Nicholas Young

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Blog

Fresh thoughts on engineering, accessibility, mobility technologies, and creative work.

Introducing Sloan Alexis Young

If you read my earlier piece on the emotions associated with becoming a Dad, then you’ll also understand why I’m proud to say this. While the context will help, as it always does, this announcement is still very exciting. Friends, family, and colleagues. Susan and myself would like for you to meet Sloan Alexis, the newest member of the Young Family. She was born today, January 28, 2016 at 11:23PM....

Dad Jokes

5:05 A.M. I wake up, groggy and sore, on something the hospital staff described as a bed. Honestly, I don’t know what it is… a board? Concrete, cleverly disguised as a wanna-be couch? Okay, fine. It’s a bed, or the closest thing to it that I’ll have for a long while now. Across the room, my ferocious wife is drifting in and out of sleep. I think to myself, contemplating how tough she is, having endured so much for this pregnancy already: weeks of prodromal labor, frustrating aches and pains, morning sickness that never left....

State.js 2016: JavaScript, Here and Now

While Twitter, for many individuals, has taken the place of blogging — instead, for me, it’s the place where ideas are fostered and allowed to grow before expanding into fully formed pieces of prose. This post is a study of that pattern. A few days ago, I tweeted the following statement: “Why do we have so many React-like frameworks? I can show you several that are almost identical. I guess it’s the curse of JavaScript....

Apple's Power Play

I bought a MacBook in 2006. The white, polycarbonate-clad machine was my first serious laptop. It was far superior to the family PCs in every way. I was excited about the purchase, yes, but I also understood that it was a tool. There was also a very apparent downside of owning a Macintosh: as the owner of a “pretty” machine intended for mass-adoption, I was the target of more than a few hacker jokes....

Be Kind, Rewind

Weekend mornings were made for reflection. I have a strong cup freshly ground coffee in my hand, and a head full of ideas. Shall we begin? This blog has been stale for too long, I know. I added one small dispatch on the merits of mechanical keyboards, a post that, in retrospect, needed to address a myriad of topics. At the time, my head was simply too cluttered: I lacked the mental energy to cover them well, so I reverted to a topic that was of recent interest....

What's In a Title?

Knowledge is the most important tool that any developer can possess. With the explosion of platforms like CodeSchool, PluralSight, and many others, the cost of education is plummeting. Over the last several years, personally, I’ve referred more than a handful of students to these platforms. Often, these friends or colleagues return to me for help, but the platform was still able to teach foundational principals. However, with the influx of Junior Developers created by the relatively new crop of coding schools, I can’t help but wonder if this industry has filled one need and ignored another....

Painless Keyboarding

What is your first thoughts in reaction to the term “mechanical keyboard”? Nostalgia? The obnoxious “clicky” sound you hoped to leave behind? If you’re relatively young, you may have no recollection of this product at all. If you’re a programmer, whose hands are on a keyboard for hours each day, then maybe, you’ve grown quite fond of these devices. A few weeks ago, I was happily pounding away on my Apple keyboard — but even after years of use, it never felt right....

Life Behind the Microphone

Growing up, adults would consistently regale me with stories from their past. A recurring theme was how time passed faster, increasing in speed with each year. Looking back as I near thirty, and several years into the largest venture I’ve undertaken thus far, I understand. Just over two years ago, I pressed record. I spoke into a microphone, kicking off my return to broadcasting. “Welcome to Dispatch,” I said. Looking back, those words framed my future, where thousands of listeners would hear my voice on a weekly basis, and even the experience of getting coffee would never be the same....

Drobo: a Nightmare Come True

Settle in, dear reader. I’m here to share a story of frustration, unbelievably offensive customer service, and ultimately, a brand gone astray. It was mid-2012. I was preparing to launch The Machine, a broadcasting network for listeners interested in artisan goods, intellectual conversations, and spirited debate. Anticipating our looming need for storage, I purchased a DroboFS network-attached storage device, convinced it was the best product for our needs as a growing, but still home-based business....

Write Code and Get Back to Doing What You Love

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Chicago Node.js meetup about our technology stack for The Machine. I’ve only been working with Node.js for a couple of months, but in that time, I’ve learned many difficult lessons. The biggest one, by far, is how not to build a monolith. Rails (and many other web frameworks) work best if you follow the golden path. While I generally believe in convention-over-configuration, we need to recognize when certain conventions aren’t right for our application....