Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Some Comments About Shopify

19 July 2006

Shopify has been touted as one of those Rails apps that’s going to change the face of the web. I don’t think so, and my comments about why it wasn’t appropriate for me (for fuzzyorange.com) went completely unanswered.

Since others may be considering shopify, here’s my critique:

  1. There’s no easy way to charge tax only in one vicinity, but not others. In the US, if you charge tax in your state, you may not charge it in others. Canada, where Shopify was developed, has both a national GST and a provincial one, so its tax structure is fundamentally different.
  2. There’s no practical way to charge actual cost for shipping. But that’s what I do already (though I ship priority mail and charge for the median zone price for that weight with an estimate of box and packing material weight). In shopify, shipping rates are a function of state. Priority mail rates do not break down by state, but rather by zip code ranges. Frequently, these do not follow state boundaries. Yet, with web services, calculating actual cost should be easy, right?
  3. Most e-commerce sites are poorly designed for people selling one-offs. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a lot (because it is fairly unusual), but sometimes a store consists entirely of one-offs. Like mine.
  4. No API, thus no easy way to develop add-on tools, e.g. bulk info uploaders, especially handy for those of us selling one-offs.

Read More

Patriotic Gestures, Real and Imagined

29 June 2006

I’m writing about my annual thought-experiment, so that some of you can play. I’m posting early so that the Canadians can also play on Canada Day.

Given the recent near-pass on the anti-flag-burning law, I’d like to propose the following: if you happen to see anyone wearing a flag or “USA” or anything like that over the next few days — ask them where said garment or accessory was made. (In my experience, they don’t know. I’ve never seen one actually worn that was made in the US, fwiw.)

Personally, I’m far more tired of people wearing “patriotic” gear made in some sweatshop in a third world country than I ever could be of people burning the flag. It’s faux national pride, and I think it’s time we called attention to it.

Read More

Jim Baen, 1943-2006

29 June 2006

It’s funny how you can feel a great sense of loss when someone dies that you’ve never met — and I wonder, given the number of conventions I’ve been to, how it came to be that I’d never met him. Some of my favorite books were published by Baen.

Read More

My Publisher in Hospital

21 June 2006

My story, “A Sword Called Rhonda,” was published in the popular Chicks in Chainmail series from Baen books. Unfortunately, Jim’s had a stroke. While we’re all pulling for him, strokes are very serious things, especially when they leave someone in a coma for days like Jim has. Having seen my late husband in a coma from a stroke, I have at least some sense of what everyone’s going through, though grief is very personal.

From the update Patrick Nielsen Hayden forwarded, it sounds like it is Very Bad News.

So, in the spirit of Esther Friesner (the Chicks editor), we definitely want the prayers and hamster wheels spinning on this.

Read More

RailsDay 2006

19 June 2006

Well, I missed it (busy doing things I couldn’t move in time), but I thought I’d see who used which plugins for Railsday, just to see if there were any cool new ones.
Here’s the list. (deleted because outdated)
I got it by checking out the source for all the projects and trawling through the vendor/plugins directories.

Read More

Maple Hard, Finger Soft

14 May 2006

I was working on a shaker oval box this weekend when the work slipped, and the knife I was using to define the swallowtails turned, cutting a 3/4″ gash on my left index finger.

I’m very fortunate: one of the guys drove me to the ER (thanks Tom), and I’ll be able to finish my boxes another day (thanks John). Surgeon says I only cut the skin and nothing critical, so five stitches later, I was ready to go home.

I’ve got a splint until Tuesday, which has halved my typing speed, but the splint will keep the wound from opening back up (the injury’s pretty close to a joint).

I blame it all on still being exhausted from the move and less aware than I could have been. I thought I was safe, but I was wrong.

Read More