Bootstrap: You’re Doing It Wrong

Bootstrap is a powerful web presentation framework formerly known as Twitter Bootstrap. I want to address some misconceptions about the framework and describe ways people use Bootstrap incorrectly. I will reveal the causes and offer corrections. I do not claim that everyone should use Bootstrap but I believe the majority of sites would benefit from Bootstrap or a similar framework.

Bootstrap came to be in the best way for a framework. It was extracted from a working application and organized for reuse. Bootstrap was extracted from Twitter’s web site for use across all of Twitter’s web UIs. In a similar manner, Ruby on Rails was extracted from Basecamp. Frameworks created in this way are more likely to be useful than those based on theories of best practice.

Bootstrap is not the only option for a front-end web framework, but it is the most popular. I believe that everyone should base their CSS on a framework as their is no point recreating common elements and correcting the common shortcomings in CSS browser support. There are lightweight libraries available which only normalize layout across browsers while others also provide responsive layout across multiple form factors.

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Silence Is Poison

Yes, I am going to talk about this. No, I won’t leave it alone. I won’t be silent. Silence is poison.

Go read this sad tale. Here is a corroborating account and another.

I want to know why things got this bad? Why didn’t he acknowledge the situation and apologize? Why didn’t she seek professional help before she became self destructive? They both remained silent and, in these situations, silence is poison.

I was not present for the events Justine describes. I arrived at CodeMash the following day. I’ve spoken about similar issues before because I believe it is productive to have this conversation. I share my thoughts here in an attempt to contribute positively to the public dialogue. It is important that we not let this conversation die. We must not be silent.

I know many amazing women in the developer community. Whenever the issue of gender imbalance in my profession is mentioned, my initial reaction is to think that the issue is overblown because I can quickly think of so many great women in technology. My wife reminds me that I know all the women in my corner of technology so my perspective is skewed. Also, the women I know must be amazing to navigate the forces against them and succeed despite the inequalities they face.

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Beginning September first 2013, I will take a sabbatical from travel and speaking. I will not speak at or travel to conferences and other events for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014. Beyond that, I have no plans. I may return to my previous routine of technical conferences. I may pursue a new venue to share my experience and insights. I defer those decisions until January of 2015.

Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year.

Arriving at this decision was not easy. When the idea occurred to me, my first thought was, “I can’t do that!” Immediately, I realized that if my reaction is so strong, there must be a lot of energy tied up in the idea. I knew then that I must face this challenge.

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CodeStock From Afar

I did not attend CodStock 2013, for reasons I choose not to detail here. CodeStock is a software developer conference which takes place in Knoxville, where I live. For the life of the event I have been involved in some fashion with the event and the social activities surrounding it. Because of my decision, I planned to be out of town during the event. I felt that integrity demanded that I be absent while attendees were in town for CodeStock.

My plan was to take my children to my parents’ house for their annual summer visit. I would visit for the weekend then come home after the conference concluded. This is where things began to go awry. My first mistake: I made plans with my parents. I should know better, but hope springs eternal. Mom and dad decided they wanted the kids to stay an extra week this year and they came the weekend before CodeStock to pick them up.

This left me in an uncomfortable situation. I could find some other excuse to duck out of town, or hide inside my house for three days with no external contact like a carrier of the plague. Ultimately, I decided to remain in Knoxville and go about my affairs as normal or what passes for normal in my affairs. I would simply live my life and ignore the conference activities. The conference occurs downtown in the culturally rich area of Knoxville. I live in the quiet, lifeless suburbs, far from disruptive and unpredictable things like culture. In short, there was little reason to expect my path to cross that of conference activities.

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Farewell Most Valuable Professional Status

For the last three years, I was honored to receive a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award. This award has given me access to team members iniside of Microsoft, to tools and software and most importantly, to the global community of MVPs. This year, however, I have decided not to apply for renewal as a MVP.

For years, I have traveled around giving talks on development technologies, methodologies and practices at user groups and conferences. It was very gratifying to be recognized for these efforts even once. The fact that the recognition was renewed twice was surprising, to me at least. I have no plans to stop doing what I’ve been doing. I continue to receive positive feedback from receptive audiences, and I enjoy meeting new people at my talks.

I am not disenchanted with the MVP program. It has it’s flaws, but in general, I find it to be a beneficial program for the technology community using Microsoft products. The vast majority of MVPs that I know are intelligent, dedicated, generous people of high character. The few exceptions do not negate the contributions of these fine people.

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No Longer A Freak?

I’m excited to announce that tomorrow morning I will fulfill my personal goal of reaching a broader business audience. I’ll be addressing a meeting of the Entrepreneurs Of Knoxville. You may remember that last year around this time I made my first inquiries into speaking to a non-technical audience and received some unvarnished feedback.

Since then, I have formed a corporation and worked as a freelance software developer. Along the way, I joined the Entrepreneurs Of Knoxville (EoK) in order to associate with like minded people. Last week, I mentioned to the organizer that I’d like to give a presentation at a future meeting. A few days later, the speaker for this week canceled and I got tapped to fill in.

I’m thrilled to get to share some ideas beyond the field of software development. I read widely in the areas of business, productivity and personal development and I have endeavored to apply the best ideas directly in my life and business. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some very useful ideas from an unlikely source.

My talk tomorrow is titled Seven Lessons in Personal Marketing I Learned From Pickup Artists. While the source of the information might imply some freakiness, the content is solid, i assure you. I’ll be sharing the useful ideas and techniques I’ve learned from studying the material of a variety of dating coaches. The fist step in finding a mate is making friends and making friends is how I’ve found new business for years now. Here’s the abstract:

Seven Lessons in Personal Marketing I Learned From Pickup Artists

A few years ago, I stumbled on a mention of something called the seduction community in a talk by Merlin Mann ( After a few Google searches, I found the book The Game by Neil Strauss and read it. The book tells the story of how Strauss, a writer, became involved in the seduction community and what he learned there. What he found was a bunch of nerds that used a left brain approach to courtship and in the process uncovered a series of repeatable approaches to social dynamics based on a rich set of principles of human behavior and motivation.

I quickly saw the applicability of these routines and principles beyond the realm of attracting a mate. I’ve studied the books and recordings of the professional instructors of this material and now I want to share what I found to be of greatest value. I applied these principles to my professional networking activities with pleasant success and look forward to sharing these ideas with you.

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come out and join me. If you can’t make it, the video will be posted online with the rest of the EoK meetings. I’ll post an update when it is available.

Code PaLOUsa Open Spaces

Code PaLOUsa

I’m pleased to announce that I will be facilitating an Open Space at Code PaLOUsa in the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in downtown Louisville, KY on March 4 and 5, 2011.

We will have the opening circle on Friday afternoon during the session block before Douglas Crockford’s keynote from 4:05 to 5:10 pm. The open space will run all day Saturday in parallel to the conference tracks.

This is the first year for this cross platform developer event in Louisville and I am delighted to be involved. I look forward to interacting with all the attendees and I’m eager to discover what unexpected insights they provide me.