Web turns 25! flashback into my life as a Nerd!

Web turns 25! flashback into my life as a Nerd!

Web turns 25! flashback into my life as a Nerd!

I saw a share by Google today about the web turning 25! And I went into a flashback of my own journey. Well I had started my Journey into this Web almost right away. Those days of NCSA Mosaic, with Archie and Gopher.

You felt privileged if your company gave you an access to the web.

You felt privileged if your company gave you an access to the web. 5″ Floppies full of games, images and other stuff were being passed around in the Tech Head’s friend circles. This was a nerd club. You couldn’t pay your way in. You had to be a nerd! Hushed tones were used when one of the secretaries gave away the secrets of the nerd in their department. Everyone was in awe of these chaps who could even restart your computer, and plug in the right wires. They were naturals. Even with no or low knowledge they had an intuitive feel about how things were supposed to happen.

Everyone was in awe of these chaps who could even restart your computer, and plug in the right wires.

How did this journey start? Well, the Indian Nerds were born in the 60s (the makers of computers were born in mid 1950s). Some of us, got an early access to computers. In India, that means, in the early or middle eighties. I was there too. The computer labs were not a hub of activity. They were something to be afraid of. Those who took computers as their graduate program, were happy to rather study from their notes and books. They treated their labs as a compulsory pain in their necks.

When I picked a few books on FORTRAN and PASCAL from my library, even the librarian was astonished

When I picked a few books on FORTRAN and PASCAL from my library, even the librarian was astonished, as these books generally were only taken near exams. Did I tell you that I was enrolled for a Mechanical Engineering Program. Needless to say, that even with just a few books in the library, all were available. I then walked into the computer lab, and was asked to take permission from the Head of Department to sit on a computer. He gave me the permission to program (as parallely, I had accepted a project which was supposed to use a computer program that I made). The unfair access as “Outliers” mentioned.

In the lab, I never ever met any student from the computer department since I worked in the off hours, except of course, LVN. Nowadays, people like me are called Outliers! (go read the book if you don’t know)

Nowadays, people like me are called Outliers!

LVN was always there, and we got friendly. He introduced me to LISP (an artificial intelligence program), and I rattled out a program, which was a friend making and matching program – somewhat like Facebook, but of course there was no internet, so it was a resident program, and the year was 1987 – but i was far away from Silicon Valley with no internet access (there was no internet, silly) and I never came to know what my brethen were up to and I missed the boat by a very large whisker. But I was as much in love with this thing, as they were. The new toys had arrived and the kids didn’t know that the grown ups played with them (even today, all new toys pretend to be for grown ups – so grownups are enticed to buy them and kids play with them)

I never came to know what my brethen at Silicon Valley were up to and I missed the boat by a very large whisker.

However, I turned out to be a natural at programming. I also had an advantage, I was an artist, so when I came to making the report look good by using the asterix and dashes and yes, if you had the knack you could go for the tildes, hash tags, and even percent. Anything went, including plus, minus and equals (we called it “is equal to”). Colon became the favorite of a designer since there was no kerning in those times (your colon looked cancerous if you missed one). I suppose I was born as a UI/ UX person. I can’t tolerate a bad experience. How can I make my user do that.

I suppose I was born as a UI/ UX person. I can’t tolerate a bad experience. How can I make my user do that.

So later I fell in love with COBOL, where design was an important aspect of the calculation. FORTRAN, and PASCAL started making me sick since I could’t store my result. The programmers didn’t think I wanted to keep my results. I was supposed to gawk at their wizardy. They expected you to have a line printer handy all the time. And access to the 80 column pages and maybe even 132 column large format. And if you could feed the paper – well, it is not like the fishes, it didn’t die if you didn’t feed it, but you could, if you didn’t know how to feed the paper. Yes, there was one job on the offer by Godrej and Boyce, but they felt I did’t fit in. My bad. I went and pleaded for a relook. They felt affront. The looked askance. I had to walk. There was no other job, I was after.

FORTRAN, and PASCAL started making me sick since I could’t store my result. The programmers didn’t think I wanted to keep my results.

So, I worked hard on the other option – the MBA. Cracked every exam there. Being a Nerd, there was no way I could crack their group discussion round (GD) and they had a love for the GD. It allow them a camouflage. All MBA programs hid behind their GDs and would not let the Nerds in. They wanted people who could talk without requiring a subject. People who could extempore on any topic – people who exhaled words and sentences and could go on and on. People who didn’t thing before they spake – it was more of a spat than speak – hence the archaic spake. Today, even after 25 years have passed, they still spake.

All MBA programs hid behind their GDs and would not let the Nerds in.

Soon, I went into an MBA (this was my last interview, and I had by now learned to pretend that I was not a Nerd, and I allowed myself just one spake – I had many sleepless nights after that. It is difficult to utter words and have no empathy about them. I am still clueless on why the world requires people who spake, but they still do. Fastforward to 2016, and I got back from such a spaking session just this sunday at meeting where the toastmasters were in charge – and they spake. I was lured, that in the end, they would raise a toast. They had just come together to be able to spake well. Spaking is still incongruous to me. In the MBA, we were shown Supercalc and Lotus 1-2-3,  Wordstar as well as Wordperfect. I almost knew more than the teacher by now. I would always volunteer to help my friends with this new demon.

When I got my first job in 1990, I ran into Windows. 3.1 (just about my kind of grade). I almost banged my head into an open window, right away. It hurt! It still hurts!

When I got my first job in 1990, I ran into Windows. 3.1 (just about my kind of grade). I almost banged my head into an open window, right away. It hurt! It still hurts! And then came the office suite. My office was no suite, but that was the first time I saw a suite. I blinked in horror. I had heard that an MBA gives you privileged access to suites. I must go back and check the Manual (yes, RTFB – read that fat book) – I am made that way. Well, I almost never got to see a suite of the other kind – I resigned too early. They were right, those IIMs and other MBA programs. They needed just the Spaking kind, and had no room for those who Thate (well version of think that spakes). I always got friendly with the Nerds even in Corporates and no Vice President loves those kind. I even cracked AutoCAD on my own. You pervert, i learnt it on my own, and that’s what a Nerd calls crack – it’s nothing to do with “pot” or with “pirated software” or even with “broken crockery” or “porn stuff” – now I am getting carried away.

I even cracked AutoCAD on my own. You pervert, i learnt it on my own, and that’s what a Nerd calls crack – it’s nothing to do with “pot” or with “pirated software” or even with “broken crockery” or “porn stuff” – now I am getting carried away.

Coming back, well they were always afraid of programmers and nerdy people. A CEO loves them, but the middle management hates them (for the same reason) and hides them away in computer rooms. Computer rooms are rooms where intelligent prisoners are given their dope and they never think “job” or “rules”. Nerds eat away at the power of an MBA. They don’t think of work as work – and it must have hurt (the MBA). This was the first time that passion had entered the corporate and no one knew what to do. If allowed to roam around these people gonna hurt some egos. I was both, so I was always a suspect. So the best was to give them access to a privileged area, call it a computer room (or whatever pleases the Nerd) put an AC, throw in a color printer and you’re good to go (these MBAs make great mercenaries). So, soon I was pushed towards the computer based stuff like HPG and made to learn an unworthy cousin called PRISM since my company bought it. I resigned. I still can’t suffer a bad UI/ UX.

Nerds eat away at the power of an MBA. They don’t think of work as work – and it must have hurt (the MBA). This was the first time that passion had entered the corporate and no one knew what to do.

Now I was jobless for a while. Aah, into my second outing in the corporate world I was chucking out programs in excel! Don’t laugh! (yet). When you mix an MBA with the Nerdy liqueur, you end up with this stuff. I cut short a 3 month of calculation in Risk Assessment (well chemical risks – told you I am not the other kind) into a 2 day work, many people lost their jobs. Well, I for one. You cannot make the criminals feel guilty. I am never good with the middle people. Aaah! Now I know why this MBA job is called management. You have to manage the people above you – shit! I always thought it was the other way. My bad.

Now I know why this MBA job is called management. You have to manage the people above you – shit! I always thought it was the other way. My bad.

Now I got into the job i started the article with. News of my criminal activities had spread far and wide. And a mafia don, ANJ, (the corporate kind) had heard some rumours about me. And since my packaging still said MBA, he could hire me out. He sent a feeler and I moved to the land of Mafioso – Bombay, once again. Here was where I ran into the Internet. This time I was aware of the advantage of privileges that knowledge brings, and again, it was not about suites of the hotel kind. It was access to the cutting edge. Those were days of NCSA Mosaic, with Archie and Gopher. They were doors to information (yes the content was quite bad, and the silver lining was you could read a file on a computer in America. I never went to America (till yet) since all America has been accessible to me from that date.

This was a nerd club. You couldn’t pay your way in.

You felt privileged if your company gave you an access to the web. 5″ Floppies full of games, images and other stuff were being passed around in the Tech Head’s friend circles. This was a nerd club. You couldn’t pay your way in. You had to be a nerd! Hushed tones were used when one of the secretaries told other secretaries when they found a nerd in their department. Girls wanted to be friendly with the Nerds. Everyone was in awe of these chaps who could even restart your computer, and plug in the right wires. They were naturals. Even with no or low knowledge they had an intuitive feel about how things were supposed to happen. Aaah! maybe my UI Designer has already started doing work.

This was a nerd club. You couldn’t pay your way in.

A lot of porn stuff went around – so when you had a problem and went to the technical guy, who usually was not that nerdy, he would send you back with loads of goodies, instead of the solution you went looking for. Well, just like my relatives. Let me be kind to the tech heads. They also gave away images of God (if you were into that stuff) and of mother nature. But the icing on the cake were games. People who had played computer games were rare, and you could sell “pirated stuff” even in shops in the malls. This was easy money for the pirates. The perpetual machine was finally invented (Microsoft is good at that stuff). And far away from Mechanical Engineers who were always wanting to make it. Software, is the perpetual machine.

People who had played computer games were rare, and you could sell “pirated stuff” even in shops in the malls.

The journey went forward as new stuff was being shown around. I happened to look at Virtual Reality in an Exhibition at Singapore. I volunteered and peered through the glasses at the world around me. I fell in love. I came back, married and resigned. You can’t marry after you resign, you fool. (in dummies, they mark this as a tip, and in horrible, science they make sure you gulp this stuff at the right time). And yes, I don’t Spake any more. I have Spaketh.

I fell in love. I came back, married and resigned. You can’t marry after you resign, you fool.

Next part of my journey started in Multimedia. Learning to manipulate graphics, write programs that could move. Well, fun had begin as I veered my boat off the cliff into the clouds. From Programming to Design. Phew! This journey was exciting. I now was finally out of that MBA trap. I could do what I wanted. This was surely what I was searching for and at 30 I found it.

And today at 50! I am getting enticed by Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D Projection, 3D Printing, and so much more. I am still a Nerd!

I am still a Nerd! Once a Nerd, always a Nerd!

What I learnt? Well people must be able to do stuff before they look at design. Bill Gates taught that to Steve Jobs. And people will look at design. Steve Jobs taught that to Bill Gates. If you use these 2 rules, the journey ahead will be wonderful.

People must be able to do stuff before they look at design. Bill Gates taught that to Steve Jobs. And people will look at design. Steve Jobs taught that to Bill Gates.

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