An area where all nerds excel: technology. After all, what makes us the computer geeks we are if not for the machines which dominate our lives? Yes, we all have computers, but it is what goes into the computers that makes us nerds; most people are just content with a simple hard drive and basic Microsoft Office, but we need more. But we mustn’t ignore the myriad of other electronic devices that entice and excite our interest as well. Here we unite with our Gamer cousins in our enjoyment of any type of video game console. There is an endless supply of technology out there, and we nerds are the demand.
Let’s start with computers. Your basic Mac or PC. I find that most nerds stick with PC’s, as they are easier to manipulate games on. Still, there is an ever-growing movement towards Mac computers, and time will only tell which will end up being the favored brand. There are numerous components to a computer, external and internal. In terms of internal, we of course have your basic keyboard and mouse. Most nerds will choose the standard keyboard (after all, we need the CTRL-ALT-DEL buttons within close proximity to each other for the famed “three-fingered salute” used when an emergency computer shutdown is needed), but choosing a good mouse is key to comfort and efficiency when using our computers. Ball-rolling mouses are becoming a thing of the past, and laser-sensory mouses are phasing in. Most laptops have built-in touch-pad mouses, but these often make for difficult quick scrolling. Thus, most nerds will stick to the basic laser mouse, often contoured for added comfort.
In addition, cushy mouse and computer pads help take the strain off of tired or sore wrists acquired after hours of Net-surfing. Long cords are also helpful for nerds who like to sit with their keyboards in their lap, as this writer is currently doing. Flat screen monitors, generally as large as possible, are the trend of today for most nerds, and rightfully so. We need as much viewing space as possible, and flat screens cut out most of that nasty glare.
On to interiors/hardware. Many a nerd will spend hours at the back of the CPU tampering with his hard drive to add extra memory space. Nerds, unlike typical mortals, need as many gigs, rams, and bits as we can squeeze into our computer, and some nerds (especially those wielding laptops) will go through the trouble of purchasing an external hard drive for just that purpose. We also love to add encryptions and coding to make it impossible for people to hack into our ever-precious documents and files, and some, slightly more malevolent users, known to all as “hackers,” use their geek-dom to spread viruses, gain pirated materials, or simply slow everyone else down. These are the geeks on the dark side of the Nerd-Force, and should be taken quite seriously and guarded against, especially if you are a no-nothing when it comes to electronics and gadgetry.
But as mentioned before, computers are not the only type of tech we nerds are interested. Computers are simply the medium which unites all geeks with a common language of IP addresses, emoticons, and code. There are other tools which certain nerds use in embellishing their lives. I won’t delve too much into video games here as that topic will be discussed further in the “Gamers” section in great detail, except to mention that computer nerds have the special advantage, especially when it comes to online gaming and PC games, of being able to manipulate their computers to make their characters much more formidable. Fortunately for the Gamers, they have the skill to defend themselves.
Palm pilots and other organizational devices are key to most nerds, as we are generally a very efficient people. We use technology to keep track of the rest of our technologically-based existence, so Palm Pilots, Blackberries, and other such devices are a favorite for any geek or dork. Cell phones, while useful for their internet access and data storage, have little use to a nerd, who would much prefer communicating through AIM than person-to-person. And of course, there is the favorite of most groups in society: television. The type or size of a television is not necessarily important to a nerd, so long as it gets satellite cable and HDTV.
On the go, we techno-wizzes like to travel in style. Blue Tooth is being used in cars now more than ever before, and we love it. Anything that makes the world more handheld is great to us. Cell phone headgear is useful as well. Many nerds equip their cars with the latest XM radio, as well as an I-pod adapter so we can listen to our tunes when driving. Radar detectors, top of the line of course, are a common occurrence, if the nerd in question has the money to blow on it. We like to make others think we are more reckless than we really are by driving at fast speeds on the highway, and a radar detector is a helpful device to own in that scenario. In terms of what cars we drive, as with any group or clique, our tastes vary. Personally, I have always been a fan of the luxury sedan, and you would be hard-pressed to find a nerd driving an SUV, but within the realm of sedans, there is a plethora of models to be had. Certain nerds will “soup up” their automobile with better engines and novelty tires, better suspension systems and funky lights. Some serve the purpose of making the car run smoother; others are just for effect. Again, this is not necessarily a common trend among nerds, and when it comes to the “clean-cut nerd” mentioned earlier, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many nerds are content with their 1987 Volvo with no airbags and windows that down roll all the way down.
Like all things in life, nerd technology falls into a lot of grey area, with the one exception being our love of computers and fancy gadgets. We may have a wide range of tastes and needs, but whatever we have, we want it to be the best. If we can run the machines of the world, no force on Earth can stop us. It is a little known fact that all nerds are not-so-secretly plotting to conquer the world…just as soon as we move out of our mother’s attic.