2010-12-30 / Sam Bari

The ‘i’ gifts were the big winners this year

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

The survey results are in. Everybody wanted something electronic.

If you gave a Christmas gift starting with an “i” as in iPhone, iPad or iPod – you are Santa incarnate. If you gave X-gifts, as in Xbox360, or Xbox Kinect console, you are nobility in the eyes of high-tech gamers.

Anything even remotely related to the latest and greatest electronic gadgetry walked off store shelves with the gift-giving aristocracy.

Even the most romantic of girly girls who live by Neiman Marcus, Victoria’s Secret, and Vogue standards of sophisticated gift giving, had designs on everything from Droid II cell phones to Kindle, Sony, HanLin and IRex wireless ebook readers.

Electronics ruled, giving widespread recognition to the advent of the age of the nerd.

The marketing gurus did their homework and wisely promoted the most desirable technology for prices befitting a struggling economy.

For those “special” gifts, iPods sold for as little as $165 for the 8GB version to $340 for the 64GB model. The expensive stuff topped out at $699 for iPhone 4 – 32GB spaceage talktronics with added video and device interfacing for the ultimate communicative experience.

Walk through the malls and follow the crowds to the Apple Stores where you’ll find the Mac Geniuses, the ruling class of the nerd world.

Spiked hair dyed in vivid Pantone colors on heads sporting multiple piercings bob beside bald, tattooed pates attached to bodies clad in gothic garb, as the nerds work together. They are the techies who understand what makes this stuff function.

Counters made of glass-topped cases protecting display models of the most up-to-date electronic wizardry separate the throngs from the nerds.

The throngs are desperate wideeyed shoppers begging for information on technology that is eons beyond their realm of comprehension.

They are at the mercy of the colorful nerds who rarely venture from their habitat or their workstations for fear of rejection by the pedestrian life forms that comprise the status quo.

The nerds speak a language that is beyond the grasp of most human beings. We might own sophisticated computers, cell phones, and gaming devices, but we only know a bit about the parts of the programs that we use. In most cases, that is less than 10 percent of the capabilities of the actual hardware.

The nerds understand all of it.

The point is, this segment of society that has been in the making for the last few decades, is now in full stride. They have proven all of the doubters wrong who thought the invention of the telephone would be the downfall of respectable society, as we know it.

Those who thought television would be the end of reading, and computers would take over thinking, are now at the mercy of the well-rounded nerd.

The new age of electronic inventiveness has broadened our horizons and increased personal data bases of accumulated knowledge to levels that were not even thought possible less than a half-century ago.

The amount of reading and study that is required to understand the new technology has caused educators to re-think the fundamentals of the learning process. The aid of the new electronics has raised the proverbial bar and brought learning up to “warp” speed.

For those who still have doubts, the classic novels by the likes of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are enjoying a renaissance because they can be downloaded free onto electronic readers.

According to an article in the London “Telegraph,” owners of ebook gadgets like Amazon’s Kindle and the Apple iPad can snap up the works of many dead literary greats without paying a penny because they are out of copyright.

Coupled with the proliferation of these devices, titles such as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Treasure Island” have shot to the top of the ebook charts.

The most popular e-books over the Christmas period were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

Even “The Iliad,” by Homer made it into Amazon’s top 20 of free Kindle e-books.

So spike your hair, get a tattoo and maybe a few piercings, just to let them know you are receptive to a broader way of thinking, and befriend a nerd.

We need the nerds a lot more than they need most of us.

They have given a new meaning to the “i” word and enriched the vocabulary of a system that we can’t understand.

Return to top