Inspired by Ísland

Posted in Outdoors, Travel January 15, 2015

Who would have thought that Europe is actually closer to Boston than places like Seattle and Los Angeles. It’s true, the flight from Boston to Reykjavik is a mere four and a half hours long.

Iceland has long been on mine and Larisa’s travel bucket list, and we decided it was a perfect getaway for the fall. October is a good time to go, because the crowds have already died down, but the weather is still manageably warm and dry, with a good balance of day and night, there’s plenty of opportunities for sightseeing and northern lights.

Day 1 – The Golden Circle

We arrived in Reykjavik around 6 in the morning, and after getting breakfast at the “oldest” diner in Reykjavik, we decided to spend the first day on the Golden Circle, since it was likely going to be the only day without rain and the Golden Circle had much to offer.

Þingvellir National Park

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The Golden Circle loops roughly 300 km from Reykjavik eastwards and back. Much driving in Iceland looks something like this. Could be Montana? Sure, but as soon as you get out of the car, you start seeing the stark differences from Montana. As seen in the photo, the speed limit is 90, that’s the case on most highways. 90 km/h is only 55 mph, slow by U.S. highway standards. So driving from one point to another usually takes longer than it might seem.

The first stop on our Golden Circle tour was Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. The park lies on the largest lake in Iceland, as well as a large exposed section of the mid-Atlantic ridge, in fact it is one of the few places in the world where the boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates can be seen with the naked eye.

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A Plead To Instagram

Posted in Photography January 5, 2015

Flickr’s had it’s time. While there are dozens of great photo-sharing platforms out there, including Flickr and 500px, Instagram is probably the most functional social photo sharing platform. Or is it?

If not for lack of basic features like account switching, Instagram would be the most functional photo sharing network. The merit of Instagram is that it is simple and has a very large audience. While Instagram has been slow to adapt to the market’s needs (thinking of the late entry into the Android world), it’s important to state the dire need for account switching.

Like Twitter, originally Instagram was created to act as an individual’s photo sharing portal. It was a simple, yet brilliant idea a social network with personal photo sharing at the heart of the concept.

Today, Instagram is different, speckled with hundreds of thousands of accounts that don’t represent individuals, but rather companies and organizations, and the way people use Instagram is different too. The main problem? There’s no easy way to switch between accounts.

This missing feature has been frowned upon for years, yet Instagram seems to have no plans to add it to the app, for reasons unknown.

Personally, I have 4 accounts that I manage, two of them actively. One of them, @antonpug, is a personal day-to-day account, another one is @atlanticnortheast, which is the Instagram account of the Atlantic Northeast Company, @GreatNW, an account that I’ve created to share great photos from the Pacific Northwest, and finally, @antonpugachevsky, an account I recently created to act as my photo portfolio where I’d share the best of my work.

In order to switch between accounts today, one needs to have multiple devices, a ludicrous proposition, if you ask me. The slightly less burdensome solution solution involves signing off and on between different accounts on the same device.

Why can’t we have a simple, elegant solution similar to what Twitter does, a solution that allows you to be simultaneously signed in to multiple accounts on one device? That simple feature would make everyone’s life a lot easier, and would benefit Instagram because I believe people would actually use it more if they didn’t have to go though logging out logging in to post a selfie when they are currently logged into their corporate Insta.

So Instagram, please, fix this.

Sincerely,
Avid Photographer.

The case against SASS nested CSS selectors

Posted in Software Development July 11, 2014

For a long time I have been a proponent for LESS. Simple, basic, and does what matters most – CSS compilation from multiple sources. While SASS comes with a variety of merits, the supposed “benefit” that people seem to often enjoy is the ability to nest CSS selectors. Those in the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) mindset absolutely love this feature. Personally, I hate it.

I hate it for the simple reason that I don’t believe that this mess:

.show-some-thing .show-another-thing {
   color: #FFF;
   margin: 10px;

   .some-ugly-button {
      background-color: blue;
      border: 1px solid red; 

      .selected {
         background-color: green;
      }
   }
}

offers enough of a benefit from the supposed “conciseness” to offset the eyesore that it causes.

Sure, this might not be as “concise”, but it sure is easier to read and debug:

.show-some-thing .show-another-thing {
   color: #FFF;
   margin: 10px;
}

.show-some-thing .show-another-thing .some-ugly-button {
   background-color: blue;
   border: 1px solid red; 
}

.show-some-thing .show-another-thing .some-ugly-button .selected {
   background-color: green;
}

And that’s just a basic example. The more nesting, the harder it is to read SASS nested code. My advice – don’t do nest your CSS.

Removing the large screen site option from Bootstrap 3

Posted in Software Development June 9, 2014

Last year I endorsed the idea of a full-width blog. No sidebars, no distractions, content in plain focus. While the design is very clean, one flaw with the default settings of the Bootstrap 3 grid is the large screen mode that is enabled for devices with widths larger than 1200px.

It took me a bit of digging around how to properly disable the large screen mode, leaving only xs (extra small), sm (small) and md (medium) @media-query breakpoints. The solution is simple:

In app.less (do not modify Bootstrap LESS files for easier upgrades), first change the medium screen width breakpoint if you’re not satisfied with the default. This will become your maximum container width.

@screen-md: 960px;

Then, override the default media query with the medium screen as the maximum width:

@media (min-width: @screen-md) {
   .container {
      width:@screen-md;
   }
}

Whistler: is it a place, or a state of mind?

Posted in Outdoors, Photography, Travel March 1, 2014

Among dozens of ski resorts I’ve visited, Whistler is not only the largest, snowiest resort with the best alpine terrain anywhere in the world, but it is also a truly magical place. Whistler is a state of mind, as much as it is a place. The Whistler lifestyle, most commonly referred to as #whislife on various social media outlets has been glorified for many years. It’s everything together, the landscape, the snow, the amenities, the village, and the people that come here that makes Whistler a true mountain lifestyle that so many skibums flock to from all over the world. It’s also a magnificent place to capture on camera. Enjoy.

 

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