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particular type
of boy who would rather struggle with an electronic box than
with a world of unpredictable people.
We call them engineers, programmers, hackers, and techies,
but mainly we call them nerds.
I think a nerd is a person who uses the telephone
to talk to other people about telephones.
And a computer nerd therefore is somebody who uses
a computer in order to use a computer.
And people have different degrees of passion and different
types of passion.
Some people like just live databases, like 5th normal form is just
like nirvana, they just quest for it you know,
that's like what gets them up in the morning.
What do your friends think of you?
Boy, he's a nerd.
but I don't mind, I'm used to being called a nerd,
can't have other people stop your dreams.
And in Silicon Valley the dream is to grow up to become
a boy like this...
Graham Spencer is chief programmer for Architext Software
six guys who graduated from Stanford University and started
a company just because they like each other.
This is a modern-day startup, but at heart it's no different from
PC pioneers like Apple, or Microsoft,
nerds who share a dream.
Their hobby is their business
and the culture they've created is identical to that of a
thousand other technology companies.
First, they dumped the idea of nine to five. In this industry,
you can work any 80 hours per week you like.
...my cap which I use to cover my eyes and sleep in
the early morning while everybody is coming in.
We didn't even obey a 24 hour clock, we'd come in and
programme for a couple of days straight.
We'd - you know, four or five of us, when it was time to eat
we'd all get in our cars, kind of race over to the restaurant
and sit and talk about what we were doing, sometimes I'd get...
...excited talking about things, I'd forget to eat,
but then you know, we'd just go back
and programme some more. It was us and our friends -
those were fun days.
Let's look in the refrigerator... Woah! We have
coke and cold pizza.
I drink about two litres of coke a day.
Two litres of coke a day and do you like think of it as brain food?
It keeps me going you know, that and listening to heavy metal,
and get caffeinated and hack.
I'd sit down in my room on the floor with sheets of paper spread
all around with my computer design I was working on.
And always I noticed that I was up pretty late at night and I had
lots of cokes - it's just part of that life.
A combination of stale pizza and body odour and spilt cola
kinda ground in to the rug.
I brought some spaghetti to work and then forgot to wash out the
container for the last couple of days, maybe six or seven...
if I had to be honest. Ooh, that smells bad.
Eating, bathing, having a girlfriend, having an active social life
is incidental, it gets in the way of code time. Writing code
is the primary force that drives our lives so
anything that interrupts that is is wasteful.
What is it about the internal logic of a computer
that's so enticing?
For one thing, such logic CAN be understood,
as opposed to things that can't be understood at all,
like the motivations of young women, say,
or of the French.
Let me explain...
Time for the Cringely crash course in basic computers,
Part 1.
This is a mainframe computer,
all of these cabinets are one machine. In the old days
all computers were this size
they were tended by engineers in white coats
a kind of priesthood who took their jobs very seriously.
Now all computers work pretty much the same, whether
it's a giant that serves two thousand users like this one,
or a little notebook that serves only me.
They process numerical data - adding, multiplying,
the fact is if you can quantify it a computer can handle it.
It's the emotional stuff they don't know what to do with.
The data must be put into a special binary code
consisting only of ones and zeros.
And you have to give the computer instructions, also
in code, to tell it exactly what to

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