21 guilty pleasures for geeks

4th Mar 2009 | 16:20

21 guilty pleasures for geeks

Things you don't even admit on anonymous forums

Guilty pleasures for geeks 1-10

It's OK, you're in safe company. We know you didn't really buy that gadget because it could interface seamlessly with the cloud, or because it offers the best range of features for Small to Medium Enterprises, or even because it has the fastest processor this side of a supercomputer.

You just like touching its rubbery buttons and the fact that it goes 'ping'.

You're not alone. In fact, while you're here there are some other guilty pleasures that we'd like to share...

1. The iPhone Unlock swipe
You've used your iPhone every day since you bought it, but even all those apps you've downloaded can't compare to the first thing you do with your iPhone every day: gently, caressingly, swiping your finger from left to right across the Unlock button. It's the nearest you ever get to foreplay. And you love it.

2. Seeing how juiced up your PC is in Vista / Windows 7
You know you've got a kicking system, and how. Yet every day you dive into the Welcome Centre just to see it all by the numbers. "Windows-capable? Don't make us laugh. Just look at the stats I'm getting," you say (probably to yourself).

3. The Macintosh bong
A cross-between a call to action, geek whimsy and the harbinger of PC doom, the Macintosh bong is one of the great geek pleasures. It confirms your status as a man (or woman) who has thunk different, sticking it to the (PC) man with your non-conformist ways. Sometimes you stick it through your kick-ass speakers. Sometimes you simply soak it up on headphones. But the best is when you Zap the PRAM by holding down the Command-Option-P-R keys so your Mac starts up again, and again.... and again. Or you could just watch the Bong video on YouTube.

4. Looking at the user stats on your blog
OK so your mum is the only person who looks at your blog and that's only because you set her homepage to it last time your configured her PC, but still. Every day you pile on to Statcounter, Technorati or Google Analytics just to see how well you're doing. What, you're supposed to get them to ignore your own IP address? Where's the pleasure in that?

5. Gently dropping the needle on a vinyl record
We know this is a bit old school, but seriously you should try it. Whether you do it by hand, or use the tonearm thingy, nothing beats the gentle kerchunk and that few seconds of crackle before the record starts proper. And judging by some of the albums in our collection, it's probably the most musical part too. Ditto crackles and pops, BTW. Music just isn't the same without them.

6. Waggling the analogue sticks on your PS3
Whether you're fragging your way through FPS mayhem, careering around a virtual racetrack or lolloping around a platformer, the best bit about it all is the feel of those rubbery pointy things that squirm beneath your thumbs. You especially love it when you waggle so far that the joystick reaches its softly clunking stop (in any direction). It's even better when you send it yawing back the other way. Sometimes you don't even turn your PS3 on before you start to fiddle. Stroking the PS3's pervy, curvy case comes a very close second.

7. Smashing the ball in Wii Tennis
OK, so you could just wave your arm around lazily while lying semi-comatose on your sofa. But surely it's much (much) better to lift the Wii-mote right above your head, violently jerk your arm down and then listen out for that thundering whack as your virtual racket hits the virtual ball. Of course you're rewarded with the shimmering, heady sight of the ball screaming banshee-like across the net. Bingo, one set-winning ace in the bag and the shame-faced joy of seeing your four-year-old nemesis crumple, crying, to the floor. Guilty pleasure? Oh yes.

8. Spinning the clickwheel on an iPod classic
It's a) the thing that makes the original iPod so iconic; it's b) what helps you speed through those 10,000 songs in your pocket. But c) (and it's a big c), it's sheer joy to whizz your finger round and round until the blood inside it goes dizzy. It's the high-tech equivalent of twizzling your hair. We love it.

9. Getting your high-def kicks with HD DVD
It wasn't the first time you backed the wrong format and it won't be your last - indeed there's a whole cupboard full of obsolete equipment gathering dust under the stairs right now. Your HD DVD player though has to be the pick of the bunch. Let's face it, it's no more obsolete than some of the first and second gen Blu-ray players out there, and it still boasts better interactive bells and whistles, brilliant picture quality and a vast library of super-cheap movie titles available via eBay. You don't shout about it, but quietly, serenely, you feel rather smug.

10. Cranking up your home cinema system for the THX OMMMMMmmmmmm
200W per channel amplifier? Check. Seven surround sound speakers and two active subs? Check. The neighbours are out? Stuff it, who cares! That latest Blu-ray blockbuster may shift more CGI pixels than a supercomputer in a Pixar render-farm, but hey - just listen to this. Everyone, come on, OMMMMMmmmmmm. It's what war would sound like if Hare Krishna had an army.

Guilty pleasures for geeks 11-21

11. Dangling a Bluetooth headset from your ear and pretending you're Buck Rogers
People called you an idiot when you wore one in the street, so you don't do that any more. But stealthily hidden away in your car - or better yet, at home - you stand puff-chested and proud of the little black thing with the blue flashing light. I am important, it says, RESPECT ME. We do.

12. Waving your iPhone around like it's a lightsabre
Thanks to the Lightsaber Unleashed you can finally live out your Jedi fantasies par excellence. With the phone in your hand you twist, twirl, perform a 360-degree mid-air leap (OK, you're still working on that one) and marvel as your PhoneSaber crackles, cracks, slashes and vuuuummms. You have the cloak and beard to go with it and everything. Truly, the Force is with you. Just don't do it in public, OK?

13. Getting a Zune tattoo
Actually make that any geek tattoo, since the man who originally got the Zune one flashed it around the web, became a laughing stock, and then shamefacedly had it removed. The best policy is to keep that Penguin on your pecs covered up, keep that Red Ring Of Death hidden where the sun don't shine and never, ever shave a bitten Apple into your hair. You know where your loyalties lie. Best not reveal them to the enemy.

14. Rescuing a damsel from her IT distress
You might not be able to cut it on Muscle Beach, but you know how to rescue Amy from Accounts from certain Doom. Actually, not Doom, she might think fragging is too suggestive. Instead settle for undeleting her lost spreadsheet, tracking down that urgent email from the MD, and offering to set up the hi-fi she's just installed at home. She'll be so grateful she'll see past the 'I Fidget With My Widget' tee and maybe ask you for a drink. Well you can live in hope, can't you?

15. Deliberately trying to confuse your sat nav
You've plotted the fastest route from here to Maplin, only now you're just going to take a teensy detour. "Perform a legal U-turn", TessTess says politely. "Perform a legal U-turn", she says again, tension rising slightly. "I SAID, PERFORM A LEGAL U-TURN! What's the matter, can't you tell your left from right or something?" TessTess, of course, has failed to spot that you're driving a DeLorean. And this is now 1955.

16. Revelling in that new gadget smell
You love the smell of petro-chemicals in the morning. In the afternoon, and in the evening too if you can manage it. Forget all that unboxing malarkey, sometimes you just open the box, stick your nose in the SuperXBlaster Pro Extreme II Special Edition's plastic bag and breathe deeply in. Heady, isn't it? You even love that slightly worrying burning smell gadgets give off when you first plug them into the mains for the first time. It's all that rubberised plastic - gets you every time.

17. Getting loudspeakers placed just so
So the girl from Accounts did finally invite you back to her place, so you can help her install her new stereo. Obviously you've rubbed the mains plug pins with wire wool, festooned her exquisitely wallpapered walls with old egg cartons and put a brick on top of her CD player. But now it's time for the best part. Put one speaker there (spikes on, natch), the other one there. Then... toe the left one in a bit, a little bit more, a little bit more, move it forward 0.5cm, move it back 0.25cm, then toe it out slightly. And a little bit more. And a little bit more... And a little bit more. "You haven't got a clue what you're doing, have you?" she says. You stare at her frightened / angry face, sigh, and then - your concentration interrupted - start the process again.

18. Secretly coveting the Segway
Stupid UK laws mean you won't be riding one down your local high street anytime soon, but you can dream can't you? Two wheels side by side in perfect harmony, that stand-up and beg 'driving' position... you even own the fake US policeman's uniform. All you lack is the physique, the cash and a complete absence of shame. Although if you do get one, the local hoodies could be a problem. So you google: "Armour plate Segway with frickin laser beams"... then "two-seat Segway for girl from Accounts". Well, you never know...

19. Downloading a just-released movie using BitTorrent
What do you mean everyone does it? You mean, like, openly? Wow.

20. Haggling with white van man over speakers
He pulls up beside you at the traffic lights in town, "'Ere mate I've got some overs on a delivery down at Amazing Hi-Fi on the high street. Fancy some? A grand normally. Yours £200. I can't take them back to the warehouse." You: "What's the impedance?" "What?" "The power handling, then?" "Come again?" "Do they have an adjustable crossover?" The lights turn amber. "Well, do you want them? "Maybe. Are they magnetically shielded?" "Eh?" The lights go green, White van man grapples with his reluctant gear stick and his charge lurches forward in a plume of white smoke. "Real wood veneer, then?" You shout. "They must have real wood veneers." The smoke slowly clears. White van man has gone.

21. Windows: the love that dare not speak its name
You know you're not supposed to, but you just do anyway. Macs, Linux and open source maybe the 'cool' thing to be into these days, but you know you actually like the Windows start-up sound and Flip 3D in Vista. You even - whisper it - go all kind of gooey over User Access Control (UAC). Anyway, what have the black turtleneck/penguin suit wearers got that you don't? Haven't they realised yet that computers and operating systems of any stripe aren't 'cool' - never have been, never will be. You don't suffer their delusions of grandeur, thank heaven, and you don't pay through the nose for the privilege, either. Well done, you.

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