In yet another case of “when trademarks go bad”, Digg has shutdown DiggGames.com for trademark infringement. This is yet another reminder to Pliggers to NOT use the word Digg anywhere in their domain or site. We have seen a similar move from when Digg.de (no longer around, but here’s a demo video) began redirecting links to Yigg.de. Yigg.de supposedly never came under any legal threat from Digg because Digg at the time had no trademark registered in Germany. Yigg has since changed much of their template to further itself from Digg and now sports a grey and orange template.
DiggGames.com’s trademark trouble is a bit of a surprise to me. The site is used only to promote games that are dugg on digg.com, but the style of the site is nothing like Digg. Not that you have to spell out your name and look like digg to get sued, but I would think that having no impact on digg.com would decrease your legal exposure. I remember an instance of a Chinese site using Pligg to create a Digg look-a-like in Chinese using I believe Digg.cn as their domain name, but that domain seems to no longer resolve. I have also seen several Pligg sites using the word “digg” in their domain, so this blog post is dedicated to the handful of you who might want to find yourselves a new domain name because Digg is on the lookout.
See the legal correspondence documents: Page 1, Page 2
August 14, 2006 by Eric Heikkinen | Comments Off
My submission into Gizmodo’s “Show Us Your “Pod Giveaway” contest didn’t make it to first place (*shrug*). I did come close though, only 21 votes away from the first place video submission. What I’m most proud of is that most of Gizmodo’s registered users are smart enough to recognize that the first place submission was really dumb and an old idea. Blowing stuff up is nothing new to the web, and the video quality is so poor that you can’t even see it. Here are some excerpts from some of the Gizmodo users concerning the outcome:
Skip the next contest and give the prize to the iPod Halloween Costume. It should have won anyway.
iPod costume was better.
Doubly-so since Eric obviously has a nano to use the accessory package with.
I guess that I’ll have to come up with something wickedly awesome for the next contest so that Gizmodo users will have no choice but to vote for my submission. I’m sad to not get my hands on the iPod gear (which half was going to my g/f, the other half to my mom), but Gizmodo has given out far greater prizes in the past. I suppose it just wasn’t my time.
by Eric Heikkinen | Comments Off
After losing the CommandN geek photo contest I have decided to try to win another contest with the same photo on Gizmodo.com. Amazingly, my entry is in second place and quickly making it’s way up the ranks. I’m still 25 votes shy (as of this blog entry) from claiming the prize, but I have faith that my online brethren will help me reach first place in this contest. I need everyone to please take a moment to vote for my “iPod Halloween Costume” submission on Gizmodo so that I can give my girlfriend some awesome iPod gear. Nothing wins the chicks over more than some sweet tech gear by the way. I’m quite desperate to win this one since CommandN rejected me (darn you Amber), but even if I don’t win I’m happy to see that I received so many votes. All of the hard work that I put into that costume (20 minutes of spraying myself with black hair dye) is finally starting to pay off. The current first place entry is a video of a guy skeet shooting a broken iPod with his shotgun. I think the web has seen enough of expensive electronics blowing up for one decade.
Yeah, it’s been a while since my previous blog post. I have no excuses, besides being extremely lazy. Summer started, but I’m still studying at school trying to accelerate the learning process and get out into the real world. Ugh, the real world… where thing are expected of you and deadlines are set in stone. This is probably one of the greatest reasons for Pligg being in Beta. Beta gives us an excuse to goof off and not have deadlines. We have more time to think about what we’re doing and more freedom to do what we want. Once Pligg goes 1.0 the tables turn and we’re stuck with what I call “the Windows effect”, where we feel obligated to support all future versions for years to come.
I have a second agenda for this post, a free Dell monitor that I want to get my hands on. CommandN is running a contest until 11:59 pm tonight where the geekiest photo submitted can win a Dell 19″ flat panel monitor. Being a geek and all (and proud of it), I am excited to participate in a contest to kick all other geek butts in a geekery contest. What I find to be most humorous is that if I win it’s like Amber (host of CommandN and supposed girlfriend of Kevin Rose) is aiding her boyfriend’s arch enemy. I feel like such an evil genius right now. If you would like to see what I’m up against in the photo contest check out the CommanN geek photo gallery on Flickr. From what I’ve seen so far, I have a chance. The picture above is from last Halloween, and I know how pathetic I look so there’s no need to add salt to the wound.
And back to the topic everyone wants to talk about… Pligg STATUS. Even though Pligg has not had a major release in a while, there is a lot going on behind the curtain. An improved Administrator Panel is currently in the works, right now it only needs to have some graphical tweaks and such to pretty it up. There has been a major security bug discovered in Pligg (and Meneame) that has been fixed that will now help prevent bulk-spamming. We are currently arguing over whether a spellchecker should be enabled by default because it might cause incompatibility with some servers. We are also looking into ways to improve Karma, but that still seems like it might be something that will come later rather than earlier in development. That’s all I have for now, but there will be regular blog posts as before now that I’ve had a nice vacation away from the blog.
May 21, 2006 by Eric Heikkinen | Comments Off
I’m a huge fan of online social networking applications like 3bubbles (blog post) and Gabbly (blog post), and today I registered for a beta account with Itzle, a new app that provides much more than just a chat room. Itzle provides a virtual identity for chatting, including the ability to create your own custom character to represent you online. Right now you can only alter the characters hair, skin, pant, shirt and shoe colors and you’re stuck with it being a male. Besides having your own personalized character on screen for each page you also keep a profile and friends list. The profile can list lots of great data like your AIM, MSN, Yahoo, your web page, your blog, your bookmarks and a lot of other options. The best profile field has to be the Flickr support that will display your latest thumbnails from flickr in your profile. The presentation for Itzle is slick and innovative. Before I get into the details let me explain how Itzle works.
To use Itzle you must be using Firefox and register an account from their site. Currently they are in an early beta stage and are only have 653 spots left. Second, you use the Itzle bookmarklet and place it on your toolbar for easy access. When you’re visiting a page that you want to chat on click on the bookmarklet and it will ask for your login details through an Ajaxy transparent popup. After you log in it will redirect to the Itzle link for the page you are on. For example, pligg.com’s would be http://www.itzle.com/http://www.pligg.com/. This page will have the usual pligg.com page in the background and at the bottom an Itzle toolbar for chatting and managing settings. On the top part of the page with the web page appears any characters currently visiting that site. You will see your own character also on top of the page and you can direct him to stand on other parts of the page by left clicking anywhere on the page (besides where the links are of course).
From here on out are all of the innovative ideas that Itzle came up with. Let’s say that your on a big time website (lets say Digg.com for example) and there are 80 other characters talking. The page could become cluttered with chatters pretty fast for lots of the larger sites so Itzle came up with the bright idea of letting users create channels for sites. This way you could split up a site like Digg into sub-topics rather than one large general lobby room. You could have 16 channels, one for each of Digg’s categories, and never have to worry about the rooms becoming cluttered with people. You can also create private, invite-only channels where you can invite just your friends to talk. The third tab in the Itzle panel is for recommending sites. If you are on a website that you would like to recommend to all of your friends click “recommend this url” and it will recommend the current url to all of your friends.
Making friends with Itzle is pretty simple, when you find someone you like talking to just left-click on their character and “befriend” them. The friendship must be mutual though, so don’t expect to befriend the entire Itzle community. You can also view user’s profiles from this left click drop-down menu that appears when you click on characters. Your friends list is kept on one of the tabs on your Itzle panel and it divides your online friends from your offline friends. You will also see a link to “add a friend” from this panel tab and when you click on it it asks for a user name. If the user is currently offline he will be presented with a message the next time he logs in asking if he wants to be your friend.
Even though Pligg is an open source project free for anyone to download or contribute to, we have found there is plenty of reasons to keep some capitol available to tap into every once in a while.
One of our first thoughts would be hire professional designers and coders to take on some of the sub-projects of Pligg. Who knows, some of you might even be the one’s we’re paying for some of these projects. It would be nice to reward those who contribute the best mods and templates with a bit of green if only to make them feel like their appreciated. Not to mention the inevitable court case against Digg (don’t take that joke seriously)
Pligg has only one PHP developer at the moment, AshDigg. Pligg is a side project for him (not his main job) and I think we can all agree that he has done wonderful work so far. Having some of the “burden” released from his shoulders can help him focus more on the future of pligg & feature implementation.
My goal for this fundraiser is to make $1,000 in 30 days. That would be enough to hire full-time PHP coder for a week (about $600) and have enough left over for other fun stuff like template designs, mods, user interface/accessibility and graphic design.
Here’s a general outline of what we will use money on to speed up the development proces and a look at what’s ahead for Pligg users:
1. New admin panel. A nice new interface to customize pligg for your specific options. No longer will you have to open up config.php in a text editor just to make some simple changes to your site!
2. New template(s). Our new template’s look will finally match our “web 2.0″ feel.
3. Bug Fixes. We want to finish squashing the final bugs that are driving you all crazy… And FINALLY release a “stable” release. Say goodbye to beta.
4. Collaborative filtering engine. Imagine being able to suggest articles based on how others have voted similar to how Amazon.com suggests items that you might like based on how others have shopped. This idea will take Pligg to the next level.
5. New article features. Graphs to display a stories voting habits, a users activity and popularity. We also would like to focus on article readability, for example: the ability to “read more”.
6. Improved user interface. We want to deliver a polished interface that will leave your users wanting more. Help us help you!
7. Social networking and groups. Why have only a friends list when you can create groups? Form groups based on similar interests (film, music artist, anime, etc.) and share articles with each other.
If you would like to participate in the Pligg fundraising please private message me via the forum with your email address and I’ll send you an invite to the pligg chipin.com fundraiser account where you can donate via paypal or credit card. Any donation is appreciated and I assure you that it all goes toward a worthy cause.
oDesk.com provides a really easy way to hire and manage developers online. The idea is pretty brilliant because it really streamlines the process for finding and hiring developers. The site pre-screens applications before they are able to be hired out from the site, helping guarantee that you don’t get stuck with a total noob. oDesk also keeps a resume online, called Assignment History, that shows the developers previous assignments on oDesk, their skills, quick facts, education and other details.
After you’ve hired your work group you can manage your team through the “My Team” page. From here you can manage each developer and take a look at their work diaries. The work diary keeps tabs on your developers work habits and displays useful information such as screenshots of their desktop every 10 minutes along with webcam screenshots when available and most importantly how many clicks and keystrokes have been made every 10 minutes. This makes sure that your team remains on task and helps you gauge how productive they are. When it comes time to pay for your developers, oDesk bills you once a week and charges your credit card on file for the hours worked by your team. Nothing could be easier.
I suggest that anyone interested should check out this flash tour to learn more about oDesk. Here are some hourly rate examples to give you an idea as to how much developers might cost you.