WordPress 2.5.1 Just Released – Bug Fixes, Features and Updates

Out of the 3 blogs that I manage, 1of the 3 showed a note atop the admin section that WordPress had an update available. The other 2 didn’t show anything, however, they did all have a note in the WordPress Development Blog section of the dashboard that the download was available but hadn’t been made public yet.

Version 2.5.1 of WordPress is now available. It includes a number of bug fixes, performance enhancements, and one very important security fix. We recommend everyone update immediately, particularly if your blog has open registration. The vulnerability is not public but it will be shortly. In addition to the security fix, 2.5.1 contains many bug fixes.

Get your copy now! Click here to download WordPress 2.5.1

Google Finance New Look – Google Releases a New Look for Google Finance

Google has done it again. They’ve found a way to incorporate more information into the same space as before. The new Google Finance homepage now puts an emphasis on news stories, giving you the option to see news for the entire market, news for your portfolio, and videos related to market news. All this while still displaying your portfolio(s), market summary, sector summary, trends and recent quotes. All in all the new Google Finance homepage is wealth of information at your fingertips.

New Celebrity Gossip Blog – From Am I A Celebrity?

My good friends at Am I A Celebrity?, the website for celebrity look alikes, have just released a new blog that has in turn announced that a new version of the Am I A Celebrity website is in the works. The newly released Am I A Celebrity? Blog appears to be another celebrity gossip blog, that will surely offend and mock our beloved celebrities.

Marine Travelift Boat Handling Equipment

Marine Travelift has been in business for over 40 years and is one of the worlds premier manufacturers of boat handling equipment, such as boat hoists and boat transporters. The Travelift boat hoists have a capacity of 15 tons all the way up to 1,000+ tons… that should definitely be enough to handle the job for the average weekender.

Pinging Google Blog Search – Is Google the New Standard for Blog Search

With the release of WordPress 2.5, the new administration dashboard displays incoming blog links by querying Google Blog Search rather than Technorati as it had in the past. Does this mean that Google Blog Search will become the new standard for bloggers and networking blogs? Or is it simply because Google has the best search options on earth and the WordPress creators feel that Google will do a better job of displaying all links to a blog than Technorati ever could. Either way, I’m happy to see the new WordPress using Google Blog Search rather than Technorati. I have a Technorati account, but I never really spent the time to familiarize myself with it.

Any thoughts on Google Blog Search vs. Technorati in terms of incoming blog link listings?

PS – If you’d like to add Google Blog Search to your list of sites to ping in your WordPress system, simply:

  1. Log into your WordPress admin area
  2. Click on “Settings”
  3. Click on “Writing”
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and add http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 to a new line
  5. Save changes and enjoy the extra traffic 😉

Testing New Adsense Placement to Compare and Increase Click Through Rate (CTR)

If you’ve visited this site before, you may or may not have noticed ad placements in the right-hand side bar. Over time, I’ve experimented with 160×600 skyscrapers (from both Google Adsense and from other 3rd party advertisers) and I’ve also tried placing a leading 336×280 large rectangle atop the right-hand sidebar with limited success. Both the skyscraper and the large rectangle had a low click thru rate when placed in the sidebar, typically under 1%. Thought the CTR was under 1%, the placement did usually have a decent eCPM, coming in at $1.35. As a secondary placement, I didn’t ever expect too much from my sidebar advertisements, so I’d be happy with anything over $1 eCPM.

Now, I’ve decided to replace my right-hand sidebar advertisements with a 728×90 leaderboard advertisement just under the header on my site, and above the main content. In order to keep this new placement active, I’ll be looking for 2 things:

  1. I’d like to see the CTR increase by at least 50%.
  2. I’d like to see the eCPM increase by at least 75-100%.

You’re probably thinking that a 50% increase in CTR is a big leap, which it may be, but I’m not willing to compromise losing visitors, pageviews, and potentially subscriptions for less than a 50% increase in CTR. I’d also like to see a large increase in the eCPM numbers, again for the same reason – I’m not willing to lose visitors to low paying advertisers, I’d rather retain the traffic on my site, and try to gain a subscriber in the process.

How long do I plan on testing this new placement? I’ll probably give the new placement about a month or so, thought I’ll definitely be reviewing it toward the end of each week from here on out. I’ll keep updates on the placements successes and failures, and I’d love to hear from anyone who has attempted similar changes on their blog.

ATA Airlines Bankruptcy – ATA Flight Refunds, Get Your Money Back

If you paid for your flight by cash, check or money order you are unfortunately pretty much out of luck. I say pretty much out of luck, because you can write a letter and submit a claim to bankruptcy court and request the price of your ticket back. This will not only take a very long time to complete, but it will also not even guarantee you the full price of your ticket.

If you purchased your ticket by credit card, you’re sitting in a much better position. You can contact your credit card company and request a refund or contest the charge by doing the following:

  • Call your credit card company and find out what information they need from you in order to contest the charge
  • Indicate the price of your ticket and the date of purchase
  • State that ATA is in bankruptcy and that you will not receive the services that you paid for
  • Most importantly, state that you are requesting a credit according to the Fair Credit Billing Act

The only catch in this case is that you must submit a request within 60 days of the date of billing, so if you purchased your ticket for a Hawaiian vacation 6 months ago, you too, may be out of luck.

Here’s another way to get a refund or to get your money back on an ATA cancellation.

Best of luck to all of you who happened to have flights booked with ATA.

Northwest Airlines Will Honor ATA Tickets for Flights – ATA Ticket Refund

In a statement released earlier today:

Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) announced today it is offering ATA customers and employees a stand-by or confirmed option for travel to or from Hawaii and to or from Cancun following ATA reporting it has ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. The offers are valid between today and May 3, 2008.

The stand-by option allows ATA’s passengers and employees to fly stand-by on Northwest flights for a $100 fee per segment. ATA passengers go to a Northwest Airlines ticket counter where they will be placed on Northwest’s standby list. The $100 fee will be collected if they are boarded on a Northwest flight.

The confirmed option is available only by calling Northwest Reservations (1-800-225-2525). It will allow ATA passengers and employees booked for an ATA flight that will not operate to be confirmed on a Northwest flight for a fee of $200 per flight segment, each way. These special fares are applicable to Northwest non-stop flights operating to or from Hawaii and to or from Cancun only subject to availability.
In addition, customers holding tickets for travel including connections between Northwest and ATA flights can be accommodated on Northwest flights to or from Hawaii and to or from Cancun in the same class of service without additional charge.

Northwest Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,400 daily departures. Northwest is a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks. Northwest and its travel partners serve more than 1,000 cities in excess of 160 countries on six continents.

Unfortunately customers will be unable to get a direct refund for their tickets purchased for ATA flights, however, customers have been urged to contact their credit card companies to request refunds on ATA flights.