Scott Hanselman

Confessions of an Audio Visual Geek

February 3, '06 Comments [10] Posted in Gaming
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AVClubAre we born this way? There's lots of arguments regarding nature versus nurture. There's various controversial characteristics that some groups believe are in-born, while others believe it's choice.

Oh, yes, you know what I'm talking about. It's that which darn not speaks its name, but I'm coming out today, baby.

I'm a recovering AV Club Geek. Some were band camp, others drama. I was a geek. To be clear, there are many kinds of geeks, so don't just lump us all into one bowl. There were geeks, freaks, nerds, dweebs, spazzes, losers, dorks, really I could go on.

I knew early...I think before I could talk.

My wife supports me and realizes that this wasn't a choice. Who would choose to be this way? No, I came out of my sweet mother's womb knowing how to wire a complete home theater with Betamax. Of course, Betamax hadn't been invented at that time, but I still knew, deep in my DNA.

  • I disassembled clock radio telephones and put them back together. Remind me one day to tell you about the time I took one apart when it was still plugged in. Don't remember much of that day.
  • I threaded the projector. No one else could. I changed reels during "Roots."
  • I feel it in my bones that we need a new receiver like my dad can smell rain coming, but my wife won't let me even mention it until both speakers stop working.
  • I knew the ramifications of PAL vs. NTSC before I was allowed to cross the street. I quietly theorized the neighbors over that way were either PAL or SECAM.
  • I'm sad that my son will never listen to Spiderman like I did on 12" Vinyl. I hope he'll get to create a crystal radio or a motion detector with a 9V battery. I wired a battery and some capacitors to my doorknob so nearly the whole thing would discharge enough amps to keep folks out of my room.

If you might be an AV geek who didn't admit it growing up, come out now. There are groups for this kind of thing. You may already see the signs as an adult that you didn't as a child.

  • You might know how to get 1024x768 at 60Hz out of any funky laptop drivers.
  • You might know how to get ATI drivers on a T42 to stretch the LCD Panel to fullscreen when it's also outputting to projector.
  • You know how to make a <gasp> Word Document look good when presenting using only hot keys - Alt-V,Z,T,Enter - or that Shift-Alt-Enter is your friend when presenting code in Visual Studio.NET.
  • You know that the Xbox 360 doesn't upconvert standard 480p DVD output to 720p because of the Macrovision legal guidelines preventing High-Def non-HDMI output from being upconverted. 
  • You tried to tape every episode of the original Star Trek series on VHS in SP, two per tape, with custom labels while meticulously trying to remove the commercials. "Pause...damn, too slow, stop, rew, play.......pause! perfect, Rec...wait...un-pause. Perfect. 'Mirror Mirror' is nearly complete!" You were both disappointed and thrilled when whole seasons were released on DVD because it became 'easy' for anyone to reach this level of accomplishment.

These are only some of the signs. Schedule an intervention today. If you can help just one person...

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, 03 February 2006 13:55:10 UTC
LMAO!

* I was in A/V club in middle school, high school, and worked for the A/V department in college.

* I wired our new house for A/V, not with Monster Cable, but with Belden 1694A, a video production-quality cable.

* I have all my gear in an A/V "closet", a room my dad and I built when we moved into the house. All gear is controlled via IR blasters run over the Belden all through the house.

I'm sure there's more, but I just wanted to say that I had the same problem, not brag about the problem ;)
Friday, 03 February 2006 14:01:50 UTC
*looks sheepishly at floor while raising hand*
While other kids were thumbing thru the new department store catalogs at Christmas trying to find their "perfect toy" - I was huddled in the corner with the Radio Shack catalog hoping this year I might get the capacitors and radio crystal I need to make my first remote control. I still find myself, now and again, wandering the isles of RS dreaming of what I might be able to fabricate given a few of the choice parts hanging in front of me. :)
Friday, 03 February 2006 14:01:56 UTC
I WANT to know how to stretch the LCD panel to fullscreen when it's also outputting to a projector! Out with it!
Friday, 03 February 2006 14:02:54 UTC
P.S. - "Mirror, Mirror" explains your goatee. :-)
Friday, 03 February 2006 14:26:53 UTC
Awesome! I started out taking broken appicances and electronics apart, scavenging parts for pet projects. The 300-in-1 kit from Radio Shack was great, but I needed more pieces to play with. I moved on to working items, which of course, soon became part of the discard pile. My wife has tried several times to convince me to throw away the boxes of cables and spare parts that "I might need one day".
Friday, 03 February 2006 14:58:40 UTC
Freakin' hilarious!
Friday, 03 February 2006 16:49:17 UTC
NERDS!!!

My Dungeons & Dragons group ate you sissies for breakfast! ;)
Friday, 03 February 2006 19:42:53 UTC
"You know that the Xbox 360 doesn't upconvert standard 480p DVD output to 720p because of the Macrovision legal guidelines preventing High-Def non-HDMI output from being upconverted."

Really? I mean, I knew it didn't upconvert from 480p (that's one of the first things I checked when I got mine) but you're saying it's a legal thing? So I guess that means that those upconverting DVD players I've been drooling over only upconvert for their HDMI outputs?

If so, then that sucks. Well, I suppose it's good in that I won't be spending $150-200 on yet ANOTHER DVD player, since my projector doesn't support HDMI. It sucks that I'm doomed to 480p hell... Not that it makes THAT much of a difference, my current projector is only SVGA, but it does a beautiful job of downconverting HD signals.
Friday, 03 February 2006 19:46:27 UTC
Spoke too soon. Behold, the power of Google.

http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=SP-HDMI-ADPT
Sunday, 05 February 2006 04:19:05 UTC
OK, Now I don't feel so bad.... My Dad sold and repaired Tv's and Major appliences ( back in the day ) so my job was to sort resistors by color code....
BBROYGBVGW......and also show off new equipment. Like the new Litton Microwave...but my fav was the Magnavox Oddesy...wow pong and duck hunt, this was the first commercial Video Console. And I had one before anybody on my block...needless to say I was cool ( in the day)./..But also Dad would bring me home Broken phones to play with, Old Radios that did not work and many spare parts that became one big monster elcectro thingy-ma-bob in my lair of electro-tech......Life was good.....
JimC
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.