So Microsoft Have Acquired GitHub

There have been rumours that floating around since Friday and then confirmed today that Microsoft have acquired GitHub.

Normally I get nervous when a Microsoft acquisition is in the offing. In the past this has meant that Microsoft get things wrong with the acquisition. These days this seems not to be the case. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. I cannot see what they have done with it! I have not for example been offered a free Office365 subscription if I take out LinkedIn Premium.

So what does GitHub bring to the Microsoft Party?

The answer is source code from so many very talented developers. Source Code and the talented that toil over it is the life blood of any software development product. This acquisition gives Microsoft direct access to these talented people and more importantly their work.

About 5 minutes prior to writing this I heard a rumour that there was a mass exodus away from GitHub by a large number of developers being mooted in the light of this acquisition. Many readers will know of my love of self hosting stuff on my small server farm. GitHub is my main one-stop shop for new and exciting stuff to play with.

My main fear is that the most talented developers who publish code on GitHub will be taken advantage of and that would be a crying shame.

Preventing A Cambridge Analytica – DIY!!!!

Like many people I as shocked by the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal that emerged recently. I always thought I was very IT security conscious. I have since found out what data they had on me and I was amazed. I truly was. I thought I had locked things quite well. This reminded me of a joke doing the rounds at the time of the Facebook IPO:

Q: Why have Facebook gone public?

A: They couldn’t work out the privacy settings either!!!!

Many readers will know that I like playing around with web based software and know that I have written often on this subject here. One of my favourite places to find new things to try (Link) has a section dedicated to social networking and media here (Link).

So based on this. I decided to see if if I could set up my own rival to Facebook! I started by running up an instance of Hubzilla.

This was the easy bit. Configuring the software was not too bad either, however what later such as terms and conditions, GDPR and more turned this project or experiment into a bit of a minefield. Many readers who know about my retirement will say that I have plenty of time on my hands these days. I do not have that much time believe me! My cardiology doctors would probably suggest I do not need the stress either.

The next thing would be actually getting my followers on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others to join this network. I suggest many would not. Not at the moment anyway. OK I could set my own rules and stop certain friends of mine who are Spurs fans from posting anti-Arsenal propaganda! However, at the moment that is not enough to extend what has become a feeble attempt to develop something even half serious as a proof of concept into something more serious.

I enjoyed the time I spent setting up the software and playing around with Hubzilla. In spite of what I have sad above this part was enjoyable and it was easier to set up than some software I have tried to deploy to my web server over the years. I had less detailed looks at some of the other contenders and deployed some to test before going with Hubzilla. I thought it was the best of the bunch.

I have left the software deployed and it is here if you desperately feel the need to take a look.

I do have to take my hat off to the developers of Hubzilla. I like the software and to the most part I liked the setup and configuration parts. I wish them good luck for the future. Their software and software like this (there are several competitors, contenders and pretenders) makes a compelling case for smaller groups to move things on from the various scandals and issues that have blighted the likes of Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and other providers of user generated content since long before the famous case (to us old timers, the youngsters in the business have barely heard of it!) of Godfrey vs Demon Internet. Smaller social networks that are more dynamic, forward thinking and more adept to quick change with the ability to tackle problems such as data breaches swiftly could indeed have a place. Maybe sooner rather than later.

So could a DIY social network prevent the types of scandals such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica?

In my opinion yes and no. I found that setting up a network like this from scratch would be a massive task and operation so it is probably not for the individual unless they have a lot of time on their hands. A small motivated group, however could potentially have much more success in this field.  I can highly commend Hubzilla if anyone wants a try at this task.

Nextcloud One Year On – A Review

Under the orange news banner in the screenshot above it says “The best gets even better, Nextcloud 13 is out” I cannot argue with either point. Nextcloud 13 is out and I have using it for a few weeks now. “The best gets even better” I certainly cannot argue with that either. In my own opinion Nextcloud is zooming ahead of its peers such as Pydio and Owncloud – the project it split from in 2016. I have been using Nextcloud solidly for just over a year and it replaced Owncloud. nextcloud is so much better than its competitors in my opinion.  I still have to use an Owncloud instance as it used by a project I am involved in to store documentation and I need to access these documents a few times a month. The difference is noticeable and palpable, Owncloud feels slower and clunkier and less “friendly” to me. I wish this project would migrate to Nextcloud. Even though it is missing some features that all users would love the new Nextcloud Talk Android app is excellent too.

Let me tell you a story. In Mid February I was involved in a very serious incident and spent quite some time in hospital. I had my Ipad with me and was able to keep on top of things using Nextcloud, sharing documents editing documents, checking email, talking to people, even listening to my favourite radio station and much more. I was even able to start planning for and taking action an enforced early retirement thanks to Nextcloud. If it wasn’t for Nextcloud I would have had an absolute nightmare  of a mess to deal with once I left hospital and would probably still be dealing with it now.  Even in hospital with a slightly dodgy internet connection I managed to upgrade to Version 13 and I have to say I love it!

To say “The best gets even better” is a very bold claim to make. However in Nextcloud’s case it is very much justifiable and the team behind Nextcloud can definitely justify making that claim. If anyone were to ask me I would certainly defend Nextcloud’s right to make that claim.

So well done Nextcloud! Regular readers will know that praise is either hard or impossible to come by on this blog but the product and the team deserve it. I can’t wait for Nextcloud 14!


15 Years is a long time in Websites!

News has just reached me that on 25th of January 2018 my Content Management System weapon of choice and the software that is the mighty powerhouse behind this website, WordPress, celebrated its 15th birthday!

15 years is an awful long time in technology terms, things come and go and evolve and it is to WordPress’ credit that it has matured and developed and survived for 15 years.

I have used WordPress as my go to weapon of choice for building websites since early 2011. My previous weapons of choice were Joomla and before that Mambo. Joomla fell out of favour with me in 2011 after some updating issues and has only been used for 2 projects since. Having a quick look through the logs and registers just before writing his blog I calculated that I have built 70 sites using WordPress. Some are very simple 2-4  page websites and some much more complicated websites such as this one that get thousands of visits a month. In fact my record for developing a very, very simple WordPress site is 25 minutes!

I have moaned about the plugin ecosystem and the fact that some plugins require a hefty payment before they can do anything useful before. I won’t bother this time. To be fair all CMS tools are afflicted by this. I do want to praise some plugin developers for the  admirable work they have done to extend the WordPress platform. There are of plugins that I am thankful for and indeed I am thankful to their developers for the effort they put in not only to develop the plugin but to keep it up to date as well. Lastly on this point I appreciate how easy it is to maintain WordPress.

I have played around and worked  with a large number of CMS tools in both my technical career and business career and I dread to think what “weapons” I would be using if WordPress had not replaced Joomla after the issues I had with them in 2011.

So to round this blog off. I just want to say “Happy Birthday WordPress!”

The WP tavern article is here.

Pet Supplies website for sale

Offered to the market on behalf of a regular repeat client of mine is a small but fantastic pet supplies website which brings together a clean interface, simple payment gateway, an extensive product range and excellent unique content. This is a confidential sale Asking £10,000. For a prospectus or for more information, please use the form below to contact me.

Data Centres Required in Serbia

My client is a well funded Data Centre operator. They have instructed me to source suitable small Data Centre’s to purchase in Serbia. If you are a Data Centre owner or operator in Serbia who is looking to sell or considering disposal options then Please use the form to contact me to arrange for us to have a confidential discussion.

Social Media and Networking Business For Sale

My client is selling a unique business that offers business services and events to start up and early stage businesses. Our clients events are very well attended and create excellent gross profit. The business has a strong subscriber base to its very attractive and well featured website which benefits from a very low bounce rate and strong conversion rate. The business has a large database and cross sells other products, services and events to its clients. Our client has decided to change their lifestyle and is looking to move the business on. This is an ideal opportunity for a business that specialises in working with start up and early stage businesses to acquire a profitable bolt on business that can be easily integrated into an existing set up and provide excellent cross sell opportunities, A full prospectus will be available shortly.

Price £ Competitve

Strictly Confidential sale.

Please use the form below to contact me for more information.

Mobile Telephone Accessories Business For Sale

Offered for sale is a good quality well developed and soundly optimised for search engines website in the mobile telephony accessories space. The website achieves good month on month profits and is offered as is complete with some stock. A strong and well developed product range with excellent technical support capability compliments this delightful offering. Asking :Offers OIEO £6,000 plus SAV. For more information and our prospectus please use the form below to contact me.