geeks

A Valentine’s guide to geek behaviors

Ah, February, the month where the young at heart open their hearts, the older at heart open their wallets and any open magazine has a relationship guide. In the interest of fostering improved relationships between geeks and non-geeks, this guide lists some common behaviors or opinions according to my non-geek wife (plus some of her tactics for dealing with these behaviors).

And the survey results say.

  • I believe there does NOT exist a state of too much RAM, too large a hard-drive or too fast a processor.
  • Whatever I'm doing on the computer is important.

The Tron effect

In 1982, I attended computer camp.

I know, this sounds like a "One time, at band camp. . ." story, but it's not. This was computer camp. It took place at the little-known Eastern Oregon State College, and it was the first year EOSC offered computer camp.

Growing up in Thorne Bay, Alaska, I realized I was odd. In sixth grade, the school district sent out an Apple ][. While others played Star Wars or Space Invaders, I studied Applesoft Basic. While others learned how to master Aztec, I delved into the mysteries of the Sweet16 assembler. When my mom told me her college was offering a whole month of computer studies for high school geeks like me, I couldn't wait.

Didn’t God say “...and the geeks shall inherit the earth”?

Okay kids, gather ’round, I’m going to reminisce. When I was about six, I had what is classed as well developed literacy skills—I could write some words, I could read books about Jenny and Jack on the swing, that sort of thing. My parents bought a mac and we thought we were the height of sophistication. (That was in 1986, BTW.) But to me, it was like a magic box that was used on special occasions, and it was a grownup thing. I mean, I only used the phone on special occasions!

GNU/Linux? But you don't LOOK like a geek...

When I was last at uni (which I go back to every so often, just to prove to myself that I can’t sit through another degree), I found myself in a situation where I was sitting at a computer in the library of a public high school in Western Australia, trying to write a lesson plan (I was dabbling with the idea of being a high school teacher at the time). It was 40°C (104°F) outside, and inside wasn’t much better. I was sitting on an uncomfortably high plastic chair waiting... waiting... waiting... and that was just for the office suite to load on MS2000.

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