A computer geek and his money are soon parted - to paraphrase an old adage. What you are staring at right now, your desktop computer, is one of the greatest marketing rackets of this or any other century. After all, how many CPUs, motherboards, video cards, joysticks and assorted desktop tchotchkes have you plowed through just in the last 18 months? Nah, don't count. It'll just depress you. If the car industry had this kind of planned obsolescence, there would be congressional hearings. If you exhibited these kinds of compulsive buying patterns in any other consumer category, you'd be on Oprah discussing hardware addiction, swallowing Prozac like they were Flintstones vitamins and blaming Bill Gates for your malady.
But since no one really wants to see poorly attired nasal-voiced nerds whine about their upgradaphilia on national television, Sharky Extreme introduces "The Silicon Money Pit," a regular column devoted to rationalizing our endless consumption of hardware goods. Here you will find short takes on some of the industry's most high end and offbeat products as well as our obsessive/compulsive columnist's own adventures with all manner of hardware. We understand your obsession. We even celebrate it. We're poorly-socialized, arrogant and opinionated gearheads who have been known to chew out the UPS guy when the new TNT5 doesn't arrive on time - and we're proud of it. What are we going to spend all our money on, anyway? It's not like we've got a full dating schedule, now is it boys?
So, if you think you finally got a handle on that computer addiction, wait until you see the goodies Sharky's got on his lab shelves! Warm up that credit card, Sparky. Break out the Prozac, kids. It's time to freefall into the Silicon Money Pit!
One of the benefits of being a computer geek is that no one really expects you to lead a normal psychological existence, let alone a sexual one worth thinking about. Geek mythology dictates that we are mildly sociopathic, Star Trek (or Star Wars) obsessed hobbits that would just as soon turbo-charge out motherboards as go out on a date. Okay, so that's one myth that's pretty close to true. But let's look at the bright side. Accurate or not, these stereotypes can be very liberating. It doesn't seem to surprise anyone, for instance, that a favorite sport of Web junkies is snatching grainy screen grabs from obscure b-movies in order to snatch that one frame of Terri Hatcher's bits or Minnie Driver's bum and then post it for the world to see. Digitizing stray frames of celebrity skin seems to be a sad but relatively safe way to keep alienated technophiles off the streets, after all. Better that we pursue our barely evolved sexuality in cyberspace than bring it out into the shared reality of others.