Brian Alkerton holds up Matthew 'The Oatmeal' Inman's comic, 'Explosive poopies of joy'.

Brian Alkerton, stand-up comic, karaoke wizard and Shopify Guru — the Gurus are a team that help customers succeed with their online shops — is a travellin’ man this week. He was in Boston earlier, and now he’s in Seattle to attend the PAX conference. He’s also doing some remote work and today, he held “office hours” at the legendary Top Pot Doughnuts on 5th Avenue (a stone’s throw from Hotel Five), which is a great place to get some coffee and delicious toroidal baked goods; it’s also a pretty decent place to get some work done.

While there, Matthew Inman, the twisted comics artist behind The Oatmeal (and Shopify customer) dropped by to chat with Brian. He also gave Brian a wonderfully and disturbingly Oatmeal-esque comic with the caption “Shopify gives me explosive poopies of joy.”

Personally, I think it’s all the fiber — his comic is The Oatmeal, after all — but it’s nice to see that we have another scatologically satisfied customer.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Erika Moen’s Comics and Shopify

by Joey deVilla on May 11, 2011

We Shopifolks like to travel far and wide. While I was off in Minneapolis for MinneBar, my developer advocate teammate David Underwood was in Toronto attending TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. While there, he met Erika Moen, the comic artist behind the autobiographical DAR ("A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary")…


and her current comic, Bucko, a delightfully twisted murder mystery:


When David told her that he worked at Shopify (in fact, he and I started on the same day), she told us that she loved us. And not just by saying so, but also with an autographed comic book, which is now sitting in the Shopifort:

Autographed copy of Erika Moen's

Why does Erika love Shopify? Because she has a Shopify store! She sells her comic books, prints, posters and other art on a store she built with Shopify:

Screenshot of Erika Moen's Shopify store

Go check out Erika’s site, read her comics and buy her stuff! And if you’ve got your own comics (or anything else) that you want to sell online, sell them with Shopify!

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Windows Phone 7 App: Ave Comics

by Joey deVilla on August 7, 2010

They sure do love their comics in France, where they’re called BD (bandes dessinees, meaning “drawn strips”). I grew up reading translated versions of Asterix and Tintin, and later enjoyed Jean “Moebius” Giraud’s works, which took comics to wild new places (which as you might have guessed, included Metal Hurlant, which came to North America as Heavy Metal).

Hence it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a team in France built the Ave Comics app, shown in action above, which lets you preview, purchase and read digital versions of comics.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Deconstructed

by Joey deVilla on March 24, 2010

The comic below, created by John Campbell, is a snarky but amusing deconstruction of Star Trek: The Next Generation:

John Campbell's comic, skillfully decosntructing Star TrekI always found it funny that the “empathic” character Deanna Troi had the power to sense plainly obvious emotions and painful that they had to explain bits of human behaviour that one should’ve picked up by the end of adolescence. That being said, much of the show’s audience was teenage boys, and teens often figure out the world through stories, so why not explain that stuff? And as someone much wiser than me once said, science fiction is a sandwich: once you’ve gotten past the bread of aliens and future tech and the thin slices of plot meat, it’s all about the thick moral mayo.

The last panels in this comic had me laughing out loud, especially since I imagined the line as delivered by actor (and dater-of-inapproriately-young-women, the lucky bastard) Patrick Stewart himself, using that William. Shatner. Mode. Of. Delivery.

In case it’s not apparent who the comic figures are, here’s a quick guide…

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Comic and TV representations of Jean-Luc Picard


Commander William Riker

Comic and TV representations of Will Riker


Lt. Commander Data

Comic and TV representations of Data


Lt. Commander Deanna Troi

Comic and TV representations of Deanna Troi

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


“Our Fine Tradition of Clumsy Names”

by Joey deVilla on February 17, 2010

"Counting Down to Seven" badgeNice phone, shame about the name.

As I quipped in an earlier post, the name “Windows Phone 7 Series” is a bit long, and suggests that the people who do Microsoft’s branding get paid by the syllable. This is the sort of left-brain-lopsided mindset that has produced names like “Windows Server 2008 R2”.

My fellow Developer Evangelist John Bristowe pointed me to this Joy of Tech comic which attempts to ratiocinate the etymology of this unwieldy appellation:

"Joy of Tech" comic illustrating the meeting that led to the name "Windows Phone 7 Series"


The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6

by Joey deVilla on February 12, 2010

Over at the design-oriented Smashing Magazine site, you’ll find Brad Colbow’s comic, The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6. It’s the browser we all love to hate, including we who collect a nice fortnightly deposit from Microsoft into our bank accounts. I got a great laugh at DemoCamp Toronto 21 when I said “If you got a cat when IE6 came out, it’s dead now.”

It wasn’t always this way, as the first section of the comic shows (you can click it to read the whole thing):

Part 1 of "The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6"

There’s a fair bit of history covered in the middle section of the comic, but I feel that the most important sections are the first (shown above), and the end, shown below:

Final part of "The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6"

That is the real question: “Can we stop supporting IE6 yet?”, followed by a real answer: You have to look at your audience. If you can drop IE6 support without ruining the experience for the majority your audience (you have to make the call on what constitutes a majority), then by all means, go for it.

Expecting people outside our industry to have as much interest in browser technology is about as fair as my insurance agent expecting me to have as much interest in the ins and outs of insurance as he does. I only care about the amount of coverage, the deductible, the slip of paper that goes into my glove compartment, and how much I have to pay a year. Everything else is just yappity-yap from some suit who’s interrupting my work day, trying to show me pages of boring legalese. That’s how we look to most end users.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Jason Alderman’s Pitch for His MIX10 Presentation

by Joey deVilla on January 14, 2010

Two days remain for you to cast your vote for sessions at the MIX10 conference, which I wrote about in the previous article. A number of people who submitted proposals for sessions are wooing voters, and one of the best promotions is that of Jason Alderman, who put together this comic explaining why you should vote for his session, titled Guerilla User Research – Carrying Out Missions Behind Enemy Lines to Get the Insight You Need:

Comic: MIX10 needs a session (or two) on user research and testing!

This lovely hand-drawn comic is a reminder for me to fire up the scanner I bought for Christmas and get back to something for which I was notorious during my days at Crazy Go Nuts University: cartooning.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.