Monthly blogging scoop June 13

Monthly Blogging Scoop: Project Loon, WordPress Security Update, Google Reader Alternatives

June 2013 Monthly  Blogging Scoop deals with the important WordPress Security Update 3.5.2, Google Reader alternatives and a very cool project called Project Loon.

I’ll start this monthly blogging scoop with news that really fascinated me and captured my imagination, namely Project Loon.

Project Loon: Balloons To Expand Global Internet Access

Google has introduced Project Loon, an exciting technological adventure, to bring internet to all people, irrespective of their location. Currently, two thirds of the population cannot access the web at all.



To give everyone access to the internet, Google came up with an exceptional idea. Instead of setting up hugely expensive giant satellite receivers to deliver internet access, they are exploring the possibility to deliver internet access via a system of balloons. Of course, these are not your typical birthday balloons, they are quite giant ones.

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth. Google – loon

How Does The Project Loon Work

Project Loon balloons travel around 20 km above the Earth’s surface in the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are generally steady and slow-moving at between 5 and 20 mph, and each layer of wind varies in direction and magnitude. Project Loon uses software algorithms to determine where its balloons need to go, then moves each one into a layer of wind blowing in the right direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network. Source



Where Is Project Loon Going To Start

The Project Loon pilot test begins June 2013 on the 40th parallel south. Thirty balloons, launched from New Zealand’s South Island, will beam Internet to a small group of pilot testers. The experience of these pilot testers will be used to refine the technology and shape the next phase of Project Loon. Source

What an interesting idea! It is going to take a lot of money to carry out. But Google, a multibillion dollar company, can afford it (seemingly). As well, since the whole system is powered by solar panels, it is much less expensive to run than putting a satellite into orbit.

For Google this is a great investment. Currently Google searches are over 5 billion per day. Giving all people access to the internet Google searches would rise exponentially and so would their earnings.


WordPress Security Alert: Update 3.5.2

WordPress released a very important blog security update on June 21st, 2013. The version is 3.5.2., and it was the second maintenance release 3.5 . It fixed 12 bugs. According to WordPress:

This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately

The security fixes included:

  • Blocking server-side request forgery attacks, which could potentially enable an attacker to gain access to a site.
  • Disallow contributors from improperly publishing posts or reassigning the post’s authorship
  • An update to the SWFUpload external library to fix cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.
  • Prevention of a denial of service attack, affecting sites using password-protected posts.
  • An update to an external TinyMCE library to fix a cross-site scripting vulnerability.
  • Multiple fixes for cross-site scripting.
  • Avoid disclosing a full file path when a upload fails.

Source: WordPress Security and Maintenace

It is really important that you update your WordPress blog ASAP. Please make sure that you let everyone who uses WordPress know about this important update.

Google Reader Alternatives

Google Reader has closed it’s doors on July 1st. Although this event should really make July’s Monthly Blogging Scoop I thought it is important to have the Google reader alternatives now.

Ana Hoffman published amazing slides on Slideshare, that show the various reader alternatives you can use.


As well, published a table of alternatives (see below). You can have a quick look at those and see if any of them will suit your purpose.
Google Reader Alternatives

Barry Schwartz, the author of the Chart above, is a heavy RSS feeds user and he found that Feedly adapted its user interface to resemble Google reader. Feedly is his Reader of choice.

Now, I know that the list may be a bit late for some of you, but if you are looking to set up an RSS reader you have plenty of choice here.

This concludes the Monthly Blogging Scoop for June 2013. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave some feedback in comments.


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11 Responses to Monthly Blogging Scoop: Project Loon, WordPress Security Update, Google Reader Alternatives

  1. Peter R. July 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank ypu for GoogleReader alternatives. I was interesting in this.
    Great post. 🙂

  2. Adrienne July 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Great shares Dita!

    I’d heard talk about Project Loon so this will be interesting. I’d love to see how they control those things in hurricanes or tornadoes. I’d love it if they could provide much cheaper internet for everyone, I’d sign up in a heart beat seeing how I’ve been without for the past few days. I’m with a very well known provider too but their service is horrible.

    I waited a few days before upgrading to WordPress but I know several people who upgraded and had major issues with their blogs. I really hate that when that happens for some so they had to restore their blogs from a few days back and wait a little longer until the kinks were all out. I never updated immediately because of that.

    I finally moved over to Feedly. Just wanted to wait and see all of everyone’s findings before deciding who will be my next reader. So far I’m loving it so I’m not missing Google Reader after all.

    Appreciate the post and shares Dita and have a wonderful week.


    • Dita Irvine July 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      Hi Adrienne,

      I must say that I also had my share of problems with the new WP upgrade. It all seems to be resolved but I wish they would test the new updates before they push them on us. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because it is a free service but…

      I too look forward seeing the Project Loon come to fruition. You raise some interesting points with respect to hurricanes and other weather issues. It will be interesting to see. (I doubt that they are going to invest money into areas where the reception already exists so I think you will have to stick with your provider (lol). Me too.


      Dita Irvine recently posted…How To Write A Perfect Article For A Blog – An Anatomy InfographicMy Profile

  3. Glenn Shepherd July 9, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Hey Dita,

    I was intrigued as to what Project Loon was going to be about as I’d never heard about it before. It’s an interesting concept, I’ll definitely be interested to see how well it takes off (pun intended 😉 )

    I won’t miss Google Reader as I’ve never used it, but recently I’ve been wanting to start using RSS feeds to get updates from my favourite blogs. I looked into what appears to be the most popular – Feedly – but hated it and uninstalled it after a couple of days. A few years ago I used to use a desktop RSS reader which was ideal but I can’t for the life of me recall what it was called! I’ll have to see if I can dig it out from one of my many archives because I’m sure to have it saved on a CD or hard drive somewhere.

    The comparison table is very useful, there are a few options on there that I’ve never heard of so it may be worthwhile me checking out some of those.

    Thanks for the interesting and informative post, Dita 🙂

    Glenn Shepherd recently posted…What is Your “Because”? Eliminate Your ObstaclesMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 13, 2013 at 1:53 am #

      Hi Glen

      Thanks for stopping by. Project Loon is a great undertaking and I too will look forward watching as it takes off.

      Take care,


  4. Sandy Halliday July 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Hey Dita,

    I hadn’t heard about Project Loon. Isn’t technology wonderful? What ever will they think of next!

    As for alternatives to Google reader although after reading many bloggers top 10 lists I intended changing over to The Old Reader in the end I opted for Feedly.

    When I tried to change over to The Old Reader it wasn’t as straight forward as I thought it was going to be and when I looked at Feedly there was a one click solution for importing all my feeds and alerts which suited me just me. I’m still getting used to how it works but for now it’s fine.

    Although I usually wait until the Worpress update appears in Fantastico in C-Panel before I update my blog I went head and updated mine straight away this time because of the security issues.

    There are often bugs in the new versions and Fantastico waits until they are all fixed before it makes the update available. I always make sure I back my files up first in case there are any problems.

    Have a good week ahead.

    Sandy Halliday recently posted…5 Content Marketing Strategies for Bloggers To Boost TrafficMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 13, 2013 at 1:57 am #

      Hi Sandy,

      sorry to reply so late. I thought I did already. I have only heard good things about Feedly. Still, it is too bad Google stopped the Reader services. People really enjoyed using them.

      With respect to the update, there were a lot of people complaining about bugs and I myself encountered one as well and it really gave me a scare because upon updating I was not able to access my dashboard. Luckily the helpful staff at Hostgator helped me resolve the issue.



  5. Navid Moazzez July 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Hi Dita,

    Great post with some really interesting news, thanks a lot for sharing this with us!

    I agree that it is extremely important that we update our WordPress Blogs when a new update comes out. I will update my sites and let my friends know as well so they don’t miss out and forget to update.

    Have a great day,

    Navid Moazzez recently posted…Interview with Nate Bunger: High School Dropout who Turned Lifestyle EntrepreneurMy Profile

  6. Michel Snook July 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Hey Dita,

    Great collage of information. It is an interesting concept Google has for increasing Internet access through Project Loon. And I wonder who will benefit the most from an increased audience?

    I was already aware of the WordPress 3.5.2 changes and updated my sites thanks to my friend Frank Carston who runs YourWPGuide. He had tweeted back on June 26th: If you haven’t done so already, update to WordPress 3.5.2 NOW! Another 12 bugs fixed along with 7 important security issues resolved. He is my go-to-guy for WordPress.

    I can see where the loss of Google Reader is a big deal for those who rely upon RSS feeds for information. I am not one of them, but if I do need to reference a reader, your post will definitely help.

    Overall, I like the concept of your post or monthly scoop.

    Michel Snook recently posted…3 Tactics for Affiliate Marketers to Survive OnlineMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine July 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Michel,

      With respect to Project Loon, of course Google will benefit because it will have access to new populations. But I think that is OK they deserve anything they will get out of it. They are going to bring new information, new opportunities to people who did not have it before. And. that is a good thing.


      Dita Irvine recently posted…How To Stop Google Analytics From Tracking My VisitsMy Profile