So it was my birthday last week. No big party, no fancy dinner; just a low key celebration at home. I was in no mood for my usual upbeat birthday plans this year. I managed to convince myself that my 2010 birthday would be a simple one. But still, I did hope that Mr. Geek would do something to make me feel special that one day of the year. And when no cake or flowers showed up when it struck 12, I went to bed a little sad. My geek had probably decided to go low key but come on I wished he’d at least wish me right at 12. Half an hour later, I get a birthday wish that I wasn’t too excited about and which reminded me that it was going to be just another regular day.
In the morning, I got ready for work, bid my sleeping geek goodbye, and was about to head out of the door when I saw it. Our big fat improvised digital frame (Mr. Geek turned our broken laptop into a digital frame) had this cute picture of a cake and a lovely birthday message and was that a faint birthday tune that I heard? Oh yeah, a surprise early morning e-cake. I closed my eyes, made a wish and tried blowing out the candles and for a moment I thought it did. Mr. Geek later explained, he did try for an interactive cake but things got out of hand at the last minute. maybe next year? 🙂
Later in the evening I devoured a chocalate molten cake plus a strawberry cheesecake but I still think Mr. Geek’s e-cake was the best! Am I having a geek moment here?
I’ve always wanted a digital frame. When I was little, I remember my dad sticking our pictures from our manual camera into albums. Many did not even make it to albums, they’d just stay in photo bags along with their negatives. They are probably stacked in his closet somewhere. Now, even with a digital camera, many of my pictures just sit in my hard drive. They stay put along with my other files. So, clearly I love the idea of a digital frame. It’s such an easy and perfect way to display your photographs and re-live your memories. But my geek husband is dead against buying it. According to him, a digital frame is no more than a flat screen with a memory stick, and he was not going to let me pay $100 for a 10 inch frame. His logic was to buy a 19 inch flat monitor, hang it on the wall and connect it to an old CPU. You’d drill the cable through your wall so the monitor just hangs on your wall. You would spend more than $100 to get this up and running but you’d get more than a picture frame. You’d still be able to use it as a computer when needed. For the longest time, we had a flat monitor stuck on our wall. I liked what he did, but you know it looks like a screen saver on a computer rather than a frame. Finally after a year of trying to convince him we needed a more frame like photo display, geek dude recently found the perfect alibi to create a digital frame for me.
Last week, my laptop broke. It literally broke. It’s a 360 turn gateway tablet and while it did the cool turn, its joint started to loosen and it finally gave way last week. The sides are now cracked and the monitor can no longer stand on its own. I am more concerned that the wires connecting the machine and the screen will break and it will be good as dead. I’d most likely have to get a replacement to get it fixed and with the fee that I’d have to pay for it to be replaced I’d rather buy myself a brand new laptop. So, while I was in the verge of dumping it to a corner for the time being, geek dude knew exactly how he wanted to put my frail laptop to use. And like many of his projects, this one was also a midnight mini project. Now I have a chic digital frame in my living room that looks like exactly like a picture frame and nothing close to a broken laptop. But it’s a touch screen and it’s wireless!!!
Catch: You need the power cord attached to the laptop, so I hide it behind the table. You could charge your batteries and leave it without the power cord and recharge when needed. And I’ll have to go back and upload new pictures to the specific folder. But you know what, all the computers in my home are networked (thanks to geek dude!), so I don’t have to use the same laptop to download pictures from my camera. I’ll just paste them through another computer. YAY!
We still have to find a way to bind the laptop and the frame. Probably with some wire but for now, it’s standing on my side table resting on the wall and looks perfect!
Geek dude and I have had endless conversations of how to stay active. We joined a gym for 3 months and then decided we’d save some money if we buy an elliptical instead. One year later, the cycle is more of a decorative piece than an exercise machine. We’ve pushed each other to run everyday, but you know with day light savings, running after coming home from work seems next to impossible – well, at least that’s how I make my case ( I know it’s lame!). How about the mornings, you’d say, but I am living with a geek whose creative juices shoot up between 12pm to 4am; sometimes it goes up to 7am or was that 8? Most of the time, geek dude would hoard his sleep like some storage machine and save his sleep for the weekend. At one point, I remember he was working for 36 hours in a stretch, with just bathroom breaks and food to keep him energized. He would then sleep for almost 24 hours.
I on the other hand, like most normal people, love my 8 hours of beauty sleep as I’d like to call it. Getting married to a geek has deprived me of my full 8 hours of sleep and I’ve been forced to accept 6 or 7 hours at the most. You sleep before midnight in my place, and you will most likely be called lazy. So, I am usually up till midnight and by the time I am out of bed, I am always rushing to get to work.
Recently, we’ve been trying very hard to work out, go out for a walk, run or even just stretch whenever possible. But our concern for a need to have an active life became more serious when geek dude started to complain of chronic back aches. It was regularly accompanied by stiff neck and wrist pains. A typical symptom of a person who spends most of his day *and night* sitting in front of a computer. Even I spend most of my day working in a computer and our biggest challenge has been getting into a habit of taking regular breaks while we are at our desks.
Okay, here comes the geeky part. 2 weeks ago, I was reading a book and suddenly the whole apartment seemed to shake with a cackle – a chicken’s cackle. First of all, we don’t live in a farm, we live right in downtown; we are only interrupted by loud fire engines running around not chicken cackles. Secondly, it was already midnight, not something that would let me look forward to a good sleep, especially when I saw no signs of it stopping. Turns out my brilliant geek had just completed his “staying active” project. His brand new program would freeze your machine every 40 minutes, locking you out and reactivate only after 5 minutes. You could reboot your computer, but think about the time it takes to reboot and the possibility of losing your work if you haven’t saved it. And what was that cackle? His choice of sound to alert you that your 5 minutes is over and you can now start working. He wanted to keep it loud and shrill so he could hear it from every corner of our home, what better than a chicken cackle huh? It’s been 2 weeks now, geek dude gets out of his chair every 40 minutes. He stretches, walks around the house, freshens up and goes back to his desk.
He’s convinced me to install the program in my work computer as well without the chicken cackle of course. I was a little skeptical at first, what if I am in the middle of a time sensitive project, what if I need to send an email withing the next 2 minutes? But I think unless you are working for the FBI, you probably won’t have to worry about taking a 5 minute break. You could possibly choose to close the program through your task manager if you’d like but there’s no point of installing it if you want to cheat. I have been diligently taking breaks, doing my computer and desk stretches, walking around the building, running stairs, and seriously it feels good, I feel more productive. I just hope nobody at work sees my monitor for those 5 minutes. It has a 300 second counter with big fat letters screaming “Get a life”. There have been times when I am just about to hit send or finish a project, and the ‘get a life’ screen pops up. I used to get annoyed at first, but nowadays I just try to get a life outside my cubicle for those whole 5 minutes. Did you know, it’s pretty out there?
I’ve used the word geek like a zillion times and probably you have too. I was curious how it all started and what it actually means today. So, I thought it’d be great to do a little research on why “geek” is what it is now.
A majority of web definitions suggests that “geek” dates back to the 19th century.
The most popular and interesting definition that I found was a carnival slang. Geeks were carnival performers who would bite heads off live chickens as part of a show.
Imagine being able to do that! Some even add that geeks ate glass and live mice. Gradually, the word was applied to anyone who did bizarre tasks. The bottom line: you’d be a geek if you do anything for a living – anything that’s considered odd and disgusting by the society.
But the word only became a popular term through William Gresham’s 1946 novel, “Nightmare Alley”. The novel told a story of carnival life; it was later made into a film starring Tyrone Power.
Geek was then finally adopted by the technical community – maybe computer programming was/is still considered a weird job and calling programmers geek made sense. But by 1990, geeks had won over many with their success from the dot-com bubble; and turned into a fashionable term. And while geek might still not be a cool term for kids, parents seem to have developed a strong liking. A few weeks ago, my colleague told me how she wants her children to be geeks, and with the following that geek dad (wired.com) has, you can sense that quite a number of parents are eager to raise geek children.
As I was about to delete the basic “hello world!” post from wordpress and start a lengthy blog post talking about how I and the geek dude met and so forth, geek dude tells me the significance behind “hello world” – yes the geeky significance behind it. So, I decided to keep hello world as my first post in honor of its importance to computer geeks.
Here’s a hello world! humor that I found. I skipped through most of it and I think I got what the joke was – it made me smile but that was about it. My geek got a kick out of it. He thought the last bit was hilarious. hmm… I am not there yet. maybe you would agree? hint: skim through, read the headers, the first few lines and the last few lines 🙂