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Support Hours and Updates


In the coming week, the Support crew (seen among the lovely faces here) will be meeting in London to brainstorm new ways of providing you with the resources you need. While us Happiness Engineers are putting our heads together to churn out some big ideas, we’ll be closing our email support system.

Support will be unavailable from 10 a.m. EST on Friday, August 28 to 4 a.m. EST on Monday, September 7.

Of course, our team will still be monitoring servers and services while we’re out to keep you blogging smoothly and safely. In the meantime, we encourage you to read through the Support pages and make use of the forums, which are full of helpful users like you.


August 26, 2009 | 4:08 AM Comments  {num} comments

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New Theme: Sandbox 1.6.1


Sandbox 1.6.1 is now available to all WordPress.com blogs.

Alongside Sandbox 1.6.1 you’ll also find the older Sandbox versions. We’ve left them intact. If you’ve been using them, don’t worry, they haven’t changed. However, we do urge you to check out 1.6.1.

Sandbox is a skeleton theme for WordPress. Though you can use it by itself, it’s mainly intended for dressing up with a custom Custom CSS Stylesheet upgrade. Sandbox provides all the HTML markup, with a rich semantic structure, and all sorts of microformats and standards built in. You provide the stylesheet, which controls the appearance: layout, colors, fonts and so forth.

If you’re using an older version of Sandbox and are unsure whether Sandbox 1.6.1 is a good upgrade, or whether Sandbox 1.6.1 will work with your current custom stylesheet, here’s how you can try it out:

  1. Visit Appearance/Themes then find Sandbox 1.6.1.
  2. Click Preview.
  3. If all looks good, activate the theme.

We hope you enjoy this great update to a very powerful and popular theme!


August 20, 2009 | 2:08 AM Comments  {num} comments

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WP.me — shorten your links


shortlink

Check out this address:

http://wp.me/sf2B5-shorten

If you visit it, you’ll end up right back here. The nice thing about it is that it’s a short link, about  70% smaller than the permalink for this post. URL shorteners are nothing new, Tiny URL has been around for 100 years, but WP.me is different in a few ways.

  • WP.me is the only two-letter .me domain in the world.
  • Every blog and post on WordPress.com has a WP.me URL now.
  • These are all exposed in the <head> using rel=shortlink.
  • It doesn’t work for any URL in the world, just WP.com-hosted ones.
  • The links are permanent, they will work as long as WordPress.com is around.
  • WP.me is spam-free, because we are constantly monitoring and removing spam from WP.com.

I think a few of these points are worth following up on. While URL shorteners have had some incredible usage tied to the growth (and constraints) of Twitter, I question their sustainability as a business. This point was underscored a few days ago when a popular one, tr.im, announced they were going to shut down at the end of the year.

Their story had a happy ending in that someone came in and saved them, but it was hard not to think of what would have happened if all their links stopped redirecting one day: part of the web would go dark. I also worry that because shorteners are essentially open proxies of HTTP they’ll be exploited by spammers and malware distributors to the point where businesses, anti-phishing, and anti-virus services will be forced to block them.

WordPress links have the structure they do, which is longer, because they’re meant to be permanent and portable. (And of course friendly to search engines.) Even if you weren’t using WordPress, the links contain no arbitrary IDs or other platform-specific implementation cruft so they should be trivial to serve from any system, even if you don’t use WordPress in the future. But if all the links to you use a shorter version, that sort of defeats the point!

But as Dave Winer articulated, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a shortener ourselves, and here we are. :) People are already using it.

How can you use it?

There is now a “Get Shortlink” button next to your permalink when you edit or write a post, and when you click it you’ll get a popup with the beautiful link already highlighted for your copy and pasting pleasure.

If you’re logged in you can also get the shortlink for any page on WordPress.com, there’s a link under the “Blog Info” menu in your admin bar.

Our thanks also go out to our friends at GoDaddy and in Montenegro for help with the domain.


August 14, 2009 | 2:08 AM Comments  {num} comments

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SoundCloud


We are big fans of SoundCloud, a really useful service that is part Flickr for music, part professional music collaboration hub. Artists such as Beck, Moby and Sonic Youth now use the service to distribute tracks through their blogs and connect with their fans.

We’ve received many requests from WordPress.com bloggers that they would like us to work with SoundCloud to enable this service, and today we have some good news for you! You can now easily embed the SoundCloud player on your WordPress.com blog.

To embed SoundCloud groups or member track playlists or a single track in your blog, explore the SoundCloud website or use the search feature to find a sound that you like.

Once you’ve located a song that you want to embed, copy the URL of that song from your browser’s address bar to your clipboard or click on the “Share” icon and locate the “WordPress” button:

soundcloud

soundcloud-2

Your shortcode should now look similar to this this:

[soundcloud url="http://soundcloud.com/meat-katie/meat-katie-vs-friends-of-mine-are-you-looking"]

You can then paste this code into your post, and it will display the player::

You can also customize the player size, embed sets and groups, and decide if you want comments within the player turned on or off. For details check out the documentation in our support area.

For those of you on a self-hosted WordPress blog, be sure to grab the SoundCloud Shortcode plugin.


August 13, 2009 | 12:08 PM Comments  {num} comments

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New Theme: iNove


iNove by mg12 is one of the top themes used for self-hosted WordPress blogs, and a commonly requested addition to our offerings here on WordPress.com. We’re always doing what we can to bring you the cool new stuff you want, so now you’ve got it, too! iNove for WordPress.com:

inove

Some handy features of this theme:

  • Display pages or categories in the menu below your header.
  • Display your page hierarchy in your menu on hover.
  • Options to show a notice, banner, and special showcase widget to registered users, visitors, or commentators. You control your message.
  • The ability to hide and show authors, categories, and tags on posts.
  • Remove your sidebar with a single click.

You’ll find all of these settings under Appearance > Current Theme Options in your dashboard after you’ve activated iNove.

To do that, go to Appearance > Themes in your dashboard, find iNove (they’re in alpha order), and click Preview to see how it will look on your blog. If you dig it, click Activate and it’s yours.

This one not quite for you? Keep an eye on the news blog for more themes, coming soon :)


August 13, 2009 | 7:08 AM Comments  {num} comments

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