Admit it: Tech pushes your buttons, too

I’ve had it. I’m coming out of the closet. I’ve been a geek for most of my life, and I’m done hiding it.

Every girl I’ve ever gone out with has thumbed her nose at my formerly-closeted “geekdom.” It’s as though the moment they find out that I like tech, I suddenly gain a double chin, my already meager abs become less defined, and in general I become inadequate. But to them, I now proudly say: “get out.”

Those of you who don’t know me may now be imagining a multitude of speech impediments, chest-high short shorts, a pocket protector and half-inch Coke-bottle glasses. I don’t think I really fit that description, but please pull me aside and let me know if I ever do. David Pogue, the touted NY Times columnist who visited the News a few weeks ago, was part of my inspiration for writing this column. But honestly, David — you’re funny, but you’re pretty weird, too.

Mainly, though, I’ve decided to come out and begin writing this column because I love technology. I love getting things done more conveniently and quickly than was ever possible before, chiefly for one reason: I am lazy, especially when it comes to stuff other people tell me to do. Technology lets me get work done fast, either right away or at the very last minute.

Most people hate technology. It’s a royal pain in the ass and it usually never works. This is probably even truer for me than it is for most people. But I’m the loser who persists in screwing around with whatever’s broken until he finally gets it fixed. Maybe the reason I enjoy futzing with technology is that very sense of accomplishment when I finally get something — sometimes really friggin’ cool — to work.

If you can’t do it yourself, there are some companies that have gotten things to work pretty well, too. They just sell it to you with a pretty hefty price tag.

Take the BlackBerry, for example. It used to be your dad’s annoying gizmo that always distracted him on family vacations — or when driving — but now you may have gotten the “CrackBerry” for yourself. Hey, if it’s called “the Pearl” it’s gotta be cool. BlackBerry even made a slimmer version that ladies can fit in their handbags, or whatever other creative spot they decide to use to stash their cell phones during crazier nights out.

Technology has also become an art form. You Mac addicts know what I’m talking about. Let’s be honest, even if I wouldn’t buy one, I still can’t deny that Mr. Jobs’ beloved iPhone is a pretty sleek piece of technology. Some of the world’s best architects could not have designed a better-looking chunk of geek — props go to the iPod’s industrial designer, British-born Jonathan Ives. I won’t employ a cliche and call it “sexy” — an adjective I personally believe should be saved for the fairer sex — but it sure is sleek.

For a mere $400, you can purchase the most sophisticated multimedia player, a PDA and a portable web browser. Oh, and did I mention it’s also your cell phone? There is no longer any need to carry around an MP3 player, a cell phone, a planner, a PDA and whatever other electronic detritus you may have rattling around in the bottom of your backpack. Personally, I hope the wallet and keys go by the wayside next. Then my iPod screen wouldn’t have key gouges all over it.

I ventured deeper into the realm of “geekdom” this year when I decided to take Professor Charles Yang’s “Introduction to Programming.” I’m not going to lie; I find it loads of fun. Even though I’ve always tinkered with PCs and Macs, I never walked down that dark and dreary road of learning to code programs and Web pages. I always imagined that if I did, the pocket protector would miraculously appear, my contacts would fall out and I’d have to wear the eye-enlarging spectacles I’d otherwise be sporting.

But I’ve since discovered that programming can be pretty fun when you get some of the aforementioned jazz to actually work, even though I don’t want to spend the rest of my life writing code in a cubicle until 3 a.m. with a bottle of Jolt, no girlfriend and greasy acne. I’ll admit, though, that in the last few years, the rest of tech, aside from programming, has grown up to be pretty amazing even to the general public.

Now that I’m done being bitter and I’ve introduced my column, check back next week. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of the most popular phones and smartphones on the market right now. I’ll address such issues as whether it really makes sense for any college student to drop $600 on Cupertino’s latest masterpiece — the iPhone — now that some of the kinks have been worked out, or whether a measly alternative will suffice.

Shout-out to all you 1337 nerds out there, too: I respect your style, even if I refuse to sport it.

Barrett Williams is a sophomore in Trumbull College. He is a staff reporter for the News.

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