It’s a pretty broad question isn’t it? A few years ago, putting your CDs onto a computer definitely qualified you as a Geek (at least if you did them in alphabetical order). These days? Pah, even your grandmother can do it (mainly thanks to Stevie J). These days you have to dig a bit deeper to find those behaviors that uniquely identify you as a having no life, er, I mean being a Geek.
Let’s look at a few. See how many you can tick off.
You need two points to be a Geek.
- If you just got out a Palm Pilot, or better, an Apple Newton, to keep track of you score – consider yourself qualified. Two points, no more verification needed. But you’re a geek, so you’re going to keep reading anyway, aren’t you.While on the subject of Newtons, did anyone accuse you of carrying a scanner around? Extra half a point if you showed them how it would recognize badly drawn circles and turn them into editable objects. Another half point if you bought a new battery to keep the bloody things going all these years (and no, I haven’t, so there).
- If you’ve recently installed a new OS on any type of hardware – you’re in. Mind you, this one’s getting far too easy these days. I once spent a week trying to get the Be OS to recognize a motley collection of items that could loosely be called circuit cards. Be (the OS, not the word in the dictionary) went the way of vacuum tubes but some brave souls are hanging on in hope with the Haiku project. They’ve made the process so easy. I download the image onto a USB stick, rebooted, and presto, instant install. Couldn’t do much with it mind you, but it looks so cool.Then there’s Ubuntu. Blimey, I think even our cat could install it (and we don’t even have a cat).
- If everything in your house is wireless but your desk is invisible under a layer of cables – half a point for this one. Everything is wireless today, but if you want speed (and we’re trying for Geek points here – course you want speed!) you’ve got to go with copper. What about fiber optic, you say. Well ok, extra half a point for fiber, but only if built one end or the other. Plugging a Sony do-hicky into something else from Sony doesn’t count.
- If Journaling makes you think of shortened start up times and fault tolerant storage systems – half a point for this one. Take off half a point if you thought that was the “in” word for a diary and stop filling up the internet with “nothing much happened today.”
- If you’ve ever got software running on a bare processor – a full point. Yeah, micro-controllers count too, no shame there. Double points if you did it without a logic analyzer. (I could swear I just heard someone from Ohio shout “yeah baby!”)
- If you told some one that fixing their computer wouldn’t take five minutes, then stayed up all night proving that it indeed didn’t take 5 minutes – half a point. Sorry, can’t give more than half a point for this one, everything on a computer takes longer than it should do. With Windows things can go up by a factor of ten. Ha, yes, I can already feel you checking that one.
- If you’ve automated your Christmas card list – half a point. If you’ve set up a Daemon for the next few years you can have the extra point, but only if you remembered to randomize the cheery oh-so-personal computer generated greeting.No? Sorry, you’re back to the half point.
- If you’ve ever contributed to an open source project – a full point. And thanks.
- If you managed to record a whole series of Nova without catching anything from the knitting channel – a point and a half. Yeah, you read right, a point and a half, VCR. Ok, you got to be pushing it to be old enough to tick this one, but it’s a old school badge of honor. By the way, it doesn’t count if you had any help from someone under the age of eight.
- If you were 11 when you hacked into your first bank – one point, but only if you live in Norway and it wasn’t my bank.
- If you laugh anytime 0x4E2EAB5 appears on your calculator – a full point. One and a half if you don’t have to convert it to decimal.
- Ok, this one’s straight from Wikipedia. Apparently, if you’re a “carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts” you’re in. Frankly, I don’t think this one counts, even if it is intriguing. Maybe you can have 7.6e-4’s worth if the act involved doing something with electrical power in it. Maybe double that if it shorted out while you were touching it, but that’s the limit.
So how did you do? Aced it at the first? Scraped all the way to the weird carnival performer thing before you edged over the two point minimum? Let me know.
And if you’ve got any other criteria, let me know that too!
I thought that was the definition of “nerd”? Geeks are the ones who aren’t quite at that level, but are also gamers and… you know, stuff…
Ah, yes. As the old saying goes; one man’s geek is another man’s nerd.
Love it, Nigel. I’m comforted to know that I’m far too much of a techno-moron to be a geek. 🙂
Techno-moron?! How can you say such a thing? I have a whole column set aside, just to keep up with you on Twitter 🙂
Very enjoyable article.
If I have defined myself as such, geek that is, does it count? 😀
I think that’s my cue to stop reading your posts and leave your site…to open Scrivener
Anyone who has backups of their backups is in!