The people who use our boards.

Louise Yang

Senior Software Engineer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

Hi, I’m Louise. I’m a software engineer specializing in web applications. That means I do a lot of googling for things that I looked up a week ago. I’ve mostly worked in startups, with a short stint in public radio.

When you live in LA, you spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. Before the second coming of podcasts, I listened to a lot of public radio on my commute. I’ve always been curious about how the sausage was made, and through serendipity, I ended up leading the tech team at a local NPR station in LA. It was pretty cool to meet and work with the radio personalities that I listened to for years. I worked on the technical side of things, creating tools that enabled the newsroom to produce and manage various forms of content, as well as contributing to open source software at the same time. Through that work, I was also able to meet other tech and product teams in public radio across the country.

When I don’t have to work, I like to read, enjoy good food, spend time with family and friends, garden, and play video games and volleyball. I read mostly fiction, but within that category I’m happy with a broad range. I’m currently reading a sci-fi book about a close-knit group of queer mercenaries trying to save a space station from some evil corporate takeover. I’m lucky to live in a really diverse city in California, so there’s a lot of good, affordable food options near me to explore.

Louise Yang's big, beautiful bowl of chicken pho
That's a nice-looking bowl of pho

There’s so much good food in LA, it’s hard to pick just a few favorite restaurants. Whenever I travel out of LA, even if it’s for just a few days, I end up craving Asian food. For lunch, I just went to a new outpost of a Northern-style pho restaurant called Pho Dakao. Their specialty is chicken pho, which is very different from the typical beef pho. The fresh rice noodles are cut wide and have a pleasing slippery texture. The broth, the star of the dish, has a savory but slightly sweet chicken flavor if it’s done right.

Another go-to place of mine, especially for taking out of town visitors, is Ahgoo’s Kitchen. It’s a mom-and-pop restaurant that specializes in homestyle Taiwanese dishes. They’re well known for this pan-fried green onion roll that’s crunchy on the outside and pillowy and soft on the inside. I love that this restaurant has no pretensions and just serves tasty, comforting food. I’m not Taiwanese myself, but I imagine this is what a Taiwanese auntie would serve you if you went to her house.

What hardware do you use?

I used to be a die-hard PC user, but got burned out with decision fatigue a decade ago with all the components and choices I had to make whenever I needed to build a new rig, so now I’m on a MacBook Pro. I have it set up where I have the MacBook hooked up to an external monitor as a second screen, and the two halves of my keyboard on either side of the laptop keyboard. I use the touchpad on the laptop to move the cursor.

Louise Yang's setup
Louise's workspace is comfortable and uncluttered

I’m on this Ikea desk add-on for their Kallas shelves that are used for my spouse’s record collection. I sit badly on an Aeron chair, usually with one or both legs up on the seat. I’ve done it for so long that there’s a permanent dent on my thigh from where it rests against the armrest. I guess it’s a thigh rest now.

I always have a regular notebook and pen nearby for my bullet journal and any quick notes I need to take.

And what software?

For coding, I like the JetBrains IDEs because they make refactoring code really easy. Since I mainly work in Ruby these days, I’m in RubyMine a lot. I like everything in dark mode, which is easier on my eyes. For things that are customizable, I use a Solarized Dark theme just to keep it consistent. Something about the teals and the blues there is very calming.

I’m working on a book right now, so for writing I use Scrivener. I haven’t gotten into many of the advanced features, but I love that it has a focus mode that gets rid of all the menu UI distractions.

I’m in the revision process of my first novel, a contemporary romance set in the current pandemic. I gravitated towards cozy, non-stressful books during this wild time we’re living through, so I wanted to try my hand at writing my own. It started off as a joke between my spouse and me, about how ridiculous it would be to write a romance book around mask usage and what not, but I ran with the joke and now I have a first draft. Maybe if I talk about it enough times, a finished version will manifest itself.

I’m a copy/paste aficionado, so I use the Paste app for clipboard management. It really helps with both coding and writing fiction. I also have terrible short-term memory, so it’s like my secondary memory.

I use Rectangle for hotkeys to send my windows from one display to the next or to align it to one side of the screen to another because I’m OCD about window management on my screens.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I have a white Moonlander, although it’s been in use steadily, so some of the keycaps are more of a gray color, which is sort of gross.

I set up the keyboard’s functional keys for ease of hotkey-ing and macros. I even use the big thumb button specifically for my clipboard manager so that I can get to the clipboard queue faster. People think they’re hiring me for my programming know-how, but they’re actually just hiring a vast collection of finely tuned macros.

I have the keyboard tented, which is the easiest way for me to reach most of the keys I need to. I have hands on the smaller side, but I’d like to thank my years of piano playing to give me enough finger spread to make up for it.

What would be your dream setup?

If we’re talking about physical things, I already have my dream setup: a room of my own, a laptop fast enough to do what I need, fast internet, a comfortable keyboard for my method of working, and a monitor that looks crisp.

If we’re talking of less tangible things, then I dream of a peaceful spot, maybe outside where the temperature is just right with a breeze and there aren’t any mosquitos buzzing around, getting into a flow state while working on something energizing, no looming deadlines or the stress of paying the bills. And a refreshing drink on the side, of course.

Louise Yang in the garden
Thanks, Louise! May all your projects grow to bountiful fruition!

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