Fixing WordPress Pingback Issue For AddThis and Sphere

March 5th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Recently I discovered that the AddThis and Sphere plugins were causing a Pingback issue in WordPress. When I sent a ping to one of my own posts the data that appeared in the comments was jumbled and filled with text from the two plugins. The comment that occured appears below:

[…] Google Health Service Enters Pilot Stage addthis_url = ‘
investment-in-gene-sequencing-project%2F’; addthis_title = ‘Google+Expands+Health+Reach
addthis_pub = ‘??????′; Sphere […]

Even after disabling the plugins I still saw the text for the trackback url of the post appearing in the comment. Some of the issues may be related to my theme, but if you are experiencing a similar issue the fix is easy. Simply wrap the code for the plugins and the trackback url in an html paragraph tag <p></p>. This will prevent the text from being sent along with the pingback. Below are the sections of the single post theme file, AddThis, and Sphere plugins which I edited:

Single Post Theme File

<p><a href=”<?php trackback_url(); ?>” rel=”trackback”>Trackback URL</a></p>

AddThis Plugin File

function social_widget_badge($link, $title){
$pub = $this->addthis_username;

$badge = “<p><script type=\”text/javascript\”>\n”;
$badge .= ” addthis_url = ‘$link’;\n”;
$badge .= ” addthis_title = ‘$title’;\n”;
$badge .= ” addthis_pub = ‘$pub’;\n”;
$badge .= “</script><script type=\”text/javascript\” src=\”\” ></script></p>\n”;

if ( $title == ‘About+Bill+Lazorik’ || $title == ‘Projects’ || $title == ‘Contact+Bill+Lazorik’ ) {
$badge = ”;
return $badge;

Sphere Plugin File

function get_sphereit_link( $link, $content=NULL ) {

// did we get some content to check?
if (!is_null($content) && !enableSphereItLink($content)) {
return “”;

$content= “<p><span style=\”margin-bottom:40px; border-bottom:none;\”>”;
$content.= ‘<a class=”iconsphere” title=”Sphere: Find Related Content” onclick=”return\”;
$content.= $link;
$content.= ‘\’)” href=”’;
$content.= $link;
$content.= ‘”> Sphere</a>’;
$content.= “</span></p>“;

return $content;

Feel free to test your pingback configuration by adding a link to this blog in your post.

Google Expands Health Reach With Investment In Gene Sequencing Project

March 4th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Google continued to branch out into the the Health space with investment in a project to sequence the DNA of 100,000 people. The research project will provide valuable data to the scientific community by helping to isolate the genetic factors involved with a variety of diseases. This type of information can lead to faster drug development and better treatment through the arrival of truly personalized medicine. I am sure the incentive behind the investment is more philanthropic then financial, but it doesn’t hurt to have a hand in this project considering Google’s past investment in Personal Genome Service 23andMe. The results of this research is exactly the type of data that 23andMe requires to expand its capabilities. There were some initial reservations about the relevance of Google’s interest in 23andMe due to Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google president Sergey Brin, being the co-founder. However, the 23andMe service would fit perfectly as an offering in Google Health. Expect to see Google continue both its financial and philanthropic Health investments to gain further leverage in the industry.

Google Backs Harvard Scientist’s 100,000-Genome Quest

Google Invests In DNA Sequencing Project

Google Health Service Enters Pilot Stage

Which Type Of Robot Companion Do You Prefer?

March 4th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Researchers at the Univerity of Hertfordshire have been doing research into people’s perceptions regarding different robots. The idea is to find a robot form factor that would be pleasing to work with on a daily basis. However, the team found out that robot preference depends an awful lot on personality:

People with more extrovert personalities tend to choose more humanoid robots, which have a greater resemblance to humans, with facial features and a human-like voice, whereas more introverted people tend to prefer mechanical-looking robots, more like a box on wheels with a metal head.

Find Your Robot Soulmate

MC Hammer Launches DanceJam

March 4th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Dance JamAs your new fun website of the day I bring you DanceJam by MC Hammer. The site opened to the public on March 1st. It offers a forum for individuals to upload videos of themselves dancing. Dancers battle against each other to determine who has the most skill or funniest moves. For those of who don’t know, MC Hammer is actually active in the tech startup community and DanceJam has been in development for several months. The combination of MC Hammer’s name and a focused niche should should enable the site to distinguish itself from other video startups.

Intel Releases Low Power Atom Processor

March 4th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Intel Atom Chip

Intel has announced the release of a new processor family called Atom that will begin appearing in devices later this year. The ultra low power chip can reach speeds of 1.8GHz. These processors offer a dramatic reduction in power requirements down to less then 2.5 watts from 35. Such a large decrease means longer battery life in ultra portable laptops without compromising performance, and will pave the way for a new category of powerful hand held devices.

Low Power Processors

Intel Press Release

IBM Researchers Manipulate Individual Atoms

February 22nd, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Researchers at IBM have discovered the exact amount of force necessary to move individual atoms. Previously scientists used a trial and error based method to get atoms to go in the right direction. Now researchers can figure out that it takes 210 piconewtons to move a cobalt atom on a platinum surface, but only 17 piconewtons on copper. The advancement will prove valuable to the development of faster computers and high-density data storage.

IBM Hits Milestone in Nanotechnology

Google Health Service Enters Pilot Stage

February 22nd, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Google HealthGoogle launched a pilot for its health profile service, Google Health, in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. The clinic already has a sophisticated internal electronics record system, but patients are not able to access their records remotely. Patients will request to have their records uploaded to Google Health and will be able to access their records online and view, print, or share that data with other health providers. Microsoft launched their health profile offering, HealthVault, last October. The electronic health profile space is going to be a hot topic in the upcoming years. Today Hospitals, Doctor Offices, and Pharmacies have advanced internal systems, but are still disconnected despite major advances in web technology. Offices still fax records and mail imaging results back and forth. Often the quickest and most reliable method for transferring records is to have the patient physically carry the records to each location. The lack of portability is in part due to an industry with many competing software developers that don’t work to connect their technology platforms. Google and Microsoft have an opportunity make a major impact on this industry and the lives of millions of people if they can put the patient in front of profit. Both are members of the DataPortability alliance, and though that organization is primarily focused on portability of online identity, hopefully some of the same sentiment is seen in these health services. By cooperating to connect their offerings they can lead the way on an industry standard for portable health information. They can then put combined pressure on the smaller software vendors to incorporate the standard into their products. The government also needs to get involved by updating HIPAA and providing new standards for patient privacy without stifling innovation. Patients deserve a system that allows easy access to the information that belongs to them and delivers better care at reduced costs.

Previous Google Health coverage
Microsoft launches HealthVault

Land A Rover On The Moon And Win $30 Million

February 22nd, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Google Sponsors a $30 Million Dollar X Prize to land a robotic rover on the moon and transmit data back to earth. The first team to accomplish the feat gets $20 million and the second team $5 million. Additional prizes are available for visiting historic landing sites or accomplishing other tasks. This is just the latest in a growing number of X prizes that offer substantial rewards for advances in science and technology. The rewards help to jump start interest in technology that can help shape our future. Similar rewards helped spur innovation at the turn of the 20th century. The $25,000 Orteig prize encouraged Charles Lindbergh to make his flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

A Google Competition
The X Prize Ecosystem
X Prize Foundation

U.S. Attempts to Shoot Down Satellite

February 15th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

The military will attempt to shoot down a spy satellite that is losing altitude and could possibly cause damage if it were to crash on land. An intercept missile will be fired from a Aegis cruiser as the satellite approaches the upper atmosphere. This will be the first time the U.S. has attempted to destroy a satellite and will be taking advantage of the missile defense program to accomplish the mission.  Though the missile defense system has shot down faster moving targets a successful hit would still be a valuable proof of concept for the program and prove the U.S. is capable of reaching satellites in orbit. The Chinese were able to destroy one of their weather satellites on the third try early last year. Not only did the test cause an international uproar, but it also littered Earth’s orbit with over 150,000 pieces of debris. The political outlook for the U.S. will be different considering the circumstances and the current plan to hit the satellite as it enters the atmosphere should cause any debris to burn up.

3G iPhone Coming – AT&T 700mhz Band for WiMax Not WiFi

February 13th, 2008
Bill Lazorik

Over the last few days several tech blogs have been discussing the possibility that the iPhone will not be coming out with a 3G version this year or ever. This is based on two rumors. One is that Apple told Citigroup it will be releasing the 3G version in Asia and Europe this year, but did not mention the US. No mention is much different then denial. Also, we can’t forget that At&t already confirmed a 3G iPhone for this year and there are rumors of a $100 price drop which could be a move to clear out current inventory. The second rumor started when UK Macworld made the mistake of referring to WiMax as WiFi and then Macenstein picked it up and decided that we would all benefit substantially from a nationwide network of access points with a range of 300 meters. Granted there are methods to convert a normal 2.4ghz WiFi signal to 700 or 900mhz like the Ubiquiti SR9, but it requires hardware on both the access point and client side. Such a network would be completely incompatible with all current forms of WiFi including the iPhone. Now a future version of the iPhone with WiMax capability would definitely be something to see, but it won’t happen before the 3G version.