Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Why I Finally Switched From GoDaddy.


I'd been using GoDaddy as registrar and host for several years. But a few months after I wrote Why I Still Use GoDaddy, For Now., I switched most of my stuff away from GoDaddy.

I had started having more technical problems with the blog hosting (some URL re-writes were failing). I'd identified that the cause was somewhere in the domain's configuration (not in my .htaccess file) by deleting .htaccess. I contacted GoDaddy's tech support (usually quite helpful), but after a few go-arounds, they declared that it was a code problem. I did technical support for years; I know when I'm being flushed.

As a female human, I'd felt un-valued by the company for a while. Then LifeHacker ran a DreamHost promo which brought the costs down to something that my inner cheapskate could deal with, so I said so long to GoDaddy. Getting everything set up at DreamHost was a breeze, and naturally, there were no URL rewriting problems over there.

PS - here's my referral link for DreamHost, if you're into that sort of thing:

Speaking - Your Talk Has Been Accepted.


If you keep writing and submitting talk proposals, you'll suddenly find yourself having to write and present that talk. Here's what that phase of speaking can look like:

More on Talk Preparation:

Vertical Centering is Solved.


Every once in a while, I see a passing reference to how impossible it is to center something vertically using CSS. But vertical centering isn't difficult, not anymore. Here are some methods for vertical centering using only CSS (even on elements of unknown height) which are completely feasible for most sites.


Flexbox makes it dead simple to vertically center an element. Assuming you've got a height (even in % or rems), just throw display: flex; on the outer element, and margin: auto; on the inner element. This uses the flexbox mode, which is pretty well supported as of IE11, Firefox 33, Chrome 11, iOS Safari 7.1, and Android Browser 4.4.


The 2D transforms offer wider browser support (adding IE9, IE10 and Android Browser 4.1+) and a slightly more complex implementation. Put any height and position: relative; on the outer element, and these specifications on the inner element. This still works when the inner element is using an unspecified (or auto) height. Example:

position: absolute;
top: 50%;
left: 50%;
transform: translate(-50%, -50%);

In case you need even more options or details on these solutions, I've detailed more methods here on Codepen.

Ebook Reader (for iPad) Findings.


I had been doing a lot of ebook reading on my iPad, but sometimes the experience was lacking due to the ereader application that I was using to read the book. Since then I put a variety of ereaders through their paces with various file types, and what follows is a summary of my findings.


I only evaluated iPad ereaders. My primary use for ereaders is for technical books, with fiction novels being a less common use case. As such these were the features I cared about:

Apps tested

These were the applications I considered:


Dice Masters Constructed Deck Review - January 2015.


January Dice Masters Deck I went to a constructed deck tournament for Dice Masters this weekend. I had fun, but didn't expect to lose so much. Here is a review of the cards I brought, and how effective they were in play.

When Women Stopped Coding.


Planet Money's "When Women Stopped Coding" is a 20 minute listen, but it's worth your time. If nothing else, check out the short except at

One of the most interesting points in this article was that there was a secret prerequisite to college computer courses: knowing computers - from installing software to understanding how to maintain and troubleshoot the machines. Those who had previous access to computers (probably having had one at home as children) only had to learn programming, while everyone else had to learn somewhat advanced computing skills on top of learning programming.

Since I was commonly on free or reduced-price school lunches as a kid, my family ought to have been way too poor to have a computer at home. But one year my mom used using the magic of the tax refund "savings plan" to bring a 386 running Windows 3.0 home. Having this (and follow-on models) at home no doubt played a large part in getting me where I am today - a professional web developer.

Even though I grew up in the 1980s, I didn't perceive any "outsiderness" to girls and women using computers and technology. Perhaps this was because we didn't have cable, and I did a lot less watching TV than reading - where I could more easily imagine myself in any role I wanted. Or perhaps this was because I was the oldest sister in a family of girls; there were no brothers or father at home to allow simple gender-based role assignment.

For further reading, see Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing

Speaking - The Proposal.


If you've ever thought about public speaking, here are a few things you might like to know about responding to a call for papers:

More on Speaking and CFP Writing: