I’ve called myself a ‘nerd’ for a long time. It’s a badge I’ve worn with pride. I’ve happily talked about tinkering with expansion drive bays on my 13″ MBP so I can run a boot SSD and a large spinning disc. I felt no pain in setting up multiple symlinks to get it working well. But I’m changing.

Progress Away from Nerdery?

There was a point when I had a Dell Mini 10 and had converted it to a Hackintosh. I count this as the height of my nerdy tinkering. I combed the forums after a software update to see about the new hacks that needed to be performed. I truly enjoyed the process of tinkering with the OS internals.

Now I just can’t be bothered to tinker. As I look at purchasing a new Mac, I’m just paying Apple to upgrade the RAM. I’ve upgraded the RAM in every Apple Computer that I own, but it’s just another task that has to be performed in addition to all the other tasks I have to accomplish in the day.

I’ve found the same progression in my software tools. I used to upgrade the Adobe CS suite every version, and try to keep abreast of the changes all the time. I used to watch all of the Apple keynote so I’d know as soon as possible what was changing. Now I shut off social media so I don’t get bugged by all the ‘gossip’ when I could be working.

Is This Natural?

For many it seems like a natural progression. You move from viewing your computer as a ‘fun’ thing to tinker with to a tool, an appliance even. No one is playing with the firmware on their microwave, it just does it’s job and gets out of the way.

For me it goes a bit further than that even. I work as a consultant, if I’m not billing hours to a client I’m not making any money. Using a Hackintosh as a spare computer when I had a day job coding and could afford some downtime was fine. When my child is fed based on my ability to bill work downtime is just not acceptable.

So maybe it’s just a priority change with getting a child. If I’ve got free time, I’d rather spend it with her playing.

And that is as it should be.

2 responses to “Progress Away from Nerdery”

  1. Rob Avatar

    Fun is learning. When you were tinkering on your Hackintosh, you were learning. The first times you opened your computer and upgraded the RAM you were learning. Now though, you’ve learned all that.

    Now, building a computer, upgrading RAM, that’s not novel, that’s not teaching you anything. It’s just taking up time, and especially in your case as a consultant, time is money.

    Your daughter however, that’s novel, that’s new, and there’s always things to learn with a new child. There’s also the responsibilities that go along with that.

    I don’t know that I’d say one stops being a nerd in that sort of situation. I’d just say that your focus shifts. I think nerdiness is a state of mind that promotes the fun in learning. You can be a computer nerd, but you can be a chess nerd, or a book nerd, or a movie nerd or whatever.

    It just sounds like right now you are a parenting nerd. Maybe you’ll end up tinkering with computers again when you daughter decides she wont talk to you because she’s a teenager and parents are stupid.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      That’s an awesome way to think about it. That concept had never crossed my mind.