121: With Sam Kapila

01:04:27   Download

This week we were joined by Sam Kapila. Sam teaches at Texas State University, focusing mainly on Responsive Web Design and Typography.

We talked about (roughly in order):

Q & A:

  • 12:50 What did you guys study in college? Would you change your mind if you could go back? What kinds of studies do you recommend or do not recommend, and can you share any experiences?
  • 23:30 I’m not in a position at work where it’s practical/needed to get into Yeoman or Bower, even though I like to stay at the forefront of web trends. Am I becoming a dinosaur?
  • 32:20 I created a website with a small app for a client, and now they want the source code for the app so another developer can work on it. What should I do?
  • 36:05 I’m intrigued to use CSS Calc in my private projects (modern browsers) but am not sure about the performance. It’s not a big deal, but i’d love to know if it’s a good thing to use, or should avoid it?
  • 47:45 I really like the idea of embedding above-the-fold CSS in the head and including the rest at the bottom of the page. Do you see any drawbacks with this method?
  • 57:04 How can I finally get started with contributing to open source projects?


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  • 43:30 E4H – CSS Summit – Environments for Humans brings together some of the Web’s most notable experts in and for an all-new, three-day online conference, the CSS Summit 2014! Bring the experts to your desktop July 15-July 17, 2014 from 9AM to 4PM (CT). Use coupon code “SHOPTALKSHOW” for 20% off your ticket!

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  • As much as I understand it, generally all work is property of the designer unless you were working as an employee of the company or your contract says the work becomes property of the client at some point after you’re done (usually work for hire). IP doesn’t automatically pass onto the client because money changed hands.

    The other part of having a good contract in place is liability. Without knowing how much money is at stake, if you’re working without a contract, get one setup now and make sure your liability is covered. You don’t want the new designer guy pointing a finger saying “well your code was broken when I got it” and the client somehow now wants you to fix it because you wrote it even if it’s beyond the scope of what you originally did. That’s why getting worked signed off as “completed” is important.

    Go read Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro and check out his “fuck you pay me” creative mornings talk. Has really good tips on contracts and it’s a great book in general.

  • For the question at 12:50:

    I totally skipped college and just started working without a degree. If you have the drive you can totally skip out on college IF you would like to. I do feel like I’m missing out on some fun college shenanigans but that’s a small side effect to the route I chose to take.

    One quote that has stuck with me recently is “code talks, bullshit walks”.

  • Re 12:50:

    My experience is that I went to traditional college and got a liberal arts degree at UT-Austin in Economics (kinda quantitative) and Latin American Studies (kinda fluffy). Worked for a couple years and then did a codecamp here in Austin called Makersquare. I loved both educational experiences and I know they both made me a brighter, better person. At UT, I made life-long friends, studied what I was passionate about, and was really involved with extracurriculars. Makersquare provided me with a technical skill that is more valuable in the job market and I also truly learned how to learn at MKS, like @SamKap talked about.

    If I were just graduating high school, like you’re listener, I would still get a liberal arts degree and take as many classes on programming and web development as my schedule would allow either through the university itself, at a codeschool, or online. I think it’s a nice balance to have both experiences.

  • thanks guys!