A couple of days of A Year Without Pants

I brought my most expensive eBook a couple of days ago – A Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun as a kindle book.

At £11.01 it costs many times more than the next most expensive one I’ve brought up until now. But up until now I’ve only been buying SciFi books.

A Year Without Pants is an ‘inside’ view of working within Automattic, the private company behind the WordPress.com website. Automattic is unique in the way it operates. All staff are remote employees, and the management hierarchy is incredibly flat.

This is of particular interest to me as I’ve been pretty much constantly over-subscribed with work in my business for about the last 4 months. I need to change how the business works, and one obvious possible change would be to spread the workload over more people than just me!

I’ve only read about 30% of the book so far, but can say it’s very well written, with a very easy to read style, and a good mix of humour and information.

I’m stunned, so far, at how different Automattic’s structure is – especially compared to the many Investment Banks I’ve worked with in the past. And yet Automattic continues to operate in an incredibly lean way and consistently pushes out reasonably high quality product.

There’s lots to learn from Automattic, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper. And I recommend A Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun to anyone interested in exploring new models of employing staff.

Evil Gingerbread Man

Our youngest, Matt, brought us a ‘make your own Gingerbread Man’ kit for the family to share.

This was my attempt at an ‘Evil Gingerbread Man’. Not entirely sure what the sweet adornments are supposed to represent.  A heart and a codpiece maybe?


Consolidated blogging for simplicity

Having done various bits of ‘low-profile’ blogging all over the place for the last few years,

I’ve decided to consolidate my efforts into this single blog – so from now on – this is where I’ll be doing my personal blogging, and my ‘commercial’ blogging will all be on davelopware.com.

Anywhere else that I want to spout about stuff – I should be doing it on these blogs, and posting links back in the other contexts!

So here it is – I publicly commit to blogging at least once a week commercially, and every day personally.

Hmm – there it is – out there – let’s see how that goes then.

git – pushing a new local branch to remote


There are a few things that I have to do regularly in “git”, but have a gap of a few weeks between each time I do them. This gap is just long enough me to not bother remembering them, so I find myself googling these things again and again – so here’s the first of my regular but infrequent things I have to do in git…

Pushing a new local branch to remote

git push -u origin local-branch-name

which should give something like this…

Counting objects: 71, done.
Delta compression using up to 2 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (36/36), done.
Writing objects: 100% (37/37), 530.39 KiB | 365 KiB/s, done.
Total 37 (delta 28), reused 0 (delta 0)
To ssh://nas2/dw_git/rpd_deploy.git
 * [new branch] local-branch-name -> local-branch-name
Branch local-branch-name set up to track remote branch local-branch-name from origin.


Taking on WordPress software development work

I’ve been doing many and varied things over the last 3 years down here in Devon, most of it has involved software development in some form or another, and more than 50% of that has involved WordPress.

Now WordPress and I fell out a couple of years ago. I was (and still am) managing many installations of it, but despite doing everything humanly possible to lock it down, I had several episodes of hackers injecting phishing pages onto sites which cost me many unhappy hours to clean-up. I’ve always kept the sites as up to date as possible, but plugins inevitably lag behind which can preclude updating immediately.

Anyway – things have changed significantly over the last year or so. I have been increasingly impressed with WordPress and can say hand-on-heart I haven’t heard about a single site hack (to my knowledge!) in over 12 months on my or anyone I know’s sites.

The stability and security is a fantastic step forward, and with the releases since V3 it has become, more and more, a platform on which I’ve enjoyed developing.

What I’ve realised recently is, that a significant portion of our income is now coming either directly or indirectly from WordPress, and where-as before that would have worried me, now I find it quite exciting.

So I’ve taken the decision to actively position the Software / Web side of the business directly toward WordPress.

I’ve tested this by doing some freelance work on People Per Hour for the last few weeks focused exclusively on WordPress, and have been pleasantly surprised to discover there is enough WordPress development work on there to keep me very busy.

Now that I’ve proved to myself that the field is so active, and now I’m happy that the environment is stable, I’m going to dedicate a significant portion of the business time and money into developing WordPress plugins and doing bespoke and semi-bespoke software development for WordPress.

The work we’ve been doing recently has been so diverse it’s been a fascinating process and I’ve been able to work with some seriously interesting people.


For example, when Paul from AutoRaceSponsor.co.uk gave us 5 out of 5 stars, he left this feedback for


Dave is great operator – seriously talented in my view. Understands concepts up front and communicates solutions with great clarity and visualization prior to going ahead with code that delivers!

It’s nice to know the efforts are appreciated 🙂

So if you, or someone you know, needs a website to work ‘just-so’, then we’d be happy to develop a solution to your problem at a modest rate with great quality and fantastic service. http://www.davelopware.com/

Your own personalised social media url shortening

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while – ever since I discovered some old tweets I did that used ping.fm url shortening which doesn’t work anymore!!!

Well I finally had an excuse to code it when a client asked for the feature.

What I’ve done allows you to either generate a new short 6 character link, or define your own text for a better looking well-named URL.

I’ll knock one of these up for anyone for £50 a year all inclusive of a domain name, hosting and google analytics on who clicks the links. So if you want to show off your impressive personalised short links in your social media marketing, just email dave@davelopware.com.

And best of all, this post can be the first thing I point to 🙂