Nicholas Young

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Blog

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

Dads Change Diapers, Too

The process of becoming a parent teaches lessons you never expected to learn. There are, of course, many small nuggets of wisdom that lodge in your brain; the prevailing signs of a wet diaper (thanks to modern technology, diaper wetness can be scientifically verified), and your child’s entertainment preferences (or, how to overcome your fear of acting foolish in public). The bigger challenge is learning to live with the responsibility of guiding your precious child....

Life on the Inside, Part II

Lifting a 14-pound child, radical weather changes, rising levels of acute pain, and emerging chronic fatigue symptoms are changing my daily routine. This is the second post in a series covering what it’s like to live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a complex, life-long genetic condition that often causes serious, chronic pain and frequent subluxations among patients. Granted, pain has a normal place in my life. I plan for it, and always keep medicine on hand; but even though I expected this as the logical evolution of my condition, it doesn’t make it easier to swallow....

Ignorant Advice

In four months time, I’ve realized that building a business and raising a child are incredibly similar. Speaking from experience, with a child, it’s nearly impossible for parents to share candid photos of their children and daily activities without being chided for choosing an unsafe carseat, or being schooled on dangers of certain “unnecessary” vaccines. In business, someone will always know better than you. Those detractors will consistently spout discouraging “wisdom,” supposedly earned from many years of hard work, though few can back it up....

Life on the Inside, Part I

I wake up, though not by choice. The alarm clock isn’t ringing, and the apartment is quiet. My bedsheets wrap me in a warm, kind hug; and although the bed is comfortable, I’m miles away from a blissful state of mind. Rising, I realize what woke me: first, I feel it in my neck, shoulders, upper back, and knees. The remaining body parts — hips, hands, and feet — all begin to play their part in a symphony of tension and pain....

The Ex-Resident's Guide to Chicago

By mid-June, the Young Family will be living in Colorado. While this move is positive overall, I also feel a certain trepidation: Chicago was where I launched The Machine, re-ignited my love for software, and kindled a new dedication to speaking. It’s also where I lost my religion, morphing from a lukewarm christian into a staunch atheist. So, yes. This City and I; we have a history. Six years of awesome, messy history....

No, You Cannot Pick My Brain

I’m an educator: I advise clients around the globe, speak to almost any audience that will have me, write on a myriad of important topics, and contribute to open source. Still, I’m often asked — occasionally by total strangers — if they can “pick my brain.” No. Whether the price paid is a coffee, beer, entree, or night out on the town, my answer remains unchanged. It’s not that I’m stingy with time or knowledge — anyone who knows me will, I hope, say otherwise....

Going West

I’ve lived in Chicago for almost six years, but this June, it’s time to say goodbye. There’s another place my rambling soul craves to be: Denver, Colorado. As I’ve told several friends, “the mountains are calling.” From what little I understand about the state’s culture, this isn’t uncommon: many individuals visit Colorado, and make plans to return as tourists, but find themselves returning as residents. This tale perfectly describes my experience: after traveling through the Denver area many years ago, it has always remained a beautiful memory in my otherwise cluttered mind....

Don't Solve Everything Today

This one is for the doers: those who have stepped out of the dark, set aim for the heavens, and vowed to realize their dreams — costs be damned. This one is for the pragmatists: to everyone around the world who values time well spent, and seeks to quantify every working moment with hard data. I have a message for all of you; the big dreamers, slow starters, hustlers, and anyone else caught in the web of our modern world, without a definition to call their own....

Build For Yourself

Whether you’re a developer, musician, producer, photographer, or a creative of any other profession — you rely heavily on the work of others. It may be uncomfortable to admit, but rarely is an idea truly novel. Often, it has been evaluated by another artist, somewhere across the gulf of time or space; who found it to be too costly, irrelevant, or simply uninteresting for the time being. I also firmly believe that while few original ideas are left, you will inevitably become an inventor....

The Diary of an Angry, White, Privileged Male

For years, I’ve heard rumblings of misogyny, sexual misconduct, and other troubling events in the Ruby community. Female friends have discussed their stories with me at length: some are concerned (but still participate), while others have left the community altogether. Both choices are perfectly valid. I was once a Rubyist. Back in 2007, it didn’t take much to sell me on the new language, especially after I saw what Rails could do....