Becoming a Geek

You don’t have to be a geek about everything in your life—or anything, for that matter. But if geekdom is your goal, don’t let anyone tell you it’s unattainable. You don’t have to be there “from the beginning” (whatever that means). You don’t have to start when you’re a kid. You don’t need to be a member of a particular social class, race, sex, or gender.

Geekdom is not a club; it’s a destination, open to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to travel there. And if someone lacks the opportunity to get there, we geeks should help in any way we can. Take a new friend to a meetup or convention. Donate your old games, movies, comics, and toys. Be welcoming. Sharing your enthusiasm is part of being a geek.

Anyone trying to purposely erect border fences or demanding to see ID upon entry to the land of Geekdom is missing the point. They have no power over you. Ignore them and dive headfirst into the things that interest you. Soak up every experience. Lose yourself in the pursuit of knowledge. When you finally come up for air, you’ll find that the long road to geekdom no longer stretches out before you. No one can deny you entry. You’re already home. John Siracusa

My 2013 list of 8 essential iPhone apps.

I've installed and deleted many apps over the year. Some I used for a day, others for months, before deciding they just weren't for me. However, there is a short list of apps that I depend on. Apps that I find so useful on an almost daily basis that they've become essential to my digital life. Here's a list of those apps.

MotionX GPS Drive

It's how I find the fastest route to anywhere. It has everything I want in a GPS app -- turn-by-turn navigation with, live voice guidance, live traffic analysis, location search, and multiple stops. I use it almost everyday to find me the fastest route to work.


I use Pocket to save and download articles for reading later. I can read on web, on my iPad or iPhone and even my iMac. Pocket has browser plug-ins/extension for every major browser making it easy and quick to save links for reading later. A lot of applications have integrated support for Pocket including some of my essential apps, Tweetbot and Reeder.


I've used Tweetbot since version 2 was released and I'm really diggin version two.


Reeder has been my RSS reader for a few years. It supports the social sharing options I want -- Facebook, Twitter, ADN -- and my chosen reading list app, Pocket. When Google Reader shut down I temporarily moved to another app while Reeder was updated to support alternatives -- Feedbin, Feedly, Fever etc. A new rebuilt version -- version 2 -- of the app was recently released as a universal app.


Authy is both an app and a service that provides two-factor authenticaion for some of my online social accounts. I use this app several times a day to get access to my email, Facebook,, Dropbox etc. While it may not protect my accounts from a determined malefactor, it does offer a higher-level of security beyond what just a username and password can offer. Best of all, the app and the service are free for developers.


These days, most of what I do for a living involves advising my clients on best practices in information security or helping them create an information systems security program. I write a lot of documentation. It can get tedious. Spotify streaming music player is how I get through the day.

Umbrella VPN

The security folks of OpenDNS created this Cloud-based security service to improve the network security of mobile devices. I am now less worried when using my iPhone or iPad in café, retail stores, planes, hotels or any network I don't trust (like friends and family networks).

Umbrella protects even over untrusted networks engaged in eavesdropping, credential stealing or other malicious activities.

This isn't a free service but for $20/year1 I have more piece of mind that our communications are better protected.


1Password is another app I use several times a day. A strong complex password, when used in conjunction with two-factor authentication, helps protect my critical online accounts. It is a good security practice to use different username and passwords with each of online account. However, creating strong passwords, and remembering them, can be difficult. 1Password helps me with that. It has an excellent random password generator. I use it to keep track of all my online account information. 1Passwords runs on my iPhone, iPad and iMac and uses iCloud to keep my password information synchronised between all my devices.

  1. This covers up to five mobile devices. We have many iPads and iPhones in the family. 

Writing in obscurity

More recently the idea of “lowest possible engagement” has come to represent much of what ails the social web: Likes, retweets, +1s – throwaway actions which have become the mainstay of our social interaction often at the expense of more meaningful responses.

Where people used to visit blogs and leave genuinely thoughtful comments or even write a response on their own blog the propensity is now to “plus one and run” at the site of the social share rather than at the original post itself.

Our self-imposed attention problems brought on by trying to follow too many people on too many social networks demand that we head for the easy solutions, the curated lists or groups, the bite size chunks of news in an attempt to consume as much in as short a time with the least effort as possible.

The focus on consumption leaves us with little or no time for reflection, response or even creation.Colin Walker

I find my self falling prey to all of this especially when I don't have anything meaningful to add in the moment but want to signal that I enjoyed what was posted. However, there are moments when I want to leave a response but I lack the time to cogently respond. Sometimes I save the link to Evernote with the intention to write something later.

The thing is, I often don't. Sometimes it's out of laziness. Sometimes I just can't get my thoughts in order ( see the tag line to this blog ).

What ever the reasons for my lack of effort, I think Colin is right. I may have sold my soul and my voice to social media. What shall I do about that?