The Independent Switches to WordPress

Great to see that all the blogs on blogs.independent.co.uk are now powered by WordPress:
http://blogs.independent.co.uk/

In a blog post from Online Editor Martin King, the reasons for the switch from Livejournal included the following:

* to continue pushing forward a site that is ever more social-media-friendly, incorporating our recently improved and well-received comments functionality;

* to enable our posters to add quicker views and analysis more easily.

The last point will be especially beneficial to The Independent’s overseas correspondents, with their busy and occasionally perilous lives. As long as they can send an email, that can be posted immediately, including any image.

Mark wraps up his post with a very insightful point, saying “We are demonstrating that globally standard programs can free mainstream journalism from the complex bespoke set-ups of the past.”

[ Visit http://blogs.independent.co.uk/ ]

Mike Pratt on BuddyPress – Social Networking in a Box

At a recent Dallas Fort Worth WordPress meetup, Mike Pratt gave a presentation on how he’s using WordPress and BuddyPress to build his very own social network:

… there are a ton of excellent needs and reasons to use BuddyPress to take your site and turn it into the community it is begging to become. That’s the killer point: there needs to be a community underlying all of this. Maybe your focused on gardeners in Texas or stamp collectors in Des Moines or people around the world dealing with Cystic Fibrosis – if you have a community in mind then BuddyPress is an amazing tool because you can shape the community according to you/its needs. Take that Facebook (or Ning)!

The slides and the full video from the presentation and more of his thoughts are available at mikepratt.tv

Rosetta Stone Joins WordPress.com VIP

Rosette Stone, the technology-based language learning company, has launched their new blog RVOICE on WordPress.com VIP:
http://blog.rosettastone.com/2010/05/11/welcome/

The new blog, RVoice, will focus on:

… [a] discussion on the role of technology and pedagogy in changing how people learn languages. And we also wanted to provide an opportunity for you to get to know us better and for us to get to know you.

Our intention is not to have a blog just for the sake of being current – no technology for technology’s sake, we like to say. This is about opening up the conversation and providing a focused forum for debate on new ideas and practices in the field of language learning. Clearly, there is lots of soul searching going on out there about tech-enabled language learning – what’s lacking is the participation of leading practitioners and a framework for the debate. We hope to change that.

[ Visit RVOICE ]

Mashable on WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features

Good summary post from Brian Casel on Mashable today regarding WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features:

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.

Continue reading the full article.

Upcoming WordCamps

Lots of WordCamps coming up, which are great events for publishers to learn more about WordPress and meet the WordPress community:
http://central.wordcamp.org/

This weekend, WordCamp Orange County will be held on Saturday April 24th on the UC Irvine campus.

The following weekend, WordCamp San Francisco will be held on Saturday May 1st, 2010 with a developer day on Sunday May 2nd. There will also be a party on Saturday night. If you haven’t registered yet and are interested in attending, please head over to the WordCamp SF site and register now, as these tickets tend to sell out pretty quickly.

The following weekend on May 8th, 2010 there are three amazing WordCamps happening all over the globe: WordCamp Paris, WordCamp Argentina, and WordCamp Chile.

For more information and a full listing of scheduled WordCamps, head over to WordCamp.org .

PixoPoint: WordPress.com For a Full Site

Really interesting case study posted by Ryan Hellyer of PixoPoint on how his firm, using CSS and a couple of upgrades, built a full site on WordPress.com for the Red Devils of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League:
http://reddevils.co.nz

Ryan described the initial scope:

Their original site consisted of hard coded .html files as a simple static site. Our initial suggestion of a full-custom designed and coded, hosted WordPress installation was beyond their budget, so we suggested an alternative which has slashed their costs considerably yet allowed them to create their own WordPress powered site with a design which matches their branding and includes all of the functionality they requested, including a contact form, email subscriptions for news posts, no commenting functionality (they didn’t want a traditional blog) and the ability to add photo galleries and videos

Conclusion:

Traditionally WordPress.com has only been suggested as a low-budget option for those who can’t afford to upgrade to “proper” hosted setup, however for the Red Devils, we were able to meet all of their requirements without losing anything that they required in their site. We were also able to integrate their teams branding into an existing theme very quickly through some simple CSS upgrades.

[ Read the full case study on PixoPoint.com ]

Harvard Gazette Selects WordPress

The Harvard Gazette, which is Harvard’s official newspaper, has recently relaunched their site, and is now powered by WordPress:

Highlighting faculty research, administrative staff, students, and events – this is a great example of a complete site that you can build with WordPress. Congrats to the team at Harvard for building such as great site.

It’s also exactly in sync with the feedback we are hearing from the publishing community. Many of you have shared with us your exciting plans to take advantage of the flexibility and power of WordPress to build your next-generation full sites on this platform. It’s going to make for a very exciting next few months !

[ visit Harvard Gazette ]

Relaunch of WordPress.com VIP Site and new VIP Support Options

As many of you know, the VIP program that we run provides two services. The first is exclusive bullet-proof hosting on our WordPress.com grid for high-profile and high-traffic sites. And the second is a program open to all where we provide developer-to-developer support on scaling and development projects for self-hosted WordPress sites.

Here’s a short video explaining the program:

We previously had separate sites for these two services, and recently decided to simplify the sites, and combine them into one, vip.wordpress.com .

For WordPress VIP Support, we also introduced new levels of support based on the feedback we’ve received this past year, including a top tier with a much requested on-site visit option.

What’s Next:
We have some exciting plans for the VIP program in 2010. First up, we will introduce a dedicated VIP Hosting portal for WordPress.com VIPs in the coming weeks, with documentation of all the special functions, lots of theme and system info, and best practice coding guidelines for WordPress.com. A bit further out we plan to streamline the support and ticketing system to provide a more complete 360 view of activity across multiple sites.

For VIP Support, expect new features and improvements to the private forum which will make finding answers more efficient and provide our team clearer information that will make the interactions better. And starting this year, we now include support for BuddyPress as part of VIP Support, and we are already seeing that become a bigger part of many of the larger WordPress powered sites.

[ For more information, please visit vip.wordpress.com ]

The Carter Center Joins WordPress.com VIP Hosting

Exciting to see that former US President Jimmy Carter’s organization, The Carter Center, has just launched their blog, which is part of the WordPress.com VIP Hosting program:

The site will focus on covering:

…updates on the Center’s peace and health efforts around the world. Our blog will feature news and video from the field, photo essays, articles authored by our experts, and more.

[ Visit The Carter Center Blog ]