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This week marks the 20th anniversary of Don Eigler’s startling success at being able to move individual atoms around at will. The IBM scientist eventually spelled out the letters I-B-M with 35 Xenon atoms. The process took 22 hours and presumably about a gallon of coffee.
So I proclaim this to be a Happy Very Tiny Things Day. Thanks, Don. You are one of the giants whose shoulders we stand on today, and will even more in the future.
Wired posted an article this morning covering 100 essential skills for geeks. Normally I really like Wired’s GeekDad posts—anther one posted this morning on Nikolai Tesla is great—but I have a bone to pick with the post on geek cred.
As a geek dad myself, I certainly agree that there are some skills I should have in order to maintain the title. But there are some on this list that I simply can’t get behind. “Leeching wi-fi from the neighbor” and “Cracking WEP on someone’s router” are not only morally wrong, they are silly—much better to knock on their door and ask to borrow the tubes, and offer to give them something in return. Or get thyself to a coffeehouse and contribute to the local economy. Being a geek is not the same thing as taking things that don’t belong to you. Not a good thing to teach the geeklets.
“Use any piece of technology intuitively, without instruction or prior knowledge.” That’s a rather vague requirement. Nuclear power stations count as technology. Much better to RTFM, I think. In fact, I’d say that the ability and willingness to read a manual before jumping into an unknown system is paramount to geek cred.
Also, re #76, if you make coffee in under a minute, yr doin it rong. Srsly. Note to self: write post in near future about how to brew good coffee.
However, I sincerely agree with #99: “Talk about things that aren’t tech related.”
#100, however, is obvious—write an article like that one and get it published on Wired. 🙂