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Specification junkies or theory warriors
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Rantz: Specification junkies and theory warriors

This time, we take a massive dump on two annoying geek species.

Last month, while on an official trip to New York City, I happened to have one of the most fun experiences of my life – I went to a shooting range in the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania. I got a chance to shoot all manner of weapons – from basic sidearms to shotguns to .50 caliber sniper rifles. Consequently, I posted some of these pictures and videos on social media.

Guns

As you’d expect, the posts attracted all manner of people, comments and reactions. I got your basic wows to OMGs to even a few mehs. But one particular flavour of geek it attracted, is the one I’d like to flay in this rant – the theory warrior.

This is the kind of person who reads and watches every piece of information or video out there about a particular topic. It could be anything – boxing, football, dog walking or, as was in this case, guns.

rantzA few gun nuts descended on my post and started talking about how my stance was wrong and how I could do much better with a different grip. Totally agreed. However, the trouble with gun nuts, and Indian ones particularly is that they don’t really have any practical experience of even holding a gun let alone firing live ammo. Against this background, getting practical advice from such theory warriors is a little disconcerting. Being an avid video game enthusiast, I have a basic familiarity with guns as far as names, makes and manufacturers are concerned. Which is a fancy way of saying I can tell an AK family rifle from a bullpup, or a pump action from a sniper. But can I have a nuanced discussion with you about which ammo – FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) or JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) – is better in what situation? Probably not. However, having had a couple of months of air rifle training, I kinda know where to aim the pointy end better than a purely armchair gun enthusiast.

gunsEvery specialist field or geeky practice has these annoying theory warriors. Take cars for example. At least once in your life you’ll meet someone who doesn’t have a driving licence, but since he’s watched every episode of Top Gear, believes he can advise you on how to pump the gas while cornering out of a bend in your i20. The gall!

Top Gear

Even in the technology space, you have guys who’ll eagerly watch every overclocking tournament out there, but hand them a LN2 flask and they’ll probably not know what to do. More precisely, they’ll know what to do but not how to do it.

Speaking of technology, this brings me to the second victims of this rant – specification junkies. These are guys who fail to realise that technology is a means to an end, not the end in itself. Confused? Let me explain. A camera, for example, is only as good as the photographs you are able to take with it. By itself, it is only a tool. So if you get yourself a top-of-the-line full frame camera and only end up clicking washed out pictures of stray dogs, it’s a colossal waste. But specification junkies can’t help themselves. They want their gadgets and machines to have the top of the line components, no matter what. They can follow a YouTube tutorial and build rigs, but switch up something and they’ll probably stick a graphics card into an x4 PCIe slot. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re all dumbasses or spoilt rich brats, some do know the ins and outs of the tech and what it is tech is capable of.

They’ll assemble the most tricked out rigs with multi-way SLI, top-of-the-line cooling solutions, the works, but won’t even game. Because they are not gamers. They’re just specification junkies. Sure some would benchmark their massive rigs to see if they can break into any of the significant worldwide leaderboard, but beyond that the machines usually get reduced to mindless browsing devices. What’s the point of that, I find myself asking.

Anyway, as you can see, I have taken a massive dump on two kinds of our own geeky brethren. Am I wrong to do so? Maybe or maybe not. But in any case what did you expect? This a rant after all!

This article was first published in the June 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Siddharth Parwatay

Siddharth Parwatay

Vertically challenged geek. Interested in things like evolution, psychology, pc gaming, history, web culture... amongst other things.