E
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:54 am

Because, let's face it, this is a forum about a (awesome) PCA and programming, so at least one of those descriptions is going to apply

I don't collect anything, nor have an encyclopaedic knowledge of an obscure area, and I'm not a member of any fan sites, so I don't think I'm a nerd. I don't think I'm a boffin either, as I've not invented anything, and am not involved in any kind of research. So that leaves geek, which seems about right, as most my interests are applying science and technology to my other interests, and I've put the talking model turret from Portal on my birthday wish list.

By these definitions, this does of course mean that the Raspberry Pi team are boffins, so I think they really need to decide who's going to grow the unruly beard, and who gets the (raspberry coloured) elbow patches

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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:15 pm

As the Foundation are working hard to change the world (one line of code at a time) I can't help feeling that the term "mad scientists" might be appropriate. Dress should be suitably flamboyant - maybe take styling cues from Batman baddies...

Kernel
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:55 pm

I'm a Geek!!

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johnbeetem
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:26 pm

As they say, "you can't spell Geek without EE".  IMO, to qualify as a proper computer geek you have to have some hardware expertise, e.g., you should be able to explain ground bounce.  Otherwise you're a nerd.  You can also be a geek if you're a traditional sideshow performer out of Nightmare Alley (1947).

JMO/YMMV

n31l
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:15 pm

I must be a nerd as i've hit the ground a few times and i've never seen it bounce.

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Condemned
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:21 pm

Gnoffin?
Nigel Batten
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liz
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:06 pm

Alan already has an unruly beard. David objects very strongly to the words "geek" and "nerd", because he sees them as divisive and thinks they put people off computing; I think they're just part of the vernacular (and now refer to a lot more than things electronic), and am perfectly proud to be referred to as either. I don't feel very boffiny, though...
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johnbeetem
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:10 am

liz said:


Alan already has an unruly beard. David objects very strongly to the words "geek" and "nerd", because he sees them as divisive and thinks they put people off computing; I think they're just part of the vernacular (and now refer to a lot more than things electronic), and am perfectly proud to be referred to as either. I don't feel very boffiny, though...


Not too long ago my daughter saw me calculate gas mileage with the slide rule I keep in my glove compartment and declared me "beyond geek" -- a label I wear with pride.

I had to look up "boffin".  I wonder what the origin is?

I like to think my beard and hair represent "the unfettered spirit of the creative artist".

E
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:04 pm

Are you not wanting the elbow patches then Liz!?

John - I think the origin of boffin comes from WW2 British army research in some way, possibly the unit tasked with designing glove boxes with built in slide rule holders... ok, I may have made that last bit up

Surely you mean 'mad Pientists', gritz

I just thought I'd better add that this thread was intended in an affectionately self mocking way - I certainly didn't mean it in a derogatory way. I realise they were originally insults, but personally I think they're more just general banter these days, and have lost nearly all their sting, except maybe in the school playground.

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scep
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:04 pm

OED says of "boffin":


The term seems to have been first applied by members of the Royal Air Force to scientists working on radar.


(Happily, whilst I was browsing the OED I found a error in one of their entries, so I've emailed them – that's another one ticked off my nerd's bucket list then  )

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liz
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:33 pm

Fun Upton Facts: Eben's dad is the consultant on pronunciation for the OED. Just had lunch with him and Eben's lovely Mum, where he was explaining that one of the reasons all our friends think he is charming is not because he's *really* charming, but actually because he's doing a sort of Diane Fossey thing with them, where he asks them lots of apparently interested questions about themselves to make them talk lots, so he can make mental assessments about their lexis and dialect!

I think he is probably a boffin.
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:15 pm

i'm none of the above subject line.

depending on who you ask i'm

a***hole

curmudgeon

git

evil b*****

machivellian

or a right PITA

SWMBO just calls me annoying

chatt
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:14 pm

John Beetem said:


I had to look up "boffin".  I wonder what the origin is?


If I want to know the origin of something like this, I usually turn to the "World Wide Words" web site: http://www.worldwidewords.org/…..tm;

Andre_P
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:46 pm

A long time ago a former gf had an insight.
"An "Anorak" is someone who is enthusiastic about what they know about, society doesn"t like this and almost expects people not to care about knowledge."

JordanCClark
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:43 am

My daughter calls me "dork". Granted, I'm her favorite dork, though...

I proudly wear any of these monikers, as they were given to us by people obviously jealous of our mental prowess...

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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:48 am

I was lucky enough to be taught Physics by one of the original Boffins.  Best A-Level result I got!!  (If you're wondering when - 1965!)

We did have one chap building his own radio telescope (aged 14) - Geek, Nerd etc were not invented at that time??

Andre_P
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:57 am

Some of my friends own a field next to their house and were wondering what to do with it.

He is pretty 'techy' and does stuff in the film industry, she is a business woman who likes wine.

So my suggestion was to set up vines and make their own wine. At the same time space the wires carrying the vines at a appropriate distance so he could use it as a radio telescope .

It's never been put into practice but they beamed at having a project they could both get something out of .

E
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:56 pm

That's some good thinking Andre_P!

It's odd, but dork (as far as I'm aware) hasn't caught on as much over here in blighty. I wouldn't know how to typify it in the list..

liz said:


Fun Upton Facts: Eben's dad is the consultant on pronunciation for the OED. Just had lunch with him and Eben's lovely Mum, where he was explaining that one of the reasons all our friends think he is charming is not because he's *really* charming, but actually because he's doing a sort of Diane Fossey thing with them, where he asks them lots of apparently interested questions about themselves to make them talk lots, so he can make mental assessments about their lexis and dialect!

I think he is probably a boffin.


In that case, I have a very important question; is 'vause' an acceptable pronunciation of vase, if you hail from the west country?

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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:08 pm

chatt said:


John Beetem said:


I had to look up "boffin".  I wonder what the origin is?


If I want to know the origin of something like this, I usually turn to the "World Wide Words" web site: http://www.worldwidewords.org/…..tm;


Thank you, but the entry doesn't really solve the conundrum:


All sorts of theories have been put forward for where it came from...

How it got from any of these names into RAF parlance — if that was the route it took — is a complete mystery.


So I'll make up my own hypothesis, that it was because secret radar tests were carried out over Baffin Bay , between Baffin Island, Canada, and Greenland.  Since these tests were secret, there is no way to test my hypothesis.  QED

I like this bit from the link:


Professor Fell should know that language goes where it will, unconstrained by positive thinking or earnest exhortations.


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EarthlyPangaea
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:24 am

I'm told I resemble Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.  I'll go for nerd.

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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:19 am

When my 6th grade science fair project got a mention in the local paper, I got called "geek" and "egghead" by classmates. I was amused to hear the latter term which I'd seen in print, but never actually heard spoken before, and seldom since.

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liz
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:35 pm

Wow - that reminds me of another 1980s insult meaning the same thing: Tefalhead. (Brits who were watching TV in that decade might remember a series of advertisements starring people with humorously outsized craniums, inventing clever things.)
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Jongoleur
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:57 pm

Here's a definite Boffin….



Dr Horatio Beaker from Gerry Andersons "Supercar" series….

(Martin Woodhouse, one of the scriptwriters for Supercar, and the creator of the Dr Beaker character was an RAF pilot…)

Personally I'm more an Eeyore.  (E. H. Shepard, not Disney!) 

741 posts...  I'm an Op Amp too!!!
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

E
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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:31 pm

Is it me, or does Horatio Beaker bear a resemblance to Horatio Caine? His head seems to flop to the side too...

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Re: Geek, nerd or boffin?

Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:51 pm

SiR said:


Is it me, or does Horatio Beaker bear a resemblance to Horatio Caine? His head seems to flop to the side too...


No sunglasses.
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