A new version of Plant Base is released – 2.1.6. This time it includes updated database contents, which is at Release 26.

The program version is basically a minor maintenance release, with no obvious big changes.  The main incentive for the release was to bring the executable build up to the latest available code complier and database engine.  This gave opportunities to improve the code efficiency and possibly program stability.  This resulted in a lot of internal code changes and the work kept me busy for the last couple of months.

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I’m a bit of a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to web design – I like simple informative web pages that just “do the job” and don’t tend to follow the latest design fashions.  So our site has not changed overall for a long time.  However, there is a specific issue that clearly needs improvement, which is accessibly for mobile devices. Our old method of having a small set of pages specifically for mobiles is simply not good enough nowadays.

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I have spent a lot of time recently looking at this, but have not found a satisfactory solution so far.

We have disabled the “Buy Now” buttons on the website, so purchases cannot be made using the automated method.  It is still perfectly possible to purchase software licences from us by simply sending a request email.  The transaction and licence code generation is then handled entirely manually, though continues to use PayPal and email delivery as previously. We are told this falls outside the scope of the new rules so no VAT is applied and our prices are unchanged.

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The EU regulations about paying VAT for the sale of “digital services” are changing with effect from 1st January 2015.  There is masses of information and comments on this subject all over the Internet, so I’m not going to describe every aspect of it here (just boring for most people anyway!).  I think however, that  it will directly impact on the Deeproot business – which is relevant to all our existing and potential customers.

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A new version of Plant Base is available for download – 2.1.4.

This is a program maintenance release with only minor changes and a number of bug fixes.

Along with the new program version there is also an update to the plant database itself, data release 25. It has been some time since the last data release, so we decided to issue one now. There are many updates to existing records and some new plant records and pictures. However, there were quite a large number of amendments that we could not finalise quickly so these will be carried over for the next release.

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We have recently changed our Cookie Law compliance so that we now use a kind of semi-implied consent.  We still show a banner asking first-time website users to agree to our use of cookies, but it no longer blocks continued navigation of the site and the notice is now shown as a bar at the bottom of the page.  The notice is still more conspicuous than many – so we can be sure that users are well informed.

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You will have noticed by now that when first visiting this website, and many others, you see some kind of notice about the use of web cookies.

If you didn’t know already, cookies are just small text files on your computer that are accessed by the web browser.  They have various uses, but as they can be used to gather information about your web activities they are now subject to the EU e-Privacy Directive regulations. In the UK this is implemented by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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Things have been quiet recently here on the web-site, but there has been a lot of activity going on in the background!

From this spring there will be some some significant changes in the way that the business operates. We are moving onto a strictly part-time basis, to allow scope for other activities. The biggest impact is on the garden maintenance side of the business and other on-site visits, which will be reduced to a minimum. The other effect is that there may be lengthy periods when there is no contact cover, so from time-to-time there might be delays responding to emails.

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It has been quite a long time since there was an update to the plant database itself, so here it is – Data Release 22.

There is no program version update to go with it, the production program for Windows remains at version 1.6.1 and the mobile edition at 1.7. The downloadable install files now use Data Release 22, as will all newly supplied CD’s. The free web database, Plant Base Online, has also been updated to the same release level.

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