The trouble with geek friends

Geeks have intense interests. They border on obsessions. They know EVERYTHING about those interests. And argue vehemently for them, about them, and against others. These habits bleed over into other non-geek areas such that it felt like an intrinsic part of the culture.

For decades I doubted you could have geeks without arguments, so I find it interesting when I run across people discovering a community and getting turned off when arguments break out. They just wanted to find others who love the thing. Love led to arguments in my teens through twenty-somethings. It took making enough non-geek friends in order to realize just how skewed my understanding of reality was.

The trouble is, you better not have feelings. For they will be stepped on. Eventually. Well, unless you fall solidly on the autism spectrum. For the segments of geekdom who do, they might not be aware how they make others feel without very direct response. I am calling them arguments because to outsiders these discussions seem full of anger. to strong geeks, this is how we discuss.

It seems theoretically possible for people to get along wonderfully well. I have seen it more with children who sometimes treat their beloved things as malleable. They love them, but they can alter these impressions when they need. By shifting their opinion, they remove the conflict. Older humans are a bit more rigid.

As an introvert, small talk is meh. I much prefer deep conversations. And geek friends bring depth. Find their interests to bring out a conversation. That is easy. And to my mind a rewarding part of socialization. Finding people who wanted to talk about deep things is how and why I cultivated so many of my friendships. Having broad but deep interests allowed me to engage on many things.

Displaying confidence in so many different things is why people considered me intelligent. Given my social circles, I figured this normal so just average.

No worries. People self-select into geekdom. Either they acclimate or they move on to another group. They will keep their interests either way.

 

 

Nerducation

Nerds are a special breed. Not all of us discover we are one at an early age. Some may even deny it for a long time.

So the late bloomers who discover they are a nerd have a lot of catching up to do.

Step one: What do you love? Make wishlists.

Step two: Work your way through the lists.

Step three: Just understand that you are an individual and likely finicky. Just because it was recommended does not mean you will love or even like it. Feel free to skip something that turns out to be not enjoyable.

Blog It; Or It Didn’t Happen

This blog is often my external brain. If I find something interesting, then I ought to blog about it. Later, when I need to reference it, then I can find it here.

Failing to write it down can result in spending lots of time trying to reinvent the wheel.

I guess part of the problem is a fracturing of my media creation. Sometimes I tweet it. Sometimes I make a Facebook or Tumblr post. Stuff gets spewed everywhere.

Nerd

I gladly embrace being called a nerd. Not always. There was a time when I solely thought of myself as a geek and distanced myself from nerds.

A jock-y coworker professes to hate nerds. Even as he works with computers all day, enjoys checks, and spends hours figuring out how to improve his strength numbers. Don’t call him a nerd though.

He also describes me as the biggest nerd he knows. Possible. But, that just means he needs to get out more. This city easily contains a hundred people way further up the scale than I am. Enough to have a local convention. If I had gone to the engineering university, then I would have been around people way, way beyond my level of nerd-dom. He thinks though, if I had gone, then it would have made me worse. Probably have to agree.

This all came about because he said they are more airplanes in the sea than submarines in the sky. I responded that is true in the real world, but not necessarily true in anime worlds. He was appalled that I could like anime. If only he knew “like” is probably an understatement.

Happy 100th Birthday Alan Turing!

Another Self Portrait Alan Turing was born today one hundred years ago. WIRED UK has a couple pretty good post on his legacy and timeline.

I wonder what he would think about computers today? Especially the idea that his Turing machine lets us play Words With Friends or chat with someone near instantly on the opposite side of the planet.

New Page: Teeshirts

I'm blogging this
I'm blogging this.

I added a new page, Teeshirts, to this site. It joins my other pages: ReadingAbout Me, and Quotes to Make You Think. It documents my teeshirt collection from sites like Thinkgeek, Woot, and Threadless.

Yes, I already track my shirts with photos tagged with the term “teeshirt” on Flickr or Teeshirts I Own Pinterest board. Unfortunately, people do not seem to use Flickr much anymore. So much like Reading which is a page on my blog duplicating what I am doing with Goodreads, I’ll occasionally update the local blog version.

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. So naturally the fanatical fans were devastated, the normal fans were sad, and the rest of us understood. Comparisons made to Martin Luther King, Jr, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, and yes even Tony Stark seemed maybe somewhat exaggerated. Though not by much.

He possessed intense curiosity, powerful intuition, great vision and the willfulness to see them happen. Much of the technological world is a knockoff of Apple’s or Pixar’s designs. Some people made liking his designs their identify. Pretty powerful for expensive toys and a great target for those of us who like to be outsiders.

At a time when the country needs young people interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Jobs was a household name and role model. America needs more celebrities who inspire us to achieve based on their STEM accomplishments and less of those who get us to mindlessly vegetate on our couches. We need more true innovation. Hopefully he was just a big tree obscuring saplings who will become big on their own.

Sad to see him go. When he stepped down from Apple a few weeks ago, my hope was he would do like Bill Gates and get into philanthropy aimed at education. I hoped to hear more inspiring speeches.

Some of his quotes

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

His how to live before your die speech to Standford is a great speech. (Transcript)

Read moreRIP Steve Jobs

Ctrl+F

From Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F:

This week, I talked with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, about the time he spends with random people studying how they search for stuff. One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don’t know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page! I probably use that trick 20 times per day and yet the vast majority of people don’t use it at all.

This incredulousness people do not know how to use Ctrl+F sounds like availability bias. Just because you know how to do something, does not mean everyone or even very many do.

If electronic literacy classes are the solution, then the rate should be below 90% as those have been around since the 1980s. After 30 years, there should have been a dent. Unless keyboard shortcuts are not content taught in these classes as they are so 1980s. People came up with the mouse for a reason, right? Some get so used to the one way they learned how to do it, they do not learn more efficient ways as that takes time and effort and their way is “good enough”. Others are always looking for how to improve how they do things to get it done faster. A few minutes (aka hours) looking for a better way is worth it for something that will improve life.

When I watch people do things on the computer to help me, I pay attention as maybe I can use that in the future. Of course, I would rather be able to do anything I need done on the computer than rely on others to do things for me. More… casual… users may be content to be inefficient so more efficient people will just take over and do the task for them.

UPDATE: By the way, I commented on a friend’s inability to quickly get to the top of a web page without a floating button to go to the top of the page that she could use the Home key. She was pleased to have a new way of doing things. Maybe I should have looked up common keyboard shortcuts and given her the list?

Happy Towel Day!

Towel Day is an annual celebration on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). On that day, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.

From towelday.org. According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus Ⅴ, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

So… Carry your towel proudly and avoid Vogon poetry.