Geekdom as a state of mind
As someone who is fortunate to have many non-techie friends, I am often struck by their bewilderment at the pleasure I get from technology, and especially that sort-of-aesthetic thrill one gets from seeing something done really neatly — what Slashdot readers would call ‘cool hacks’.
Example 1: Last night I downloaded a beautiful little application called the Salling Clicker. What it does it turn my Sony-Ericsson T68i Bluetooth phone into a remote control for my PowerBook — so I can drive iTunes (or, more importantly, Keynote) while walking about. It’s a lovely, elegant application and it works perfectly and I’m thrilled with it. But already I can see my friends wrinking their noses in disbelief. “You’re excited about using your phone as a remote control!!! How pathetic is that?” I can understand their disdain, but it doesn’t lessen my pleasure at seeing something done so well.
Example 2: I use my PowerBook for all my work, most of which involves writing. The writing tools available on the Mac — from OSX TextEdit to MS Word to Dreamweaver — are marvels in their way. But actually they are too elaborate for what I do most of the time, which is to write plain text. So I’ve been hunting for a Really Simple, Fast and Efficient text editor for a while. Now I’ve got one — Haxial TextEdit. By the standards of the OSX interface, the program is incredibly crude. It even breaks some of the rules of the OS X GUI — by having its own File etc. menu bar for example. It has its own fonts which are crude by comparison with those of OS X applications. It looks damn ugly and has no formatting capability — all it does is put text on the screen. In fact, it looks like something derived from the early days of time-shared Unix machines. But it’s incredibly fast and gives instant word-counts so is just what I need for stream-of-consciousness note-taking. I love it!
Which only goes to confirm, I suppose, that I’m just a geek at heart. Sigh.