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Taking the "Geek Test" Can Bring Back Memories!

Taking the "Geek Test" Can Bring Back Memories!

See where you fit in the history of the computing era.

by Ed Keefe and Linda Worthington

Occasionally, on the Internet, on Compuserve or on local, electronic, bulletin boards (EBBSs) someone will ask a question such as, "What was the first computer you ever owned?"

The question typically gets several answers and, eventually, the answers beget a checklist with all sorts of similar questions.

Our own Linda Worthington recently put the following checklist on the Internet. It drew a lot of responses from the "old timers."

Gilles Kohl, the maintainer of the PAL library and a veteran user of computers added his own checklist to find out who might claim to be the most experienced Geek in the Palmtop community.

You might like to know where you fit in the continuum based on your experiences. If you check off 30 or more on the checklist you can claim "bragging rights." If you check less than 10, you can remind the "old timers" that "experience is just the comb that life gives you after you've lost all your hair."

Potential for Geekhood

[ ] Took things apart as a child to see how they worked

[ ] Have always had some interest in electronic devices

[ ] Was fascinated by how the television remote control worked

[ ] Can program the family VCR

[ ] Enjoy trying to teach yourself how to use things

[ ] Often play with your friends' computers and can't get enough of the computer lab at school or work

Intermediate Geek

[ ] Enjoy telling people about how you searched the Web for 3 hours last night to find the best deal on kangaroo burgers

[ ] Have friends who constantly ask you questions relating to anything electronic and believe whatever answers you give them

[ ] Have written your own computer programs

[ ] Write some of your correspondence in Notepad or VI

[ ] Know how to code HTML in a text editor

Advanced Geek

[ ] Enjoy telling people about how you reprogrammed the remote control on your keyring to unlock your house, turn on the coffee maker and start up the computer

[ ] Don't believe in reading manuals for anything electronic

[ ] Believe that ANYTHING can be fixed

[ ] Buy expensive electronic toys and try to integrate them with other electronic gadgets, usually breaking them beyond repair in the process (and being happy about it!)

[ ] Know how to register a domain name and how the Internet functions

Super Geek

[ ] Sit at home in your underwear playing on your computers until the wee hours of the morning, EVERY morning

[ ] Would rather sit at your computer eating wine and cheese than go out on a date

[ ] Would not only happily accept the prospect of being fully integrated with your computer, you'd also figure out how to hack your way to the top of the waiting list

[ ] CAN fix anything

[ ] Type faster than you think

[ ] Spend more time online than actually interacting with human beings

[ ] Can't understand why there are some people who can't build their own computer from scratch

[ ] Measure things in terms of megabytes

[ ] Don't believe in viewing the Web with graphics:lynx is the only Web browser you'll ever need

[ ] Use a text editor:not a word processor:to draft letters

Ancient Geek (contributed by Gilles Kohl)

[ ] used punched cards

[ ] used CP/M

[ ] stored data on 8" floppies

[ ] stored data on audio tape

[ ] talked to a computer via a front panel

[ ] downloaded data at 300 baud

[ ] been member of a local BBS

[ ] attended a BBS "user meeting" and were immediately able to tell who the others were even if you never saw them

[ ] spoken to the foreigner near you in a bookstore just because he bought the same (one and only) computer magazine

[ ] built your own computer from scratch

[ ] programmed in assembly language

[ ] used a computer that had less mass storage than your current machine has as CPU cache

Palmtop Super Geek

[ ] The PSG does much of what a typical Geek does. However, the distinguishing trait of the PSG is that he/she uses a Palmtop and a cell phone.

iPhone Life magazine


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