Surf the Dream A discourse of links and articles from Justin Avery

Category Archive: Writing

  1. How to manage future products in Shopify

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    As you may be aware of I’ve started selling notebooks online. This started almost a year ago when I had the idea of putting together some notebooks that focused on the three tenets of responsive design… and from that was born the first set of 3 responsive design notebooks.

    I didn’t just want to create a single set of notebooks with a single design though. Instead I wanted to create a suite of different notebooks that helped educate their owners on things that they might not understand, things that might not be aware of, or things they take for granted and that might help their friends/colleagues/clients understand concepts a little easier.

    The first set of notebooks covered Responsive Design mainly because I had a large base of people that I speak to about responsive design on a weekly basis, around 27.5k folks, through Responsive Design Weekly. It was also because responsive design had become so passé… everyone thought they knew exactly what they were doing because they downloaded the latest theme from WordPress, or used Bootstrap or Foundation.

    These notebooks were able to bring folks back to the three basic rules with diagrams on the inner page to illustrate the concept, and a quote at the back to hammer it home.

    So I mentioned not wanting to create one set of notebooks… so I looked at other areas that I was interested in and decided to create a set of notebooks about colonising Mars and another set about the Solar System.

    Having several sets of notebooks also makes your online store look a little bit more useful then just one product, but if you haven’t got them all printed then that could be an issue.

    I started off by customising the product template to say “Preorder” rather than…..

    More to this post coming!

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  2. Condescending Popups

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    In the past year I’ve been noticing more and more condescending popups being used on websites. I think the pattern of an email popup halfway through an article is evil, regardless of how well they perform (loan sharks make good money, it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing).

    Somehow website owners have taken the annoying popup a step further and are now including condescending messages as part of their tone of voice. It could be argued that it’s done in humor, but having something take over my screen and get in the way of the article that I’m reading without me asking for it puts me in less of a humorous mood.

    I’ve complained about this before on twitter only for people to ask for examples…. which of course I can never then find… so here are a list of annoying condescending popups in my day to day surfing of the web.

    Annoying condescending popups

    No thanks, I know wordpress inside-out

    Condescending Popup from

    Condescending Popup from

    Tasteful popups

    Not everyone is terrible on the internet. Here’s some (or at least one) example of how to do it properly.

    This popups up in the sidebar after reading half of the article. It doesn’t take over the screen and isn’t condescending.

    Nice popup from wait but why

    This popups up in the sidebar after reading half of the article. It doesn’t take over the screen and isn’t condescending.

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  3. WordPress redirect loop wp-admin changing from http to https

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    Today I’ve been looking in to updating this site to HTTPS through the use of the free Cloudflare https service available.

    The thing that I really like about Cloudflare is not only is it free but it is offering you free HTTPS as well as free HTTP2. FREE!!! The free plan is kind of faux https as it’s only secure between the cloudflare servers and the client, and not your own website and the cloudflare servers, but still it is a great step in the right direction.

    Once you’ve set up for the https you can also get http2 through SPDY as well as have the option of rolling out Service Workers for some offline content as well.

    When making the change I also updated the Settings section on the WordPress backend from to because I noticed that the new responsive images were adding http:// to all of the srcset values and I was getting mixed content errors, where as the rest of the site was stripping the protocol from the files.

    As soon as I did this the front end was working perfectly but the wp-admin had a redirect loop. After doing a bit of searching I found that you need to add the following line

    $_SERVER['HTTPS'] = 'on';

    to your wp-config.php file.

    Now everything is working perfectly.

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  4. Back Pocket Notebooks have arrived!

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    It’s with huge excitement that I came home yesterday to find all my notebooks sitting in the Studio entrance.

    It’s take many months but I”m really happy with the results. Next step is to get the sleeves printed and put up the Shopify Store.

    notebook set 3

    notebooks 3 and set


    zoomed set

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  5. Responsive Design Notebooks – covers done

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    This week the RWD Notebook proofs have gone to the printers and the covers are now done. Because there was so much red used for the covers (you can’t print the white text on a red stock, so it’s all red printed onto white stock) they need to dry for a few days before going through the cutting machine and to be folded into books.

    I’m super excited, but also very nervous about getting them back. Looking good for now though!

    rwd notebooks full spread

    Heidelberg Speedmaster

    rwd notebooks Flexible Images & Media Queries

    rwd notebooks Fluid Grids

    rwd notebooks full sheet

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  6. Is it illegal to park across someone’s driveway?

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    How frustrating is that!!!!

    We have a car parking place in London that is included in our contact running the studios.

    There are a few business that also are within the area we park, but there’s one that is always annoying.

    The London kitchen

    The Lndon Kitchen decides that it’s a great idea to park their car across a clearly marked NO PARKING area, blocking off access to the parking spot.

    The first time this happened our car was trapped for two hours on a Friday night while we waited for someone to move the van before embarking on a 4 hour drive with a 18mth old.

    Now it’s Sunday evening and while I’d love to be relaxing at home with my family I’m instead waiting in the car park for someone to turn up and move the van so I can park in the space and go home for dinner.

    It’s really not hard London Kitchen… A little bit of curtesy, a dash of common sense and a sprinkling of being able to read and follow clear directions.

    I can only imagine the disasters that happen in the kitchen if they can’t follow basic instructions.

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  7. Off to Adobe Max

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    Today I’m off on an adventure after very fortunately being invited to speak at the Adobe max conference in LA.

    I’m going to be talking about 5 things to take your RWD to the next level, and as always I’m concerned that the talk won’t be good enough of miss the mark with the attendees.

    It’s a multi track event though, so only people that are interested in RWD should be there so it’s an order of magnitude less stressful than the talk at MobX about the universe.

    I’m doing some before and after shots of the London/Los Angeles climate…. London is being a little stereotypical today 


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  8. Side project 378

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    I’ve decided to take on another side project.

    The aim of it is to provide people with facts and interesting content about the history of time and the universe in an easy to consume site.

    The benefits for me is to try out a bit more progressive enhancement techniques. Really starting with the content and hyperlinks and building it up layer by layer.

    The biggest risk is if the publisher shits a brick and demands the content be pulled down, however I’m repurposing a free pdf I found on the web and making it easier to read with links to buy the book.

    Win win I think.

    Here’s some initial local grabs from the phone


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