Archive for June 2008
Most of you will have heard of Grand Theft Auto 4 by now, the quintessential “urban sandbox” game where players can steal cars, shoot cops, perform ridiculous stunts and generally live out violent fantasies with no consequence.
Many journalists have condemned this game, but I was determined to keep an open mind. Sure, the drones at NBC and CNN might be stuck in their suburban middle class paradigm, but I am an educated, enlightened member of the digerati.
They might look on the GTA release as an excuse to drum up parental outrage, but I was going to look past the stereotypes and judge this game on its artistic merit.
I fired up the game, grasped the controller and cleared my mind of all prejudice. Five minutes later, I was ready to march on Washington.
Read the rest of this entry »
Todd Bishop of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is featuring a 2003 email from Bill Gates, lambasting his staff over the poor design and usability hassles he faced while trying to download Windows Movie Maker. Gates captured this experience exactly, asking all the questions that a normal user would ask.
“Why can’t I find MovieMaker in the search results?”
“Why do I have to download 7 things from Windows Update before I can get one program?”
“Why do software installs take so long?”
“Why does Add/Remove programs list a hundred hotfixes with no description?”
And the list goes on.
Dave Ross of KIRO-AM/710 in Seattle did a dramatic reading of the message on air Wednesday morning. Don’t miss it.
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to use “geek” in the name of this blog. To some people geek is still a pejorative term, an insult used by people who think they’re still in high school.
The Urban Dictionary defines “geek” as: The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult.
All this really proves is that the Urban Dictionary is written by geeks.
A somewhat more reputable dictionary defines “geek” as:
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
Ouch. With definitions like this, the Random House Dictionary company must have a kick ass softball team.
The 90s Internet boom gave geeks an air of wealth and power — and maybe even some credibility, if you think money can buy such things. In 2008 I would say we are well on our way to reclaiming the word geek and turning it into a status symbol, maybe even a compliment, if it’s used in the right context.
I used geek in the name of this blog because I don’t think it’s a dirty word. I wear the label reluctantly but with a little pride. I don’t like the image of the pale, flabby geek stereotype, but I do like being an opinionated, computer-savvy intellectual.
Ultimately, this is a blog about stuff that geeks like. I’ll cover the usual stuff like blogs, toys and video games; but I’ll also cover music, movies and pop culture. We know Battlestar Galactica is a geek show, but what about Boston Legal, CSI and Weeds?
I know geeks who watch all these shows and dissect them with as much passion as any conventioneer in a Star Trek uniform.
The truth is, there’s more than one kind of geek, and everybody’s a geek for something. The Internet has created a thousand tiny subcultures, each with its fair share of passion and prejudice. Like it or not, we’re living in a world of geeks — music geeks, sports geeks, political geeks and more.
So before you turn your nose up at the kid with the pocket protector, take a good look in the mirror, and recognize the geek in yourself.