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I’m becoming the person my geek friends hate.

This morning Lee Spector, best-quality-finest-kind artificial intelligence professor at Hampshire, sent out a note requesting that alumns working in technology drop him a line. Apparently, the college wants to list its techie alumns on its website in order to convince the young people they are trying to lure into wasting four years that Hampshire is a fun place to study computer science. This will be one of the few accurate claims they make this year. (Hopefully, it won’t be drowned out by spurious ones about the college’s diversity, the favorable standing of its academics in comparison to the Ivy League, and its ownership of sheep that aren’t dead.) Hampshire is doing an increasingly better job every year of letting its students participate in the running of its technological infrastructure; the program is well suited to the kind of autodidacts that the field turns out. Not to mention Lee, whom everyone raves about.

Annnnnyway, it occurred to me that I am actually working in technology — I’m developing a database, managing the web design team, and I finally know what to do with switches and hubs, because I’m handling the office network. It gives me a kind of warm fuzzy feeling. I’ve been working with computers since I was seven, and I’m proud they’re really starting to dance for me. It makes me feel closer to the world a lot of my programmer-friends inhabit.

But the warm fuzzies, alas, are short-lived, because the truth of the matter is I am becoming exactly the kind of person my geek friends hate.

I don’t actually do any of the coding work. I’m not even writing any html. I’m violating just about every tenet of the Hacker Ethic, bossing these guys around by dint of position, not skill. I don’t know how you’d set up any of the things I’m asking our consultants to do. Worse yet, I know just enough jargon to be dangerous. I’m throwing around phrases like “dynamic” and “spoofing,” and I’m not totally sure I know what they mean. I know exactly what I want, but I explain it like I just learned English.

I am the kind of person Scott Adams draws with a blank look in his eyes and his arms stretched out in front of him.

When Kellan and Evan were working at their startup, they used to complain about people like me. They used to play nasty jokes on people like me, putting little easter eggs in a page that would make all the icons on a page float around the screen when the CEO tried to click them.

Alack! I am the kind of person on whom Eric Raymond declared jihad! I am the anti-geek! I have joined the ranks of the administorturers, that damn├ęd race of no personal aptitude bent on squashing the fruits of others’ labor under the jackboot of functionality!

* * *

What with the recent blog travails, my servers floating around like ice in a Chickaloon thaw, and Microsoft finding unprecedented ways to reduce my productivity at work (a new cartoon dog prompts me to put on my headset and adjust my speech preferences every time I open a program, then expends precious RAM doing lord-knows-what, probably sending all of my personal data to Microsoft’s “marketing associates”), I’m beginning to feel like I’m actually losing tech skills.

I hate to say it, guys, but I think it’s time to shed this little vestigial tail. Computers are great and all, but I don’t like being This Person, the Scott Adams person with the pointy hair, and I think it’s all I’d ever be. Once the tech projects let up a little at work, I’m handing them off to someone else. It’s time for me to stop pretending I’m ever going to seriously code. Or make the kind of money you do.


  1. joe wrote:

    hey, doze any one know how to do the c-walk pretty good?? cuz i don’t an i kinda wanted to learn,cuz all my homies can do it and i can’t so if you can get the steps or show me e-mail me.


    Wednesday, February 5, 2003 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  2. lil'joe wrote:

    hey can any one give me the stepes on how to c-walk?

    e-mail me…..

    Monday, February 10, 2003 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    hey if anyone knows how to c walk reply back to me and give me some instructions k PEACE

    Thursday, November 27, 2003 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
  4. Could you please send me pictures how to do the c-walk i like to learn how to dance could you e-mail me send some pictures my e-mail is

    Wednesday, June 30, 2004 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

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