The Nerd Handbook – quick guide to the unknown

Via Mark Fletcher’s post came across The Nerd Handbook.  This is a really nice post explaining a few things about nerds.  While details may vary from person to person, the overall picture is pretty accurate of so many people I’ve seen in the IT industry and in some science related areas (mathematics, physics).  Here are a few quotes:

A nerd has a mental model of the hardware and the software in his head. While the rest of the world sees magic, your nerd knows how the magic works, he knows the magic is a long series of ones and zeros moving across your screen with impressive speed, and he knows how to make those bits move faster.

Your nerd lives in a monospaced typeface world. Whereas everyone else is traipsing around picking dazzling fonts to describe their world, your nerd has carefully selected a monospace typeface, which he avidly uses to manipulate the world deftly via a command line interface while the rest fumble around with a mouse.
The reason for this typeface selection is, of course, practicality. Monospace typefaces have a knowable width. Ten letters on one line are same width as ten other letters, which puts the world into a pleasant grid construction where X and Y mean something.

Your nerd loves toys and puzzles. The joy your nerd finds in his project is one of problem solving and discovery. As each part of the project is completed, your nerd receives an adrenaline rush that we’re going to call The High. Every profession has this — the moment when you’ve moved significantly closer to done. In many jobs, it’s easy to discern when progress is being made: “Look, now we have a door”. But in nerds’ bit-based work, progress is measured mentally and invisibly in code, algorithms, efficiency, and small mental victories that don’t exist in a world of atoms.

This post is a better written piece, which is also more accurate than most of those endless lists “You are a nerd if …“.  If you know somebody really weird, working in IT or scientific research, I strongly recommend to read the article.

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