Comment – Not Simply An IT Geek

I am often accused of being a lover of all things technological, and this is usually the case although not to the exclusion of usability.

“Why am I not surprised that you are getting another phone?”

Karen was laughing at me. The previous month I had purchased a new Apple iPhone and now I was talking about the imminent release of a handset by Sony Ericsson. It all made perfect sense to me, but as far as she was concerned I had become slightly unhinged.

“You’re such a geek. Why can’t you be happy with just one mobile like everyone else?”

There is some truth to what she said; I am a geek. I own more than one computer (three at the last count) and can often be found installing new pieces of software, or attempting to get a particular feature to work. There are also a number of peripherals lying around (two smart phones, a NAS, a scanner and a laser printer). What I have always stressed to people who ask is that each piece of technology has a purpose and almost all the bits of IT I own are used on a weekly basis and not one of them is redundant.

The desktop with the two screens is there so I can watch videos whilst working or playing the occasional game. The laptop I take away with me so I can write while I am not at home. I have two printers because one is cheap for black and white copies (I have also owned it for nineteen years and refuse to throw it out when it works fine) and the other does colour prints (which I occasionally need) but also photocopies and scans. I have a server on which I store all my music and data, and from where I run all the back-up software. Even this machine is nothing to get excited about, but is, in fact, a rebuilt ten year old desktop.

If you want a different example why not take a wander around my kitchen. Yes, I cook a lot, yes, I am a geek about cooking and yes, I have a few kitchen gadgets. But no, I do not have a draw full of things I bought on a whim that are meant to save time. You will find a bread maker stashed in a cupboard. In one of the draws there is a hand whisk, while on the windowsill stands a tall, stainless steel fruit juicer. There is even a coffee grinder attachment to my mixer. But then I bake bread once each week, make coffee with fresh beans and I avoid cartoons of orange juice as much as possible.

A geek can be obsessive about something. They might spend a lot of their time with that thing they love. It might even be the case that they know far too much about a subject. What it does not always mean is that they will pursue their favourite thing to the exclusion of all good sense.

On the other hand there is my friend Robert who owns far too many off-road vehicles.