November 2015 archive

Blue, blue, blue…

It’s all blue, blue, blue!

(and yes, this is a test post! 😉 )

Giving Up On The iPad2


I finally gave up. After months of trying to continue to use my older iPad 2 with first iOS 8 and then iOS 9, as chronicled in several blog posts, I finally gave in and bought a new iPad Air 2. These two blog posts, and the many comments left both on the posts and on social media, show I am clearly NOT alone in wanting to continue using my iPad 2:

What finally did it for me is that after the iOS 9 upgrade, I was no longer able to use a specific application that I use all the time.

To explain a bit more, I coach a competitive girls Junior Curling team that my daughter is a member of. As part of that, I've been using an app call "iCurlStats" to track the actions and statistics in curling games so that we can be able to go back over them afterward. When I tried to use it in a recent curling tournament (a "bonspiel") it kept crashing all the time... and at terrible moments when I'd entered half of an "end" of a curling game.

It was so frustrating.

And unfortunately I discovered that the makers of that "iCurlStats" app seem to have gone out of business. The app is gone from the AppStore and the developer's website is completely gone. (In the little bit of digging it looks like the company may have been acquired by another company who then shut down different parts of the acquired company.)

So the chances of me getting an updated version of the app from the developer that would still work with an iPad 2 running iOS 9 were basically non-existent.

So I gave up. I gave in to the "planned obsolesence" and forked over more money to Apple for a iPad Air 2. This is the latest iPad in this size and so one would hope that Apple will keep it around for a while. Because I have come to heavily use a number of apps that are only on iOS, I'm right now locked into Apple's shiny, pretty walled garden. And I'm reluctantly okay with that because the apps are useful and help me get things done.

But I will also now be VERY CAUTIOUS applying future iOS updates to this iPad.

Had I not "updated" the iPad 2 to iOS 8 and left it running iOS 7 it probably would still be quite workable. (At least until I was forced to upgrade to newer apps that only ran on iOS 9 or later.) Now the iPad 2 will become something I use for an extra web browser screen or for some of the music apps... at least while all of those continue to work.

So that's the end of the saga.

No more glacial slowness for me - the iPad Air 2 is a remarkable and fast tablet. I can chart my curling games extremely easily and it works great for all the other apps I use, too.

Hopefully I can get a good run of years out of this one.

An audio commentary on this topic is also available:

P.S. There's another part to the story, too. After getting all set up on the iPad Air 2 and having iCurlStats work great - and getting all set up for the curling bonspiel all this past weekend... I decided that I wasn't comfortable with using an app that was no longer supported at all. In my research I had stumbled upon Curl Coach, a newer iPad app for curling coaches, and wound up using it for this past weekend's bonspiel. It is an amazing application! It's not cheap ($40 USD), but it's well worth it for how well it helped me work with our team! I don't know if this would have run on the iPad 2 (removing the need to buy the iPad Air 2), but I'm sure it wouldn't have run as fast as it did... and that is key when you're in the midst of recording a game.

TDYR 275 – Finally Giving Up On The iPad 2

I finally gave up on the iPad 2. After trying to keep it usable after making the mistake of upgrading to iOS 8 and then iOS 9, I finally gave in and bought a newer iPad ... more on the story here:

For Immediate Release #10: Responding to terror with cats

Welcome to episode #10 of For Immediate Release. This week’s panel includes Philippe Borremans, an independent communications consultant from Brussels and host of the PR-focused podcast, Wag the Dog; Glenn Gaudet, founder and president of GaggleAMP and host of the podcast, AMP Up Your Social Media; and Donna Papacosta, principal of Trafalgar Communications and co-author of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional.

In this episode, we covered these topics:

  • A follow-up to last week’s discussion of social media and the Paris terrorist attacks, including the Belgian response to a request — and the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown — to avoid sharing pictures of official activity on the streets of Brussels by sharing cat pictures instead; a hashtag that gained traction in Toronto letting worried Muslims that #IllRideWithYou; the use of social media to spread hoaxes, and disinformation. Philippe also discussed his work with the Emergency 2.0 wiki.
  • Google+ has redesigned to load faster and emphasize common interests via Communities and Collections. Is it still a worthwhile investment of time for brands?
  • If engagement is the new metric, how important is it for employees to serve as brand ambassadors in their social networks?
  • Listener comments on the terrorist attacks, Millennial’s desire for training from their employers, and teens struggling to differentiate Google ads from organic results.
  • Dan York’s report on Google+, his search for a WordPress plugin, Google’s streaming of apps, and app indexing for search
  • Podcast advertising as the next big thing for marketers
  • A new trend of companies targeting journalists with paid Facebook ads
  • Insights from the Belgian PR Summit
  • Instagram captions becoming a new tool for blogging
  • A new New York Times feature that lets readers “Follow This Story,” opting in to email updates on a given story

Connect with this week’s panelists at @DonnaPapacosta, @GlennG, and @HoratioNelson.

Links to the source material for this episode are on Delicious.

Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.

Join us next week for our 11th episode. Joining me are three panelists named Chris: Chris Brogan, CEO of Media Group and bestselling author of Trust Agents, among other books; Chris Christensen, host of the Amateur Traveler podcast and CEO of BloggerBridge; and Christine Perkett, CEO of PerkettPR and SeeDepth.

About this week’s panel

philippePhilippe Borremans is a multi-lingual corporate communications professional with more than 20 years experience in both internal and external communications, crisis communications, online reputation management and media relations.  His career started at Porter Novelli in Brussels and continued at IBM for about 10 years. Both functions gave him extensive experience in European Media Relations and Public Relations. A specialist in press relations, issues management and communication campaigns, he is currently an independent communications consultant. Every week beginning in January 2015, Philippe interviews thought leaders and curates PR news on his podcast show, Wag the Dog.

glenngGlenn Gaudet founded and leads GaggleAMP, which helps companies get the most out of their social media efforts with solutions that help amplify and analyze their efforts. He also wrote the book, “Connection, Community & Conversation: Making Social Media Work for Business.” Glenn is passionate about sharing business growth insights with our clients and prospects. One of the ways I do this is through a weekly podcast called AMP Up Your Social Media. He also advise startups on how to bring their products to market, bootstrapping and increasing market influence.

donnapDonna Papacosta is a writer, speaker, podcaster and consultant, operating Trafalgar Communications in Toronto. In addition to leading workshops on social media and communications topics, Donna teaches Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. In 2005 Donna launched Trafcom News, one of the first business podcasts in Canada. Since then she has expanded her expertise in both social media and multimedia, and helps people integrate these tools into their communications. She is the co-author, with Steve Lubetkin, of the recently launched book, The Business of Podcasting, and the author of The Podcast Scripting Book. A dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, Donna holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from New York University and a Certificate in Magazine Journalism from Ryerson University.


The post FIR #10: Responding to terror with cats appeared first on FIR Podcast Network.

Video and Slides Now Available For My AstriCon 2015 Keynote: Open Source and The Global Disruption of Telecom

If you're interested in what I said last month at AstriCon 2015 in my keynote on "Open Source And The Global Disruption of Telecom: What Choices Will We Make?", the video and slides are both available.

As I wrote about previously, the context for this discussion was to talk about the changes that are happening all around us in terms of the ways in which we communicate. Here was the abstract:

There is a battle raging for the global future of telecommunications and the Internet. Taking place in networks, board rooms and legislatures, the battle will determine how we all communicate and what opportunities will exist. Will telecom support innovation? Will it be accessible to all? Will it give us the level of security and privacy we need to have the open, trusted Internet? Or will it be restricted and limited by corporate or government gatekeepers?

The rise of voice-over-IP has fundamentally disrupted the massive global telecommunications industry, infrastructure and policies. Open source software such as Asterisk has been a huge driver of that disruption and innovation.. but now what? What role do platforms such as Asterisk play in this space? And what can be their role in a telecom infrastructure that is now mobile, increasingly embedded (Internet of Things) and more and more using proprietary walled gardens of communication?

How well I delivered on that will be up to you to decide... but I felt good about how it all came out and received many great comments and feedback throughout the rest of the event and afterwards. And, as a speaker I could see from the crowd (about 500-ish people) that they were NOT looking down into their smartphones or laptops... which is always a good sign! ;-)

A key point of what I aimed to do was to bring people up to a higher level to think about how their own actions fit into the broader context of what is happening in the world today.

It was fun to do! And I loved all the questions I was getting after that. My goal was to make people think... and it seemed that at least for some I did.

My part of the video starts after 15 minutes of introductory items (this was the opening of the event), so if you watch in the embedded video below you'll need to move forward to the 15:00 mark. You can also follow this direct link to the start of my segment with an introduction to me from Mark Spencer, the creator of Asterisk.

(And yes, this was the first time I had ever given a presentation wearing a ponytail in the long hair experiment I've been trying this year... I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to keep this style. This may be the first and only presentation you see with me like this.)

Unfortunately, the video only shows me talking on stage and doesn't show the slides I was using... so you don't understand what I'm talking about when I reference the slides.

I've posted the slides to my SlideShare account but as you'll see without the video or audio they aren't of much value. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to present in the very minimalist style I prefer where I only use images or a few words - and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.

However, syncing the slides to the video is not something you'll probably find easy. At some point perhaps I'll create another video showing both my speaking and the slides... but I don't know that it will happen anytime soon.

Meanwhile, here they are...

Some of the links I reference in the presentation include (in the order of their appearance):

If you enjoyed this presentation and would like to have me potentially speak at your event, please do contact me. I've been speaking for many years and very much enjoy giving these kind of presentations at all types of events.

TDYR 274 – Beginning a Weekend of Curling at a Broomstones Bonspiel

TDYR 274 - Beginning a Weekend of Curling at a Broomstones Bonspiel by Dan York

TechTarget Sheds Light On DNSSEC, CAs and Government Spying / Control

TechTarget article about DNSSEC

Over on TechTarget, Michael Heller wrote this week about some of the criticisms around DNSSEC and how some of them may be rooted in misunderstandings of what DNSSEC is all about.  His article is:

I’m admittedly NOT a fan of title TechTarget gave the piece – it’s got that negative slant along the lines of “well, at least DNSSEC isn’t as bad as CAs” – but putting the title aside I thought it was quite a good article.  Michael Heller starts out quoting John Levine about TLS certificates, which is what we know of in the technical realm as the DANE protocol.

He then went on to quote me more extensively than I expected … and I’m  quite pleased overall with what he did.  Particularly that he led with what I’ve been saying endlessly in presentations and articles for years now:

DNSSEC does one thing and one thing only: It protects the integrity of the information stored in DNS. DNSSEC ensures that the information for a domain name that you get out of DNS is the same information that the operator of that domain name put into DNS.

Every time someone on Twitter or Hacker News gets excited about how DNSSEC doesn’t protect the confidentiality of DNS information I always go back – that’s not the point!

As Heller writes later in the article, the work of the DPRIVE Working Group inside IETF is aiming to work on part of the confidentiality of DNS queries.

The other point I was pleased to see was that he addressed the issue of government control of top-level domains (TLDs).  Some critics of DNSSEC continue to maintain that using DNSSEC is giving over control to governments.  My point was that it depends upon what TLD you are talking about. Certainly some country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) are controlled by governments and so a government could in fact change your DNS information … but that can happen regardless of DNSSEC.   (The case of and the Syrian .SY TLD is an interesting example of challenges with ccTLDs.)

So… if you are concerned about this… well… don’t use one of those TLDs!

Stick with one of the TLDs where you know who the entity behind it is.

He also did cover what I do think is an important point about DNSSEC:

“Historically, DNS servers have often been boxes that network administrators set up and then generally ignored, as they’ve just been off running. Adding DNSSEC requires that some additional care must be given to the DNS servers,” York said.

This is very true. DNS servers often are just started up and then ignored. With DNSSEC you do have to be aware of them and plan for regular changing of the keys, ensuring the server times are in sync, etc.  It’s not necessarily a great amount of work… but you do have to pay attention to DNS servers.

I was also pleased that he captured the point at the end that DNSSEC evolves.  We’ve just recently seen that evolution with CloudFlare rolling out their DNSSEC services on a massive scale using the newer ECDSA elliptic curve encryption algorithm that is more secure cryptographically than RSA algorithms and has a smaller packet size.    We also see the evolution with the proposed Internet-Draft about using Ed25519 elliptic curve algorithms.  Yes, getting these changes deployed out into the field will take time, as resolvers and DNS servers all need to be changed to support them, along with user interfaces and more.

The point, though, is that DNSSEC is not a fixed and static technology. It can – and will evolve as security concerns change.

It’s good to see this piece out there and I do hope it encourages more people to look into how they can get started with DNSSEC.

Speaking of that… if you want to get started with DNSSEC please visit our Start Here page to find resources tailored to your type of organization!

WordPress Now Powers 25% of Top 10 Million Websites

W3techs wordpress 25percent

Fascinating news out of W3Techs earlier this month that WordPress now powers over 25% of the Alexa top 10 million websites. The next closest content management systems (CMS) are Joomla at 2.8% and Drupal at 2.1%.

The full stats are found here:

And a quick view of the top of the chart shows more data:

W3techs cms nov2015

Note the very top line - and this one is extremely important:

57.2% of the top 10 million sites do NOT use an identifiable CMS.

Either those sites use custom software or somehow strip off identification so that the tools W3Techs uses cannot detect the type of CMS that is being used by that site.

This leaves 42.8% of the top 10 million websites that DO use a CMS.

If you look at the chart:

  • the grey bars indicate the CMS' percentage across all Alexa 10 million sites
  • the green bars indicate the CMS' percentage within sites that use a CMS

So the net is:

  • 25.1% of the top 10 million sites use WordPress
  • Of the 42.8% of sites that use a CMS, 58.7% of those use WordPress

And of course all of this data is only on the Alexa Top 10 million sites. There are then millions more sites using various CMS' - and some % of those will be using WordPress.

Still, the Alexa Top 10 million is one set to use - and W3Techs has now been doing these measurements for years.

One interesting note out of the W3CTechs blog post about this milestone is what happens when you move from looking at the Top 10 million to the Top 1000:

When we split up all websites by traffic level, we see that WordPress is leading at all levels, but the market share among the top 1000 sites is significantly lower at 30.3%. Drupal (19.7%) and Adobe Experience Manager (11.8%) are the other dominant systems in that section. Note, however, that using a standard CMS is not very common among the top 1000 sites, more than 90% of them are custom developments.

The article also has some interesting stats on usage by language. It also has this note:

WordPress is not only the most popular CMS, it is also the fastest growing system: every 74 seconds a site within the top 10 million starts using WordPress. Compare this with Shopify, the second-fastest growing CMS, which is gaining a new site every 22 minutes.

WordPress' Matt Mullenweg chimed in with a post "Seventy-Five to Go" noting that the goal now was much of that remaining 75%, particularly the 57% who do not use any CMS right now.

He may be on to something there. If you look over at W3Techs historical yearly trends in CMS usage, you can see the rise of WordPress, but also the decline of "None" from 76.4% in 2011 to 57.2% most recently:

W3techs trends

So does all this mean that you should ditch your other CMS' and move to WordPress? Or that you should use WordPress for your next project?

Not necessarily.

I'm a firm believer that you need to use the right tool for the right job and the choice of CMS can depend upon many factors related to your individual site and needs. And while I use WordPress as the CMS for almost all of my newer sites, I also use other platforms for other sites.

And... from a security point of view, I do like a diversity of different systems out there - and I like the fact that there is competition and choice among open source CMS'.

However, the report certainly shows the robust and continued growth in the WordPress platform and the strength of the overall WordPress ecosystem. And it bodes well for the future of WordPress.

Congratulations to the team at Automattic and all the MANY people contributing as part of the much broader WordPress ecosystem!

P.S. I first heard about this statistic on the WordPress Weekly podcast epidode 212. If you are interested in WordPress, I find this podcast useful.

P.P.S. There's an irony, of course, that I'm writing this on a blog hosted on TypePad... I keep thinking that some year I'll move it to WordPress, but the effort involved is huge...

Is There A WordPress Plugin That Adds Easy "Sign A Petition" Support?


Has anyone found a great plugin for WordPress that adds the easy ability for visitors to a site to "sign" a statement or position and have their name appear? If so, could you please share the info?

Here's what's going for me - I operate a site,, where there are multiple public statements published relating to Internet governance. We are actively seeking more signers/endorsements for both... and my process of adding people to the list of signatories is cumbersome and inefficient.

My Current Inefficient Process

Here's the process I go through when someone signs the recent Joint Statement on WSIS+10:

  1. The person submits the signing form with their info.
  2. I receive an email with the person's information.
  3. I open up the WordPress admin interface and navigate to the TablePress page.
  4. I open up the appropriate table (organizations or individuals) for editing.
  5. I manually copy and paste the info from the email into the TablePress table.
  6. I save the table.
  7. The name now appears on the list of signatories.
The whole copy/paste thing is what kills me.

The Process I Would Like To Have

Here's how I'd like it to go:

  1. The person submits the signing form with their info.
  2. I receive an email telling me there is a new signatory to moderate.
  3. I open up the WordPress admin interface and navigate to the TablePress page.
  4. I click a link in the email that brings me to the appropriate tab in the WordPress admin interface.
  5. I click on an "Approve" link in that admin window.
  6. The name now appears on the list of signatories.

Essentially what I'm looking for is something like the regular moderate Comments interface... only when I approve the submission it shows up in a table instead of as a comment to the page or post.

And I want it to be customizable in terms of what fields I use. These particular statements have the fields they do, but for the next time I do this I may want different fields.

My Search So Far

I searched through the WordPress plugin directory using the keyword "petition" but most of the plugins I found use external services.

I don't want that. I want a petition/statement page running on my own site without any dependencies on external services.

The YAWPP (Yet Another WordPress Petition) plugin looks interesting... but I'm concerned that it hasn't been updated in 2 years. That's a long time in the world of WordPress... and support requests don't seem to be being answered.

I've tried other search terms and I've done some brief searching of commercial plugins, too, and haven't yet found anything. I also thought that perhaps I need to look at something where people are signing up for an "event"... that then shows the list of people who have signed up. Perhaps some kind of event/meeting plugin could be repurposed this way.

And yes, I could probably kludge this together in some way by hacking away on a customized WordPress theme or something like that... but I don't have the time or interest in doing that.


Either free/open source or commercial... I'm interested in either.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!


A Bonus Question - Logos?

You'll see at the bottom of the submission form that I say that organizations should send their logo to me via email. What I ideally want to do is have a third column on the Organizations table where I can display a standard size thumbnail of the logos of the various organizations.

Ideally I'd love it if the form interface could allow someone to upload a logo which, again, could just be approved as part of the moderation process.

But that's the ideal world... right now I'd take just getting the names in there so that I can avoid the whole copy/paste in email thing. :-)

Speaking of that, a bunch of signatories came in overnight... time to go do some copy/pasting...

For Immediate Release #9: Media Relations? There’s An App For That

Welcome to episode #9 of For Immediate Release. This week’s panel includes Nora Ganim-Barnes, who leads the annual research into social media use among the Fortune and Inc. 500 for the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications in New York; and Ron Ploof, former head of social media for Epson, the podcaster behind Griddlecakes Radio, and creator of the StoryHow Pitch Deck.

On the show this week, we shared our views on the following topics:

  • The good and bad of social media in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris
  • The decline of blogging among the Fortune 500, and the adoption of as a business social media channel
  • The kinds of things PR practitioners need to know in order to thrive in today’s digital/online environment
  • How the University of Missouri handled protests and the resignations of its president and chancellor
  • UPitch, the new app touted as “Tindr for media relations” — will journalists use it?
  • A new report shows the financial impact on publishers of ad-blocking software
  • How readers reacted to The New York Times’ distribution of Google Cardboard Virtual Reality kits, and the VR native ads that accompanied the Times’ VR story on children refugees
  • Starbucks’ strategy of staying virtually silent in the wake of a controversy over its 2015 holiday-themed cups
  • Dan York’s report

Connect with this week’s panelists at @NoraBarnes@PeterHimler, and @RonPloof.

Links to the source material for this episode are on Delicious.

Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.

Join us next week for our 10th episode. Joining me on the panel will be PR educator and consultant Barbara Nixon, GaggleAMP founder and president Glenn Gaudet, and social media and PR consultant and trainer Philippe Borremans.

About this week’s panel

norabarnesDr. Nora Ganim Barnes earned a Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior from the University of Connecticut and is a Chancellor Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. As Director of the Center for Marketing Research, Nora has provided services in brand and product development, research, promotion, and commercial television production to hundreds of clients. The Center serves as the primary link between the University and businesses in the region. Prominent members of the business community sit on the Center’s Advisory Board and interact with students through the projects conducted under her supervision. Nora has published over 125 articles in academic and professional journals and proceedings, and has contributed chapters to books. In addition she has supervised the writing of approximately 200 business monographs. She is a frequent presenter, session chair and track chair at academic conferences and sits on the review boards of the Health Marketing Quarterly, the Journal of Professional Services Marketing, and the Journal of Marketing Management.

peter himler 300Peter Himler  is a veteran agency executive who has led the media practices at some of the more esteemed global firms including Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe and Hill & Knowlton. He left the big agency world ten years ago to form Flatiron Communications LLC to help established and emerging companies capitalize on the latest technologies and strategies taking hold in the communications industries. Today, Peter comfortably straddles the worlds of traditional PR, content marketing and digital communications, frequently lecturing and writing about the two on his blog and for He also owns and edits a publication on Medium called “Adventures in Consumer Technology,” which now has 32,000 followers. He maintains an active engagement in the social media graph, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Quora, LinkedIn, Instagram, RebelMouse, and (far) too many others. He serves as president of the Publicity Club of New York and has advised Social Media Week and the Center for Communication. He sits on the Board of Advisors of the Communications & Media Studies Program at Tufts University, from which he holds a BA in Political Science and French.

ron ploofRon Ploof is a 25-year veteran of the high-tech electronics industry. His interest in social media began in 2005 when he launched one of the world’s first indie storytelling podcasts called, Griddlecakes Radio: Exploring the Lost Art of Audio Storytelling. He co-founded a social media consulting firm in 2008 and was the manager of social media for Epson America from 2012 to 2015. But his first love has always been to use storytelling as a communications vehicle. He’s produced an audio book about the American Revolution and written a job-skills book as a novel. His most recent project, The StoryHow™ PitchDeck, is a deck of playing cards that helps business people convert their ideas, messages, and presentations into memorable narratives.

The post FIR #9: Media Relations? There’s An App For That appeared first on FIR Podcast Network.