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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wired's 'Must-Complete Projects for Geeks'

Wired Magizine just published an article entitled: Must-Complete Projects for Every Hardcore Tech Geek.

So let's see where I stand:

  1. Build a PC from Scratch.  Done that.  Only when they say 'from scratch' they mean from modules.  I've done that 10 times or more.  However, the first computer I built was in 1978, and it was way more than sliding in modules - it entailed soldering in every IC chip, every keyboard spring, the flyback yoke on the video monitor, solenoids on the paper-tape punch-reader - stuff like that.  So been there, done that, squared.  One interesting caveat - it cost me $3,600, plust $2,500 (dual 8" floppy drives with 256K storage each) for a total of $6,100; I could have bought a new car at that time for that much money (I paid $9,000 for a brand new 280Z at that time).
  2. Overclock a PC.  The most recent ASUS motherboard I bought and installed into my trading platform makes it way-easier than it used to be to do this.
  3.  Build a Robot or Drone Flying Machine.  Nope, haven't done this, as I haven't had the desire.  But do-able?  Sure.  Unless...we include my robot to turn my porch heater on and, unless, by definition a 'robot' includes mobility, then I've done this.  But I think the 'flavor' of this question probably includes mobility.
  4. Hack your body with a geek tattoo.  That may be in their definition of what constitutes a 'geek', but it isn't in mine, so I'm putting a rubber stamp on this one that says: "AAAAhhhhh - wrong question'.  If you can't find anything more geeky then this, the go back to sleep.
  5. Live on Linux for at least a month.  Lived on UNIX for years, first time was on Coherent, which preceded Linux by a couple of years, and have been running Linux on various older machines since 1997 or so.  I remember getting a UseNet invitation from Linus Torvalds to participate in building Linux.
  6. Perform Invasive Surgery on a Mobile Device.  Nope, not interested in 'jail-braking' any of my devices, and voiding warranties.  There's too many gadgets out there that do everything I want without having to go jail-break something and voiding the warranty.  I don't agree with the premise of this question either.  So, invalid question for geeky.
  7. Creat a man cave.  Boy, have I ever done that!  Three tree-houses, one porch (where I can drink Scotch and smoke cigars while listening to Blues), and one finished pine-paneled basement (even the ceiling!) with recessed wooden ceiling trays.  One difference: I love having females in my man-caves! And they appear to love being there!
  8. Carry Around Essential PC Apps on a USB Stick.  Well, they aren't in my pocket, because - what's the point?  But I do have them at my desk and in my personally belongings.  I frequently use Linux live-cd boots to correct Windows PC boot issues.
  9. Brew Your Own Beer or Distill Your Own Moonshine.  Are you kidding me?  I'm a Southerner!  Bet-cher-ass.
So, I'm claiming I passed.  And if you look at #1, there's hardly anyone in my league ... not because they aren't smart enough, but because I don't think you can actually by the parts to do this anymore.  

Important stuff they left out:
  1. Have a home network with 10 PCs or more.
  2. Have a home network with Linux, Windows, and Mac OSes on it.
  3. Designed and built hardware stereo sound amplifiers.  Extra points for putting them into Altoid tin boxes.
  4. Designed and built Arduino devices, such as: BBQ Smoker Controllers; Gas Heater temperature controllers; PID controllers; Sous Vide controller; Low Temperature Oven controller; air valve controller.
  5. Know how to use an oscilloscope, function generator, frequency counter.  And when to use them.
  6. Instrument rating for private pilot.
  7. Design sundials.  And that means derive your own spherical triganometry calculations - not getting them from a book.
  8. Know why the answer is wrong when the teacher tells you that astronauts float in the space shuttle because there isn't any gravity.....well double-damn crap - if there wasn't any gravity, then the space shuttle wouldn't stay circling the earth - it would shoot off into space.
So, I think they are either geek-wannabees, or else I've got a Phd in Geek.

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