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How do you make money from open source software?

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

That is a question I get asked all the time. And quite rightly so. After all, without the license model and the source code being out in the open, free for everybody to download and do with it whatever they want – where is the actual product? And how do you make money with it?

Fabienne Riener, Source Fabric

The idea that open source means giving away software for free is something a lot of people find confusing to begin with. I think it’s right to ask the question – how is this thing sustainable? After all, if you’re going to base part of your business around using open source software for your blog, web hosting, whatever, you want to know that you can rely on it still being there in a couple of years time.
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What do you think?

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

If you’ve ever been here before, you might realise things look a little different. I’m basically stripping back the design at the moment and trying to update it. I’d love to know what other people think though, and incorporate any useful criticism into my updating process, so please feel free to comment below, or just email me – Thank you!

How touch is changing interaction design

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

Luke Wroblewski has some great notes on the recent Event Apart, San Francisco. There’s lots of interesting content but the talk by Josh Clark, ‘Buttons are a hack’ I found particularly inspiring. It really brought home to me how fast things are moving now and how the changes touch interfaces are creating are deeper and more profound than I’d anticipated. Josh talks about how touch interfaces are creating opportunities to create more intuitive interfaces that rely on natural, instinctive actions rather than the buttons and labels that are the mainstay of many desktop web designs.

Buttons are a hack but they are an inspired hack. They operate at a distance by creating abstractions away from content. Do we still need that hack on a touch interface? Can we instead aim for direct interactions with

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However, as he points out, the move to be more intuitive creates challenges for how users learn the system.

How do you find gestures? They are hidden, unlabeled, and as a result hard to discover. People will figure things out by trying physical or mouse-based conventions as gestures.

An Event Apart: Buttons are a Hack

Are links pages useful?

Posted on by Superdeluxesam


Q: Are link pages useful?
A: No.

The slightly longer answer:

It depends what you mean by links page.

What I mean by link page is a page on your site that is dedicated to listing various websites that you have linked to in exchange for them to publish your link on a similar page on their website.

If that is what you have a links page, I would say that is definitely not useful. Continue reading →

New work – Pass it on microsite

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

Pass it On are a new company based in Southwold that I’ve been working with to put together various elements of branding. My lastest piece of work for them is their

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You can view the site at:

Find gems for working gemset with RVM

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

This is actually really easy, but some reason it didn’t quite stick in my mind until recently, so I thought I’d note it here, and perhaps it might help someone else who’s similarly challenged :).

If you haven’t set up an .rvmrc

(Which, to be fair you probably should have done)

If you really can’t remember which gemset, start with:

$ rvm gemset list


$ rvm gemset use [gemset]


$ gem list 

Is all you need to show all the currently loaded gems.

If you have setup .rvmrc

The all you need is run the last ‘gem list’ command. The essential point to remember is that once you’ve switched to your chosen gemset and ruby version, you just execute your gem commands without the ‘rvm’ prefix. (see the bottom of that page).

Whilst we’re on the subject of things I should have done already, I should probably have already setup an rvm prompt too. If I ever get round to sorting these things out properly, I might even write some sort of post about how to set up your rvm environment.

Or you could just look at this blog post, which is easily the most helpful and lucid description of setting up RVM I’ve read so far. Getting started with RVM. It’s a bit old, so there might be aspects that are a little out of date, but most of it still seems to be applicable.

New dev tools in Firefox

Posted on by Superdeluxesam

Having taken my eye off Firefox development recently, it was with interest that I noticed some of the recent additions to the latest release, version 10.0. Of particular concern to my geeky side are the integrated html/css inspectors.

Whilst having a few irritating quirks – multiple clicks are needed to bring up a dom view for example, the overall feel is solid and polished. It also seems as though some of the slight flaws in the current ui will probably only be temporary – a cursory look at what’s ahead for Firefox’s dev tools shows that there are lots more improvements that will be going live in the next couple of months.

One thing that jars a little is the comparison between this and Firebug, which concerned me at first, however a bit of investigation showed that this too is a temporary state of affairs, with closer integration of the native dev tools and firebug planned for the near future also.

Overall it’s great to see more of these kinds of updates by Firefox, which really represent genuinely useful improvements and will hopefully help to bolster their flagging reputation in the eyes of many users and developers. And hey, you’ve got to love crazy shit like this


Posted on by Superdeluxesam


Is where I now live.

The short story is, my wife and I got the opportunity to come down to Suffolk and start our own business, Calendula which has now officially started trading. Yay! Clearly I’m no longer based in Manchester, which some people aren’t aware of yet, hence I felt the need to mention it here.

We both felt like we’d done the city thing for long enough, and living by the sea is something we’ve both wanted to do for a while now. That and the prospect of building our own business was too exciting to pass up. So here we are.

So what of my freelance business? Well, Calendula is still very early days. I can envision a time when perhaps my duties there are such that I will be too busy to take on freelance work, but I can assure you that is not the case right now.

If you’d like to hire me for web design, graphics or ux work, please give me a bell I’d be more than happy to speak to you. Obviously, unless you’re in Suffolk too, it will probably mean my working remotely, at least most of the time, so do bear that in mind.