Techie’s guide to Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2010: The Wi-Fi Network

I'm going to attempt to try to guide some folks to how to get along, technologically, at the WBC10.  I don't know how much time I have but if you read these then you'll have a better go of it from a tech stand point.

First, I'm working with Thomas Lee and Meru Networks to install a literal "industrial strength" Wi-Fi network.  This is the kind of thing we have deployed in other conferences (most recently Enterprise2.0) and very very large companies, sporting events (including the Vancouver Olympics), and universities to support thousands of users.  Here is a demo we recently filmed to give you an idea:

If you're a true techie, here's how we did this demo:

So first and foremost, what does this mean for the attendee.  Well, it means we are literally doing everything we can to keep everyone's Wi-Fi up and running.  The hotel is actually spending money to beef up some backend systems as well.

A couple of techie/geeky tips:
  1. The system has highly specialized load balancing capabilities.  IF you are geeky enough to understand wireless for the BEST service you should enable 802.11a on your adapter card.  This will put you into the 5Ghz frequency range which is far less crowded and more likely to get you service.  If you don't know how to do this the system will likely do it for you as part of the advanced load balancing.
  2. If you have phone then the Wi-Fi should workout for you as the system will take control and make sure you have access with another function called Airtime Fairness.  Its basically an alogrithm that makes sure every client gets fair access to the RF spectrum and, even in crowded situations, no one is, what we call, "choked out of the channel".  
  3. If your computer uses 802.11n, don't worry this is compatible with the 802.11b/g and the system will manage your connection for you.
  4. When you're in your room, connect to the hotel's network.  You may be able to see the conference network in your room but you'll be so far away that the conference system will isolate you into a very low speed "virtual port" so that you don't interfere with people with better reception (if you want to know how/why, ask me at the conference because this gets really detailed).
If worse comes to worst, jump on 3G with your phone.  Murphy's Law is in effect always.  Something can always go wrong even when you do this day-in and day-out like we do at Meru Networks.

I'll keep the status of the network updated here on my little blog in this corner of the world.  If you have questions, leave a comment below and I'll keep you apprised of the situation (provided I have access 😉

10 last minute tips for Walla Walla Wine Bloggers Conference 2010

10 last minute tips for Walla Walla Wine Bloggers Conference 2010

by: Bean Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Are you headed to the 3rd North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Walla Walla this weekend? You are in for a treat, but do you have any idea what you are REALLY getting yourself into? Fantastic Washington wines and interacting with friendly, creative, professional and occasionally kooky Washington wine makers are a given.  Walla Walla Washington is eagerly awaiting your arrival and will be throwing quite the party for wine bloggers.

Last year, Thea (@winebratsf) of Luscious Lushes wrote a great post titled WBC 101. That post was a great guide for me as newbie to Wine Bloggers’ Conference last year. Thea has her own inimitable style so I won’t even try it here, but here are some tips from my own perspective and experience.

  1. Pace yourself – It is a long weekend with activities from early morning until late at night and that is just the official activities!  Take a quick break when you can for a quick walk, a glass of water or a quick moment for yourself.  If you start out staying up really late at pre-event parties on Thursday you might just burnt out before Sunday.
  2. Its hip to spit – You will have the opportunity to taste HUNDREDS of Washington wines this

Read more…

Nice round-up for everyone!

WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features

WordPress 3 LogoBrian Casel is a web designer and owner of ThemeJam WordPress Themes and CasJam Media.  You can follow Brian on his blog at briancasel.com or on Twitter @CasJam.

WordPress (WordPress

) has long been known as a dedicated blogging platform, giving users the tools they need to publish their message and interact with readers.  However, with the official release of version 3.0, set to drop this month, the platform will be much closer, if not well within the territory of a content management system (CMS).

The list of new features in WordPress 3.0 isn’t very long in comparison to previous releases.  However, the changes that are coming will certainly have a significant impact, particularly if you use WordPress as a CMS.  Here is a rundown of the most important new features arriving in version 3.0.

Let us know in the comments which features of WordPress 3.0 you are most looking forward to.

1. Custom Post Types

By default, WordPress lets you publish two types of content: “Posts” and “Pages (pages

).”  In version 3.0, you can define additional content types with their own attributes.  For example, if you’re running a WordPress site for a design agency, you might create a custom post type to display portfolio items, another for employee pages, and another for client testimonials.  From there, you can customize your theme to better suit each individual post type.

You might even want to turn your WordPress site into something more like Tumblr (Tumblr

).  This will be easy to do in WordPress 3.0 simply by creating custom post types for Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, and Video (video

).

Thanks to custom post types, there are many new possibilities for how you use WordPress to publish any sort of content.

2. Menu Management

WordPress Menus Image

Menu management is one of the most exciting and talked about features in WordPress 3.0.  This feature gives you full control over your site’s navigation menus.  With an easy drag and drop interface, users can create menus that include any mixture of links to internal pages, external URLs, categories, you name it.  Then you can embed these custom menus as a widget wherever your theme allows.

So let’s say you’re running a site which has several informational pages, plus a blog, featured video posts, and you also want to promote your social media presence.  You can customize your main navigation to look something like this:

  • HOME
  • BLOG (blog

    ) (links to the main blog page)

  • VIDEOS (links to the video category, or post type)
  • INFO PAGE
  • INFO PAGE
    • SUB INFO PAGE
  • TWITTER (links to your Twitter (Twitter

    ) profile)

  • FACEBOOK (links to your Facebook (Facebook

    ) Fan Page)

Changing the order, titles, and destination of these links is a piece of cake with menu management in WordPress 3.0.

3. Custom Taxonomies

While this new feature may seem a bit complex to non-developers, it certainly brings WordPress 3.0 closer to a true CMS.  Custom taxonomies allow you to create additional pieces of meta information.  By default, there are “Categories” and “Tags.”  Now we can add additional types, with the option of being hierarchical or not.

So what does this mean exactly?  Here are some examples of what you can do with custom taxonomies:

Let’s say you’re a film fanatic and you use your WordPress blog to post reviews and rate new movies.  You can create a custom taxonomy for “Rating (Rating

),” then add R, PG-13, PG, G to every review.

Another example would be real estate listing websites.  In addition to photos and descriptions, you might use additional taxonomies to provide a list of specs on each property such as asking price, number of bedrooms, year built, etc.

4. New Default Theme: “Twentyten”

TwentyTen Theme Image

Twentyten is the long-overdue default theme packaged with new installations of WordPress 3.0.  It features a clean, yet bold design and introduces some nice functionality not found in many themes.  Two features built into Twentyten are particularly useful if you’re new to WordPress and don’t have the coding skills to customize your theme.  They are:

Custom Header Image

The Twentyten theme gives you the ability to easily change your site’s header image.  Packaged with the theme are eight interesting banner images to choose from.  You can also upload your own image.  This feature isn’t limited to the Twentyten theme.  It can be activated and included by theme developers as well.

Custom Background Image

Another nifty feature found in Twentyten is the ability to upload your own background image for your site.  You can also set a solid background color if you want.  While this is likely an easy thing to tweak even for those with only light knowledge of web development, it’s certainly useful for those who don’t want to get their hands dirty and edit CSS.  Again, custom background functionality can be included in other themes as well if activated by the theme developer.

5. Multi-site

You can’t discuss WordPress 3.0 without mentioning the new multi-site capabilities.  That is, you can manage several different websites (with different domains and/or sub-domains) all with a single installation of WordPress.  What was previously known as WordPress MU (Multi-User) is now merged with the core WordPress system in 3.0.  Enabling multi-site capabilities likely isn’t something for the average user, as it requires some tinkering with the code and configuring server settings.  That said, the average user likely isn’t interested in having multi-site capabilities.

So who benefits from running a multi-site installation of WordPress?  It’s perfect if you’re running a blog network, or manage a large news organization with many different departments.  Perhaps your business has each employee running their own blog with a unique design or even their own domain.  These are situations where multi-site functionality can be useful.

What Else?

Here are a few of the minor feature enhancements arriving in WordPress 3.0:

Get Shortlink (with your own domain)

We all know how useful URL shorteners can be, especially for tweeting links.  WordPress 2.9 gave you the ability to use the wp.me URL shortener.  WordPress 3.0 takes this feature a step further by allowing you to get a shortlink for your post based on your own domain name.  For example: http://mashable.com/?post=7127.  You don’t need to mask your URL with other services like bit.ly (bit.ly

).  Now you can keep your branding intact when you tweet your links.

Author Templates

New in 3.0 is the ability to create unique author templates.  This is great if you’re running a multi-author blog and you’d like to apply unique styles or layouts to individual author pages.

Select Username and Password During Installation

Before WordPress 3.0, new installations automatically set your master account to username “admin” with an auto-generated password.  Now, you can define these during installation, saving you the hassle of changing them later.  It also adds a new layer of security (Home Security

).  WordPress sites have been known to be compromised simply because they use the most common username, “admin.”

Get the entire list of new features and changes at the official WordPress Codex page for 3.0

Which feature are you most excited to get your hands on in WordPress 3.0? Let us know in the comments!


For more technology coverage, follow Mashable Tech on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

More WordPress resources from Mashable:

HOW TO: Add Facebook “Like” Buttons to Your WordPress Blog
HOW TO: Secure Your WordPress Blog
7 Superb Social Plugins for WordPress
14 Fantastic Free WordPress Themes
HOW TO: Integrate Google Buzz Into Your WordPress Blog

Awesome…downloading now…

Facebook “Like” Increases Referral Traffic to Blogs by 50% [REPORT]

TypePad users who installed the Facebook “Like” widgets on their blog sidebars have experienced a 50% increase in referral traffic from Facebook collectively, TypePad revealed in a blog post.

Facebook unveiled the “Like” feature at its F8 Developer Conference in late April. Readers can click the “Like” button on an article to share it with their Facebook friends without leaving a publisher’s website.

Approximately 1,500 TypePad bloggers have installed the “Like” buttons on their blogs since the widget became available on the platform in early May.

Shortly after releasing the sidebar widget, TypePad released a second feature that enables users to attach a Facebook “Like” button to the bottom of each blog post. Two thousand and four hundred bloggers have added the feature, and have enjoyed a 200% growth in referral traffic from Facebook as a whole, according to TypePad.

Have you experienced a spike in referral traffic from Facebook after adding “Like” buttons to your blog? If so, how much has your traffic grown?

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Wineries (and any small business really) need to stick with it. I mentioned before, this is a very big deal. Facebook is nearly ubiquitous among people with buying power and that, if I’m not mistake, is a general characteristic of people that wineries want to target.

Wal-Mart to Carry iPhone 4 at June 24th Launch – Mac Rumors

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Wal-Mart to Carry iPhone 4 at June 24th Launch

Friday June 11, 2010 01:08 PM EST; Category: iPhone
Written by Eric Slivka

CNET reports that Wal-Mart has confirmed that it will carry iPhone 4 in its stores as of its June 24th launch, adding another major outlet to the growing list of retailers that appear poised to be U.S. launch partners for the new device.

Walmart said Friday that it will be one of several retail outlets who will have the iPhone 4 on June 24, its first day of availability anywhere. While Walmart has carried previous versions of the iPhone, this is a first that it will be for sale in its stores on the device’s official launch day.

Electronics chain RadioShack announced earlier this week that it will be carrying iPhone 4 at launch, with pre-orders set to begin on June 15th, the same day Apple begins the pre-ordering process. Best Buy has also been claimed to be carrying iPhone 4 as of the 24th, although the company has yet to officially confirm availability and its pre-ordering policies are unknown.

Wal-Mart gained considerable attention in the weeks leading up to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and the iPhone 4 introduction by slashing the price of the 16 GB iPhone 3GS in half to $97 with a two-year contract. With iPhone 4, however, Wal-Mart is expected to only slightly undercut Apple’s own pricing by offering the 16 GB and 32 GB versions at $197 and $297 respectively. The company did not carry the low-end 8 GB iPhone 3G during the previous product cycle, and so it is unclear if it will be offering the 8 GB iPhone 3GS during this cycle.

Wal-Mart has also been reported to be expecting to carry the iPad beginning later this year.

Rating (26 Positives; 21 Negatives)
[ 90 comments ]

Awesome. Getting my iPhone 3G was such a bitch! This will be nice – WalMart, Radio Shack,. Best Buy, Apple, AT&T…its only a question of allocation now.

Anyone know anything about the allocations?