Friday, December 16, 2005

Local 404 iBOG (International Brotherhood of Geeksters)

New Yorkers, have you had enough of hearing about the impending transit strike? Well, my two cents is that there are certain people who I really want to be happy while they're doing their jobs. Airplane pilots, cab drivers, urologists, and the motorman on my subway train. If the guy driving that train I'm on needs an extra 8% in his paycheck starting next week, then I'm fine with that: after all, he's worth a lot more to me than Bloomberg.

A similar argument can also be made in the corporate realm for one's web developer, systems administrator, or QA Manager. Therefore, as an Epilogue of sorts to Geek Week at Daily Rev, we welcome our newest contributor, Nicky the Geek, who offers a modest proposal to Information Technology workers everywhere: ORGANIZE!!!

I hereby announce my candidacy for President of the United IT Workers Union. Yes, in honor of my brothers' struggle at the MTA, I have decided to unionize those who have struggled so long for their rights on their own. For all those who have worked late nights, nourished only by the Flatlanders Diet. For those whose summer tans come from fluorescent lighting. For those who have never said no to a business demand. It is for all of you that I form the Global Empire of Employed Knowledge - known informally as the Geeksters or Local 404.

As my first order of business, I will draw up a list of our demands. Should these demands not be met, we will most likely continue being the yes-men (this is politically correct, since there are no women in IT) we always have been. But we ask kindly that you meet our demands:

1. All workplaces should contain refrigerators stocked with Jolt Cola and Red Bull. This is really in your best interest, as it will help us stay awake after long nights of playing XBox and blogging.

2. All workplaces should also contain buckets of M&Ms. We need something to wash down with that Jolt. And yes, we mean buckets.

3. All workers should be equipped with the latest cellular phone, Palm Pilot, BlackBerry or Treo of their choosing. While we realize that this will allow you to contact us at any time of the night to restart the server or code a quick fix for your website, it is far outweighed by the benefit of having a cool electronic gadget to impress all the ladies.

4. All workers should be given two (2), fifteen (15) minute breaks per day - one to be taken in the morning (10AM - 2PM) and one to be taken in the afternoon (2PM - 7PM). Workers are free to use this time for any of the following preapproved activites:

Checking the news at SlashDot
Reading our friends' blogs
Browsing CNET for the latest reviews on cool electronics
Looking up secret codes for Quake 4 or Call of Duty 2
Reading Dilbert comics

Well, that's about it. We really don't want too much. We don't even demand respect. How could we? After all, we aren't that imposing with our pencil necks and pale skin. We'll just kindly imply that you should treat us nicely. We won't even threaten you with a strike. We don't really need to, since 75% of our day is already spent surfing the Web. But don't be surprised if pennies start disappearing from your financial transactions, a la Office Space. Or if your browsing habits are mysteriously posted to public forums. Or if the keywords "Spectacular Failure" cause Google to point to your resume. We have ways!

—Nicky the Geek

So, would you like to be a geek? The route to geekdom is the same as that to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. Some of us (like me) would rather use things invented by geeks for the benefit of non-geeks as a halfway measure. But that's also why I'll always be handing over my paychecks to my landlady, with virtually nothing to spare. So if you'd like to avoid a life on my kind of treadmill, take a tip from Nicky the Geek and start working on your geek skills. Here are a few sites to visit, which come with NTG's personal recommendation.

Web Monkey This site features a number of html tutorials ranging in scope from raw beginner to advanced web gorilla geek. The site also includes a javascript library, stylesheet guides, unix lessons, design tips, and more. Spend an hour or so with Web Monkey every so often, and you'll soon be prowling the html jungle with the fluorescent sunburn crowd.
Slashdot This is the news and information site for geeks: if you want to be in the know among those with caffeinated hemoglobin, you want to make a habit out of hitting slashdot regularly. You'll know you've begun to arrive in geekdom when you can step up to a colleague at the Jolt concession and say, "didja read in slashdot about that new Firefox config trick?"
C-Net This site has a little of everything for geeks. It's one reason why geeks of today are so socially aware, far beyond the range of the stereotypes that still surround them. C-Net has the best and most informed reviews of gear, hardware, software, and gameware; tech news and insight from every possible arena of geekdom; it also has plenty of how-to, including "weekend projects" and free tutorials on everything from Dreamweaver to Wireless networking. Even if you're not a geek and do not aspire to geekdom, making an occasional visit to C-Net isn't a bad habit to get into. For a sample of exactly how topical and incisive C-Net's editors and writers can be, check out this recent piece on the Patriot Act from Declan McCullagh.

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