Home » 2013 » September

Maximus has been taken down

As of today Maximus, the BlitzMax Module Manager, has been taken down. I’ve blogged about this some time ago and today I’ve decided it was finally time to go through with it. The website now redirects to the GitHub organization that hosts the code for the client and the website. These will still be available online of course.

So what does this mean for Maximus and BlitzMax?

  1. The Maximus client can no longer fetch the sources file from the Maximus website and thus it can no longer download modules from the website as well. You’re back to downloading and installing BlitzMax modules manually yourself. If you’ve got a Maximus webapp instance running somewhere you can however configure the client to use the sources file from there.
  2. Development on both the client and webapp had stopped some time ago, but I would still fix bugs if they popped up. With the cancellation of the hosted webapp this also means I won’t be doing any development on Maximus anymore.
  3. With the source code being available anyone is free to host their own Maximus instance. Since the webapp uses Vagrant and Puppet you should be able to get a local instance running quickly. There’s also an INSTALL file for manual installation on Ubuntu.

Developing Maximus and providing this service has been a fun ride of which I’ve learned a lot and resulted in a well crafted piece of software. I can however no longer provide the service and support it and so it’s time to move on. I want to thank everyone who has supported Maximus in any way possible. Thanks.

Google Tag Manager

Today I learned of the existence Google Tag Manager. With Google Tag Manager it becomes easier to place tags of any kind such as Google Analytics or any other tracking tag on your website and even on specific pages. All you’ve got to do is include the Google Tag Manager Javascript, setup your tags and you’re good to go.

I’ve added it to this website as well and it’s now managing the placement of Google Analytics for me.

It can of course be used for more than only Google Analytics. You could place tags to measure how many people have reached your sales page and have actually made a purchase.

You can always add these codes yourself but the added benefit from using Google Tag Manager is that it’s dynamic. No need to edit your website’s templates. Just set up a tag, define on which page(s) it must be shown and you’re good to go. It’s a nice and simple concept. Free as well.

Life without Google Reader

It’s been about three months now since Google decided to pull the plug on Google Reader, a much used RSS reader. A couple of reasons I’ve heard was that RSS is being used less and less and instead people were now using Twitter and Google+ (does anyone use G+?). Now some months later I’m still not using Google+ to stay up to date with news from the different websites and blogs I was following. Some of it shows up on Twitter, but that’s only a small selection usually.

But instead of using Google+ and Twitter I stay updated through my subscriptions to several Weekly-newsletters. And to be honest, I’m grateful Google decided to suspend Reader. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Reader but my mind has gotten more peaceful since I no longer feel the urge to check Reader (or Reeder on iPad) several times a day.

I of course didn’t accept the retirement of Reader right away and had to feed my need for RSS feed reading. I tried several other RSS readers such as Feedly and Tiny Tiny RSS. Of the latter I had an instance running on a free Red Had OpenShift cloud server, but because it was running into disk space usage problems it ceased to work. It was also slow, though I blame the cheap servers for that. As for Feedly, well, it was no Google Reader.

So no, I’m not missing Google Reader. Though some websites could do more with posting article updates to Twitter. But I might have a solution for that…

Trying out LinkedIn Ads

Since I just started my own company I need to get a steady flow of jobs from clients I’ve yet to acquire. My network is expanding fast and I’ve already had talks with potential clients with more to come in the future. I’m also subscribing to freelance job postings but so far those haven’t brought me anything yet.

I was contacted by a marketing company to do some search engine optimization on my website Kras IT but kindly declined their services. My website only exists to provide additional info for my potential clients which I don’t expect to get through Google search or Google AdWords. I actually did have a coupon for Google AdWords but it somehow isn’t valid for already existing Google accounts.

I’m using LinkedIn for my professional network, am a member of several groups and have been contacted by other members in the past for several jobs. So I expect more potential clients through LinkedIn than a Google Search.

Luckily I had received an e-mail from LinkedIn that offered me some advertising funds which I decided to make use of. Running an advertisement on LinkedIn for people who are actually looking for a freelance PHP or Perl programmer seems to make more sense to me than advertising with Google AdWords. It’s also a small investment on my part with a setup fee of only € 4,-.

Will I be getting new clients through LinkedIn advertisements? I don’t know and to be honest I’m not counting on it either. I consider it more of an experiment and am just curious to see how it’ll turn out. One thing I do know for sure is that I’ll be closely monitoring how much money it’s going to cost me as I’m not planning on investing a lot on advertising. I’ll report back on this topic if it has delivered me something.

Are you using LinkedIn advertisements as well? I’m interested to hear about your story or experience in the comments below.

I’m now a freelance developer

To my surprise I hadn’t even announced here that I have recently started freelancing! As of August the 1st I now operate under the name Kras IT and am available as a freelance developer. Since it’s now the 1st of September this means I’m already in business for a month now which has been exciting. I’ve been with my previous employer for almost 7 years and after a lot of thinking and planning I decided to take the leap!

As a freelance developer you can hire me for all your PHP and Perl work. I mainly do webdevelopment but I do a lot of backend as well. Aside from that I also enjoy configuring Linux servers. I personally think being able to configure and optimize both your app and the server(s) the app is running on can be a great asset, as it gives a lot more insight in the overall workings of your software.

Aside from doing freelance work I also plan on doing product development. I’ve got a few ideas in the pipeline of which one I expect to launch within 5 months. I’m likely to blog about this in the near future as well as about freelancing and running your own business.

For a full list of skills you can take a look at my website at Kras IT. Currently the website is still Dutch only but my LinkedIn and résumé are in English. Do you’ve got any questions or are in need of a freelance developer? Feel free to contact me!