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D and N

From a recent conversation, paraphrased:

"Do you consider yourself more of a nerd or a geek?

  • Hmm. A geek.
  • Then MIT would be better than Harvard.
Amusing how short conversations show that the cloud of (sometimes-separate, sometimes overlapping) definitions one has can differ from someone else's, and also how such a short definition can add a new member to that cloud. Memes in action!

I am lightly tempted to observe that for entirely different definitions of terms, geeks seek to create a new culture to replace their existing one, while nerds are cultural nihilists - geeks might consider the connection sound of the modem, a now largely obsolete device that some geeks have probably never heard in actual use, as a rallying call while nerds, being both more solitary and often more academic, wouldn't even have the urge for that kind of thing. Geeks might celebrate the idea of the comic mad scientist (a la Dr Forrester of MST3k or more recently Dr Horrible) while Nerds would more seriously resemble one. But ... I suspect going too far in this direction would lead to the kind of rubbish that Eric Raymond has given us with his self-description in the jargon file - fun to read in a fortune-teller way, but more a caricature than accurate.

Hmm. I have not climbed in too long.


Is the word "modem" even used anymore?
I know I've heard the piece of hardware attached to the cable socket in my wall called a "cable modem." But maybe that's out of date.
Well, if it modulates/demodulates signals, it's a modem of sorts, even if it isn't that similar in other details to a classic modem. modem = MOdulate/DEModulate ..