Dec 14

Punchtab Retires Giveaway Widget: Alternatives For You

Punchtab announced last week that the were retiring their giveaway platform and they announced it was happening very soon, by January 2015 if you were using Punchtab to host your giveaways you won’t be able to and their email mentioned for readers to go to Rafflecopter even offering a 1 month free trial as a recommendation.

I like Rafflecopter and have used them for about a year in the earlier years but found other platforms to be viable as well, PromoSimple for example was a great giveaway platform for bloggers (I say was, but they do not offer a free plan anymore and their $15 per month plan does not include the refer-a-friend option which makes them too expensive for the smaller bloggers and lacking some of the best features at lower priced plans.  Rafflecopter as well can be expensive for bloggers and has no analytics at the lower price or free tier plans and limited options available.

Gleam.io is still the only remaining giveaway platform that provides the most options for a free no-cost plan and this includes the reporting, refer-a-friend and more, in fact Gleam.io which I use for all my DragonBlogger giveaways now offers the following in it’s free plan.

INCLUDES
  • Gleam Branding
  • Unlimited Competitions
  • Unlimited Entries
  • Automatic Verified Entries
  • Automated Fraud Detection
  • All Entry Options Except Email Signup
  • Search Entries & Users
  • Viral Entry Types
  • Bit.ly API Integration
  • Embed Anywhere
  • Facebook Tab Installation
  • Facebook Mobile Smart Links
  • Real-time Analytics
  • CSV Export
  • Random Winner Draw
  • Display Winners in Widget

Gleam offers all of this for free, but even if you didn’t use the free plan I find Gleam has better options for those who need YouTube integration as well as Twitch.tv or Soundcloud entry options especially.  Therefore if you need to switch giveaway platforms, go ahead and check out Rafflecopter but then compare to Gleam giveaway platform and then let me know what you think of the two and if you agree with my assessment that Gleam is a better platform for those who can’t afford any giveaway plan, but also better for all but the most expensive tiers and even then Gleam holds it’s own and is better in many ways.  The only thing PromoSimple could do better was easier and better real time analytics and reporting than Gleam but it did not justify the price for a technology and giveaway blog, it may for a huge brand or business.

Join Gleam for free and test out their platform, then let me know what you think.  Have questions, I have been using Gleam for a long time and I can answer just about any question.

Dec 06

What Do Your Kids Want this Christmas?

So as I handled my kids wish lists this year I noticed that there is still a big trend to wanting Nerf guns and accessories as playing war at the playground or outside with foam bullets still is a favorite past time and I think the N-Strike and Nerf Zombies related themes just continue to generate buzz and interest from kids who love just playing Nerf wars.

My youngest pretty much went gung-ho for Skylanders Trap-Force which was no surprise as he 90% of his list is the game and figures for it, he was not overly enthused with Disney Infinity and quickly grew annoyed that he couldn’t use his favorite characters that were Non-Marvel in the Marvel story missions, the community content was shoddy and meh and his eight year old brain just didn’t have the patience to develop a complicated free play zone other than merely dropping some scenery and enemies it grew boring fairly quickly for him.  Ironic since he can spend 6 hours building crap in Minecraft creating complex houses, worlds and things but the tools and Disney Infinity creative story box mode just didn’t grab him the same way Minecraft does.

My oldest who is 11 still wants a better gaming headset particularly one with better microphone quality and was hoping for a nice Turtlebeach headset, of course he wants a new gaming laptop too and keeps wanting an Alienware.

So what are your kids wanting for Christmas this year, what toys, games, gadgets are the most desired and what are you going to splurge or get them?

 

Nov 26

4 Year Old WordPress Comment Security Bug

In a recent article on Ars Technica, they disclosed the 4 year old WordPress Security bug in the commenting system, this flaw would allow malicious hackers or attackers to leverage XSS or cross site scripting and could potentially gain operating system level access on the server.  The lesson here is that this affects WordPress 3.x and earlier versions of the WordPress platform, WordPress which is on 4.0.1 right now is not affected and subject to this vulnerability so this would be another good reason to make sure you are updating to the latest major versions and hotfixes of WordPress as soon as you can to avoid keeping your site exposed to vulnerabilities.

The other thing to note is that Incapsula Cloud Security service which is free for small sites is also capable of providing protection against this vulnerability as it would prevent any of those attempted script injections from even hitting your WordPress blog site.

I have used Incapsula to protect my blogs for a while, and while I am running the latest WordPress, it adds that extra piece of mind and security should a new vulnerability be discovered with WordPress, as long as it was XSS related, Incapsula would likely take care of it and help insulate my site.  Heck, you can see just in the past 7 days for my site, that 262 bad bots were blocked, 89 illegal access attempts, 24 remote file inclusions, 3 sql injection attempts and 9 cross site scripting attempts were made against DragonBlogger.com.  This is a site that gets about 30000 visits per month and it gets this many attacks per week, just imagine how many attacks your site is getting, any site even small one are compromised all the time.

You need to secure your site, and honestly Incapsula is free and wraps around your site protecting it from a cloud so that the attacks/attempts never even reach your web server, this is the advantage of using a cloud security service instead of simply a WordPress plugin because a plugin is churning up system resources on your web hosting provider and the plugin itself may have a vulnerability or some risk, keep the security off the site itself doing the work so that attempts never make it to the server in the first place with Incapsula.

Source Article for Reference http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/11/four-year-old-comment-security-bug-affects-86-percent-of-wordpress-sites/ that inspired this article.

Nov 24

Chrome 64 Bit Causing BSOD

Well it would seem that my random Blue Screen of Death errors around Critical Failures were indeed caused by the Chrome 64bit web browser as after uninstalling and putting 32bit Chrome back my system has stabilized.  For days my computer had been rebooting randomly and I had done everything I could to figure out if it were a driver issue or power failure, one common element was that Chrome was open every time and left open overnight when I found my computer rebooted the next morning.

So I removed all Chrome extensions but that didn’t solve the trick, I don’t know why Chrome 64bit just started crashing my computer, but it was no big deal to go back to Chrome 32bit.

I also ran Memtest and other utilities to make sure there was no RAM issue in the 64 bit address space, but no other errors were found.

 

 

Nov 17

Disney Infinity 2.0 Needs More Official Adventure Modules

Disney Infinity 2.0 is shaping up to be incredible and we bought the playset game for my son for his 8th birthday earlier this month in addition to some extra characters like Groot and Rocket Racoon.  The only problem was after the release of Big Hero 6 my son was desperate to have Baymax for Disney Infinity 2.0 and he was released, well his Grandma had given him some birthday cash and he bought both Hiro and Baymax with it.

Herein lies the problem, the characters are for Toybox mode only and are incompatible with any of the story modules or adventure packs released for Disney Infinity 2.0 thus far, so my son can’t play his favorite character on any of the Marvel Mission packs which are limited to Marvel action heroes only.  And while he does play the Toybox mode creating his own street scapes and dropping baddies everywhere and we have tried downloading a variety of community content which all has issues of one form or another, mostly with character angles and not being designed well for flying characters it leaves him unable to truly feel like Baymax can play an adventure that is high quality and designed by the company.

I think Disney really needs to ramp up and release DLC content adventures for Disney Infinity 2.0 even if they are $1.99 or $2.99 per week you can get a solid 10 hours of play time per adventure module that supports all of the characters, or even chapters that follow stories/adventures from the movies this would be something totally worth it.  So at this time, we are stuck waiting for more official content or some better community content to be released that will allow him to play Baymax or Hiro on some official adventures and stories.

So far I will say that Disney Infinity has Infinite potential but Disney needs to ramp up official adventures and story quests not just action figures as there is too small an audience creating community content.

 

 

 

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