Month: October 2015

Happy Halloween!

We walked down the street to our friends’ house to play board games tonight. It’s really nice having friends so close that you can stand in your front yards and wave at each other (not that we do that). We tried out Tsuro for the first time, and they hadn’t played Pandemic before. I recently got Pandemic Legacy, so now that they’ve tried out the regular version, we’ll tackle that one next. (The legacy is that the game permanently alters each time you play it.) Hope you had a great Halloween too!

Hey, I made a pillow!

I mentioned yesterday that I’d be taking a sewing class today and… I made a pillow cover! I mean, look at those stitches! And don’t say “well the machine did that!” because EXCUSE ME but the machine didn’t make them so straight! And it didn’t measure & iron that hem! I took the Intro to Sewing Class at Urban Spools in NE Dallas, and it was really great. I got a refresher on the parts of the sewing machine, tips on setting up, and guidance throughout the project. The class was totally appropriate for a complete beginner or someone who hadn’t used a sewing machine since middle school like me. After class I treated myself to a taco from Torchy’s since luckily it’s right nearby. I got one of my favorites, the Trailer Park (trashy, on flour) and it was delicious. And I signed up for another sewing class soon. The project is a little zipper pouch and I’m really curious to see what it’s like sewing in a zipper since I’ve seen so many go wrong on …

This Week: RBG, Noodles, and New Hobbies

This week I wrote about working at Automattic for the past six months and also: I’m trying out this DIY Instant Noodle Cups recipe from The Kitchn this week for lunch. They’re pretty good, but I’ll need to tweak the recipe a bit before I can say I’m totally satisfied with it. It’s definitely a nice change for lunch and the noodles hold up better than I anticipated, so I imagine I’ll repeat it (with adjustments) a lot in the future. (Will share details once I’ve worked them out.) Also! Look at that book! 😍 I pre-ordered Notorious RBG mooooooonths ago, so I’m super happy that it’s finally here. (I also ordered the t-shirt!) Ruth is an epic badass, whose opinions I love to read, and I can’t wait to read this book… twice. I kept seeing the words “adult coloring book” around for a while and finally caved and got one for myself. This one is Coloring Book: Volume 1 by YellowPaperHouse (on Etsy). And because I do nothing by halves, I treated myself to a 48-pack of Prismacolor Premier …

Notes From An Event Apart Austin: Lara Hogan

And now more notes from An Event Apart Austin… Lara Hogan, Senior Engineering Manager of Performance at Etsy (my fav!), presented “Designing for Performance,” and she’s just plain great. (I mean, she celebrates career achievements with donuts.) She got big laughs for her “four and horse stars” story of the time Etsy accidentally replaced their half-star with little horse head emojis (because it wasn’t document properly) and users starting writing in to ask what was going on. (As someone who works in support, I can very easily imagine how ridiculous/hilarious this would be.) On designing for performance: “Perception of how fast your page loads is more important than how fast it actually loads.”  “Make performance part of everyone’s workflow.”  Don’t have performance cops or janitors. Make performance a part of everyone’s job throughout the project.  “Performance is everyone’s job, or you’ll be fighting an endless, uphill battle. You need to create a performance culture.”  Tips on designing for performance: Consider image edits to improve performance: Blurring background a bit & cropping out busy areas in a jpeg reduces size.  …

Six Amazing Months: An Automattic Love Story

My first official day at Automattic was six months ago today! My Happiness Engineer trial was late February to mid-April and it was a difficult/amazing time (as reflected in this emotional rollercoaster of a story I told in gifs). By the end of it I was exhausted but sure I was in the right place, so I’m glad my fellow Automatticians knew I belonged here too. Six months in, I’ve emailed users over 1,000 times and done more than 1,500 live chats, but that doesn’t really paint the whole picture of what’s happened or how much it’s meant to me. I’ve said a zillion times how much I love my job and then tried to stop going on and on about all of the reasons, because I know lots of people don’t feel the same about their job and it seems rude to keep reminding them. I’ve spent hours in Slack chatting about work & cracking jokes with my amazing team, Phoenix. (Affectionately known as the “fawkers” — Yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference, adorable fellow nerds.) I’ve …

Notes From An Event Apart Austin: Ethan Marcotte

More notes from An Event Apart Austin… Ethan Marcotte (@beep) presented “Laziness in the Time of Responsive Design” and full disclosure: It wasn’t about being lazy overall, but was all about getting things setup now up front to let you be lazy later. Definitely good sense! On laziness: “Embrace laziness in responsive design” through layout, navigation, & animation.  Frameworks are vocabularies. They are philosophical conditions, not rigid systems of repetition.  “Design the transaction, not the interface.” Then, layer in complexity.  On using max-width: We’ve used “max-width:100%” for images, objects, & videos. But what about height? Examples to check out: fivethirtyeight.com — Great example of responsive navigation. When screen size reduces, navigation menu switches to hamburger & only top-level links remain. BBC News — Watch how some navigation links are under a “more” link depending on size of screen. It shifts seamlessly and keeps the menu from being overwhelming. Note: The Twitter bird icons link to the corresponding tweet for each piece. Thanks to @mor10 & @sbeatty for live-tweeting the talk along with me on #aeaaus. 🙂 Notes on some sessions linked on this …

Notes From An Event Apart Austin: Karen McGrane

I’m home and (sort of) recovered from Automattic‘s Grand Meetup (#a8cgm), so back to my notes from An Event Apart Austin… Karen McGrane presented “Content in a Zombie Apocalypse” and dropped some knowledge on us about WYSIWYG and the ridiculousness of web-paper (PDFs). On WYSIWYG: “I’m kind of like the President of the WYSIWYG Haters Club.” This was an interesting story! — WYSIWYG came from XEROX so that they could sell laser printers. On Web-Paper aka PDFs: “The blobiest blob that we have ever blobbed onto the web… the PDF!” Please, allow me to make one thing clear before I go on: Nobody is reading your PDF. The World Bank recently did a study in which they looked from 2008 to 2012 at all of the PDFs that they have put online and what they found was 33 percent of them, a third of them, never downloaded at all. What’s worse: 40 percent of them were downloaded fewer than 100 times. Nobody is reading your PDF, because: not digital not responsive not accessible So why do …