Thoughts - Full Archive

How To Post Event Reminders to Slack

filed under netlify, slack, netlify functions, and javascript.

At Virtual Coffee, we have events almost every day, and we hang out in Slack every day! So, it was inevitable that we'd get some sort of event reminders going in Slack. Our first pass was by the late Mike Rogers (we miss you, Mike ❤️). Our events were listed on, so Mike wrote a Ruby app to pull date down from MeetingPlace and post to Slack: Meetingplace Events Bot.

When we moved from Meetingplace to our own CMS, I took the chance to do some upgrades, and convert to Javascript, at the same time. Follow along and we can get some event reminders going for you!

How the Virtual Coffee Coworking Room Works

filed under netlify, coworking, slack, netlify functions, and zoom.

In our Slack for Virtual Coffee, our members had started a practice of Coworking over Zoom. Coworking is a way to share space with other people while still getting work done, and I thought it was very cool. Members would simply post a personal Zoom link saying something like "starting a Coworking session if anyone wants to join." Eventually we made a Slack channel specifically for this.

In chatting with our members, I realized we probably could do a couple cool things to support this a bit better. It’d be nice to have an official Virtual Coffee Coworking setup for Zoom, so I put one together using Zoom, Slack, Airtable, and Netlify Functions. Here's how it's all set up.

A Workaround for Nested Matrix fields in Craft CMS

filed under craftcms.

A friend came to me wondering about how to pull off a nested Matrix situation in Craft CMS. What he wanted was to be able to use a Matrix field within another Matrix field, which is not possible at the moment. However, while talking about it with him, I came up with something that will work at least for his use-case.

A Reminder

filed under themoreyouknow.

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

New Site Design!

filed under css, html, and design.

This is maybe the fourth or fifth incarnation of This time around I tried to simplify everything, do away with (mostly) useless features, and concentrate on the reading experience. Here's some notes on the site. Hope you enjoy it!

Front-End Q&A

filed under css, html, javascript, and front end.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend sent me an email with a list of questions for me. He'd been out of the front-end game for a little while, and wanted to pick my brain a little bit. I thought that instead of just answering him directly, I'd share my answers with everyone.

Fun with 3D CSS Shapes

filed under front end, and css.

About a year and a half ago, I had some ideas about using 3D CSS to create nonstandard 3D shapes, but never got around to writing a post about it. However, inspired by the incredibly impressive redesign, I decided to finally clean it up and share it with you. Here it is.

By stacking and rotating elements in 3D space, you can create some new shapes out of pure CSS. It's not practical or useful in the least, but it is interesting. These examples work best in Safari, but they will mostly work in Chrome. Check it out: Pure CSS 3D Shapes (remember to click and drag to rotate. Thanks to Dirk Weber's traqball.js for that little bit of magic).

Announcing LESS CSS Toolkit

filed under front end, and css.

I've recently starting developing using LESS CSS (, and quickly decided that I would benefit from a toolkit containing mixins that I would use over and over, such as border-radius or box-shadow.

Enter LESS CSS Toolkit.

CSS3 PIE - It Works, Use It.

filed under front end, css, css hacks, ie, and ie6.

We all have various tools in our box to deal with the constant headache that is Internet Explorer. Browser hacks, conditional comments, filters, pounding our heads against the wall, etc (wait, is it possible that's where the headaches come from? I'll look into it and get back to you).

This situation gets even worse when one wants to use some of the fantastic techniques available to us in CSS3, like border radius, drop shadows, and gradients. In the past, we had to use images for all of these design elements, but now it's possible to have a fancy, shiny button that uses only a <button> element and some css. Well, possible except in IE. Enter CSS3 PIE.

CSS/Javascript Word Clock

filed under css, html, and javascript.

A little Friday-fun experiment I built: a word clock using CSS3 transforms and a little Javascript to run the actual clock. Useful? Maybe not. Fun? Definitely.

A New Start

filed under general, and blogging.

It's been quiet around here for a few months. Part of that, of course, is the holidays and all the craziness that comes with them. But the main reason is that I've spent most of my free computer time on this: my new site.

Firefox 3.5 - CSS3 Boogaloo

filed under linked.

As I'm sure you're aware, Firefox 3.5 was released recently. If you haven't already, I would suggest updating(:

HTML5 Doctor

filed under linked.

A new site, HTML5 Doctor was recently released, and it promises to be a good resource for learning HTML5.

Tools That Help Me Work

filed under general, work, and linked.

I have a lot of articles "in the pipes," but I've been finding it hard to get into the rhythm of writing again, so I thought I'd start with an easy post to get the juices flowing. This sort of post is obviously something plenty of people have done before, but I usually find them interesting. Since it's been done before, I thought I would concentrate on some of the smaller things that make my life better/easier, instead of the normal operating system (OS X Leopard)/text editor (Coda) writeup.

Naked Is As Naked Does

filed under front end, css, and linked.

Today, April 9th, is Naked Day. It's an annual event in which sites remove all of their style information, to reveal the naked page structure underneath. This is my first year participating, but I think it's a great idea.

CSS Off Is Back!

filed under css, and linked.

I'm very excited to announce that CSS Off is back from a brief hiatus. Clevelander Brad Dielman has come on board to lend his expertise to the project, and Clevelander (and Brad) Brad Colbow is our guest designer. I've seen the comp already, and it's going to be a challenge.

Auto-Cropping Rounded Corners

filed under front end, em, pixel, and css.

I know, I know. What this world really needs is a new rounded corners solution. With CSS3 support right around the corner (ha, right), why bother, right? Well, this solution offers something new to the world of rounded corners. What it does is this: it crops the content below it, so that anything with a background color or image (headers, paragraphs, even images) automatically get the rounded corner treatment with no extra work. See below:

Convert Pixels To Ems - A Bookmarklet

filed under front end, em, pixel, bookmarklet, css, and javascript.

Recently, I was writing a Javascript app that involved some animated, expanding boxes. While doing this, I realized I needed a way to dynamically convert pixels to computed ems. The function wasn't too complicated, and so I decided to make a bookmarklet out of it that did the same thing. It was kind of fun. Hopefully you'll find it useful, either in javascript, or to remove the headache when you're trying to create pixel-perfect designs using ems

Twitter This

filed under general, blogging, twitter, and danieltott.

So most everyone I know in the community is a Twitter user, but I've managed to avoid it up to this point. However, seeing as I have absolutely nothing to do today, I joined Twitter. I'm hoping it will give me a chance to say things that are too inconsequential for a full-on blog post, but that I still want people to hear. Up till now, I was using Sprokets' campfire room for that purpose. I'll probably keep doing that, but, you know, Twitter is cool, too.

Clear Your Floats - The Right Way

filed under front end, clear, float css hack, easy clear, and css.

Aside from browser bugs, float clearing can be one of the most frustrating aspects of CSS development. It takes a little bit of patience and thought to set up your floats and clears in a way that facilitates both your design and the flexibility required in a modern website.


Read for an even easier way of dealing with floating elements.

Format Your CSS

filed under front end, and css.

For years, I've always formatted my CSS in what I like to think of as the "traditional" manner. Each selector on one line, and each property indented one tab underneath. But when I started working with Sprokets, the other front-end developer there was using one-line css declarations. This threw me for a loop for a while, but I slowly started liking it better and better.

New Section: Linked

filed under general, and blogging.

You may or may not have noticed, but there is a new section here. It consists of sites that I have saved to my Ma.gnolia account. Every day, I find things on the web that I want to share with people, but I haven't wanted to clutter up my blog to do so. The solution is Ma.gnolia. There's a feed and everything. I hope you find it useful/interesting.

CSS Tip #1: Use A Reset

filed under css.

So I've been thinking for a while about what I'd like to blog about, now that I'm at least comfortable (if not perfectly happy) with the presentation of What I decided on is starting an ongoing series of in-depth CSS tips. This will (obviously) be the first one.

Google Reader Has Been Fixed

filed under general.

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but Google Reader now has a search bar. Those of you who use it should be jumping up and down for joy. Those of you who chose another reader because for some unknown reason Google didn't include a search with their RSS aggregator can finally come back home.

Thinking In Ems

filed under general, front end, and css.

Well, I made it almost a month since the last design change. However, this redesign is a little more extensive.

Transparent Favicons

filed under general.

So I discovered the other day that it is possible to make transparent favicons. Favicons are a good idea. Transparent favicons are just awesome.

New Place, New State, New Meetup

filed under general, and meetup.

Well, as I was telling Eric, I've officially moved. Sunny Bloomington, Indiana is the city I now call home. Emily and I have mostly finished putting everything away and moving around our furniture (you really don't realize how much stuff you have until you have to move everything...), and now all that's left is hanging pictures and organizing shelves. Last week was a crazy, stressful one, but now I finally feel kind of settled in. Emily started orientation today at IU, and I've been purposely trying to get lost in order to explore the city.

Vacation Time At Last

filed under general.

Emily (pictured) and I are leaving this evening for our annual trip to Cape Cod. We'll be gone for a whole glorious week, hanging out on the beach and drinking beers. I can already smell the ocean. See everyone in a week!


filed under front end.

I've finally finished with my cssoff entry. I worked on it from 1am till about 8am, and then a couple hours this afternoon ironing out browser (read: Internet Explorer) bugs. I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with though.

First Image Post: Landscapes

filed under images.

One of my goals for this website was to use it as a vehicle not only for web dev stuff, but also for art. So, here is the first set of images. This is a collection of landscapes that I've done over the past year; some in conjunction with class, others on my own time. These were all made with my old Minolta digital camera and Photoshop.

At Long Last...

filed under general.

Finally, I'm live and on the scene. This is the forth or fifth incarnation of this website since I first registered the domain and started working on it. It was a challenge from the beginning, and I think that I succeeded in keeping it standard, accessible, and pretty.

CSS Off Starts Tonight

filed under front end.

The second round of CSS OFF starts tonight at midnight CST (which would be 1: 00 AM for us Clevelanders). If you didn't hear about it already, CSS OFF is a monthly contest to create the best single web page. They give you a .psd and 24 hours, and you have to come up with the best standards-based solution using images, css, and (x)html. I entered in the first contest, and had a great time (here's my entry). It's just pure fun. If you win, you can either take $30, or donate $50 to a charity of your choice. The first winner, Dawid Lizak, chose a charity, as I'm sure most will.