If you don’t know me by now…

I fear I may have given the wrong impression of myself when I posted this photo a couple of months ago:

Frank and the Mac

The picture may lead you to believe that I thrive on sunlight streaming through the window. That I maintain a tidy desk. That I <gasp> use a single monitor. Wait… I am a geek. Hath not a geek a cave? If you ping me, do I not l33t?

Well, worry no more. Here’s the updated version:

The cave, revisited

Key features:

  • Three monitors. MacBook Pro on the right, Frankenstein on the left. The middle monitor switches back and forth depending on context. Synergy so I can be working on both machines at once with a single keyboard and mouse.
  • Roland TD-3 drum kit for relaxation and right-braining
  • Pinboard on the wall to the left of the desk
  • Random box o’ stuff piled on top of the Mac Classic
  • Volume control for the amp within easier reach
  • Comfortingly messy

I have also come across a trio of articles in the last couple of weeks that pretty much describe me to a T. Have a look and see.

The Nerd Handbook” by Rands:

“These control issues mean your nerd is sensitive to drastic changes in his environment. Think travel. Think job changes. These types of system-redefining events force your nerd to recognize that the world is not always or entirely a knowable place, and until he reconstructs this illusion, he’s going to be frustrated and he’s going to act erratically. I develop an incredibly short fuse during system-redefining events and I’m much more likely to lose it over something trivial and stupid.”

Wide vs. Deep” by Greg Knauss:

“The programmer, though, wants to be involved deeply and profoundly in just a few projects — he wants to own them, top to bottom. Maybe it’s a whole program, or a single feature, or some underlying library. Whatever. He wants to live in it, neck-deep. He has to worry about all — literally all — of the obscure technical details that make computers go. Jumping between projects — context switching — is a great way to burn a programmer out, because the cost of unloading one project from his head only to load up another one is enormously high. The idea of switching between two projects in a day, much less ten, is not only exhausting, but depressing.”

What I Want For Christmas: Not A Damn Thing” by John Scalzi:

“For a number of years, I’ve told people who have been thinking of getting me something for Christmas or whatever holiday excuse they have for gift giving that I’d simply prefer they not get me anything at all. The reaction to this often ranges from confusion (i.e., how can you not want gifts?) to exasperation that my insincere “no, no, you don’t have to get me anything…” ways just means they will have to be extra crafty in getting me a gift, since I’m not helping them by hinting at what I want. This is when people ask my wife what I want, and she tells them that I told her years ago to stop getting me Christmas gifts. At which point I suspect their heads explode.”

I wrote about exactly that same thing two years ago, albeit in a more mouth-foamingly ranty way. Scalzi expresses himself much more calmly and eloquently, and everything he says applies to me. (Well, apart from Julie Delpy, Kate Winslet, and that car. Call it Jennifer Connelly, Kate Beckinsale, and a 1983 Porsche 911SC, and we’re golden.) To anyone who wants to get me anything for my birthday or Christmas now or in the future: please read Scalzi’s article.

Quite comfortingly, Christmas doesn’t seem to have landed yet here in The Netherlands. And it’s almost December! Sure, we’ve got the whole Sinterklaas thing going on, but it doesn’t thrust itself at you and hump your leg like Christmas does in the UK. Consequently, I’m feeling a lot calmer this holiday season. Or maybe the therapy is helping. Or something.

(The title of this post is, of course, a reference to the Simply Red cover of the Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes song. Yep, that’s the consequence of Dutch radio bangin’ out those “classic 80s hits.” One of these days, you’ll get the full thermonuclear rant…but not today.)

2 Replies to “If you don’t know me by now…”

  1. Hi Martin

    Nice post! I remember the classic rant one from last year as well – doesn’t time fly;-)

    Have you considered charity donations for Chrissie Pressies? My father-in-law
    is another no-pressies-please sort but the family find it difficult not to give him something and so we club together and give to
    charity instead.

    Over the last few years he has had a Gorilla (sponsored one in a zoo) and a Toilet (money went to building one somewhere in sub-saharan Africa).


  2. Martin! Jullie zijn hier – en al een eeuwigheid! Jullie hebben het gewoon gedaan. Kan het niet geloven… Geweldig. Stuur je ons contactinfo? Veel liefs voor Abi, Alex & Fiona

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