Saturday, February 16, 2008

You Won't Want To Shove Our Head In The Toilet Anymore. You'll Need Us Someday!

I guess you could say that I'm a computer geek. And geek, by the way, is no longer an insult--it's an honorific. Some of us are Mac (like me) and some are PC! (Yuck!) If there's one common characteristic of an ideal techie, it's darkness. We are not depressed. Multiple monitors bombard users with a lot of light - adding overhead fluorescents or superbright halogens would be a recipe for migraines and madness. Most of us have a desk that looks like the site of a bombing and non­techies should keep one thing in mind: Do not touch anything. "Good enough" really isn't for most geeks. Possessing the latest gizmo from Tokyo is a badge of honor. IPut a "regular" person in front of a computer, and he'll just sit there. A geek will dig in, figuring out what's inside and how he can tweak it. Not because it's his job, but for fun. In an article in Inc. magazine, Adam Bluestein dove into our "obsession" and came up with some interesting on...and remember not all of us have tattoo's like these!

Geeks often have a powerful intellectual vanity. That makes it hard for them to admit mistakes. Hence, the plethora of expressions that blame the victim (see glossary, below). Geeks like money as much as everyone else, but nerds like recognition for what they've done and want to talk about it. You may not understand 80 percent of it but it's more about the relationship and building trust. And geeks like to play. Google's developers are allowed to spend 20 percent of their work time working on projects of their choosing--with the caveat that anything they produce belongs to the company. The tinkering is rewarding for the techies, and even if most of the work comes to nothing, the 10 percent that yields valuable new products makes it worthwhile.

If you interrupt a geek friend who's deep in the zone because you need help with your e-mail, you deserve his wrath. But don't wait to befriend one of us. Sudden sucking up followed shortly by a request to help move your iTunes library to a new machine is transparent and will backfire. And yes, us techies have our own colorful jargon, often indecipherable to outsiders. We even have our two hero's who have created the war for the superior computing platform. Here, courtesy of Adam's Inc. article, are some terms to listen for--and you might want to hope they're not directed your way.

Geek: Someone with an intense curiosity about a specific subject. Not limited to tech--there are also gaming geeks, music geeks, etc.

Caching error: An all-purpose explanation for a tech-support problem with no obvious cause

Completion date: To a geek, the date something is ready to test--not, as you might have thought, it isn't done.

Empire builder: An insecure dweeb who tries to make himself indispensable by keeping code, passwords, or other knowledge of a system to himself.

Hardware problem: A problem most geeks want nothing to do with

HKI error: Human-keyboard-interface error (i.e., it's your fault, stupid)

ID10T (pronounced Eye-dee-ten-tee): The user is an idiot. Used by geeks when passing along said idiot to some other sucker to deal with: "I've got an I-D-ten-T coming your way."

I/O error: Ignorant-operator error. Derived from the term "input/output error"

Known issue: As in, "That's a known issue." In other words, you're the 4,000th person who's called me about this problem in the past week--and no, I haven't fixed it.

Nerd: Some technologists self-identify as nerds; others find the term insulting. When in doubt, use geek instead.

PEBCAK: Problem exists between chair and keyboard (i.e., again, it's your fault, stupid)

PICNIC: Problem in chair, not in computer

RTFM: Read the f---ing manual!

The bottom line on geeks is this. In this age of digital technology, e-mail and iPods, you better know one. In fact, you better love one. Because the day will come that you're doing a Google search for your local Hooter's restaurant, actually type in the word "Hotter" and up pops 10,000 windows of gazangas posed in positions you never thought imaginable and the flood won't stop. That's when you'll need us. Now a days, being a geek isn't all that bad. And besides, we can all kick you ass on any Wii game!