Articles and notes (short, untitled posts, a.k.a. microposts). You can also see articles only or browse by topic.

  • Conference Buddy is such a great idea! Joined the mailing list and looking forward to the launch.

  • Jen Simmons on how to choose technologies:

    Choose software / languages / tools based on one thing alone — which choice puts you near people you like? Or more importantly, who will like you.


    99% of these tools & languages are a good choice. What matters is how much you like going to work, or not. Will you get promoted? Respected? Helped?

    Do you hold the same values as the other people using these tools? If you are surrounded by people who hate what you love, and love what you hate, you will be miserable.

    What are your values when it comes to tech, designing & coding? Can you find others who agree? Go with them.


    It’s not the technology that matters. It’s the humans that matter.

    Find great people who you enjoy, who treat you well. And work with them on whichever tech stack they want. The tech stack does not matter. What you are making does.

    This is why I 💖 Ruby on Rails.

    And also why after hearing Leah Silber talk about organizing EmberConf on Tech Done Right, Ember is on my list as something I want to learn!

  • Nothing like a big assembly language project due in two days to make me suddenly realize I love front end web dev and need to spend the whole weekend redesigning my blog. 😭

  • The IndieWeb Summit RSVP list is giving me major FOMO. Hopefully next year I'll be able to go and meet everyone! Small conference organizers, I think a public RSVP list may be a super effective way to promote your event. Of course, attendees can RSVP privately if they prefer.

  • Karl Freund, the cinematographer for Fritz Lang's Metropolis, also pioneered the three-camera sitcom format. 📺

  • iOS double tap mystery solved

    Fixed a fun front-end bug yesterday:

    I had an image that was supposed to change to another image on hover, and link to another page on click. My original implementation used two image tags: one hidden, one visible. Visibility was toggled on hover using JavaScript.

    This worked fine on desktop, but in Safari on iOS, you had to tap twice: the first tap turned on the hover effect, and the second tap activated the link.

    This post from CSS Tricks got me on the right track, even though it's about CSS and my problem was in JavaScript. Turns out this behavior is a "feature" in iOS: since touch interfaces don't have hover states, Apple decided to make the first tap trigger the hover effect, and the second tap trigger the click event.

    Key detail: this behavior doesn't happen with all hover effects. It only happens when the display attribute is changed by hovering.

    The fix: only use one image tag, and instead of toggling the visibility, toggle the src attribute. Now, with a single tap, the hover effect appears briefly, and then the link takes you to the next page.

    Read more
  • Book Club Is A Theatrical Made-For-TV Movie: A Vlog 📺

  • When everything clicks

    The latest episode of Hidden Brain, "When Everything Clicks", is simply incredible. Without a doubt my favorite thing I've heard from them.

    The first part is about how Karen Pryor invented clicker training for training dolphins, and how it became widely adopted for training other animals. The second part is about how Dr. Martin Levy, after doing clicker training with his dog, started using the technique to teach people to throw frisbees better. The third part is about how Dr. Levy (yes, the same guy) started using clicker training at his day job to train orthopedic surgeons. It was one of those podcasts where, at the conclusion of each act, I was amazed that it had been even better than the act before.

    Why use clicker training on humans? Firstly, it provides instantaneous feedback. Secondly, the feedback is unemotional. The learner can focus on mastering the skill, rather than earning the teacher's praise or scorn. As told in the episode:

    The only feedback is the sound of the click.

    The only reward for the student is the mastery of the skill.

    I really liked this idea. I'm not much of a cheerleader, but in my experience with teaching, there've been times when I felt like I needed to force myself to act like one. But in the situations where I've taught (ESL and programming), the students were already motivated to learn. They didn't need a cheerleader; they needed scaffolding and feedback. Of course, with programming, the computer can often do much of the job of providing feedback, so you don't need a human operating a clicker. The teacher's job is to design the learning path for the student and to get them unstuck when they need it, not to tell them when they've done a good job.

    Read more
  • Apple is too far ahead of the curve

    Funny how when Apple makes choices I find questionable, I often end up coming around eventually. Case in point: phones getting bigger. I’ve been saying for years that every iPhone after the 5 is too big and if I upgrade I’ll get an SE. But now that the Watch is getting more powerful, I can actually see myself getting one and going more places without my phone, so maybe I won’t mind a bigger phone?

    On a similar note, I can’t remember where but I saw somebody hypothesize that Apple was OK with killing MagSafe because they expect battery life to improve to the point that we will only be charging our laptops at night when we aren’t using them. If true, then eventually I’ll be fine with that decision as well.

    Basically, Apple is always just a bit too far ahead of the curve. I wish they wouldn’t be. I’m still annoyed about too-big phones and the death of MagSafe for now. There’s always a pain point somewhere.

    Also, does this mean I’m going to end up liking the Touch Bar too?

    Read more
  • Seen in a job posting:

    You follow the SOLID principles of software design and are familiar with other acronyms like DRY, YAGNI, KISS, etc

    Seriously? Acronyms? It's important for software engineers to know specific acronyms?