’t matter if you borrow it from your favorite pr0n star or whatever.

You should know Joost is kind of clogged at the moment, under the weight of all the new invites circulating, so be patient.

[ Update: Comments are now closed. I’ll pick 30 from everyone that left one. Thanks for participating, and we might have another one like this next week if there’s enough interest. Ha! -Ed. ]

Another Move

By David Ponce

Yeah, looks like we’re moving around a lot. That’s because we are. The Dedicated Virtual server at Media Temple was a nice and fast, but a little tight. It didn’t scale and just getting on the front page of Digg would bring it to its knees. We decided to actually downgrade, to The Grid, for its scalability. We don’t need no steenking root access. We’ll stay there for a little bit to see how things go. If you see this message, you’re getting OhGizmo from the Grid.

Let us know, once more, if anything’s broken.

Welcome Once More

If you’re reading this, you’re on the new server, at Media Temple. We’re hoping this will be our new home for a while at least. Impressions anyone? As fast as Bluehost? Any problems? Anything broken?

It’s Time For Another Move

By David Ponce

If you’ve been following our server saga, you’ll probably realize this is our second move in less than two months. We went from Dreamhost, to Bluehost, and now we got us a server at Media Temple. Why the move? Well, Bluehost’s decent. It’s fast and rarely goes down. But when you get on Digg, they slap you with a CPU quota that disables your account until the load is manageable. That means tons of lost traffic, and a tarnished image (those idiots with a blog can’t even handle a Digging! FTW!!).

Yeah, sure, we should have expected that on a shared server, bla bla. The sales guy I spoke to before the move should have told me about it all the same. Even when specifically asked if their servers could handle a Digging, or Slashdotting, ever the salesman, he answered “Yes!”. And I, ever the fool, fell for it. The worst part? They don’t even offer dedicated! Yes, there I was (three times over the last month), begging them to let me throw some money at them to make the problem go away, and they turned me down.

So, now we’re moving all our stuff. Again. If you’re reading this post, it’s because the DNS changes have not propagated over the Internets. I’m not pressing the button until Friday night anyway, but I figured I’d tell you now and give you something to talk about: them crazy OhGizmo! dudes and their stupid server problems.

By the way, if anyone has had negative experiences with Media Temple, now would be a good time to tell us.