Down by the seaside

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Today is Easter Sunday! I don’t go in much for religion… at all, really, but I’m not complaining about Friday and Monday Bank Holidays.

I’m also not complaining about having the chance to go down to the sea and visit my Aunt, who lives in a lovely cottage there. Her partner’s Father (or maybe Grandfather) built it by hand in the 1920s and it’s since evolved into a very homely home, complete with chickens and rolling countryside.

It always annoys me a little bit that the phone signal there is nonexistent, but once I’m over not being able to check Twitter and emails for vital updates, it’s quite nice to get away from it all for a bit.

And that’s kinda what I’m doing with this blog post. No drivel about driverless cars or phones pretending to be computers, just a nice thing for a change.

Great purchasing experiences

As you’ll know if you read my “main” site, WPShout, you can now download the lovely design which powers this blog, with the price start at free.

The design — Empty Spaces — is available as “pay what you want”, meaning anyone can download it and pay any amount they like. I’ll cover this in more detail over on Shout; I don’t wish to dissect my WordPress theme experiment here.

Instead, I’d like to focus on the practical hows of selling something like a simple WordPress theme. After reading about Nathan Barry’s experience with Gumroad a couple of months ago, I thought I’d give using it a shot. It looks simple, easy, effective and cheap, and it’s all of those things.

If you want to download Empty Spaces on WPShout, you just need to click the download button, which triggers Gumroad’s JS and loads an overlay where you can confirm your choice, select a price and input card details as necessary. Within a couple of clicks you’ll have the theme downloaded.

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Always On

Much has been said over the last week about EA’s horrendous launch of the new SimCity. As someone who enjoyed previous SimCities, I’ve been following the discussion that has followed the launch and I’m not writing this with the idea that I’m adding something fascinating and new to the discussion, rather, I’d like to look at the hows and whys.

We’ll start with a bit of backstory. The story here is pretty simple: EA, wary of the quantity of sales lost to piracy on previous PC-only releases such as Spore, set out to make a new version of SimCity, where the game was inherently tied to EA’s servers. The idea was by making the game an online game, piracy would be impossible as, well, you can’t pirate a rack of servers.

So far so reasonable; it’s fair enough for a firm investing huge amounts in a new title to want to protect itself from freeloaders and pirates. It makes business sense to do something like this, which — as far as I can tell — is the big problem here. What seems like a good idea in a boardroom isn’t necessarily a good idea when applied to the real world. In the case of the computer gaming industry, for example, the best options are often the most innovative ones.

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