Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can They Read My Brain?

While I was talking with a colleague, doodling 8-bit style space-invaders graphics on a paper - which is rare as I don't normally use the old-skool manual Notepad but our printer's not working (I hate paper copies, too, but at work we need these thin tree slices that were widely in use before they invented computer monitors), switching between, my home country's local newspapers, couple of blogs, my normal info searching webpages and my work related tools I came across with this article about The Nerd Handbook.

F me!

This guy has captured my brains 100% accurately. Usually when I read any post with the subject of "this is what a nerd is" I feel the similarity in most parts, but not all. Not this time. It's right on the nose. Already then when I was living with my parents I was skipping between TV-stations and following multiple programs at the same time. I can cook in kitchen while I'm watching a movie with a friend, since I can follow what is going on just by the sound. - I know when to go to see the screen when a good visual part is coming.

The reason why I work with computers is exactly the fact I love puzzles. When people ask me what I do for living, I answer "I play with toys. ...and the fools pay money for it." For me working with computes is a game, not work.

When we go out with several people and sit in a bar at a long table, I can follow 2-3 discussions at the same time around the table. Internal ALT+TAB is working.

Even the view is absolutely correct. You might catch me standing in front of the window and staring blankly into the void at work. It doesn't mean I'm not working. It means: Do not talk to me, I'm thinking. Puzzle solving parts of the brain work better when you have less stressing stimuli, and more relaxing visual input. Talking to me will only disrupt my Zone. The blank stare that a guitar player's partner might recognise when the guitar player is in his Zone, is exactly the same with a nerd in The Zone.

The inch-deep and 4 miles wide knowledge well is also quite accurate. And it doesn't need to be more deep. When I need to know something, I already organize search keywords in my mind while I'm still listening to the question. I already have made a decision what forum or website to visit in order to quickly find the relevant information.

Nerd's Cave might look untidy, but that's a wrong assumption. My room is in controlled chaos. Don't move anything in "its correct place", otherwise I won't find anything. My CD-r pen is right there where I left it. Just behind my Bushmill's whiskey bottle I use as a candlestick, under that Salakavala - Fractal Fishing CD. You can eat directly from my kitchen table (if you clean up afterwards), but in my Cave, mind your step. The whole interior of the room revolves around the computer.

Only thing I'd add is in his related The Cave -post where he talks about a random collection of comforting nerd knick knacks. It's not only the mint-condition Albert Einstein action-figure in my Cave, but nerds tend to take pride in other things as well:

Repetition progression is one huge area that has been partly neglected in Rands In Repose blog. If the cubicle tidiness is not that strict in your company, you'll see a guy who has at least 50 soda cans built in a shape of a castle on his desk and it grows day by day. You see your nerd friend who hasn't changed his keyboard for ten years. (My old wireless keyboard died immediately after 8 years of usage.) A nerd takes pride in worn out ALT and TAB keys. The shiny surface and worn out text on CTRL, SHIFT and INS keys is a sign of dedication. For those who wonder why those keys - they were the Copy & Paste keys before the Windows era - still work and old habits are hard to kick. 4-5 years ago my Kill Everyone Project's score was in millions.

Personal Computer - PC is exactly what the name says. It's personal and it's a computer. Going through someone's computer is the same as going through all his papers, drawers and that little shoe-box hidden behind his woolen shirt in the closet. It's just disrespectful. A nerd might also have his own toolkit. When you need to reinstall the OS, there are certain tools you always add and configure. Launchy for example. Takes a while to teach all the file types and locations I want to use. I couldn't think about using FireFox without NoScript. My 'Old Lady' - that's right, my computer's name is Old Lady - is configured in a way that DVD drives, memory and legacy ports are not checked when I boot up. All the peripherals I don't need on my motherboard have been disabled. When I boot up, I want that I can log in when the monitor can display anything. If something's wrong, I run diagnostics. If I need to reinstall OS, I do know how to go to BIOS and change that it boots from the DVD drive.

Enough. The articles are well written and very - oh, so very accurate. "Touché." - "Hit, destroyer sunk!" Read them:
The Nerd Handbook
A Nerd In A Cave

No comments: