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If you’ve grown up in an environment that values prestige and extrinsic accomplishments, applying to college is a major milestone. It’s the culminating event for years of effort: AP exams, extracurriculars, impressing your teachers for reference letters. All for a shot at getting that coveted acceptance letter in the mail.

My own experience with college applications was as stressful as you’d expect. I was surrounded by peers who were thirsting for admission to a prestigious university and who felt the pressure to succeed from all directions. It was a status game that we played with desperation, and teachers and parents…

In February of 2020, I set a goal of finishing 40 books for the year. Before then, reading was never a habit I fully developed — I could never find the time or interest. But a few months after finishing college and starting a full-time job, I finally found an opportunity to add reading to my daily routine. First I developed a habit of spending my evenings after work in a cafe, bookstore, or library. While I often felt tired at the end of the workday, physically putting myself in a new environment was a crucial change. Nestling in a…

Photo by visuals on Unsplash. (Source)

A few months ago I was helping a student with CSS animations, and we were pairing remotely on an online code editor. We set up our keyframes, defined our animation duration, created our div, hit save, and…nothing moved. We couldn’t figure out why. We tried tinkering with the CSS, changing the animation properties, refreshing, simplifying the keyframes. No luck.

At the end of class we found this block of CSS at the bottom of our file:

body { 
background: url(");

We had inadvertently written this at the beginning of the pairing session and had forgotten about it.

Recognizing our…

What does it mean to be “technical”? I’ve grappled with this question for years, starting as early as high school. I’ve perpetually wondered about what kind of career or major is “right” for me, depending on whether I’m more of a “technical” or “non-technical” person.

Take this journal entry from January 2016, midway through my second year of college:

I always have this question of whether to pursue something more technical or more human — at this point it manifests in applying for a user experience internship and a quantum computing internship. …

Everyone has their own special relationship with books. Some people listen to two audiobooks in a week, and others can’t be bothered to read two books in a year. People vary not only in their pace, but in the kinds of things they like to read — I have friends who are bored by fiction and only read business and self-help books, and others who love fiction and absolutely hate business and self-help.

My own relationship with books changed pretty dramatically this year, to the point where I now read a greater number and variety of books than I ever…

We all know that the software products we use are designed to maximize engagement and time spent, often to the detriment of user wellbeing. Movements like the Time Well Spent initiative by Tristan Harris have brought more awareness to this problem in the last few years, with phrases like digital wellbeing and the attention economy becoming part of the common parlance.

There are many tools at our disposal for being more mindful about our digital activity, be it OS-level dashboards like Digital Wellbeing (Android) and Screen Time (iOS), dedicated apps like Forrest, or browser extensions like Intention. …

Source: Wikipedia

One of the topics that frequently comes up in software design is the difference between composition and inheritance. At its core, it’s a question of how you organize your types/classes when you have several of them and share functionality across them.

This video about composition and inheritance by the YouTuber mpj is an excellent illustration of the topic and explains the benefits of composition. After watching it, I felt like I had a good understanding of the differences and tradeoffs. But something felt like it hadn’t clicked — whenever someone would mention composition over inheritance in the context of a…

A few months ago, I signed up for Kevin Powell’s Responsive Design Bootcamp hosted on Scrimba. Scrimba is an online platform for learning software development via video lessons and live coding along with the teacher. In addition to the phenomenal teachers they have, Scrimba’s interactivity has made it my favorite platform for learning software.

Powell’s course has transformed the way I think about CSS and responsive design. There was a ton about CSS that I was never explicitly aware of before taking the course, and in this post I’ll be sharing some of those learnings. …

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