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: http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?1495678.
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:
- It's probably been a few months since you wrote that proposal; do you still want to do that talk? If not, it's time to talk to the organizers right away; you don't want to damage your reputation by giving a bad talk. You can make usually some minor tweaks to the talk details without any problems.
- Reserve time on your calendar for the talk, travel, and any preparation you need to do.
- Confirm organizational basics with the organizers. Who will make travel arrangements? How long is your slot? Is there a projector, is it widescreen and how will you connect your laptop to the screen?
- If at all possible, visit your local Toastmasters group. Just go and watch some talks and give some feedback for starters.
- Before you're even done and comfortable giving your talk, practice it. Practice on your co-workers, or at a friendly neighborhood meet up. You need that outsider perspective to tell you how what about your talk is interesting, confusing, and even how long it takes to deliver. Do this as early as possible; I guarantee that you'll be overhauling your talk after this practice.
- Start writing your talk. Start now. A great way to force yourself to work on your talk is to schedule a practice talk session at work, Toastmasters, or a local meetup.
More on Talk Preparation:
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
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:
transform: translate(-50%, -50%);
In case you need even more options or details on these solutions, I've detailed more methods here on Codepen.
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:
- Easy to use & jank-free reading experience
- Nighttime reading mode with a dark background and light text
- Able to import ebooks from Dropbox. (Most of my ebooks are available in .epub, .mobi and .pdf formats. A few ebooks are only available in .pdf. A very few are also available in .daisy or, more rarely, .apk formats.)
- Displays code samples reasonably
- Dictionary look-up
- Font size changing
- Opens URLs
These were the applications I considered:
- Marvin - a relative newcomer to the ereader scene - is well worth the $4 price on the App Store. It's jank free, has ebook searching abilities, and looks and behaves beautifully. It's also got Dropbox integration which saves me from having to suss long titles out of the Dropbox app. Nighttime reading mode was a bit tricky to find in the UI; I expected it to be in the brightness settings, but it was actually in the font settings under "Themes". It only reads .epub files, but it excels at doing so.
- For .pdfs, iBooks is the best option because while Nook can't tell the the difference between a highlighting and a page-turn gesture. Reader doesn't have highlighting, dictionary look-up or even bookmarking functionality.
- Kindle is the only one capable of reading .mobi files. It does a pretty good job at doing so, but the highlighting functionality is a bit wonky.
- Each app which also sells stuff (Kindle, Nook, Play Books, iBooks) is good for reading the stuff it sells. Often you can score free ebooks this way.
- Play Books can open both .pdf and .epub files, but you have to upload them to Google, which then does some kind of conversion on them. When reading a .pdf, the text rendering was fuzzy, and then the app crashed. When reading an .epub, there wasn't any highlighting or note-taking functionality.
- Nothing reads .daisy files.
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.
- Ant-Man - Biophysicist (UXM): It's always great to have a 2 energy cost character for the first few rounds, but I think a Beast or Storm might be better in a Constructed format where players have control of the dice distribution.
- Storm - African Priestess (AVX): Very effective. Load this card up with all 4 dice next time.
- Kitty Pryde - Sprite (UXM): Kitty wasn't as effective as I needed at a cost of 3 energy. Perhaps I'll try her 2 cost card next time.
- Nightcrawler - Circus Freak (AVX): I didn't buy any Nightcrawlers during the matches, because every time I had 4 fist energy, I wanted a Wolvie. I want to play with Kurt, so I will just have to suck it up and try him next time.
- Wolverine - Formerly Weapon Ten (AVX): This Wolvie works great - especially if you can clear all the blockers. Thrown Car's spillover damage helps.
- Black Panther - Wakanda Chief (USM): He would have worked well (Thrown Car counters his "opponents must have fielded characters" limitation), but as another 4 fist energy character, I didn't get him out enough.
- Captain America - Star Spangled Avenger (AVX): This was a very effective card, but difficult to buy since I didn't have any lower-cost Shield type characters.
- Cable - Techno-Organic (UXM): As with Cap, Cable would have been effective at clearing small blockers, but was too tricky to buy.
- Thrown Car (AVX): One of the more expensive actions, especially with Wolverine and Black Panther available, but this action always leads to damage.
- Focus Power (AVX): A cheaper action that's almost always useful.
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 http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding.
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
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:
- Conference organizers have gotten blind submissions emailed to them from folks they've never talked to. If you see a conference you really want to be a part of, just go ahead and send an email - you won't be the first.
- Most folks haven't written their talk when they submit an abstract or proposal. It's common to use the proposal to test for interest in a topic, and then to develop the talk once it's selected.
- You don't have to be an expert to talk about something. You just have to propose an interesting topic, and if selected to you can do the research to fill in your knowledge gaps.
- You can get an idea of what will probably be successful in a proposal by looking conference's talk summaries from previous years. The summaries are often pasted directly from the proposal. Looking at the conference's artifacts is also a great way to get information about the tone and topics of the conference.
- It's fine to submit multiple proposals; just don't submit the same one multiple times.
- Ask for feedback on topics and abstracts from conference organizers, or even previous attendees. Not everyone has the time to provide feedback, but invaluable when you can get it.
More on Speaking and CFP Writing: