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Is the Maker Movement Making It Cool For Kids To Be Nerds?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the make-it-so dept.

Hardware Hacking 220

blackbearnh writes "For many adults into technology, childhood was an alienating experience, pigeon-holed as a nerd and relegated to the A/V, Computer or Gaming club in high school. But according to a Christian Science Monitor article that looks at young Makers, the next generation of tech geeks are social and are gaining increasing support from corporate America. Radio Shack is stocking Arduinos, Autodesk bought Instructables, and teens are flocking to local Hackerspaces to learn how to create their own gear. Wired GeekDad David Giancaspro thinks the desire to create things is natural. 'As we've moved further and further away from that, towards what people call "knowledge work," as opposed to producing something physical, that urge is starting to come back,' he says."

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20% less cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914514)

Slashdot has used cool twice today, so is officially uncool.

Using tech is Hip, (2, Insightful)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914522)

understanding tech is still nerdy

Re:Using tech is Hip, (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914722)

understanding tech is still nerdy

It is only nerdy because it is so rare...

Re:Using tech is Hip, (1)

DnaK420 (2468202) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914942)

What he said. /thread

Understanding is the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915118)

It's the nerds who keep the world working.

Nerds are the one who are not afraid to try out new things.

Nerds are the one who do not shelf their curiosity in a dusty cabinet somewhere.

Re:Using tech is Hip, (4, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915182)

understanding tech is still nerdy

And a lack of understanding is ignorance, which some people wear like a medal of honor. It may make them more socially acceptable ... but they're still ignorant.

Like anything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914528)

When the masses start flocking to it, it's over.

Re:Like anything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914586)

not in this case.

attention and increased participation will only drive down cost of components and bring innovation and new ideas.

this isn't a meme

Re:Like anything else (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914924)

The internet was a better place before the masses, enough said.

Re:Like anything else (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914664)

Hipster.

Re:Like anything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914782)

Meh. We've had waves of tech booms, during which smart people were rockstars. Video gaming is an everyone thing for my generation (30's) and every one going forward. Retro-chic and widget snobbery are a whole stylistic thing now. Money is always attractive, and being well educated is helpful for that.

And the thing we all care about when we're talking about labels... women have always liked capable men. This has never changed. The trick is to not offset that by neglecting hygiene, appearance and functional social skills.

True joy... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914534)

"True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Re:True joy... (0, Troll)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914558)

+1 insightful. or informative.

Re:True joy... (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915082)

Right, "but is it cool?" is the question at hand.

Pigeonholed? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914588)

While I am a card carrying nerd, my experience was you're only pigeonholed if you let yourself be. While I really wash't any good at sports, I stuck it out riding the bench for 4 years in high school and earned a varsity letter as a result. I had friends who were jocks as well as nerds. It's all about persistency and determination as silent Cal said.

Re:Pigeonholed? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914640)

While I am a card carrying nerd

Oh? Which cards, Magic The Gathering?

Re:Pigeonholed? (3, Funny)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915038)

Nah, punch cards.

Re:Pigeonholed? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915202)

Nah, punch cards.

You nailed it with that one. Kinda makes me want to find a punch card just to keep one folded up in my wallet.

Re:Pigeonholed? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915982)

If you bend, fold, staple, or mutilate it....

Oh well. Whatever.

Re:Pigeonholed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914918)

Sometimes, it is the only choice. There are many people who have no social life and interaction and it's not because the lack of will or persistence. They want but they just can't. In those cases, there is nothing about being weak or strong, external help is needed.

Re:Pigeonholed? (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915006)

You said:

There are many people who have no social life and interaction and it's not because the lack of will or persistence. They want but they just can't.

That is defeatist bullshit. Yes, it will take years to pull themselves out of that rut, but the proper resources can expedite the process. Those types should begin with researching low self-esteem, Munchausen syndrome by proxy with respect to their parents, the fact that people are only animals, and anything else relevant. There are many well-document axioms within that much-maligned field of Psychology.

The world is actually very tolerant of eccentrics, for different values of eccentricity and provided that you know how to properly be an asshole.

Re:Pigeonholed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915304)

Agreed. I was the only one of my friends really "into" computers and electronics when I was in 7-12th grade during the mid 80's. My parents owned an electronic repair shop, I had all of the gadgets, toys, and basically unlimited access to test equipment and components. I went to Hamfests, built motorized things for my Lego sets, interfaced different things to the Commodore joystick port and various things to my TRS80, I had the Commodore and/or VCR mixed into the house cable so you could view and hear them from any TV in the house with cable, I built all kind of stupid things with the 555 timer chip etc. My friends didn't care for electronics and gadgets but they played with them or gave me ideas. Even with that. I was never considered a nerd, I still played organized football and was in great shape and drank on the weekend at random spots in the woods and at peoples houses just like every other teenager in my town in that time frame. Its not that I choose to hang out with non nerds, its just that there weren't any "nerds" that was into the things I was around or if they were, they were unsociable and no one including me found interest in hanging out with them. I found working or tinkering on cars, motorbikes, and lawnmowers and building cabins in the woods with them to be just as fun as well. As a bonus, I would merge cars and my electronics, I had a 5in color TV mounted under the dash (you could do that before cars started being built with the cab forward design) and an Atari mounted between the front seats in my car. I fulfilled my electronic tinkering desire and need on my own. IMHO, the few nerds I knew were arrogant and not really friendly or just loners or just into computers, D&D and nothing else. I was and still am not much of a sci-fi or role playing guy at all.

Re:Pigeonholed? (1, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915384)

While I really wash't any good at sports, I stuck it out riding the bench for 4 years in high school and earned a varsity letter as a result. I had friends who were jocks as well as nerds.

Then you, by definition, were not a nerd.

Do you guys even know what the word means? You're clearly not nerds, you don't even know the meaning of the word your trying to use to describe yourself.

Nerds are not cool by definition (5, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914590)

Sorry, won't ever happen. It seems like nerds who grow up to be in the media still project their common teenage fantasy that suddenly the world turns upside down and all the nerds are cool. Hint: the guy hunched over his phone/calculator or whatever and writing programs on it is still and always will be a nerd. But like most of us he's having a good time and doesn't give a shit what label you assign him.

Also I'd love shove the guy who keeps pushing the term "Maker" in a locker.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914720)

Next thing you know, journalists will translate "homemaker" into "house hacker".

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914734)

Also I'd love shove the guy who keeps pushing the term "Maker" in a locker.

Sorry, but "craft" has already been coopted by goths.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914756)

You said:

Hint: the guy hunched over his phone/calculator or whatever and writing programs on it is still and always will be a nerd.

I had that attitude for many years, until I saw a black guy on a skateboard the other day. His pants weren't sagging around his knees and I'm fairly certain that there was no gun in his waistband. He was even wearing uncool spectacles and a VANS T-shirt!

Nah, maybe you're right. That convenience store owner down the street had better watch his cash register.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (0)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914840)

You think you are not being a racist by using a racist stereotype in a sarcastic way. You failed. The difference between culture20 and you is that culture20 is defining people by their actions, while you define people by the color of their skin, and project that on other people.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914888)

Aren't nerds generally stereotyped by their ridiculously pale skin?

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915018)

Your confusing nerds with Goths. Don't worry Jocks do that all the time.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915130)

Nerd v. Goth v. Jock is not always something that a person controls, rather than something a person is.

People grow up to be who they are. I don't care whether they're a nerd or a goth or a jock or black or pink or Andorian. I care about whether they are generous, about whether they will have my back, about whether they have knowledge or spirit that lets us be more together than we each are separately, and about whether our personalities mesh.

Asking whether nerds are cool is just recycling the problematic classifications that got us here in the first place.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915294)

Nerd v. Goth v. Jock is not always something that a person controls, rather than something a person is.

People grow up to be who they are. I don't care whether they're a nerd or a goth or a jock or black or pink or Andorian. I care about whether they are generous, about whether they will have my back, about whether they have knowledge or spirit that lets us be more together than we each are separately, and about whether our personalities mesh.

Asking whether nerds are cool is just recycling the problematic classifications that got us here in the first place.

It's cyclic. When I grew up, being technically-inclined was respected: you had understanding that others did not, and even if you didn't follow all social norms to the letter you were tolerated, because if nothing else you were useful. At some point that changed: people with "book larnin'" were to be feared, derided, discouraged from pursuing their interests and encouraged to be more "socially acceptable."

That's problematic at best. Indeed, for any nation that wishes to maintain scientific and technological preeminence that is a terrible mistake. The citizens of this country need to wake up and realize that it's the nerds that brought us out of the caves, that it was the nerds that figured out how the Universe works, the goddamn NERDS who taught us how to build things that people in other countries would buy so that we could all be gainfully employed. Maybe when our entire industrial base collapses they'll begin to understand that mistreating the people in your society who have good minds and are actually capable of making something out of them is fundamentally stupid.

Fact is, the world has largely proven incapable of doing that very well, which is why so very many extremely bright and talented nerds came to the United States in the past couple hundred years: we would let them use their brains, create ideas, technologies and wealth, and not beat them up too much because they were different.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916044)

It's cyclic. When I grew up, being technically-inclined was respected: you had understanding that others did not, and even if you didn't follow all social norms to the letter you were tolerated, because if nothing else you were useful. At some point that changed: people with "book larnin'" were to be feared, derided, discouraged from pursuing their interests and encouraged to be more "socially acceptable."

Certain subcultures have always derided "book larnin", and usually the mainstream has also. The post-Sputnik period in the US was an abberation.

The citizens of this country need to wake up and realize that it's the nerds that brought us out of the caves, that it was the nerds that figured out how the Universe works, the goddamn NERDS who taught us how to build things that people in other countries would buy so that we could all be gainfully employed.

And while the nerds were doing all those things, they were the slaves (often literally) of those with more useful talents, in particular the ability to give orders and have others follow them. That's all that counts, that's all that has ever counted, and if you're a nerd, the best you can hope for is to find a good patron among the ruling class. If you do, you're still a peon; you're still not making any decisions. But at least you'll be comfortable while you empower your master.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915566)

No, he's pointing out bigotry using racism, you're just too stupid to realize how much of a bigot you are. Best part, you think you're not because you pretend to ignore certain attributes of a person because its politically incorrect to say anything about them.

In my experience, a person such as yourself who thinks that statement is racism is in fact the one who's racist, just trying to hide it.

In reality, racism exists because ... different races have different attributes ... this is simple fact. Most black people are in fact black. Most white people are in fact white. These are just two attributes, these generalizations about two races, but they show beyond a doubt that races have different attributes. So assuming you're still with me and haven't went off in an irate rant about how I'm a racist fuck, then at this point you must also recognize that racism is just reality.

What you have confused, like most ignorant idiots who like to call 'racism' because someone said 'black', is the difference between racism, and hate/fear and prejudice. Lets look at that last word:

Pre JUDice, like pre-judged ... which sounds a lot like racism doesn't it? Well it is, except an intelligent rational person takes race attributes into account, but doesn't assume that those attributes apply to everyone in that race. An intelligent rational person can be stabbed by that black skateboarder that had a shiv in his sock instead of a gun in his waistband and still not hate all black men.

If you ignore valid stereotypes and racial attributes then you're cutting yourself out of a lot of useful information, and in all likelihood you're probably over compensating in the other direction, which is also dangerous.

If you assume that any one particular individual has the exact attributes of the stereotype, then you're also an idiot and you're going to make your way in life much more difficult than it needs to be.

The difference between you and Ethanol-fueled is that one of you is a racist who tries to cover it up, and he is just honest.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915904)

...you missed the night-and-day difference.

The hunched over 'nerd' writing a program for his calculator, is, at that very moment in time, acting upon a conscious choice to write a program for his calculator at the expense of being social. This is what's deemed 'nerdy' in the socially awkward sense of the term - the action upon the choice that was made.

The black guy is on a skateboard - that is *his* conscious choice. He does not fit the stereotype of having his pants hanging extremely low, nor that of holding a gun. In fact, the only conscious choice one could accuse the black guy of making is NOT dressing like the stereotype.

It is pre-judging to assume that an African American male will have a gun or have his pants on the ground due to the color of his skin. It is NOT prejudging to draw a conclusion from the visible actions taken upon a choice.

Re:Nerds are not cool by definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915872)

Also I'd love shove the guy who keeps pushing the term "Maker" in a locker.

I'll hold the door for you.

Autodesk bought Instructables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914610)

That's not something I would put in a "positive points" list.

Also, forcing people to register to their damn website, Autodesk or not, is just fucking annoying. Let everyone see the bigger pictures and all the pages.

Re:Autodesk bought Instructables (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914710)

I think instructables was always like that? so many ads and popups too.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914612)

At some point you have to stop looking for external validation of your personal preferences. "Coolness" doesn't have to be democratic.

Re:Who cares? (2)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914808)

Who cares?

Kids, actually, tend to care about what others think.

Re:Who cares? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915024)

Who cares?

Kids, actually, tend to care about what others think.

Sadly, this is true. And you can't completely prevent it (short of figuring out how to give your kid Asperger's). But you can try to raise your kids to think independently, pursue their own goals from time to time and seek out friends who will cut them some slack for not being a 100% group toady.

I'm pretty sure that it does. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914824)

"Coolness" doesn't have to be democratic.

Isn't the nature of "coolness" such that other people want to be associated with you in order to raise their social standing?

The "cooler" you are, the more people who want to be associated with you. And the fewer people who can raise your social standing by you associating with them.

At some point you have to stop looking for external validation of your personal preferences.

I can agree with that. But it's not the same as being "cool".

No. (0)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914624)

No.

Radio Shack, huh? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914644)

I haven't been in a RSin years. I'll have to check out if they have any Arduinos.

Re:Radio Shack, huh? (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914680)

i was there a few months ago and they still had the BASIC stamp : /

Re:Radio Shack, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914812)

I was in RS yesterday for a battery for the stupid wireless doorbell that came with my house -- 2/3AAA size, 12V. I was the only customer in the store. As I left, a woman came in and bought the exact same battery, said it was for her garage door opener. I think shoplifting must be up, many more items (including this battery) were now behind the long counter...

Re:Radio Shack, huh? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915012)

I was in RS yesterday for a battery for the stupid wireless doorbell that came with my house

Sounds like your house came with a built-in "maker" project for you to try your hand at (and it ain't replacing a battery).

Re:Radio Shack, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915098)

GAH! I promise, Arduino is coming! We even have the Make/O'Reilly book on it for $15! I'm working there as a second job while my wife is on maternity leave; I was until May when I took the summer off. I know the quality is not consistent nationwide, but if you're in CNY, ask, please, so we can start selling it already! I promise to keep all my fellow associates on their toes as much as I can, but it's only a part-time job! Hint: I'll be the one carrying an android tablet with a non-stock ROM.

Definitely ... but the other way around (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914646)

Society decided that nerds were cool, then decided to actually make those nerdy activities cool. They did so by making it more sociable (e.g. hackerspaces) and more socially responsible (e.g. fablabs). These are good things because it means that people are actually playing with technology, sharing the fruits of their labour, and broadening their understanding in many aspects of life.

The old fashioned nerd still exists, but I'm confident that you'll find that they are still outcasts. After all, people find it easier to relate to people who can relate to people than to people who relate to machines.

CSM (-1, Troll)

Etraud (2256864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914694)

nice... wait? what? Christian Science Monitor.. dudes.. are you fucking kiddin me?

Re:CSM (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914764)

Christian Science Monitor is actually a very good newspaper. Although it was founded by the Church of Christ, Scientist, it is not a religious newspaper and its coverage is actually a lot more diligent than a lot of what gets called "reporting" these days.

Re:CSM (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914862)

Yeah, I had to do a double take the first few times I saw that. It still seems weird that it is a legitimate paper, but sometimes we get a pleasant surprise, and the CSM is one of those.

Re:CSM (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915144)

Agreed. You would expect it to be either childishly patronizing or entirely biased, but it's actually quite good.

Re:CSM (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915288)

No, you wouldn't expect that. Well you wouldn't if you weren't so biased yourself.

You're both commenting as if religion means ignorant idiots who believe in magic, the reality of it is, there is absolutely no conflict between religion and science, the Christian Science Monitor was created to show how science doesn't rule out the existence of a higher power and it does so using science and facts themselves. I know you're confused now and think I'm a total nut job religious zealot, but thats simply because you're a zealot yourself.

All of the parents of this post just show exactly how ignorant each of you are. You think anyone who is religious is an idiot. Unfortunately for you, you've got it backwards. Its bigots such as yourselves that are idiots. Once you learn to accept that science requires you to disprove something, and start using logic, you'll have a lot less difficulty dealing with religion in a sane rational manner.

The way you are now, you're just as ignorant and stupid as religious zealots who really DO think the Earth is 6000 years old and other silly bullshit. I find it ironic that people who seem to think of themselves as educated and scientific are the ones least able to make objective assessments of things in the world rather than subjective ones. You guys are just ignorant hypocrites.

Re:CSM (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915462)

the Christian Science Monitor was created to show how science doesn't rule out the existence of a higher power

Actually, it was not created for this purpose. It's a newspaper. It covers science, just like the New York Times does, but its mission as a newspaper has very little to do with science or "the existence of a higher power," but with reporting the news. If you're curious, you might want to find out something about its history. From its own Web page: [csmonitor.com]

The Christian Science church doesn’t publish news to propagate denominational doctrine; it provides news purely as a public service. Here’s why: If the basic theology of that church says that what reaches and affects thought shapes experience, it follows that a newspaper would have significant impact on the lives of those who read it.
News with the motive “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind” cannot but help improve society and individual lives. The idea is that the unblemished truth is freeing (as a fundamental human right); with it, citizens can make informed decisions and take intelligent action, for themselves and for society.

The Monitor was founded more than 100 years ago, in an era when "fair, unbiased journalism" was virtually an alien concept in the United States, around the heyday of what came to be called "yellow journalism." The tabloid papers of the time were filled with slanders, misreporting and outright lies. In that business climate, the idea that a church would start a fair and accurate newspaper seemed natural -- because who else would embark on such a fool's errand, when it would put them in competition with men like Pullitzer and Hearst? Those two made Fox News look like pikers. The Monitor stepped in to provide the public with news -- real news -- not as an opportunity to preach, but in the same spirit that many churches feed the poor.

As for the rest of your childish, ignorant rant, may I kindly suggest that you slow your roll.

Re:CSM (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915630)

Not at all. Christians can be entirely reasonable, as can Christian periodicals. But a data source called the "Christian Science Monitor" one would expect, given the role that religion plays in debates over science in America, to be creationist anti-cloning anti-abortion and generally not to give an unbiased voice to issues. Add to that the level of ignorance generally displayed (to be fair, often by necessity due to their business models) by most popular periodicals and there is no reason to expect them to be good or fair.

Also, you lack a basis to call me just an ignorant hypocrite. You don't know whether I criticize myself or for what, nor my level of knowledge about any issue, nor do you know whether I am an ignorant hypocrite and also a hypointelligent shade of the color blue.

Re:CSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915782)

there is absolutely no conflict between religion and science

That's true until science goes into areas where religion think they have the "ultimate truth".

How many religious people will accept the fact that the porn industry is a decisive factor when choosing a new video technology? How many religious people accepted Stem research in it's beginning, when it involved human fetuses? How many religious people will consider scientifically discussing the theory presented by Hawking in 2010 that considered mathematically possible that the Universe could have been created without a god?

And the list goes on and on. Last years religious people has been saying that religion and science can work together, but in the end, the objectivity the scientific method requires can't be fulfilled when moral believes and "untouchable universal truths" are in the way.

Re:CSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914780)

If you know anything about news then you would know the the CSM is right up there with the BBC and NPR.

Re:CSM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915076)

You mean "a federally/nationally sponsored mouthpiece of the liberal/labor elite political establishment that want to ban churches and force our children into gay marriages?"

American school culture? (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914696)

The whole summary (For many adults into technology, childhood was an alienating experience, pigeon-holed as a nerd and relegated to the A/V, Computer or Gaming club in high school) strikes me as a cliché plot for some random American movie.
I was into science and a fan of computers from a very early age. I was teaching other kids how to use them in the period between the 4th and 6th grade. Yet, I was a very social kid, played outside most of the time with my friends and was never labeled a nerd or a geek.
In all honesty I never experienced this, kids into science and tech were not labeled as nerds, it were the kids playing inside during breaks with magic cards that were.
It's the combination of interests that makes society stop and point out 'nerds' or 'geeks'.

Re:American school culture? (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914794)

I was thinking along the same lines. Been a geek for hire over 25 years, and can hang with the nerdiest. But this weekend, I am going to the Lone Star Rally http://www.lonestarrally.com/ [lonestarrally.com] and will hang with a slightly different croud. However, those guys that can make a a Linux box sit up and beg, and those guys that can make a Harley purr, are actually a lot closer than you (or they) would think.

Or the other way around? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914748)

Perhaps people discovering that not everyone can be stereotyped away is making being a "maker" cool. But I am sure the high-school mentality of popular media will fight against us teaching kids they can be whatever they want and have whatever interestes they want.

You are a nerd.
You are a jock.

Certainly nerds are not allowed to like sports, and jocks are not allowed to be engineers.

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914750)

If you had a club in school, were you really "alienated"?

I had no such clubs in school. I hung out with the other guy in school who actually knew how to fix a car, or the other guy in school who actually knew King Crimson. I hung out in the public library by myself. Personal Computers showed up just after graduation. I guess I was alienated, but I had such a blast with the 'weirdos' when I got to Uni, that it more than made up for it.

"Cool" for teens will always be warped by marketing. Marketing will always go for the easiest kills, so Cool is always going to center on jocks and holes.

Misconseption (1)

netdigger (847764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914758)

Making something accessible doesn't necessarily make it cool.

Radio shack stocking arduinos doesn't mean much. Does them caring it make it more accessible, I would beg to differ. I personally think Amazon dose make things more accessible

Re:Misconseption (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915020)

Indeed, how is that even new, go back 30 years radio shack carried everything people needed to tweak and build ham radios. Radio shack was originally the niche for the nerds of yesteryear. Them turning into a pointless half baked cellphone store was them breaking style, the fact that they still haven't gone out of business is still the mystery. *que 5 millionth link to onion article.

Subculture wars (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914816)

Why behave like a nerd (or a member of any other subculture) and then hope that the culture at large acknowledges and appreciates it? This seems backwards and very self-focused.

Why not give up the subculture behaviors and identification instead? You don't need to give up building things, or tinkering, or being interested in computers, or math, or anything else. Why shouldn't "nerds" try to reach out and understand the rest of the world? And, if you won't, don't expect people to ever think you're "cool".

If you don't respect them, they won't respect you. Nor should they.

This goes for other subcultures too. Be a helpful and good part of society if you want society to treat you well.

Re:Subculture wars (1)

MorePower (581188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915234)

Why not give up the subculture behaviors and identification instead?

Because the subculture behaviors are things that they enjoy. Magic the Gathering/Japanese Animation/D&D/whatever are things that are appealing and fun for kids of a certain personality type (nerds) and so they associate with other kids with similar interests.

The nerd label comes wether you want it or not. You can try to pretend you don't like that stuff and are into mainstream stuff but that's a pretty sad way to go through life and everyone else usually sees through your fakery anyway.

Re:Subculture wars (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915900)

Because the subculture behaviors are things that they enjoy. Magic the Gathering/Japanese Animation/D&D/whatever are things that are appealing and fun for kids of a certain personality type (nerds) and so they associate with other kids with similar interests.

So enjoy them. But there's a whole rest of the world too. You can enjoy Magic the Gathering without forgetting the rest of the world. You can enjoy D&D and not drone on about it endlessly to people who don't care. It can be something fun. It doesn't have to be "who you are".

And, again, why should anyone respect nerds and include nerds without any effort on the nerds' part? Football is as respectable as Magic the Gathering. Want people to understand and respect you? Try to understand and respect them.

Also, all this stuff you mentioned is just entertainment. Do you really think entertainment choices are this important?

The nerd label comes whether you want it or not. You can try to pretend you don't like that stuff and
  are into mainstream stuff but that's a pretty sad way to go through life and everyone else usually
sees through your fakery anyway.

Being labelled is not a behavior. If it doesn't fit, it's a lot less likely to stick.

Preemptively giving up is not really good for much. It's a poor lesson for kids. It tells people they can't count on you for anything.

Less self-indulgence would benefit nerds a lot.

Re:Subculture wars (3, Insightful)

MorePower (581188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916016)

You can enjoy Magic the Gathering without forgetting the rest of the world.

Who's forgetting the rest of the world? I'm not sure what you are even getting at here.

You can enjoy D&D and not drone on about it endlessly to people who don't care.

Ok but that's a fairly universal human failure. People who love football (or whatever) are just as likely to drone on about it endlessly to people who don't care. Its just that since there hobbies are more popular they have fewer people complaining (because more people share their love of football/whatever).

Also, all this stuff you mentioned is just entertainment. Do you really think entertainment choices are this important?

Well, your original post already mentioned not giving up computers and math and such. What else does that leave besides entertainment choices to cause one to be labeled as a nerd?

Being labelled is not a behavior. If it doesn't fit, it's a lot less likely to stick.

Ok but usually in this case it does fit and therefore stick. Nerdy kids do, in fact, like nerdy stuff

Preemptively giving up is not really good for much. It's a poor lesson for kids. It tells people they can't count on you for anything.

I don't understand what you are even getting at here. Are nerds giving up on something? The kids are just trying to enjoy things they enjoy, and getting harassed because the majority doesn't enjoy those things and labels them as "uncool".

No. (1, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914844)

The folks who enjoy making your lives a Hellmouth don't fucking know the Maker Movement exists.

Seek wealth and power, then outsource their jobs and leave them destitute. Living well is the best revenge, but society has made the effort to deserve sociopaths. No reason not to become one.

Re:No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915324)

Seek wealth and power, then outsource their jobs and leave them destitute. Living well is the best revenge, but society has made the effort to deserve sociopaths. No reason not to become one.

Bravo! Spoken like a true Libertarian!

Re:No. (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915364)

The reality of it is ... your life was no different than the people you're so mad at.

What this entire post seems to have turned into is a place to whine about how people treat nerds unfairly in school.

Let me give you this amazing piece of information ... EVERYONE GOT TREATED LIKE SHIT IN SCHOOL, THATS WHAT KIDS DO. YOU WERE NOT UNIQUE OR SPECIAL.

The jocks were giving EACH OTHER WEDGIES in the locker room, or at a party, you weren't unique in getting one. You just didn't witness the fact that pretty much everyone gets fucked with, insulted, mad fun of and has extremely embarassing moments.

EVERYONE in school thinks they are being dumped on, EVERYONE feels like they're looked down on by everyone else in the school, even the most popular and beautiful people in the building.

You (and everyone else because you didn't really experience anything different) just remember how much it sucked for YOU because thats whats important to YOU.

You'll find life a lot happier when you start looking at yourself rather than blaming others and thinking your so unique.

You're problem isn't that people picked on you, its that your so self centered that you'll never realized that you were treated pretty much like everyone else.

You, specifically, need to see a therapist and move on, you have some serious self confidence issues.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915522)

Nice thought. Too bad it's not even remotely true. The only hardship the "jocks" received at my school was the occasional fifty minute detention for beating the shit out of weaker kids.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915558)

No way.

My life enjoyed a complete reversal of fortunes my junior year in 1999 immediately after Harris and Klebold killed those jocks. I had past aggressors literally coming up to me and apologizing for the last decade of abuse they had subjected me to daily. Never again was I the punching bag.

So yes, I can say that I was ganged up on. Lots of us were.

Yay! (2)

Unixnoteunuchs (990069) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914912)

It's about time. I was a nerd in the 60s and suffered some of the predictable ignominies. Now I feel sorry for my peers who have been passed by technology. Unable fully to comprehend what has happened, they are frightened about the future and their place in it.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915236)

Seems to me they understand it fully, then.

Either way ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914946)

... be it knowledge work or physical production, we'll all end up working for the CEO's idiot son-in-law. And there will always be a place on the staff for his football (American style) player high school buddy who suffered one too many concussions.

No. (5, Insightful)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37914978)

I know i'm going to need my Nomex underwear for this post, but...

1) IME, kids who would be 'nerds' tend to be nerds anyways. It's something that they just can't help.

2) Kids who would not be nerds will pretty much not be nerds. Either they don't have the interest, intelligence, or what. But they'll get into other things instead (not that this is bad, it's just the facts).

2) Kids who are on the fence might be brought in by Make or similar, but this percentage is going to be incredibly low.

3) Right now it is INCREDIBLY COOL to be a 'nerd' or a 'geek'. However, this definition doesn't apply to the kids in #1. The 'new' nerds or geeks aren't really nerds or geeks, just those from #2 that have found a way to apply that label to themselves so that they can do whatever they wanted to do in the first place. I'm talking the cosplay/anime types who play video games as opposed to writing them, buy Macbooks instead of building a computer themselves, and get into Rock Band instead of learning to play a real instrument. There will unfortunately be little to no talk about science, computers, scifi, Make Magazine or any of the hallmark stuff that anyone GenX or older would think of when you say "nerd" or "geek". The terms have completely new meanings.

There are many examples, but y'all get the gist.

Re:No. (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915776)

buy Macbooks instead of building a computer themselves

I agree with most of what you've said (or at least, I don't really disagree), but who builds their own laptop? Really, 'building' your own computer doesn't have much geek value anyway. It essentially amounts to round peg, round hole. To me, it's more geeky if you're doing it for ideological reasons (avoiding the Microsoft tax/Apple and installing Linux) than if you do it for the hardware's sake. Any moron can buy computer parts and slap them together - I've known plenty. In my book, you get way more geek cred for knowing how to use OS X's terminal and set it up as a server than being able to build a Windows box.

Where I do agree with you is that there probably isn't some huge nerd culture arising. It's probably just non-nerd adults seeing their kids do things like Facebook on their Macbook, play Rock Band, and watch anime and they just think "man, my kid's a nerd - and all his friends are nerds too - must be the new cool thing."

Re:No. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916074)

In my book you get more geek cred for knowing how to download a MacOS X torrent and install it on a hackintosh you built yourself. But why would you waste time making an OS X box into a server? The vanilla BSD OSes are far superior.

Re:No. (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916148)

I have a Macbook White (2009 - NVIDIA) and get some nerd cred....

then again my desktop is a homebuilt Core2 hackintosh with a serial VT420 as a second console. It also acts as a Disk emulator/fileserver/printserver for my Atari 8-bit (a 600XL) w/ 512K RAM expansion, S-Video port and IDE interface. Even have a 6502 assembler cross-compilation environment up and running in Eclipse.

Machine has several serial ports via a 4-port FTDI USB->serial box and I use them. The fact that it uses the FreeBSD userland for the most part makes things nice as well.

It also runs Logic well and typically has a MIDI controller and my Fender Mustang V digital tube modeling amp head plugged in via USB.

Some of us like OSX because we like UNIX -and- good commercial audio and graphics software. Native MS Office is nice too. Running OSX does NOT make you a nerd "poser". It means the spoiled, overpriveleged rich kids you know who begged daddy for a macbook pro are posers. It's a great highly hackable platform evolved from NeXTstep/OpenStep. It's UI-layer is much cooler than X11 as well. And it can run X11 apps nicely.... even comes with an X server that integrates into the native windowing system complete with 3D support.

The underpinnings aren't perfect but IMHO OSX is the ultimate desktop UNIX with good support from both commercial and open source developers. Unfortunately success commercially comes with the fact that idiots will want one too. I'm not sure I want "The Year of the Linux Desktop" because then Linux will start to suck more and more because everyone will demand a full-featured OS -AND- want it to be operable by a 2-yr-old with cerebral palsy without having to learn anything. Look at Metro. Look at Android. Look at Unity. For REAL users, all 3 are like handcuffs.

Huh? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915056)

childhood was an alienating experience, pigeon-holed as a nerd

If you were a *real* nerd, you wouldn't have cared.

This quote may be relevant. (1, Funny)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915092)

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both. -Benjamin Franklin

I don't know about that but.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915140)

I know that this whole changing of society to be accepting of homosexuals has sure helped the open source movement. If it wasn't for that Linux users would still be labeled as dirty faggots who take it up the ass for anonymous black men at the local adult movie house.

No, nerds are not cool (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915222)

And never will be. Nerds are unbalanced and socially inept.

You can be smart, tech savvy and geeky as shit and still be cool. Nerds can not be, by definition.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerd [wikipedia.org]

Nerd is a term that refers to an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.[1] Nerds are generally considered to be awkward, shy and/or unattractive by most.[2] Thus, a nerd is often excluded from physical activity and considered a loner by others, or will tend to associate with a small group of like-minded people.

Slashdot used to be news for nerds, now it seems its turned into news for douche bags that'd like to think they are nerds but don't seem to be intelligent enough to know the definition of the word.

Makers[tm] and Hackerspaces[tm] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915280)

Do "Makers' even exist outside of O'Reilly magazine's flogs?

Re:Makers[tm] and Hackerspaces[tm] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915368)

You must be new...welcome to planet Earth!

I Got The Maker Hooks! (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915312)

Oh...not that Maker Movement? Huh.

Who's the suiter© trying to make-up cool=nerdy=cool urban lingo? Try not to laugh when he says Makers 'spread their wings'...lulz.

No. (1)

raaum (152451) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915358)

See above.

MAKE magazine sucks (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915490)

I bought it when it came out, then cancelled once they turned into a hand-wavy version of Popular Mechanics.

Re:MAKE magazine sucks (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916086)

No kidding. If you want the real stuff, get Circuit Cellar Ink or Nuts and Volts.

The sandworm movement? (2)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915534)

I wonder what it says about me when I immediately think of Dune when I hear the word "maker"

Maker Movement? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915582)

What is that, some kind of religion where they worship Shai-Hulud ?

Probably depends on location (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915674)

I'm sure being a geek is cool for Silicon Valley kids, but here in the midwest nothing's cooler than football. Videogames seem to be real popular with kids these days, but in my book that doesn't make them 'geeks' in the sense this article is talking about. Playing 8 billion hours of Call of Duty doesn't teach one science. In fact, it doesn't teach anything.

Consider earlier times (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915746)

It used to be that it was more common for people to DIY. In the dark old days, the men fixed their wagons (literally) and women sewed their own clothing.

The "maker movement" is just a regression to the norm. The excursion into mass market consumerism was several generations, so we've forgotten.

Also, by defintion you can't be a nerd if everybody does it; but that topic is covered above.

Re:Consider earlier times (4, Interesting)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915848)

I think you hit the nail on the head. There was a time when there was a huge skill set of knowledge that went along with being a man. Working with tools, especially. If one defines a nerd as someone who fixes and builds things, then almost every man in my grandfather's generation was a nerd. But that's not really how 'nerd' is defined.

There have been a lot of /. stories about what a nerd really is and what's happening with 'nerd culture.' The biggest flaw I see in all of these articles is this idea that a 'nerd' is a fixed thing. That it's static in some way. But that's not true, it's an abstract idea that is relative to time and culture. A good comparison would be the term 'honorable.' What was honorable to Victorians is much different than what was honorable to Native Americans 500 years ago which is much different than what is honorable today.

No TRUE Scotsman. (0)

falzer (224563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915752)

All the real nerds were doing circuits before Make and Arduino came along.

</beard>

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915954)

No nerds still suck

"Maker" annoyance (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37915972)

From another post:

Also I'd love to shove the guy who keeps pushing the term "Maker" in a locker.

Agreed. The "Maker movement" is a product of O'Reilly Media, Inc, the people who run overpriced tech conventions. They run the various Maker Faire shows and Make magazine. They seem to be trying to own the do-it-yourself industry. The original article reads like a Maker Faire ad. I've shown at one Maker Faire, and will not do so again. You're unpaid entertainment for a flea market.

Autodesk has a straightforward motivation - they sell pro tools for designing real world stuff, and the more people who know how to use those tools, the more they can sell. They're trying to get kids and amateurs to think like design engineers.

Their big effort in this area is Autodesk 123D [123dapp.com] , which is a free subset of Autodesk Inventor with a simpler interface. It connects to laser cutters and 3D printers, so you can fabricate the parts you design. It's a useful intro to 3D design, and a way to teach kids the mindset needed to design something with working parts. (That's harder than learning to use the software.)

If you think its cool to use a 30+ dollar board (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37916054)

With more computing power than I had as a kid to blink a LED, then yes, this slashervisment is for you!

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