[geek] - noun Slang
1. a computer expert or enthusiast.
2. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, such as biting off the head of a live chicken.
The term "geek" was not meant to be a term of endearment. It was used in conjunction with individuals that existed a few steps outside of society's norm. They participated in activities that were generally misunderstood, such as Dungeons and Dragons, tinkering with the old IBM computers, and programming out MUDs (Multiple User Dungeons) in DOS. But, most disturbingly, they were teased, bullied, and pushed around for being different. This societal position is slowly changing with the creation of Apple, Xbox live, and Facebook. What was once obscure has become mainstream. And, the people who develop and support technology are being watched with growing interest. It is chic to be geek!
In 1962, one of the first geeks/nerds got noticed by the public at large. It was Peter Parker, AKA Spiderman. Paul Kupperberg, the original writer for Spiderman, said that Spidey's powers were "not too original". However, it was the character driven storyline that truly set the comic apart from its peers. As a high school student, Peter Parker was pushed around. But, he restrained himself. Guided by his uncle's moral values, Spiderman defeated super powered foes, time and time again. Now, Spiderman is often seen as Marvel's flagship comic. This was the first time that a geek or nerd truly made the spotlight.
In 1984, a movie came out that changed everything. It was called "Revenge of the Nerds". This movie embraced a culture of geeks and nerds fully. The characters were awkward, intelligent, unique, and were tortured by their peers for being different. But, that was their charm and the community they were based off of truly identified with them. The most extraordinary thing was that the movie managed to make these characters look cool, but on their own terms. What they did, how they did it, and why they did it made sense in the social context. Their portrayal showed them as human beings, not just the smart and quiet guys in the corner of the lunch room. When this movie came out, it was one of the first steps that closed the cultural divides and showed geeks as people, just like everyone else.
Race forward to the present, Apple has taken the world by storm! Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and
Ronald Wayne created Apple in 1976. And, there was no way they could predict the explosive popularity of their products. Apple has a reputation for making user friendly products, usable even by the layman. Some of their most popular items include the iPhone, Mac book, and iPod. Steve Jobs is regularly seen in today's media. To say owning an iPhone is popular right now would be a sever understatement. It currently holds 19.4% of the world market share for smart phones (according to Gartner.com http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1622614). Everyone from the geeks at school, too soccer moms with their minivans, and even older generations are picking up iPhones, calling their friends. There is no doubt, technology is in right now.
As the world looks towards the future, the advancement of technology is crucial. Many new discoveries in the technology world have been developed to power the latest video games, most notably, the speed of the CPU (Central processing unit). The reason behind this is that video games make money and players are always asking for games that demand more powerful hardware. In 2007, a game called Crisis came out. It was lauded as the most hardware intensive game to come out yet and spurred an increase of activity to match the hardware requirements to play the game on maximum settings (the most stimulating visuals possible). At that time, a computer's prowess was judged by gamers solely by what settings it could run crisis at and what frame rate the player got when playing the game.
As an example: the movie theaters show film at 27 frames per a second. The human eye cannot visibly detect more than 60 frames per a second. If a person is viewing a video screen, it is healthy to view it at the highest frame rate possible.
The race to build the best computer possible was driven by Crisis. And, it fueled the development of new technology to match the demand. This in turn was felt in other areas of advancement, even as high as space shuttle development, requiring complex computer equipment to operate properly.
What was once an obscure hobby, held by a few, is now interests held by many. Technology is a positive force in society that is advancing the world. And, it is the people that grow up dedicating their time to these pursuits that are behind the most amazing technological feats of the day. There can be no doubt; it is chic to be geek!
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