Archive for the ‘Design’ Category


Is Agile compatible with Clean Code?

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Design, programming

I’ve been through Agile training several times before at different jobs, and the current job is no different. June is Agile Training Month, and since I started last September I’m obliged to go through this again. Previously, we had a Clean Code Training period that lasted two months, and I realized today why I’m having […]

Brad Delong recently pointed me at Susan Dynarski’s article For Better Learning, Lay Down the Laptop and Pick up a Pen, in which she reviews the evidence that laptops, because of their speed and utility, actually inhibit learning by allowing students to take notes too quickly, and by giving students a universe of alternative distractions […]


“Huh. So UML is actually useful?”

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat, Design

Since I’m generally opposed to giving Hacker News oxygen, I refuse to comment there on a recent question, Do You Still Use UML? As I’ve made clear, I have both anxiety and confidence about being an older developer in this world of high-tech startups and high-speed, high-burnout “only twentysomethings can do anything” world. Bloomberg the […]


PacMan doesn’t need AI

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Design, programming

The other day, I was reading through the course syllabus for a second-year AI class, as one does, when I noticed that the assignment for the sixth week was to turn in a working version of PacMan. Which is kind of weird, because the actual algorithm for PacMan involves more or less zero AI. It […]


An “Ah-hah!” moment

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat, database, Design, PHP, web development

There are moments when the lightbulb goes off in your head with the power of a thousand white-hot suns.  For me, it happened while I was reading the WordPress Database Schema back to back with Henri Bergius’s highly influentials (well, it was a Hell of an influence on me, at any rate) Decoupling Content Management. Take a close […]


I should stop reading magazines.

Posted by Elf Sternberg as chat, css, Design, javascript

I have to say that I’m really disappointed with .net magazine this month. .Net is a popular magazine for web designer and developers, and frequently has great articles and tutorials. For someone in my class of developer it’s not always that useful, but there’s always one or two tutorials worth perusing– and reading the tutorials […]


Why careful system design matters!

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Design

I read today about a recall of birth control pills. The detail that caught my attention was this: Blister packs of the birth control pills were rotated 180 degrees, which reverses the weekly tablet distribution. This packaging error could cause women to take pills in the incorrect order and could lead to unintended pregnancy. I suspect this […]


Lifestreams and Gamification

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Design, programming

I was having a discussion the other day with a PHP developer, helping him architect a gamification layer for a website he owned.  He had this ridiculously broad table of everything the user could earn, and I winced and said, “What if you want to add a new badge?”  He hemmed and hawed and allowed […]

One of the things I like to use with CSS is percentages. Often, this goes a bit over the top; right now, I have a two column layout that looks something like this: .leftcolumn { float: left; width: 22.340425%; margin-right: 1.06382%; overflow: hidden; } .rightcolumn { float: left; width: 76.59574%; margin-right: 0; } Which is […]

I love LessCSS, because it allows me to write CSS as code, with consistent thinking throughout. Today, I’m going to show you how to have button-shaped anchors with consistent gradients throughout your page, using the color scheme you’ve initially chosen. LessCSS allows you to have parameterized mixins, small blocks of CSS that you can easily […]

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