Hexaflexagons!

With my youngest daughter away at a party, I finally had a chance to make hexaflexagons with my eldest, Lulu.

First I showed her two introductory youtube videos: part 1 and part 2 (from the brilliant and inspirational Vi Hart), then we started folding and cutting and coloring and diagramming.

Time was soon up and I had to walk her to a party. But it was groovy stuff. Watch Vi Hart's videos and see if you'd like to make your own hexaflexagons. Richard Feynman did!

lulu with hexaflexagon

feynman diagram

Update, day 2

Here's a Feynman Diagram of one such hexa-hexa-flexagon. Blue arrows show transitions that are possible. Green arrows show similar (but non-identical) faces on the perimeter of the map. Putting pictures onto the corners of each triangle (instead of just colouring the faces) makes it easier to see differences between faces. Click for full image:

feynman diagram of a hexahexaflexagon

Update, day 3

We've been building hexaflexagons continually.

Haven't slept. Haven't eaten. Must traverse the hexaflexagons...

Update, day 5

Researching new forms of cardboard that don't wear out from continual flexing.

Researching the mysterious 8-gon - the tetra-octa-flexagon

Waiting by the letter box, expecting arrival of Build Your Own Polyhedra any day now.

Hypnogogic hallucinations of hexa-flexa-polygonations, fractal tesselations, kirigami tetris tangrams, trominous tetrominoes, Lindenmayer loops, syntomachion strings; see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle?

See the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle? see the cat? see the cradle?

See the cat? See the cradle?

 

Sweating the Small Stuff

If there was a checkbox in your application called "Be awesome?" would you have it unchecked by default? I did.

This, then, is my sorry confession. Let's go back a little. Go with me now.

I was hooning around in my car, listening to Amy Hoy on the chasing product podcast when I heard Amy say:

Do you know Kathy Sierra? Her new book is coming out, "Creating Badass Users"

ScreeeeeeEEEEch!! I stopped the car.

My mind instantly said: "Disregard podcast, acquire that book!"

To extract phone from pocket and google for book was the work of a moment. Alas. No joy. There is not yet such a book! (Will there ever be? Let's hope so.) But I did find a few examples of talks Kathy gave with similar titles and watched this one, "Kathy Sierra - Building badass users"; recommended. Thumbs up.

This notion of making kick ass users is the crux of much of Kathy's work. The talk is brimming with excellent advice, largely focused on removing "Cognitive Leaks" -- the little distractions, problems, breakages, hiccups, and annoying microinteractions that make us feel confused, anxious, uncertain and generally unhappy with everything around us.

Then I turned to one of my products, NimbleText, and tried to look at it with beginner's eyes. Slowly I turned... you know when you turn slowly toward something, an everyday something that has sat ignored in your presence... slowly you turn, knowing, as you turn, realising, as you slowly turn... Ah-ha! The murderer! Lurking right there in our presence! Slowly I turned... Ah ha! Nimbletext! And I looked upon it with beginner's eyes. Knowing that it would now reveal itself to be an evil bug-ridden, unusable, maker of much sadness.

When you've been around something so long it's very hard to achieve this "beginner's mind". It's impossible really, for me. I've been around this product a lot. I use it for all sorts of tasks, day in, day out. Alt-tab, tappity-tap, F5, tab tab ctrl-A, ctrl-C, alt-tab. I'm so familiar with its quirks that I don't see them at all. But I tried, I really tried to look at it as a beginner, and see what little cognitive leaks I could find.

And, blow me down, I came up with quite a few!

First up, I noticed there was no tool-tip on the calculate button. I love it when tool-tips tell you the keyboard shortcut. It helps you graduate from beginner to ninja. Turns you from a good user to an expert user. Helps you feel kick ass.

So now it has that tool-tip. And the tool-tip includes details of which keyboard shortcut you can use instead of clicking the button. (F5 by the way. F5 is Calculate).

There's a little check-box called "auto preview" and I suddenly realized that the name is wrong. It's called 'auto preview' but it doesn't 'preview' the result, it calculates it. A preview would indicate some kind of partial result. But no, it's a full result. So I changed the name to 'auto calculate'. And I improved the tool-tip to explain exactly what the button does.

And "Auto calculate" is an awesome feature. And by default, it's unchecked. Why is that? Why on earth would I do that? If there was a checkbox in your application called "Be awesome?" would you have it unchecked by default? When it's turned on it means that the application starts to give you instant feedback about your pattern. When feedback cycles are shorter, everything is better. There's research that says this. There's books about it. There's blog posts on the topic. It's established fact.

So why have it disabled by default? I know my original reasoning, was that it might slow down the application. If calculations took a long time to perform, it could cause the app to become sluggish. But that's a separate problem. If I can solve that problem, I get all these other awesome benefits of instant feedback. Why wouldn't I do that? So I did that. I just solved it in a very straightforward way. I said, "if there's more than 1000 rows of data then turn off the auto calculate." Done. Solved. Move on. Be awesome.

Next I realized that the auto calculate check-box should be right next to the calculate button. (It could even be 'on' the button, if I could find a nice way to implement that.) So I placed the check-box adjacent to the button.

I noticed that there's almost no margin around the text inside the textareas. It looks ridiculous in fact! When I look at it with beginner mind, it looks so very wrong. So I added a margin to the textareas and immediately knew why I'd done it like that in the first place. CSS. Bloody CSS. There was a bit of messing around to get it correct, but eventually I worked out the magic css spells to get 100% to mean 100%, added in the margins I wanted, and moved on again.

And here's a weird cognitive leak. when you mouse over the top of each panel you notice that the mouse cursor becomes a hand... why is that? What is it about? It's asking you to click... but why? Will it break if I click it? That's a cognitive leak right there. So I put a tooltip in place to explain what would happen if you clicked at that point. Now it's not the best usability result. But it's a step up. A steady improvement. That's what I'm after.

And what is with these stupid gradient backgrounds? Gone. Removed. Never should've been there. The embarrassing thing is that I've gotten rid of them before. Then I must've brought them back. Argh! Past Me!? What a fool! Always making it hard on present me, and never any way to get back at him. Anyway, they're gone and they've been banished to 2008 where they belong.

Other little improvements went in as well. The smaller the better. I wrote them all up in the release notes, over here.. And new features too. Always new features.

It saddens me that my "beginner's eyes" seem to mostly be a little guy who shouts "tool-tips! more tool-tips!" over and over. Well, I have tried. It's over to you now. Tell me what you see, particularly if you're a beginner. What mental models have you formed? How did you form them? Were they wrong? What broke them?

 

What do comments mean?

I mean really. What do they mean.

Specifically, what does this comment mean:

// Load the person

Which of the following gives the most correct interpretation of that comment?

  • The following code loads the person
  • The *intent* of the following code is that person object is loaded.
  • The following code *may* load the person
  • The following code used to load the person
  • The programmer thinks the following code loads the person
  • The programmer used to think the following code would load the person
  • The following code almost certainly doesn't load the person
  • The programmer once typed "// Load the person" at this point in the code
  • The programmer once copied and pasted "// Load the person" into this point in the code
  • Maybe, at this point in the code, a code generator once created a comment that says "// Load the person" or maybe an automatic merge went bezerk and put that comment there; maybe a programmer copied and pasted the text in, but in any case there's a slight chance that the following code may once have had some intent vaguely related to loading, or unloading, or otherwise tampering with an object, possibly of type person or people or, more likely, something else altogether.
  • There is a comment at this point in the code that reads "// Load the person"
 

Spaced Repetition Software... for Kids!

There's no getting away from the fact that kids have to do a hell of a lot of rote learning.

As much as we want our kids to be taught to think for themselves, and to develop imagination and creativity and all of the stuff that makes life good, they still need to commit a lot of facts to memory from a very young age.

It's no good calculating "4 * 4 = 16" from first principles every time you hear it. You need to memorize it, and memorize it for life.

Thus it's important that kids are given efficient tools for memorizing all the things that must be rote learned. The most effective tools for memorizing facts rely on the 'Spacing Effect' with techniques such as "Spaced Repetition". Adults use "Spaced Repetition Software" for winning at Jeopardy or, more commonly, learning a language.

graph of memory strength decaying slower with each spaced stimulus

In a nutshell the spacing effect says that you if you are forced to recall a fact right when you were on the verge of forgetting it, you will remember it for longer.

So it occurred to me that there must be some great Spaced Repetition Software for Kids, that I could use to help my kids learn all the boring stuff.

Google Says No.

I searched and found none. Zip.

Google Keyword Tool Says No.

Then I thought, maybe I should write some! I wonder how many people are searching for this stuff every day? So I checked with the Google Keyword tool, to see if there were thousands of parents out there desperately searching for "Spaced Repetition Software." Google Keyword Tool Says No.

Twitter says No.

Then I thought, maybe it's a latent idea, an idea that is growing in people's minds but they haven't yet reached the point where they search it out. So I proposed the idea on twitter, to see if other people were looking for something like this. Result: almost no response.

So at the end of that research, I dragged it from my "urgent this must be done yesterday" trello board into my "long term someday maybe" trello board.

Note that I didn't validate the idea, or my ability to execute it. I just probed to see if there was an existing market, and it got three strikes. I don't need to validate the idea. Here's the thing: I already know it's a brilliant idea. Seriously, it is. Can I execute it? Probably not very well, since I've never made apps for kids before. But the idea is ahead of its time and the market does not yet exist. So I can't afford to indulge the idea right now.

But plan B is much simpler.

Some day a mega-celebrity will talk about spaced repetition and how it helped their child learn Esperanto at age 3. And suddenly the whole world will be searching for "Spaced Repetition Software For Kids". And they'll arrive, in unison, at this very web-page. Whereupon I'll derive a decent royalty from directing every last visitor to the best "Spaced Repetition Software for Kids" available in that future age. ;-).

(Incidentally my 7-year-old had fair success at using 'Anki' to memorize some times tables. She was relieved when it quickly reached a point that it said "And that's all the memorizing you need to do today." If only teachers would be so wise.)

 

Solving An Air-gapped Traffic Mystery

Over the last few days there was a sudden uptick in NimbleText sales. Normally this kind of thing happens either when I've put out a new version or when I've been sent traffic from some popular source (as happened last christmas when Scott Hanselman listed NimbleText as one his top 10 most useful utilities in his much-loved Tools list).

On this occasion, looking in Google Analytics, it was a bit of a mystery. There were no new referrers. More bizarre: the traffic spike was caused by an increase in organic search traffic. In particular, it was an increase in people using the search term "NimbleText". (My most popular search term is usually Text Manipulation)

So this meant that something had happened, out there in the world, that made people spontaneously search out NimbleText. There was a stimulus, then an air-gap, then people searching for the product. It could be that someone put up a billboard in Times Square... except that would be revealed by geolocation. It could be a mention on a podcast, it could be any other "offline" channel.

Fortunately, I'd set up google alerts to notify me whenever google found an article that mentioned NimbleText. And I remembered a notification had come through recently. The source of the traffic was this piece at Visual Studio Magazine. It mentions NimbleText, in glowing terms, but doesn't link out at all. So a bunch of readers must've been inspired to perform their own search.

The lesson is that google analytics won't show you the source when there's an air-gap. In this case, Google alerts was the necessary tool. So if you have a little product, set up alerts for those too.

 

Using the commandline to write a book

As I've mentioned many times already, I'm currently writing an ebook, "Your First Product", to help people like you to build and promote your first software product.

I have a daily target to write 200 words toward the book (which I smash! ;)). And I track my progress using a short powershell script that also commits what I've written (to mercurial).

Here's the progress currently, as output by ".\count.ps1", my count and commit script.

2014-10-01,words:22515, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-30,words:21896, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-29,words:21467, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-28,words:21246, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-26,words:20925, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-25,words:20707, tasks: 85/130
2014-09-24,words:19496, tasks: 80/126
2014-09-22,words:19109, tasks: 80/126
2014-09-21,words:17898, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-19,words:17323, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-18,words:16211, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-17,words:15194, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-16,words:14824, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-15,words:13479, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-14,words:12463, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-12,words:10854, tasks: 82/128
2014-09-11,words:9571, tasks: 82/127
2014-09-10,words:6900, tasks: 79/124
2014-09-09,words:5274, tasks: 79/124
2014-09-08,words:4585, tasks: 79/124
2014-09-07,words:3237, tasks: 78/121
2014-09-04,words:1548, tasks: 62/95
2014-09-03,words:1217, tasks: 52/74
2014-09-02,words:697, tasks: 22/41
2014-09-01,317 words
619 words today (309.5%), 0 tasks today

I've made 290 commits, but count only shows details from the final commit on each day. And it compares yesterday to today to come up with my today's progress.

Here's the .\count.ps1 script itself (and the .\progress.ps1 script which it calls).

I have another script, ".\stats.ps1" that I call to see the number of words in each chapter (from biggest to smallest), another called ".\chapters.ps1" which gives me a basic table of contents, and one more script, ".\bake.ps1" that converts the markdown into an epub (using pandoc).

These are all very very rudimentary. Any effort I put into them is effort that I'm not putting into the writing itself. But I would love to make them a whole lot better.

I'd love to have graphs. Right there in the console. Or alternatively, pop-up graphs.

I'd love to have git versions, as well, instead of just mercurial. And bash versions, and node.js versions instead of just powershell. And versions for people who write TeX, not just markdown, and so on.

I'd love to be able to plug-in other metrics! Instead of just measuring words in markdown files and [_]'s in "todo.txt" files, I'd like to measure lines of code, TODO: tokens in code, number of unit tests, and so on. Extensibly.

Thoughts? Forks? All welcome.

But for now.... back to my lonely writer's garret, and the pounding out of imperfect prose...

Resources

  • count.ps1, determine number of words added to .md files, and number of tasks done in todo.txt; craft a commit message with this data, and commit all work.
  • progress.ps1, give details about daily word and task counts, and show today's progress as a percent of goal.
  • stats.ps1, summarize the numbers of words in each markdown file, and display them by size descending.
  • chapters.ps1, gives me a basic table of contents for the book I'm working on.
  • bake.ps1, generates an epub for me, using pandoc, with my chosen cover image, stylesheet, yaml metadata and my chapters
 

NimbleSET 2.0: Death to the VLOOKUP!

Today I've released NimbleSET version 2.0. It finally does all the things customers have been asking for. Things you might need too.

You remember NimbleSET? It's the one that looks like this:

thumbnail of NimbleSET

Originally NimbleSET was all about basic Venn Diagram operations, where you compare two lists and see what is the same or different in each list. Useful, but quite limited.

Comparisons! All sorts of comparisons!

But often our lists are tricky and our comparisons need to be even trickier. Customers gave me countless examples where they would instead be forced to use Excel, and a VLOOKUP. That's right. I feel unwell, thinking of all the VLOOKUPs I could've avoided before now.

So the comparison engine has been given an overhaul. No more VLOOKUPs. Just grab NimbleSET 2.0 instead.

Now you can join on specific columns, or all matching columns (a natural join). You can also match rows where the item on the right is 'contained in' the item on the left, e.g. "Jim Jones" contains "Jones". (In SQL terminology, 'contains' is the same as like '%x%')

comparison dropdown list

I love these tools. I possibly love them a little too much ;-). I don't see how anyone can work in the modern world and *not* have both NimbleText and NimbleSET open and running all the time.

Let me go through the new features in NimbleSET 2.0 in quite a bit more detail. ← explain the benefits, not the features, dummy!

There's an argument raging in your office!

There's an argument raging in your office!

Jim says we shipped 53 mugglewumps last quarter! Joany reports 64 mugglewumps!

Not again! Jim and Joany are always making each other look like fools!

Where did Joany get the other 11 mugglewumps from? That's what I want to know!

And now YOU step up, our fearless data scientist, with a copy of NimbleSET in your hand.

Pipe down Jim. Everyone cool it.

Give me your spreadsheets! Give me your powerpoints! Give me your crappy unstructured data! Let's stop arguing in a vacuum and start comparing mugglewumps to mugglewumps.

(cracks knuckles)

It's NimbleSET time!

1. You copy paste from Joany's spreadsheet.

2. You copy paste from Jim's Powerpoint.

joanys spreadsheet on the left and jims powerpoint on the right

With your keen Data-Eyes you notice that Joany's data is tab-delimited, while Jim's is comma delimited. It's the work of a moment to configure NimbleSET accordingly:

set the old delimiters inside the options forms

We choose a 'Natural' comparison. "What is a natural comparison?" I hear you ask. A natural comparison is where we naturally compare all the columns that exist in both lists, and ignore the other columns. Both lists have an "ID" column and a "Customer" column -- so a natural comparison will focus on those columns only.

choose a natural comparison

We could've also chosen to compare any specific pair of columns... all the possibilities exist in that drop down list.

Now we press '[Intersection]' and see all the rows they have in common. This shows us the 53 rows of data, plus a header row. Let's see what extra rows Joany has... we press '[Left Only]', since Joany is on the left.

Left Only

Ah-ha! I see it! Do you see it? We see the 11 Mugglewumps Joany has and Jim doesn't have. And you don't have to be John Nash from 'A Beautiful Mind' to spot the pattern! Old mate Jim has forgotten to include the sales from Scotland!

John Nash Investigates

What's the lesson here?

That's right! Jim is an idiot!

And if you want to demonstrate Jim's idiocy, just grab NimbleSET 2.0, keep it handy, and jump out and surprise Jim any chance you get.

Download NimbleSET.exe

Don't forget to "Pin" NimbleSET to the taskbar.

Pin to taskbar

  1. Run NimbleSET.exe
  2. Right click on the NimbleSET icon
  3. Click "Pin this program To taskbar"
  4. Hey Presto! Done!

(You've already got NimbleText pinned to the taskbar haven't you?)

As always, any feedback, let me know. Any bugs? Let me know double-quick!

 

Clients From Hell

UX,

Everybody has them. Clients with unreasonable demands. I thought I'd share a few of mine.

Names have been omitted to protect the guilty. Ha ha ha.

Client: You charge on time and materials, is that correct?

Me: yeh, like wossup?

Client: Your rate is $100 per hour, chargeable in 6 minute increments, correct?

Me: whatevs derr.

Client: You charged us $300 to review our code. I'm informed you only spent 5 minutes on site.

Me: dude, it's not just my time, you said it yourself time and materials too. 5 minutes looking at your code took 3 bottles of whiskey to wipe out the memories. You guys are straight in my clients from hell folder. Page 1? You guys!

And another.

Client: So we're trying to determine the correct name, and there's been some internal debate.

Me: derr, whatevs. "Naming is hard", suck it up, yo.

Client: Yes. Well, we've come up with a possible...

Me: Don't be wasting time on names. Just pick a name and move on. Here, I'll pick it for you. The Goobertronic Six Million. Done. Move on. Finished.

Client: ...and we thought that 'Everyday Billing Account' would indicate...

Me: Goobertronic Six Million. It's decided. Move on.

Client: ...that it stores the Everyday Billing Information.

Me: Forget it. Goobertronic Six Million! I'm committing it. There. Done. Pushed. There. It's live. Just like that. Woo hoo! You guys are getting a whole chapter in my "clients from hell" folder. Two chapters. Don't keep looking at me like that. Three chapters. Four. Wanna keep doing it? Uh-huh. Five. That's six chapters already. I can do this all day. Seven. I'm outta here. This blows.

One more. Though I could go on all day. Clients today. SMH. (shaking my head, that is).

Client: Our lead developer tells me you broke the build.

Me: heh broke his brains more like it

Client: He tells me you pushed without compiling first.

Me: i'm a artist, i push when i wanna!

Client: Very well, but in future, can you ensure that code compiles before pushing it?

Me: move fast and break things! look it up yo! straight into my clients from hell folder. Bam!

What about you? Do you have impossible clients?

 

Hacking Hyperink (aka. changing the font-size of an Epub on Kobo)

This is a little bit niche. ;-)

I bought a book from a supplier called Hyperink. Hyperink specialise in taking popular blogs and turning them into ebooks. For example they've put out a few books based on Jeff Atwood's writing. The book I bought was from Patrick McKenzie, "Sell More Software: Website Conversion Optimization for Software Developers". It's a bunch of his posts about increasing sales, plus a few new articles, and some follow up on how certain experiments panned out. (I recommend it.)

After buying from Hyperink the book was made available in 3 formats, .epub, .mobi and .pdf

Problem! When I "side-loaded" the .epub version onto my kobo eReader (using calibre), the fontsize was teensy tinsy little and impossible to read. Okay I thought, no problem, I'll just adjust the size of the font... so I tried that, but woah, the text would *not* change size. It just refused to budge. This was extremely frustrating. I spent real money on this thing so I could read it, not so I could go blind.

Did I sit on the ground and cry? No I didn't! Well, not for long. I cracked out my awesome power tools and fixed the problem!

So here's what I did.

In Calibre, add the book.

click Add books from a single directory in calibres main toolbar

Look for the "Edit Book" icon. Edit the book!

click edit book icon in toolbar

Navigate, using the "Files browser" pane on the left, double-click on any chapter, and look at the markup for a regular paragraph in the book. (It feels weird to be double-clicking... that's an action that has almost fully disappeared from our mouse-repertoire.)

navigate to a chapter and look at the xhtml

In this case we can see that a regular paragraph is wrapped in this xhtml:

<div class="bodyText"><p class="calibre1"><span>

Notice the class of "calibre1" -- that's what we'll use for specifying the styling of paragraphs. It will be different in any given epub, and there's various other css selectors that could be used to style the text. But a class, such as calibre1, has just the right level of specificity for our purposes. So in this case, commit "calibre1" to your already over-burdened short-term memory.

Now scroll down in the "Files Browser" until you find "Styles" and in there you'll find stylesheet.css. Double-click to edit that... (For other books it might be a different css file.)

find the stylesheet

Where it currently says that the style ".Calibre1" (translation, styles applied to all elements with class=Calibre1), change the font-size rule from the fixed size of "16px", to the far more flexible, relative, scalable size of "1em."

change the font-size of the calibre1 style from 16px to 1em

Save your changes. Send the ebook to your kobo (or other device), open it up and read it at ANY SIZE YOU WANT.

Ahhhh. That's beautiful.

(I find that reading very late at night, as I get more and more tired, I make the text bigger and bigger and BIGGER until finally I fall asleep with the kobo on my face.)

 

How Bundling Doubled The Income of 'NimbleText.com'

I couldn't bring myself to use the original headline, "This one simple trick doubled my income!". But I'm happy to finally be one of those people who made a simple adjustment to their business and turned around a month later to report that income had doubled.

The NimbleBundle was a roaring success. In case you've just joined us, the back story is that last month I introduced a 'bundle' version that was simply the grouping together of two pre-existing [& complementary] products, NimbleText and NimbleSET.

Total income for August was 185% of the income for July, while traffic stayed consistent across both months. (I track all this on my funky new dashboard). Thus, even though customers buying both products were now handing over ten dollars less than before, it was more than made up for by the increased sales volume! Support was easy-peasy, refunds remained at nil. (However a significant chunk of earnings went to Motor Neurone Disease, after a long-time friend, now enemy, named me in an ice-bucket challenge.)

What were the actual figures? I know you voyeurs would love to know, but I'm keeping the actual metrics to myself. What really matters is: were these figures statistically significant? to which the answer is a resounding yes. I plugged the traffic from each month and the sales for each month into my favorite G-Test calculator and got a result of:

"The G-test statistic is 44.7 so version 'B' wins with 100% confidence."

I'm not going to argue with 100% confidence, or the awesome power of maths.

I talked about the psychological reasons for bundling in a previous blog post. I have no way of knowing if those were the actual reasons why the sales went up. It could just be that a lot of people had text manipulation tasks and set comparison tasks in August. But whatever the reason for the increase, I'm definitely keeping the bundle around. ;-)

There was a minor disaster in the first few days. Whenever someone purchased a bundle it would sometimes send out two licenses (instead of one). Then they would write to me and ask what to do with the second license. I suspected I had a race condition in the code. And since race conditions can be very hard to track down, I pored over the code very carefully, looking for any place where a race condition might hide. Eventually the cause of problem occurred to me while I was sleeping. It was just plain old bad logic doing me in once again:

Deep inside my license generation app I have a boolean function that determines if a sale has already been recorded. It (essentially) ran a query like this: Select count(*) as count from Purchases where PayPalID = {0}. Then back in the code, it said return count == 1. This worked flawlessly for several years. But with the introduction of the NimbleBundle, there would now be up to 3 entries in the purchase table for every actual purchase. So I changed the code to return count >= 1 and duplicate license generation stopped happening.

Now on to bigger and better versions. I've got major new features implemented for both products, due out in the coming weeks. I have of course distracted myself (as I often do) with the task of writing a book. If you haven't signed up to be notified when the book is ready, go and do that now. A really solid amount of people have signed up already: if you're one of them, then thank you! I currently have an outline, a bunch of powershell scripts for tracking my progress, converting my markdown to .epub etc, and over 5000 words committed. So far: lots of fun. Have learned a heck of a lot.