Friday, December 02, 2011

You know you are a geek when...

This was sitting in my cache of posts-to-make for over 2 years!  Thought of giving it a finishing touch and putting it out.
I generally take it as a compliment when someone calls me a geek/nerd (and I trust most of us would), unless it is said with an obvious hint of contempt.  So if you take being called a geek in the right vein, then you might enjoy this post.  If you don't, then I mean no offense.  Also I don't imply to stereotype geeks, so take it easy guys-n-gals.
Most of this is from personal experience, some is from observation, a few passed down as second hand information and some might even be figments of my imagination. Don't hesitate to take this with a grain of salt if your diet allows for any more room for sodium, that is :)
Don't know if you are a (computer) geek?  Here are some tell-tale signs that will help identify a tech-savvy computer geek inside of you...
  1. The first thing you do after meeting a new person is Google him/her out!
    (Note: Bing him/Bing her still doesn't sound right to me! Bing'ing is just too hilarious to even think of as a verb!)
    From there, you then check out every link there is referring to this person, particularly (strictly in that order): personal webpage, posts in mailing lists, LinkedIn profile, blog, Orkut, Google+, Facebook, and any other other (anti-)social networking websites you happen to be on. Of course, given the person must pique your interest to a certain extent.
    This doubles up for any unknown tech jargon, new words or technology you come across ... almost anything new you don't know about, animate or inanimate.
    Also, on your first date you are tempted to say "Tell me something that I don't already know from Google" ;-)
  2. Looking at a resume, you can immediately tell if it was written in M$ Word, OpenOffice or LaTeX.
    Corollary: You are intolerant to resumes (and any documents in general) that you DO NOT have access to in pure text (or at least in pdf) format.
  3. You can type your search queries on faster than it can suggest likely matches based on your partial input.
  4. When you see someone's Windoze desktop the first thing reaction is that you have an insuppressible desire to clean the desktop, delete MB's worth of temporary files, empty Recycle Bin, run a Windows Update and rid the computer off the WinRot. If it doesn't have an anti-virus, you raise your hands in the air and silently swear under your breath, "[S]he doesn't deserve to own a PC!".
  5. When you go to your friends house, and find his/her wi-fi router open (not secured), you spend the rest of the day re-configuring the router and all his computers to use secure connections. Chances are you will render at least one of the computers without network access, but you would have convinced your friend (against his will!) that it is better this way than keeping the router unsecured. Though, for the love of roller-blading computers, you can't explain him why has it _not_ caused a problem till now (that is until you proclaimed, without any proof, it was a problem)!
  6. You get irritable when someone spends more than a fraction of second to find the right key on the keyboard
  7. You have a craving to buy the latest and most sophisticated laptop there is. But the only thing preventing you from doing so is either you already have pile-loads of them, or you don't have bandwidth to keep all of them up-to-date with latest patches. Or your budget doesn't allow you to get one (strictly in that order).
  8. You can still dig into one of your closets and produce a 5-1/4 or a 3-inch archaic floppy disks.
  9. At any given point in time, you can flick out GBs worth of storage space in flash/usb drives from your backpack or pockets.
  10. The first thing you think of on your perfect outing, date or any such important occasion, is how soon you can go back to your computer and blog it all out! And chances are you have already composed most of the post in your head already! Including layout, photos you will include and their captions too!
  11. You don't necessarily hate GUIs, but command-line is still your way of life, and you root for root access.
  12. At any given time, you have a total of at least 15 tabs open in your browser (most of them still unread).
  13. You have almost all of your important documents GPG'ed and backed somewhere. Not to mention, you have a backup in at least 2/more places: external HDD and DVD.
  14. You are paranoid about always keeping your personal documents encrypted
  15. Your public key is published on some well known key server
  16. You can remember all the different UserId-Password combinations by heart to all the tens of sites you visit regularly. Heck, you even remember exact URLs. And you are on your way to memorizing the IP addresses too ;-)
  17. Given an IP address, you cannot suppress a desire to do a nslookup on it, ping it and even traceroute it! You just can't look at an IP address and not know what domain it belongs to.
  18. When you look at something new, you are brimming with thoughts of how does it work. If you don't find a convincible enough theory, the first thing you do is Google it out on the first chance.
  19. You look at yourself in a mirror only when:
    • you have to shave (doesn't apply to girls)
    • comb your hair (strictly not more than once a day! And some even consider that as optional)
    • something's gotten into your eyes and it won't go away by just swiping your bacteria-laden coffee/tea stained rough fingers through it multiple times
    • trying new clothes, which you buy STRICTLY only if you if HAVE to (for ex. I took out a new pair of jeans when the one I wore for a year and a half started giving way. For which I generally don't care, but I was worried the stitches around crotch region would give way to the cool breeze, and Seattle's pretty cold).
  20. As long as the important body parts are covered with a clean and fresh clothing, you don't give a damn about what you are wearing, specially to work. Hell! You don't even bother if you wear the same clothes the whole year. And given you rarely look at yourself anyway, functionally, in my opinion, this is a very efficient choice. Mental faculties are best spent solving a bug, instead! Or creating one :-P
    But please wear fresh/washed clothes, don't want you giving a bad name to the rest of geekdom.
  21. You know the technical difference between a password and a passphrase
  22. You can understand, a majority of xkcd strips
  23. You can key in your zip code at the gas station machine faster than it can accept it! And the delay it expects between each keystroke freaks the hell out of you!
  24. You can see things only one way....
    • If it is broken: Rip it open, of course you can fix it!
    • If it ain't broken: Rip it open, how the hell does it work? You are sure you can make it work faster/better!
    • Either ways, you end up with a non-functioning object but a satisfied soul. Hey, satisfaction counts, doesn't it!

  25. You feel elated (have achieved nirvana?) when you have one of your pages (blog or homepage) turn up as the TOP hit in Google search (of course other than narcissistic searches i.e. searches for your own unique name)!
    Your search results may vary. Snapshots below:
  26. You never delete an entry from your TODO list when done, you just comment them out with '//' or a '#':
        //  9. Reply pending emails - DONE
        10. Update the TODO list (with what?)
        #  11. Grocery list: Milk, veggies, cheese, bread - DONE
    One has to be particularly careful because you can't send emails with lines commented out in place of deleting them!
  27. You know all the switches to give for all the commands you frequently use. But you have been using them for so long that you often can't tell which one does what :)
  28. You have the know-how of tools such that you can transcode any audio or video to make it work on any of your video-playing devices: ipod, phone, music player or TV.
  29. You squirm restlessly in your theater seat when you see one of these in a movie:
    • The lead actor/actress can hack into ANY damn computer by typing furiously onto the keyboard, without any regards to what operating system it is running! That too without even looking at the keyboard. Let me tell you, even the best of hackers can't do that!
      "Please be REASONABLE", you want to scream your lungs out!
    • People can do almost anything to a photo/video with just one or two key strokes.
      Agent: Freeze the frame, right there, notice the little girl's eye (standing at least one football field away)... That's our number plate reflecting in her teary eyes, zoom in and show it to papa...
      ~~~click click~~ The agent hits no more than 2 keystrokes, and viola! Magic happens!
      But what worries more than the fact that there is no way a handful of keystrokes can do that, but the fact that the original photo didn't even have that much fidelity in it to begin with!
  30. A new email, even if only occasionally, still excites you
  31. More than a handful of unread emails in your Inbox makes you squirm with discomfort
  32. You have a strong opinion about whether an opening brace '{' should be placed on the same line as if/while or the line after. And you don't even want to start on why 'space' is such a superior choice for indention over 'tabs'.
  33. You know what a regular expression is and use them more than regularly.
  34. You know exactly what processes should be running and not running in the background. It annoys the hell out of you if you cannot find out what a particular process does, even if it is a useless process.
    Recently I bought a bluetooth dongle for my old PC. After letting appropriate drivers to install, I noticed that it had installed at least 5 freakin' additional services (all auto-started on boot!) and at least 2-3 other supporting processes.  All of them were consuming a part of my measly cpu. I freaked out and have never used that dongle again. It is lying in the catacombs of pile of junk somewhere now.
  35. If your laptop/pc is sitting idle and you happen to gaze upon its HDD activity LED (and I BET you will every so often!) and you notice any flickering, you will be fuming with rage and shall unleash your full wrath on the offending process. Tell you, it won't be easy to find the one, but you will make it your day long project, week long, if it comes to that, to find and remove the process from your life, forever!
  36. You have at least one OCD that you are consciously aware of. And, of course, you are NOT ashamed of it :-)
  37. Last but not the least, one sure-shot way of knowing you are a geek (as pointed out by one geeky reader who commented on the post) is if you noticed numbering started with a "0" and not "1"!  Don't worry, you are still a geek if you quickly hit a page-up just to check that :D
But, above all you know you are a (computer) geek if you could read through the end of the list and laugh out at some of them :-D
Feel free to share your idiosyncrasies...