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Editorial – May 2019: Where have all the geeks gone?

May 5, 2019 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

When you were young, did you make the assumption that all people were the same as yourself and when did eventually concede that they weren’t? I tended to assume that most people didn’t use them publicly, under-used or chose not to develop their abilities or spent too much time socialising rather than think I was particularly talented as I just took it for granted. Even so, it took even longer for me to realise both intelligence and mindset weren’t always the same. Mind you, I was always something of a loner so never made that much of a close connection to think otherwise. When there are gaps like that when young, the imagination tends to fill in the gaps rather than build up with observed facts. That somewhat changed as I slowly turned into a scientist.

Even so, over the years, there becomes a transition time when you discover people aren’t like you or seeing the divide getting ever wider. In the early days, being a geek never had a name, we were just eccentrics. We literally weren’t part of the crowd. The socialisers saw something different in us that we didn’t recognise in ourselves. It was hardly like I had ‘loner’ flashing above my head when I tried to join in and it took a lot of effort to join in for a while but was still thought of an outsider even amongst my peer group of other supposed geeks. Is there such a thing as a super-geek?

In some respects, one of the problems of the Internet is that it is homogenising how we see mindsets, mostly because there are so many people and, probably outside of social media, the most you have to distinguish people by is what they write and how you determine how smart they are if you are to follow their advice. This makes spotting geeks even harder.

When you have the problem of discerning who is truthful and who are telling porkies, let alone those who inadvertently spread misinformation, it does become a bit of a minefield. It certainly must produces problems of distinguishing personality types and who is presenting information. Even so, as I’ve commented in the past, humans assume other humans are like ourselves until we learn otherwise.

Although I doubt if we believe we’re all geeks, on sites where we assume we are dominant, the traits that made us are fast fading. Those that are computer connected are losing that lack of connection to other people that developed us into being insular. I suspect it would need for some people to be seriously isolated by illness than interest anymore to develop in ways we older generation were. Even the least geek are familiar with the super-hero tropes and occasionally some of the more significant SF films now. With instant connection to the Internet, even the desire to be a mine of information is sadly going where anyone can look it up, forgetting who is providing the info in the first place.

Whether it beats first-hand experience is debatable. You would have to get into the industry, say, film or comicbooks to have that and, these days, non-disclosure agreements with the former is likely to prevent knowledge getting out. It does make me wonder how many geeks are working in the computer industry and are just kept too busy to do things that other people would see as extraordinary in other circumstances. By nature, a geek is a problem-solver and doesn’t like being beaten and, when seeking a solution, rather prefers to find a viable one then look one up.

That in itself is worrying. Can geeks being doing too much that they haven’t got time to do geeky things in other areas? As I’ve pointed out in the past, the world needs us geeks even more than in the past but if they don’t allow us and new generations to develop then we are not going to be there in the future. That would look like an unforgivable sin.

We really need to work harder to keep geeks going in new generations and not merely be chucked into what is seemed geek jobs. This doesn’t mean that we have to isolate people who have that potential and see if it triggers their imaginations and creativity but to encourage individualism and people thinking for themselves. Very few socialisers like to stand out in a crowd. Look at how tattoos have propagated so much in the past couple decades. Most people would prefer to look the same as everyone else. It’s protective camouflage. We geeks don’t have to worry about such things because we are that way already and don’t need to show we are the same. I still find it odd when non-geeks will wear the likes of super-hero tee-shirts with little knowledge of its comicbook source and who drew it.

The real problem with the likes of the Internet is we are getting hidden in the crowd and lacking a real voice out there unless we do something significant. Are we looking to become extinct? You have to ponder on that idea because who’s going to creating the technological advances in the future otherwise.

Thank you, take care, good night and do something creative and solve something.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: War is never civilised.

A Zen thought: Waiting for a slow computer action always seems forever.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: To think outside the box.

The Reveal: Global warming can seriously damage your health.

Observation: For those who took an interest in the 1961 TV series ‘Ghost Squad’, with season 2, we have the return in different roles actor Peter Dyneley (the voice of Jeff Tracy in ‘Thunderbirds’) in the fourth episode and actor Roger Delgado in the fifth episode.

Observation: After mentioning seeing actor Peter Dyneley (the voice of Jeff Tracy in ‘Thunderbirds’ acting 1962 second series ‘Ghost Squad’, he has a better role in the second season episode NAME . Actor Roger Delgado has two different roles as Arabs in NAME and NAME.

Observation: For those living in the UK, keep an eye on Channel 81 where 1950s-early 60s films are shown because very occasionally an odd B-level SF or horror will show up from either side of the pond.

Observation: Now here’s an odd puzzle in ‘2001’. Considering the solid food on the Moon and on the ‘Discovery’, why only a liquid diet on the moon shuttle? Wouldn’t you want something that wouldn’t float around while in zero gee? Of course, there is the assumption that Floyd’s dinner is liquid and not some sort of gel.

Observation: In law, it would be impossible to call a shape-shifter ugly.

Observation: Now here’s one for the book. If you’ve had or experienced problems copying picture files to DVD (I presume the same problem might also apply to CDs) and it comes up with an error saying it can’t save, then the first thing you do is blame the disk and try another one and keep getting the same problem.

At that point you do have to wonder if you have a faulty batch of disks and get another batch and still get the same problem. You might even try a different computer to see if it can copy onto them and that works. Well, only if you change the speed.

Now, before you think you have a faulty DVD drive, try this. If you’ve not very good with computer tech, find someone who is as you’ll need to make a change to the BIOS. Although I’m doing this with a Dell laptop, the technique should work with your computer. On boot-up, press the F12 function key so you get the BIOS screen which runs your hardware. If you’re not fast enough, reboot and try again as it is there.

Search its screens for the one that shows how to go back to the Factory Settings. This is the hardwired BIOS and will over-ride any updates your manufacturer might have done but as one of them has come up faulty it looks like the safest option. This shouldn’t stop your manufacturer doing an up-date in the future but should resolve the problem. Apply the command for the change and reboot. This is likely to take a few minutes so don’t panic as your computer has to work its way through the settings before finally get back to Windows 10.

I have to confess it does feel like you’re walking on eggs once W10 settles down but after a few hours you’ll feel things are back to normal. Now, start your installation to a fresh DVD or CD again and that pesky message and rejection shouldn’t happen and you’ve saved yourself buying a new DVD drive or even a new computer.

I did find one problem and this applies if you are using the Classic Menu so W10 has 1 W7 menu order and it still doesn’t show all the pictures which means this is a different problem. Download it again and when it says ‘Repair’, choose that option. If you have an alternative menu system, then obviously do a reinstallation or whatever it does.

As to why this happens, I’m less sure. A file download can get a wrong digit simply by poor reception or not installing correctly. I’ve noticed that whenever W10 does a major install that Classic Menu takes a few minutes to reassert itself or even a ‘Repair’ but that only appears to be a picture recognition problem. Everything else appears fine, just the combination of two problems at the same time for the poor DVD drive.

If you find your Photo Viewer sluggish or want a quick way to switch them to a different one, right mouse click on a photo, choose what you need and make sure you press the button ensuring its always the first option. Obviously, use the same technique if you decide to change it again.

Don’t forget, the usual remedy for anything that doesn’t work on a computer is a reboot, either of the software or computer first before digging deeper. If this works for you, please let me know.

Feeling Stressed:

Missed Opportunity:

            Reviewers come in all ages and tastes and I’m sure I can find something for you.

            I’m always on the lookout for new writers, especially that rare breed called ‘reviewer’. Can’t get enough of them. Don’t feel because we are the top of the tree, that I don’t want new talent. I just want people who can write and improve with practice and a little coaching.

            What you have below are two choices. Send me a sample review and let me pass comment. The second choice is to read all the info below, just in case you want to understand more about the protocols.

            Some things are put in bold, not so much because they are any more important but more to add a little more emphasis. Welcome to my mind and be grateful you don’t have to live it in your ability to self-express.

            If you regularly read 50-100 pages of a book a day, then you might be reviewer material.

            The real technical details for the geeks who want all the details. If you don’t, just send me a sample review.

            If you aren’t seeing the types of book or authors here you would want to read, chances are that I don’t have any reviewers who do them. I’m stocking up on reviewers right now. The extended info is below but essentially, if you can write and breathe and make good observations, you stand a chance. If you make grammatical errors, then I have your back. Email me at: gfwillmetts at hotmail.com

NOTE: Although there are details below, please observe the bigger message elsewhere on site. I’m always recruiting reviewers and this is the time of year to recruit as the nights are shorter and so you might be sleeping less If you’re living in the UK, love books and feel a bit geeky then read the notes below. You have to love reading anyway. You might be what I’m looking for and I do train people up and it’s good for your writer’s CVs and books to feed your reading habit. As some of my team are discovering, they can also interview writers and write articles as well. You can do that without reviewing as well but reading and reviewing is a good discipline. We’re a good team to belong to.

Polls And Opinions: We did have them for a time but the new version was causing a mess in WordPress so until a new version that doesn’t cause conflicts comes around, we’ll have to do without them but please use the answer option at the end of any material to express comments because we do read them.

For the record: For the odd query I have about being linked to media contacts. I do not have either a personal twitter or facebook account. There’s enough of me here to not outstay my welcome. I’m also puzzled why some people see SFC as a blog site when we’re not. We were in this format long before blogs. It’s getting to the point that people can’t tell the difference between blog and butter.

Beware Of Virus Attacks: December 2012, even though I hadn’t left an active link to my email address, it got solidly attacked and then blocked from everyone, including myself. By necessity, having a form of open contact to me comes as part of the editor’s job. I’m still seeking reviewers and new material so follow the paths through the website and go where no spam-bot dares. I’ve yet to see them write anything. Humans and aliens can apply. Monsters need to prove they can read and write. We could do with some reviewers who like fantasy right now. Don’t be scared of the instructions, you’d be surprised how easy it is to learn. So, if you want to contact me, build these words into an email address: gfwillmetts at hotmail dot com I won’t bite, although that doesn’t preclude others. In fact, I’ll settle for any more willing reviewers who love to read. Did I say I was after reviewers?

NB: We do get digital books and if you live abroad and not in the UK, then this avenue could be open to you. I’m not putting it in as a link to avoid spam. Just copy and paste into your emails to contact me with my address noted in the paragraph above. I’m always recruiting and details are through a link on the top of the SFC main page articles and stories as well. Just because it’s sunny, doesn’t mean you’re going to read any less. We could do with some more fantasy readers right now! We could do with any of you interested in learning how to be reviewers period.

If you’ve on a budget, a book for a review is a good bargain and I can teach the nervous how to do it by seeing what you do when you present a sample. It’s a good deal. We get books in a variety of formats these days so all things are possible to those with the knack for putting words into sentences and saying what they think.

For potential book reviewers in the UK, it’s a good way to keep up your reading habit and show you can write. There are detail links scattered over the website and on the forum. If you don’t think you’re up to scratch, you’ll discover why I’m the dutch uncle. Repeating this several times is for those who only scan and who don’t want to wind back up the page.

Another real Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions below: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor and I can get things right.

BOOK REVIEWS    – Don’t feel intimated by all the info below or linked to. If you’re any good as a writer, much of it should be second nature already. This is just the long hand version.

Do you love books? Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Do you have a preference for fantasy, SF or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers!!! Do you find it the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?

Are you very vocal about what you like and don’t like in what you read?

Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?

Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?

Do you live in the UK?

Can you spare an hour every day to read?

Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?

Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?

If you’ve been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you’re going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first. Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your own skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It’s got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird summer and now cold winter. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

If you’ve survived this far in the editorial, let me reiterate something from the website newsletter and the above editorial. As you can see from the main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers.

Do you think you have what it takes to review a book? It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we need a few more. If you love fantasy, we have more than enough to keep you busy for instance.

Apart from the ability to put words into sentences, you also need to know how to précis, do a little research on associated subjects and can express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

If you like reading books in the genre and can average two or maybe three a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review has to be cheaper than buying a book and a good incentive to see if you have what it takes to develop your writing skills.

Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you can, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

Look up the Review Guidelines by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php”></a> with a press of a mouse button.

SHORT STORIES

We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrownest website. If you can get a short story written well then it’ll make it easier to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse.

FLASH OR ONE-PAGE FICTION

We’ve also a teaching ground of one page stories, so check out the rules elsewhere on the website. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

Flash fiction stories by linking here: <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php”></a> with your mouse.

NOVEL-LENGTH SAMPLES

For those keeping track, I’m actually now caught up but don’t tell everyone as I’m undecided as to whether to keep looking at novel-length story samples, move over specifically to short stories – which we do anyway for the website – or get a couple of my own book projects completed. The latter, I still intend to do anyway and now actually working on but don’t let that put you off too much. If you want me to look over a sample, you can contact me through the links on this website.

Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of storywriting. As a writer, it is your command of the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about writing.

There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in ebook samples, please read the Guidelines by linking here <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php”></a> with your mouse here or through the bottom line menu on the opening page of the SFC website.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING BUT AFRAID TO ASK

General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story. Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. Even I do that. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page and what I see mostly <a href=”http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_commonprobs.php”></a>

with your mouse. It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.

Good luck.

Geoff

 

 

 

 

Category: World getting weirder

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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