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Life and Times of a Web Developer


Budapest in Spring

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 16:49:05 +0000


Heading up the funicular, looking out over the bridge and the Pest side of the city. As I had walked over that bridge earlier, there was a fender bender. Two cars stopped in the one lane across the bridge, nowhere for the other cars to go. Good thing I was walking over.

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Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:45:18 +0000

I have come of an age when those that pass away are closer and closer to my heart. Each death rattling me unnervingly more. May it never get so close as to shatter my heart entirely.

One Change Changes Everything

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:30:54 +0000


Six years ago, I didn’t drink coffee. If I recall correctly, it was Robert Nyman who insisted I have a latte when I told him I didn’t drink coffee. It was likely a year or two after that before I had another. It’s only been in the last three years or so that I’ve drank lattes (and cappuccinos and espressos) with any regularity.

The idea of buying an espresso machine probably felt out of character for anybody who knew of my previous (and still lingering) Coke habit. (Note the capital C. Very important.)

As I’ve dived into the world of espresso making, I’ve learned a lot (but still have a lot to learn) about what makes a good espresso.

If I’m at some cafe or restaurant where I can see them making my drink, I’ll usually have a good idea of whether it’ll be good or not just by looking at the timing.

Did it come out too quickly? Did it take too long?

Now I’m learning about brew ratios. I currently use about 15g of grind which gives me about 40g of espresso. Anytime I try a new bean, I play around with the grind to get back to that 15g, which should give me that 40g of espresso. A 1:2.5 ratio. A normale.

I’ve been pondering playing with a ristretto (1:1) or a lungo (1:3–1:4). The problem is, I haven’t figured out how to make these adjustments without wasting a lot of coffee to get there.

I start using less or more ground coffee and suddenly all my timings are off. I’m not getting enough coffee or it’s taking too long. What variables do I need to change?

I end up going through a dozen shots or more making a bunch of small changes and might still not have anything that tastes good. I easily waste half a bag to find the right combination. If I’m lucky.

If I’m not lucky, I get frustrated and return to what I know. I have beans and a grind and a grind weight that works. And when it works, it’s amazing. I can make a latte for someone and make it look effortless.

Everything else is horrible. These small changes highlight how much I still have to learn.


Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:54:16 +0000


At the Hotel Josephine in Paris, in town for the dotCSS conference. The view both in and outside of the hotel was filled with delightful scenes. These stairs were the quickest way to make our way down the six floors to the main level.

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Safari display:contents bug

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 17:24:36 +0000

I just came across an interesting bug. In Safari 11.0.2 on desktop and on the phone, display:contents falls back to display:inline instead of being ignored.

I created a Pen to demonstrate:

See the Pen display contents by Jonathan Snook (@snookca) on CodePen.

I also was able to test on iOS 10.3.3 and it also seemed to exhibit this behaviour. iOS 9 didn't.

The Open Graph and Sharing Tags

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 19:54:34 +0000

Awhile back, I decided I wanted to have those fancy cards show up when I or anyone else posted a link to my blog. Twitter card with small image on the left To do this, you need to add a few meta tags to your pages. The og: tags are part of the Open Graph. The Open Graph allows you, the web developer, to specify structured data about the content on the page. Services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google use these in a number of different places. One such place is the “share cards” that are displayed when you post a link to these services. The og: tags are specified using property and content attributes. Twitter allows you to specify the type of card it should use. The summary indicates that this is using Twitter’s smaller card style that has the image off the left side. Facebook appears to choose card layout based on the size of the image attached. For example, since my logo doesn’t meet the minimum 200px width, it won’t be shown in Facebook’s card. (I should probably upload a larger logo!) When I added photography to my blog, the images were going to be bigger. As a result, I wanted to use the larger card style. Twitter card with large image on top My content management system checks to see if there’s a large image attached to the article. If it is, it specifies the summary_large_image value in the content attribute. Duplicate Tags One thing that seemed silly was the duplication of the article description. Since these use different attributes, I decided to try combining them onto a single element. At first, this didn't work. Twitter wouldn't pull in the description. I thought that I was done for and was about to give up. Then I remembered a bug I ran into a long time ago where attribute order caused a SOAP request to fail. That wouldn’t be the case here, would it? It turns out, it is. By specifying the property attribute before the name attribute, the Twitter Card validator was pulling in the description. Other Open Graph validators also seem to be okay with this approach. Final Code Here’s what I now have on my site: You can access the following validators to verify that you've specified everything correctly: Twitter Card Validator Facebook Sharing Debugger [...]

Not So Reflective

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 04:30:28 +0000

It’s the new year. Not all that shocking to you, I’m sure, unless you’ve been busy for the last few weeks. But here we are. Many are posting their retrospectives of how their year went. Or they’re posting their theme word for the year or their resolutions or their goals.

I’ve tried resolutions and themes. A year is a long time to stick to such a thing and—inevitably—things happen.

For this year, I decided not to do any of that. I’m going to take it as it comes, crossing the bridges when I get there.

Photography, for example, has been something that I’ve enjoyed recreationally for years but always felt my photos lacking. In the last couple years, I’ve been increasingly pleased with how my compositions and post-production work has evolved.

Since I hadn’t been blogging much about web development, I decided to expand the topics I post. If you follow my Twitter feed or subscribe to my RSS, you’ve likely seen the sudden introduction of photos to the blog. I’m still not sold on the design, especially on the home page, but instead of waiting for perfection, I decided to just ship something.

I don’t think I’ll ever have a career doing it. It is fun, though, and I plan to print some photos off to put on my walls.

I’ve also found myself delighted at making lattes. Last year, I decided that I wanted to introduce a ritual to my life. This was inspired by a story I had read years earlier about Mister Rogers. Yes, that Mister Rogers.

“...he wanted to do things right, and whatever he did right, he wanted to repeat. And so, once upon a time, Fred Rogers took off his jacket and put on a sweater his mother had made him, a cardigan with a zipper. Then he took off his shoes and put on a pair of navy-blue canvas boating sneakers. He did the same thing the next day, and then the next... until he had done the same things, those things, 865 times, at the beginning of 865 television programs, over a span of thirty-one years.”

To enable this new ritual, I bought an espresso machine. But not just any machine. I decided to invest in one of the best machines out there: the La Marzocco GS3. With the right equipment taken care of properly, the expectation is that this machine will last me a lifetime.

And it has opened up a world of discovery as I learn about beans and brew times and temperatures and all the science and art that goes into creating a really good cup of coffee.

I’ve enjoyed learning again. I’ve enjoyed the ritual of practice. I’ve enjoyed seeing progress in my abilities. A smile grows wide on my face as I take a sip of a drink that is as good as, if not better than, what I’ve had at most coffee shops in town.

I don’t know if 2018 will bring new rituals. But it’ll bring new projects and new ideas. It’ll be filled with family and friends and travel.

Maybe even a bridge or two.

Lone House on the Hill

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 03:19:20 +0000


A lone house sits on the hillside. In the spring of 2017, I went to the Faroe Islands to do a photography workshop. It's mostly an excuse to travel to cool places but it gave me a chance to level up my photography skills, as well. My style has already changed quite a bit in the last year or so as I learn new techniques and try new styles.

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