A farewell to the Sandvox community

29th May 2016🇬🇧 English

Between 2009 and 2016 I developed themes for Sandvox, a web authoring app from Karelia Software. This was my last post from the original BehindTheRabbit website.

Dear BtR customer,
Dear Sandvox user,
Dear surfer of the Interwebs,

BehindTheRabbit will be closing soon. It took some time to take this decision and to plan a way to leave the business which is fair to all my current customers and to the Sandvox community.

Seven years ago I started this adventure more as an hobby than as a job. As soon as I started selling designs though, I tried to keep a professional approach even if my “real”, full-time job was completely different. According to the amazingly kind feedback I received in all these years, I think I succeded.

As you noticed, the development of new designs slowed down and came to a full stop during the last two years. I was developing a third generation of brand new, responsive, modern designs but I realized I just didn’t have the time to work on them with the required care. I’m not a perfectionist (even if some friends of mine might disagree…) but I didn’t want to release any unfinished or unpolished project. So I got stuck.

In the meantime, a lot of things were going on in my personal life, keeping me even busier then before.

Starting a few months from now, I will be traveling a lot between Rome and London and I will be often unavailable for support. This means that not only I cannot develop designs anymore: I won’t even be able to reply to basic support requests for an unpredictable amount of time. So, this is probably the right time to let it go.

What happens next?

My plan is to disengage gradually.

  • The first step is this announcement.
  • Designs will be for sale until the end of the year, to protect the investment of current users but if you’re buying one now you know that support will be unreliable and that there will be no further development (compatibility updates will be guaranteed, though).
  • The oldest designs are now released for free.
  • If you purchased a design in the last 30 days (between April 29th and May 29th) and you think this news would change your mind about your purchase, you are entitled to a full refund. Just use the contact form and ask for one (it might take a few days to process).
  • In early 2017 all designs and all their source files will be released for free. At the same time, support will end. The website will be kept up and running for at least a couple of years even if it will not be updated anymore (it still provides a lot of useful information).

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank all my customers and the Sandvox community. I found an extremely kind, patient, loving community which nowadays is a rare and precious thing.

Thank you to Terrence Talbot and Mike Abdullah for their support to any of my needs.

A special “thank you” goes to Dan Wood, who “recruited” me seven years ago and who was very very patient with all my issues and prompt to help.

My deepest regret is that I see a lot of potential in Sandvox that I cannot express further. If you’re a developer, I would consider giving it a try because working on a Sandvox Design is really easy.

I had a good and rewarding time, thank you all and see you around!

Measles, the Internet, and the process of believing

15th March 2014🇬🇧 English

An increase in measles cases in western countries is not recent news: a localized spread of measles has been already reported in the USA and in the UK in the last year. Yesterday though, a similar event received an unprecedent coverage by different kind of sources and, among them, also tech-related websites (Daring Fireball, Gizmodo…); I was surprised to see that these websites thought this was relevant news even if it isn’t strictly their main topic.

The fact is that, this time, the location is NYC. As long as things like this happen among rural and isolated communities or distant countries we are allowed to think that it’s kind of a “local” issue. NYC is instead a high density population area, a crossroad to loads of visitors, tourists, travellers, a city so important both in reality and in our imaginarium that what happens there hits us as it was a global problem. Well, as a matter of fact it is.

The first reaction of online press was to raise a warning about the dangers of measles, the consequences of lack of vaccination both on single people and communities, the lack of evidence in the now common belief that vaccines are dangerous. It’s kind of an “anti-anti-vaccine” campaign and I expect shortly a response in communities supporting the opposite faction to strongly reassess their point. Unfortunately, we will be less aware of this reaction, as many of us are still unaware of the influence these communities have had in the recent years, leading in the end to what we see now.

John Gruber asks:

“Is this anti-vaccination movement just a U.S. thing, or is it spreading in other countries too?”

I can speak for Italy and UK: yes, it’s spreading to other countries too. Specifically about Italy, what really worries me is that the average age of people strongly convinced that vaccines are harmful is relatively low: it’s people having their first child right now or that are going to have one in the next ten years. So, the basis for a measles comeback is already set and strong, but effects will be visible at a later date.

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