Monthly Archives: June 2009

Geek TV shows

It seems like the suits in the TV industry are latching on to the fact that the geek quotient per capita has been on the rise and it makes good business sense to capitalize on that. Case in point — The Big Bang Theory and The IT crowd.

The Big Bang Theory CBS Trailer
by SeriesBlog

On the surface it would appear like neither of these shows have anything in common, but if you are a geek or if you’ve ever known one personally, you’d see why these sitcoms would appeal to the geeks.
The first one — The Big Bang Theory, is about two physicists (one theoretical and the other experimental) sharing an apartment, which is across the hall from where a cute (stereotypical) blonde lives. The humour revolves around the social maladjustment of these geeks and awkward interactions between them (and their extended friend circle) and the blonde girl next door. What distinguishes this sitcom from the others is the accurate portrayal of geek subculture (discussions about QED, string theory, MMORPG, Comics and general lifehacks).

Each of the geeky characters in the show, right from the PITA pedant, sheldon to annoyingly smart geekgurl leslie are very well defined. This series is /good entertainment/ for geeks. I don’t know of any other comedy shows that revolved around people of science and were also accurate in culture portrayal.

(I’m serious ! I mean, besides Futurama which doesn’t count, since it is an animated sitcom set in the future, and everybody knows the future belongs to the geeks, anyways. So, if you know of any geek comedy sitcoms besides Futurama, please post in the comments).

The second one — The IT crowd, is about the IT support department in a non-IT firm. I’m sure all the geeks out there are already shuddering at the thought of it šŸ™‚ ! Well, this too has a funny and somewhat accurate description of geek subculture. However, what really gives me a chuckle or rather a warm fuzzy is the various geek backdrops that they have. For instance …the CC licensed Mao-RTFM t-shirt or the various stickers — Fair Use is has a Posse, MP3 is not a crime …or the perl camel or cthulhu forbid …the FSM ! It’s good to see that the geek memes are now creeping into pop-culture.

I hope this trend of appeasing the geeks continues because everybody knows, eventually the geek shall inherit the earth and then ALL YOUR TV ARE BELONG TO US.

RIP Erik Naggum

A facebook status update broke the news from a reddit submission about a tweet status update saying that someone named Erik Naggum died today.

Although, I never had heard that name before (or it never really had registered before), I was curious and started scouring the interwebs. Turns out that Mr. Naggum was a respected Common Lisp/Emacs hacker, a highly regarded usenet flamer, a Perl hater and a overall great geek.

Here’s some of his work, from wikiquote

  • Excuse me while I barf in Larry Wall’s general direction.
  • A novice had a problem and could not find a solution. “I know,” said the novice, “I’ll just use Perl!” The novice now had two problems.
  • This is your brain. This is Perl. This is your brain on Perl. Any questions?
  • It’s not that Perl programmers are idiots, it’s that the language rewards idiotic behavior in a way that no other language or tool has ever done.

…and here is a succinct insight from Mr. Naggum, into the reasons why vim or emacs or the UNIX way in general still exists where other approaches have miserably failed:

the clumsiness of people who have to engage their brain at every step is
unbearably painful to watch, at least to me, and that's what the
novice-friendly software makes people do, because there's no elegance in them,
it's just a mass of features to be learned by rote.  however, this suits people
a hell of a lot better than setting out at age 6 to become a great ballet
dancer and achieving their goal 20 years later after every tendon and muscle
and joint has been asked to perform just a little bit more than nature ever
intended over and over and over again.  to most people, this is insanity.  but
in reality, it's art, and it's the _art_ in what we do that makes us human.

We need more hackers like him !

Erik, i’ve never known you nor your work …I just read your words and yet …I share in the grief of the people who have.

RIP Erik Naggum (1965ā€“2009)

The Khan Academy

I don’t normally blog about every interesting thing that i come across on the net. I prefer to instead ‘thumb it up’ using StumbleUpon and add a review if there is something really neat or i have an opinion to express (which is rather rare — I think things just are — but that’ll be another post).

However, i just came across The Khan Academy and was blown over by the tremendous amount of work that has gone into making this possible. Here is what the site is about:

  We have 800+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and
  algebra to differential equations, physics, and finance which have been
  recorded by Salman Khan. He has also developed a free, adaptive math program
  available here.

Firstly, it’s not the Salman Khan you are thinking about, sorry to disappoint :).

Secondly, they are not kidding about the everything part. I just learnt how many avocados i’ll have in the end if i had 1 avacado and you gave me another avacado. Now, that’s another thing, the accent and approach might be a bit American but i don’t think that should matter if you are just looking to brush up your basic education or are recommending this to kids who can watch the latest hollywood action/cartoon movie and understand it.

Most of my friends now have kids in the pre-school or primary school age range and I guess those of you who do, would find this site interesting.

If you do, spread the word around and also consider donating (they take paypal — if you don’t have a paypal account, let me know, i can donate on your behalf and you can reimburse me in beers šŸ™‚ )