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The day I found out about Freeagent Central was the day my accounts changed – for the better! :)

The maintenance of accounts, invoices and project time tracking for a small business can be unnecessarily time consuming and a pain-staking task. But, we all know it’s a necessary evil! We all want to get paid, and know how much money we are making! or money we owe to the big guys at Number 10.

Freeagent Central is an online accounting solution which is secure, simple to use and has a wealth of awesome features;

  • Send estimates and proposals
  • Send invoices out
  • Keep an eye on all your expenses and bills (even the ones straight from your pocket)
  • Import your bank statements and keep an eye on your cash flow in a graphical way
  • Builds your tax and VAT returns for you! (Wowser!)

And you won’t feel insecure about your data as;

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Backed up every 15 minutes (yep, 15 minutes!)
  • Export your data out easily if you do decide to leave or manipulate some data manually

Don’t take my word for it though, sign-up to the 30-day free trial and give it a whirl: http://www.freeagentcentral.com/?referrer=36kf3l16

The following code will also give you a handy 10% off your subscription when you sign-up! 36kf3l16

Revel In Food

New website designed and launched for Revel In Food – an independent catering business working in Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey creating contemporary and innovative food for special occasions, family or themed events: www.revelinfood.com

Website includes information on catering, canapés and cakes, as well as example pricing, photographs of previous creations and quotes from satisfied clients.

Plone 3 Theming

Looking forward to reading Plone 3 Theming book by Veda Williams and published by the excellent PacktPub: http://www.packtpub.com/plone-3-theming-create-flexible-powerful-professional-templates

Read a sample chapter from the book on ‘Add-on-tools-and-theming-tips’ here

2010 Prediction..

The last decade have seen new technology ‘buzz’ words emerging into everyday life and vocabulary.

In recent years, 2008 was key for “Web 2.0″ and 2009 has already seen a massive push of “Twitter” – with every celebrity (or their PR team at least!) under the sun ‘tweeting’.

My prediction for 2010 is “Crowdsourcing“. Watch this space ;)

WordPress auto-upgrade

The new auto-upgrade functionality in WordPress 2.7+ is awesome! So streamlined, easy, fast and effective. This is how software should be.

Practical Plone 3 – Coming Soon..

Looking forward to receiving my copy of “Practical Plone 3: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Powerful Websites” from PacktPub in the coming weeks.

With Martin Aspeli’s developer focussed book last year this book should be a welcome relief to those primarily on the UI and content side of Plone 3.

I have had the opportunity of reading through a chapter from the book before release. Download sample chapter yourself here.

If you want to pre-order a copy of the paperback or save the rainforests and get the PDF version, pop over to the PacktPub site: http://www.packtpub.com/practical-plone-3-beginners-guide-to-building-powerful-websites/book

Simply Stunning

Another simple but highly effective set of packaging designs: http://dieline.typepad.com/blog/2007/10/100-chocolate-c.html

More amazing packaging designs here: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/02/beautiful-and-expressive-packaging-design/

Professional Plone Development

Professional Plone Development Book by Martin Aspeli - PacktPub Publishing

Having been exposed to the Zope/Plone environment for a couple of years now and seen the release of Plone 3.0 as quite a significant turning point in the road map I thought it time to get up-to-speed fully with some of the new features and technologies being exposed.

Picking up a copy of Martin Aspeli’s Professional Plone Development book (PacktPub) where Plone 3.0 is the primary focus seemed to be a good starting point, and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

Following an introduction and background of Plone the book starts straight into a case study which persists through the proceeding chapters. The idea of a single case study is a good one and allows you to see how an entire project can be built up using the Plone/Zope/Python platform and is introduced to the reader in the form of a list of project requirements (and references to jump ahead if only particular elements interest you.)

By Chapter 3 you are guided into setting up your development Plone/Zope instance and giving background on concepts that may be new to the reader such as Buildouts and Eggs. The Chapters then merge straight into developing the products to meet the case study requirements.

Although, as mentioned previously you could jump to just the section you were interested in, this book really comes into its own when used as a complete guide through the project and is followed through page by page, which is how I feel I have gained the best benefit.

Chapter 12 particularly drew my attention due to its look into Relational Databases, a topic which has required me to integrate with since my early Plone 2.0.5 deployments. Rather than the author pushing the concept of using the ZODB for all data, the use of external Relational Databases is investigated and the best methods for incorporation stepped through.

Nicely, the last few Chapters in the book discussing real world deployments of the platform as a series of next steps following the development stage of a project. Plone has been criticised for poor performance in the past, but Plone 3.0 brings real improvements in this area and Performance and Benchmarking are covered well over Chapters 16 to 18.

In summary, this book is not for the newbie to Plone or content editors (some earlier Plone books would be the best start here), but is an excellent resource to bring yourself up-to-date with the Plone 3.0 way of thinking if you have some previous development experience of Plone. The importance and value of this book is also emphasised by the lack of off-line publications in this software area, although the on-line support community is superb (and very active) it is very welcome to add a book like this to your shelves.

Simplistic, but highly effective

A simplistic, but highly effective calendar design from Behance Network

Behance Network Calendar Design

Extreme Hosting

Whilst reading about new Social Networking ‘gathering’ tool, SocialThing, over on the excellent design team Studio Eighty Six’s blog I was intriqued by the hosting that would be required to run a site of this capacity, at which point I was heading over to Media Temple, where they have some awesome high end servers.

Unfortunately, US based only, but worth bearing in mind for potential future developments..

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