Let me start this one with a solicitation. Please add your own geekiest thing here in the comments. Tens of readers come to this blog every month, yet very few people comment. I want to know what your geekiest thing is so consider this post open mic night at GLD.
I have a lot of geeky friends. I mean, I also have friends who *think* they are geeky, but they are really more geek-lite. Some of the friends I am talking about use command prompts. Their idea of a new-to-market product is some guy’s vaporware idea on Kickstarter. They go to Comic-con… dressed up.
Sometimes, I’d like to think I am one of these super geeks. Other days, I realize I’m more in that geek-lite column. But every once in a while, I realize that I do, or own something that is really geeky. Here’s an example:
With an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket this week, I ordered a new USB DAC/Headphone amplifier for my computer. Out of curiosity, my wife asked what it was for. As I searched for an explanation, I thought to myself, “this has to be the geekiest thing I now own.” That made me think, “I wonder what the geekiest thing some of my geekiest friends own is?” And now, I bet you’re asking the exact same question. Am I right?
Well here are your answers.
Presenting the 2016 list of geekiest things from geeky people:
Some friends were pretty definitive about one geeky thing
“I have this camera in my office that I can pan around the room with and even see part of the dining room. I can get an email alert if someone comes in the back door, but I only set that up if we are going to be away. I have it set so I can tap on “back door” or “dining room” using an app on my phone or iPad. I can see my office from anywhere. It works well at night too. Sometimes I take a peak while I am in bed or when I travel. I think it is pretty cool. I like to be able to check and know everything is OK. I can usually see the dog too. I think it is kind of geeky considering how much less it costs than a security system and how flexible it is. one year I set it up above the front door so I could watch the trick or treaters as they came up the steps. I have also used it as a kind of nanny cam to make sure my mother was safe while I was away. I would just look at my phone and I could see her. I can also take stills with it and have a wonderful photo of my husband standing in the dining room giving the camera the finger . . but I am not going to share.”
“This is really hard for me – I am covered with Geeky things so the Geekiest is like choosing your favorite child – however here’s something I’m really enjoying – and seems to be Oprah’s favorite thing as well…
This voice activated home automation controller gives you a hint of George Jetson’s life. It takes oral orders and responds – allowing you to control connected smart home devices. I use it to control my Philips Hue lights, telling Alexa to turn the lights on or off in different rooms or to set up a night light to allow me one lamp on in darkened rooms as I walk to bed at night. In the morning Alexa tells me the weather, the commute time to work, news, and knock,knock jokes or the latest political jokes if I want them. I can also stream music through Alexa, asking her to stream Amazon Prime music or Pandora, or other music sources. The list of things Alexa can do grows weekly it seems, and sometimes puts me in the awkward position for having thanked a machine when she responds to a questions or a request.”
Candidly, I don’t use it much, as all of our listings sell within a few days on market here in Nashville, but the thing sure is fun to play with.”
She gets extra geek points for storing them in beakers she got on Amazon ($32.50)
“I don’t know how people survive on those tiny spice jars of chile powder sold in grocery stores. You can’t make a decent enchilada sauce without at least a cup of chile powder. Do people just buy a half dozen of those small little jars? How silly. And how old is that powder? Chile powder gets bitter as it ages. There’s a marked difference in flavor between fresh chile powder – piquant, rich, with a layered, nuanced heat – and old chile powder, which is bitter and flat. Go find any local grocery in New Mexico and purchase the fresh stuff. They sell it in ziplock bags, about a pound and a half in each bag, and in several spiciness levels. Store it in an air tight container, as seen here. This was hand carried to me from Taos in September 2015, and represents about half of my current supply.
All you coffee nerds can go argue over roast and origin and brewing methods. I’ll be over here savoring my chile powder.”
I was part of their Kickstarter a year or two ago and own the first one they made and now their newest one with HD video is on order. It’s cool to just capture pics on the fly and wherever you might be throughout the day. It has its own app that syncs with cloud storage .
My new one on order is Red and should be shipped before Inman. If it doesn’t arrive I will be wearing my original one.
Capturing the moment is kinda cool and geeky, however.. Some who ask me what it is and what it does feel it’s kinda creepy.
This case rocks. Essentially it’s a case that pops onto your smartphone and it’s a forward-facing light. So, for anyone who has struggled with DIY video or live streaming because your light is terrible – this solves the problem. The light is as bright as movie lights and completely illuminates your face without shadows or washing out your face. You could also use it for the perfect selfie but I use it most for Periscope and live streaming. It’s definitely one of my most geekiest accessories – but I love it!
“A few years ago, our children outgrew the backyard swing set so we shipped it out for recycling. Winter was approaching and, without the set, our backyard clearly resembled a giant, ice-rink shaped swath of grass. So, what else to do, then, but to use the space to build an ice sheet.
Using plastic boards and brackets from NiceRink, we converted the back yard from empty space to a 1/3-scale NHL-sized hockey rink with full-size hockey goals and true-action, rounded corners. But building the rink introduced a problem — how would we keep the ice surface smooth and playable through the winter?
Enter the Backyard Zamboni.
Attached to a temperature-sensitive outdoor faucet via a 100-foot heavy-duty hose, our backyard Zamboni features a galvanized steel-pipe frame and uses a variable water-flow regulator and a special resurfacing mat to ensure smooth, glass-like ice every time we use it. Repairing the ice sheet takes less than 5 minutes and, on a cold day, the kids can play hockey or do their jumps while the zamboni’s still in use.”
Here’s my geeky thing: The Audio Engine D1 24-BIT DAC/Headphone Amplifier ($169.00)
I like to listen to music on my computer. I usually use headphones. But not the cheap pods Apple throws in with my phone, and not those overpriced Beats “Studio” headsets that Dr Dre is hustlin’. Real headphones. Stereophile Magazine recommended headphones. The only problem with using headphones like these is that the soundboard built into almost any computer (even an iMac like mine) really isn’t up to the task of fully powering them. This gizmo is my geekiest possession because it takes the digital USB signal from my Mac and converts it into a hi fidelity signal that makes the most of my vintage, audiophile headphones. You’d have to be straight out of Compton to think the audio stuff Apple makes sounds better.
“It all started when I found malware on my blog and realized that having the same password for my 4000 social media platforms and accounts was not such a bright idea.
So I got a password manager to help me track and enter each site – but how to keep the password for the password manager safe?
Here’s where it get’s geeky – it has multiple functions but the one-time password is the best. The YubiKey generates an encrypted password and you need the physical yubikey to generate the OTP. BAM! I keep it next to my PO BOX Key, my Miami Hurricanes key (which will shortly be replaced by a Nest lock), and my car key.”
Of course some of my friends couldn’t limit it to just one thing.
“I spent $500+ on a microphone set up. And when someone walks into my office and sees the boom it’s fairly embarrassing.”
Brad Nix flexed his geek-cred with a troika of D&D geekiness:
“It’s hard for me to pick the geekiest thing I own, because I don’t feel that of any of it is too geeky. So I asked my wife and she said “the little Dungeon & Dragons miniatures” that I hand painted some 20+ years ago. Granted these were still in use when we got married 🙂 When I went to get them out of the ‘dungeon’, I found a map of Faerun, the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. This is when I realized that this map may be the geekiest thing I own and not because I used to roll dice and play D&D – as an adult. This map is the geekiest thing I own because I took the folded map, had it spray mounted onto foam board for display, and have kept it for reference while reading Forgotten Realm novels ever since. Or maybe it’s the fact that I keep my dice sorted by type. Or maybe it’s just the miniatures. Or maybe all of the above.”
My friend Keith Garner is probably the geekiest person I know. So it is no surprise that 1, he could not choose just one geeky thing, and 2, that the least geeky of his three things was still probably geekier than anyone else’s geekiest thing. Not that it was a contest. I’m just saying. Everyone else lost.
“1) the Multi-Tech Systems FM300 acoustic coupler modem I dumpster dived and keep in my office as a museum piece. Price: worthless/priceless depending on who you ask. 🙂 I can’t even find ANY information on it online. OLD SKOOL2) Personalized signed (to me) by Alex Ross Oversized Justice League poster (22″x58″.) 30th Birthday present from Sarah. Poster $20ish bucks originally, out of print now. Going for $50 on Amazon today. Beautiful framing $100. Autograph makes it more, I guess, never priced it out. Priceless to me because of the gift and just how bad ass it is. (After gift Sarah needed an explanation of how much better of a gift it was than she thought it was.) Picture and more at http://www.kgarner.com/blog/
archives/2005/08/18/enjoy- illinois-see-superman/3) Framed front page of the Chicago Tribune Business section from April 19th, 1999 that depicts Linus Torvalds as St. George and Bill Gates as the dragon. Linus was speaking at Comdex that day. I ran into him on the floor and he autographed it for me with “down with the forces of evil.” Earlier in the day, I was the first person to show it to him, when I ran into him later, he said he asked a trib reporter if there was a way he could get the original or a copy of it. It was like $2 for the original paper, forgot how much the framing was. Another “priceless” one.4) ThinkGeek Tux Poster of from April 2000. Tux is made up of code from the Linux 2.2 kernel. I think that was current to that time, its hard to remember. Poster $10, no longer in print. framing, I can’t remember.All four of those usually need an explanation :)”