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?”

Continue reading “The Mac-centricness problem”

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.

Continue reading “Get Git”

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.

Continue reading “Jeet = Magic”

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.

Continue reading “Command Line Redux”

Snippet: Custom theme for cat


Last week I needed to have a specific post category to have a different look from all the other posts. I never ran into that before, but I found a neat little snippet to make it happen:

// Custom post category single theme
// Gets post cat slug and looks for single-[cat slug].php and applies it
add_filter('single_template', create_function(
	'foreach( (array) get_the_category() as $cat ) {
		if ( file_exists(TEMPLATEPATH . "/single-{$cat->slug}.php") )
		return TEMPLATEPATH . "/single-{$cat->slug}.php"; }
	return $the_template;' )

Easy peasy. Got the snippet from this post from 4 years ago. Works like a charm!

Free your type

Just read this article from A List Apart. It starts like this:

There are over 1,200 font families available on Typekit. Anyone with a Typekit plan can freely use any of those typefaces, and yet we see the same small selection used absolutely everywhere on the web. Ever wonder why?

Of course I’m guilty of this; you’ll find Open Sans in more than one of my client projects. But I’m happy to announce that I have branched out (a little) for my personal sites, using fonts like Canada Type Gibson, Prenton. I think Freight Text (the body copy you see here) is one of the more popular ones.

I am in the middle of a quick re-design for a small campaign website (it feels like I’m always doing these quick projects), and just last week I was struggling with fonts. I was looking at Google fonts (708 font families) for a nice body serif, and settled on Karma. After reading the article and checking out TypeWolf, I went back for another looksie. I think I’m going to replace Open Sans with Source Sans, and I may even check out Source Serif instead of Karma. We’ll see.

Anyway, read the article and maybe it will inspire you to branch out a bit in your typographical choices.