Geeks, Laptops And More

Do I need a laptop computer and what happened to geeks?

I have wrestled with this issue more and more these days. I would like a laptop for the portability. However, as an IT professional, I am usually at my office PC 8-12 hours a day, so I don’t know if I would use the laptop simply out of overexposure. I have a family, and I don’t want family time to be spent IM-ing or web browsing or (heaven forbid) working even more.

In fact, I spent a lot of time/money making a decent desktop a few years back; so much so that it is just now getting to be lesser than the current market norm; and yet I spend less than five hours a month on it and it is literally within arms reach of my bed.

I guess if I needed a laptop, I would already know. I just don’t want it to be another thing that I got along without before, but now it is a part of me; like the cell phone.

I used to say "I’ll never get a cell phone", yet one day a sales job came up that needed "constant contact" and even after I left the job the home phone was simply not enough.

When did being a good geek mean spending every last dime on technology that simply made us use more technology?

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe I’m just not as good of a geek as I used to be?

According to TV, geeks are no longer the awkward, unattractive, impish, social pariahs they once were. Now, thanks largely in part to the Dot Com boom (later followed by a bust!), geeks are perceived as wealthy urban hipsters (aka yuppies). Geeks are the ones who go to coffee bars in trendy jeans and labeled shirts with cool retro logos.

The Big Bang Theory would have you believe anyone of above average intelligence is a successful physicist who lives in a spacious upscale San Francisco loft; which costs more than most people pay for a mortgage on a house three to four times as big and has supermodels living next door that would go out with them, if only they could summon the courage to ask them out.

In fact, in recent pop culture, the geeks are the good-looking ones who have glasses and less than sleek clothes that once taken off transform them as Superman from Clark Kent; instantly the stigma of geekdome is gone and all but forgotten e.g. The Princess Diaries, "Ugly" Betty, 10 Things I Hate About You, The New Kid, etc.

The reality is that geeks are by nature the obsessive, compulsive, seekers of whatever their fancy happens to be. There are multitudes of flavors of geek.

However, I have yet to see the majority of them be the Dot Com millionaires so publicized. In fact, most of us have been through some tough unemployment in the last few years; and some are just barely riding the fence to get to retirement.

So the wannabes will continue to buy iPhones, and iPods, and laptops, and setup personal wi-fi hotspots in homes and cars while the tried and true real "geek" will still be that guy with bad hair, awkward body type, and the pale skin, or paler skin; due to lack of sunlight, since geeks are usually in the basement.

Real geeks will be the ones who write blogs about being a geek. Real geeks will revel in Star Trek, or Star Wars, or Warhammer, or Cosplay, or ComicCon to the point of actually being in costume, or wearing the t-shirt from every tech convention they have ever attended. All the money may go to hobbies, while they still have Commodore 64s with working drives or HP Pavilion’s working as print servers. Because the geek can work all the programs they need including Fortran, Delphi, Cobol (which many municipalities still use!), Visual Notepad, or Macromedia from a basic 1 Gb ram ugly-off-white tower with an over clocked Pentium and a new graphics card.

 Do I need a laptop? Probably not. Do I want one? Yes, please.

 After all deep down inside, the real geek is the one who resents the beautifying of geekdome because they themselves secretly want it to be that way. Which, by the way, includes me too.

About the author: Aaron Sheppard is an opinionated self-described conservative geek and all around good guy. His many interests and hobbies push his mind into an interesting pretzel of art and science.  On a given day the books on his  "to read" list range from Physics to graphic novels to politics.  He enjoys a good beer and a good cigar on occasion. In a nutshell, he’s the estranged love child of Dr.Who and Donna Reed. Read more at