To be or wanna-be

So you wanna be a Geek? First of all: you have to know how to behave yourself. The Do’s and Don’ts of Geekiness. Geeks crave for freedom, but there are some rules that have to be obeyed, even by geeks. Study e.g the TechRadar article on 29 tech phrases you may not use any longer. I hate to admit it, but I use them – actually quite often – and I like it. Or read the article about the 21 Guilty Pleasures for Geeks. In fact, none of these pleasures apply to me. – too much wanna-be.
Perhaps I’m not at the Geek-side of Life after all 🙁
Okay, what then is needed to be a member of the Geek-society? The navel-gazing Geek-forum at Ecademy offers some criteria, stolen from the Geektest:

    I take a computer on holiday with me
    I visit museums even though I don’t have to
    I have more than 12 email addresses
    I sometimes watch movie trailers and think “I have that typeface” or “I know how that was done”
    I once tried to design a robot
    I know the difference between ROM and RAM
    I can get my email wherever I am
    I watch the Sci-Fi channel (whether anyone is looking or not)
    I actually like jigsaw puzzles
    I was the only one of everyone I knew who had a Sinclair ZX-81, Sinclair Spectrum AND a Commodore 64
    I’ve seriously considered devoting a website to my PC – not the brand of my PC, my actual PC
    I used to fantasise about working for Google
    I get upset if I have less than 50 emails in my inbox when I get to my desk in the morning
    I have spent more time than is healthy contemplating how traffic lights work
    I do detailed floorplan diagrams before moving furniture
    I know how to pronounce Linux
    I paid more for my PC than I paid for my car.
    It makes me happy when people from countries with limited Internet access frequently visit one of my websites
    I’ve been to the cinema on my own
    I write web pages about… well, web pages
    I do your best work after 11 pm
    I plot to get my mother onto Facebook
    I own more computers and mobile phones than all my neighbours put together,
    I know how to program a calculator,
    I correct people on their spelling
    I supposedly have an IQ of 147
    I can do the Rubik’s cube (in less than 15 seconds)
    I like Star Trek

Okay, that checklist works for me, but I knew that already; I took the original Geektest. (I did it again today – I scored 42,01183% – Major Geek)
A great article about geekiness or nerdiness, written in 2007, is Michael Lopp’s The Nerd Handbook. I’ve never considered myself a nerd, but some people think the difference between a nerd and a geek is only semantic. Whatever, there are some issues mentioned in the nerd Handbook-article I recognize:

  • a nerd is defined by his computer
  • a nerd has control issues
  • a nerd has built himself a cave
  • a nerd loves toys and puzzles
  • a nerd sees humor is another game
  • a nerd has an amazing appetite for information
  • a nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head
  • a nerd might come off as not liking people

Hm, I’m don’t like puzzles. 🙂
Todd also coined the acronym N.A.D.D.: Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder, a disease that has always bothered me about myself. Apperently this means: not being able to maintain a normal conversation about almost nothing with normal people. To me, having a conversation means an exchange of information. Some people only exchange information about the weather, about the health, marriage, children, car etc. of their mother, father, brothers, sisters, neighbours and so on. Sport is also a favourite subject of conversation. Try as I may, I almost never succeed in keeping up the appearance of being interested in that kind of information. So, a lot of people think I don’t have any feelings. A malicious accusation! Of course I have feelings and of course it’s is a good thing to talk about feelings: the feeling of pride when I open the lid of my ASUS-notebook, the feeling of doubt when I see my GRUB-screen: shall I fire up Windows or Linux. The feeling of impatience when I have to wait during the start-up process. The feeling of appetite when I see all those great unfinished projects in my “To-Do” folder; so much life to hack, so little time to hack it! The feeling of longing when I am downloading huge stacks of E-books at bittorrents – I can’t wait until my downloads are completed. The feeling that I am too good to be true when I have solved a small computer-“problem” for someone else in my household – a real development project! The Zen-like flow I’m in when I’m thinking, studying, designing, composing, coding or just blogging in My Cave. And of course that glorious feeling of satisfaction (“The High” according to Lopp) when you’ve finished a project or solved a real problem. All these feelings are not recognized by “normal” people, although I have to admit that they usually benevolently listen to what I have to say.
Until now I thought the truth about geekiness is as callous as the calvinistic doctrine of predestination: you are a geek or you’re not. So: Am I a geek, or not? Does it matter? Not really, and: there is hope, according to Garth Sundem, writer of “The Geeks’ Guide to ‘World Domination”.

A book loaded with 314.1516 (!) trivia, about science, pop-culture, paper airplanes “everything you need to achieve nirvana”, according to the cover. “Tune in – Turn on – Geek out”; “Join us or die, you will”. If you want to be geek, study this book. It’s an excellent pillow-book for the geek (who has too many projects and too much stuff after all), that covers a lot of useless topics in short entries. And a must-read for the wannabe-geek.

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  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.