Things that never happened

  1. Me keeping up with this blog

Life has been crazy. Things at both work and the Boot Camp got pretty intense the past couple of months, so I haven’t even thought about writing. Though over the past six months I have learned a lot and would love to share. But I’m not ready yet. Here are some things I started sometime last year but never finished:

  • Redesigning this site
  • Redesigning my own site
  • Updating my portfolio in Behance
  • Designing/building a site for a friends nonprofit
  • Styling a site for another friend (though in my defense, there have been technical difficulties there)

Plus the two or three odd side projects I’ve turned down. Boot Camp ends on May 13th, and I hope to get back to my stuff when that happens.

We’ll see.

Life and junk

Wow, it’s been almost two months. What’s been going on with me?

  • I started working as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Coding Boot Camp at UNC. It’s a 6-month intensive course for working adults, and at the end they (and, let’s be honest, I) will be ready to work as full-stack developers. I’m probably spending close to 20 hours a week working on that alone…
  • Work continues to be great, always with new, fun challenges. Right now I’m spending some time fighting with Drupal theming, doing some SVG animations, and replacing a whole icon set on our main website
  • Working on three different side projects, two of which are pro-bono. Also waiting to hear back about three quotes I sent out for web design/development projects

Fun times! So, as much as I want to, I don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on this blog which nobody looks at (yet). But I will try to post at least once a month. Maybe.


I was able to recover most of my images, except for the ones for one post, which is really too bad. Because they were hilarious screenshots of some really crappy HTML code and I don’t have access to it any more. Oh well.

It’s been a slow couple of weeks at work, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading and learning new stuff. Sometimes, when I read other blogs, I realize how much stuff there is out there that I don’t know anything about, or how I’ve fallen behind in some area (looking at you, responsive images). It’s hard being a developer and not spending 100% of my “at-work” time developing; I do a lot of graphic and web design at work there and on the side.

Anyway, this all got me thinking about the whole reason I started writing: To help people who are just getting started as developers.

Some background

I volunteer a lot. I love working with nonprofits. One of my favorites is Girl Develop It, and I’m pretty active in the GDI Raleigh-Durham chapter. One of the things I enjoy the most is being a Teacher’s Assistant at their HTML/CSS classes. I’m a strong believer that you learn a whole lot by teaching, so I feel like I always get something out of it.

But I also realize, every time, that an 8-hour intensive course is not really all that much, even for an intro course; that there are a lot of concepts that we kind of gloss over in order to cover as many bases as possible during that limited time.

So I figured I could write some short articles here to help fill the gaps from those classes. And that’s kind of how it started, but then I just started writing about all the new stuff I was doing, kind of neglecting my original vision.

I just had that realization, literally 20 minutes ago. So, going forward, I’ll make more of an effort to stick to that original plan. And maybe start telling people about this blog. Because, like, nobody knows about it.


Somehow, in the process of adding a new domain to my hosting account, I deleted ALL my What The Trick files. I still have no idea how it happened. I was able to recover some of them, but a lot of my images are gone, as well as my last two posts. Sigh.

Now the process of rebuilding begins…

The Mac-centricness problem


My last job was at a nonprofit. It always struck me how different my co-workers there were from everyone else I knew: they were incredibly selfless, very health- and enviro-conscious, very tuned in to the social justice movement at all levels. It was eye-opening at first, even inspiring. But after a while I started to see that this way of life came at a price: a disconnect from the real world.

Because you see, not everyone lives like that; in fact, most people don’t. We don’t all shop at Whole Foods and eat only organic and non-processed foods (most regular people don’t even care). We can’t all drive a fuel efficient car and snub retail chains in favor of local shops. My lifestyle certainly didn’t resemble theirs at all, and I started to notice that often their messaging did not resonate with me either. It got me wondering, is our outreach hindered by this inability to see outside our “bubble?”

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Get Git

gitIf you’re a starting out as a developer, you’ll eventually run into Git, if you haven’t already. Ain’t no way around it. If you’re looking for a job, they’ll likely ask to see your Github account. If you get the job, there’s a good chance a lot of their version control happens in Git. So bite the fucken bullet and learn it already.

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Jeet = Magic



Jeet is stillI my favorite Sass grid framework! The guy who wrote Jeet even tried to get me to switch to his new grid, Lost (via online chat during an online conference), but I can’t. Maybe it’s because I know it so well, or because my requirements are always pretty basic, but Jeet is still the framework for me.

Though it’s not as well maintained any more, some updates have taken place, so I’m updating my original post below.

How did I even hear about Jeet? I don’t remember, it was through a blog. But dude, it’s magic. Pure magic.

What is it? It’s a grid system. But unlike the grids in frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, it gives you so much flexibility it’s ridiculous. In a good way.

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Command Line Redux


Last year I wrote about the Windows command line for two reasons: First, because you see a lot of articles about the Mac terminal, but not a whole lot about its Windows counterpart. Second, and most importantly, because up to that point I’d never used a Mac.

But that changed when I started my new job and they handed me a brand new MacBook Pro. It’s now been a year, and while I won’t say that I’m a Mac convert, I do understand why they’re so popular with web developers; the terminal is a much more refined tool than the Windows command prompt, even with tools like the Terminal emulators Cmder or Babun.

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