I started a new company

I work with early stage startups every day, but never as the founder. As least, not before today.

https://qanerds.com/

QA Nerds fills a gap I see in small tech startups. Apps and websites need testing, but too often there's no budget for expert testers.

So I got together with a couple of my favorite QA testers and we've set up shop. We work either on an emergency basis ("OMG the demo is WHEN?!") or monthly, with affordable plans either way.

Teams can call us in for a couple days a month and we'll help them sleep an night knowing we'll find most of the bugs before their users (or investors) do.

It's exciting! We only have a couple customers right now, but I bet this time next year we'll already be hiring more testers.

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I made a new free open source icon font for web and app developers

It's called "Eleven", has 95 icons, is made with love, and available now free at GitHub https://github.com/davebalmer/eleven-icon-font where you can clone or download as a zip.

Here's a sample:

Eleven Icon Font Sample (95 icons)

I made it with Affinity Designer for Mac, prepped the svg files with Inkscape, then used IcoMoon to bundle it into font files with css and a sample sheet.

Enjoy and please send feedback! If you want to contribute, please do so by making changes in the svg folder and sending a pull request.

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Writing my first book

This is a cross-post to a new blog I set up for my new book, "Live the Happy Minimum: Do the minimum. Be Happy." After over 30 years of dealing with the human side of making things for others, I've collected my thoughts and started putting them down in book form.

If you're curious, go check it out: happyminimum.com and let me know what you think.

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Ginger Ale Taste-Off 2015

Ginger beer (or brew or ale) is my favorite drink. I'm not talking about that Canada Dry crap. I want something with a strong ginger flavor, good fizz and that awesome burning sensation you get in your throat after.

Ann gave me an awesome birthday gift of a dozen different bottle brands to sample, and I thought I'd share the fun.

Fentiman's Traditional Ginger Beer

A smooth ginger drink with a hint of pear that leaves a great burn.

The taste is really good, but I wish it had a little more fizz. That said, the bottle rarely left my hands until I'd drank it all.

Taste: 5
Burn: 5
Fizz: 2
Rank: 2

Licensed by Fentimans from the UK and bottled for North America in Canada.

Red Rock Golden Ginger Ale

Billed as having "Just the Right Bite!™", this fizzy ginger drink has a touch of cream soda

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10 Things I'd Rather Download than your 2MB Web Page

Websites are getting extra beefy and clunky these days. The new average size of a single web page in 2014 is just under 2MB. Like 200× bigger than, ya know, back in the day. That's a big honkin' web page; most of which is big pictures, custom fonts, and carousels.

I think I can do better with any one of these 10 things:

  1. 3 eBooks of any Terry Pratchett Discworld novel

  2. 4 funny cat videos from Vime (OK, they probably won't be that funny*)

  3. A radio-quality MP3 of almost any non-remix version of any song by Beck

  4. A file big enough to break the Atom editor

  5. A nice retina photo of my dog for my laptop background

  6. Two copies of a file with info about all the zip codes in the USA (the list is less than 1MB zipped)

  7. 30 old school Nintendo® games (ROM sizes are usually

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