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As things that we see as being traditionally nerdy become popularized, how do we distinguish those that jump on the bandwagon from those who originally sought refuge in fandom? This is a question that I have been hypocritical about in the past, however the only acceptable answer is: you don’t. Ever.

I also think it is worth mentioning that I am not completely innocent here either. To my shame I have posted videos or reposted comments to social media sites that joke about this, and I have tried to delete them later out of my own guilt. To those that saw me do this, I am sorry and I was wrong.

Growing up I was picked on, beat up, made fun of, ostracized, and worse. The terms geek, nerd, dork, etc. was an insult. These were words that were meant to hurt, and we turned them into a badge of courage. I remember how welcoming people used to be when I would go into comic book shops, and how loving and excited people would be when I would show interest in something they cared about. It was a fantastic community of misfits. We need to bring back that welcoming nature that brought me into this world when I had nowhere else to go.

People shouldn’t have to prove they are a nerd, and usually those that are asked to are the self-identifying geeks who don’t fit the “white male” mold. I have seen people chastise the gamer girl, insult the cosplayers, and scoff at the comic book chick. This isn’t an exclusive club. At best this is misogynistic behavior, which only gets worse for those who are homosexual or transgender.

There are also several different tiers, or guilds if you prefer. Someone could be literacy geek, a science nerd, gamer geek, or a comic book dork? What makes your particular brand of fandom more important than theirs?

If you are jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, and then attacking a person because you feel that they don’t conform to your preconceived notions of what is appropriate in your particular venue, then you are a bully. You are ostracizing a person for being different. It is because of this I don’t like admitting to people that I am a nerd anymore, because I don’t want people assuming this is the type of behavior they’ll find in me.

The question we have to ask ourselves about other people is: why do they want to label themselves as a nerd, geek, dork, etc.? If someone feels disenfranchised enough to say this about themselves, then just let them do it.

Twenty-Thirteen Update

By | About, Articles, Editorial, Events

I am in now within my 29th year of existence on this planet and things are pretty good. I started a new job a little over a month ago and I am completely loving it. It holds the same pains that many places do within my industry, however at the end of the day I feel like I am where I am supposed to be.

Perhaps I am becoming a little reflective as my 20s come to an end, however
reading through my posts since my last birthday makes me realize, with pride, how much life has evolved. As well as moving I have switched jobs not once, but twice. My 28th birthday seems like a long time ago.

Before I changed jobs I was in the middle of a series of posts that were very dependent on my workplace environment at the time. The sudden stop halfway through is bothering me however I am working on reformatting them slightly and may pick back up in a few months.

This years Towel Day graphics are now live. Instead of producing one graphics in all of the various sizes, instead I uploaded the high resolution versions of the images and produced two new images with help from local photographers.

I have begun to see them out and about in the world and I am truly loving it. It actually gives me a new idea for the twitter competition for next year.

A Standing Workstation

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Knowing, and perhaps because of, the many proven health and ergonomic benefits of a standing workstation, I wanted to give one a try. My primary roadblock is that I cannot modify my current space at all; the cubicle and desk existing in my area must remain intact. However, a simple bar table can be centered above the cubicle desk.

It took me a while to find a table that I liked, and unfortunately once I finally did find one it turns out it had been discontinued. Luckily the only thing that I really needed was the table post and was able to order the part over the phone. I was going to need a larger table anyway, so it was therefore it actually works out better that I could order the parts separately.

After finding a lovely 36 inch round pine table top, I stained, varnished, and attached it with fantastic results. I have a strong hatred for particle board for many different reasons, however natural wood offers a natural richness of both color and texture.

I purposefully used pine because of the nature of that wood it is extremely rough and knotty, and once I stained and varnished the surface I did a minimum amount of sanding in order to keep that nature of the wood intact.

I wanted there to be an almost rustic look to the desk, but more importantly however is having that texture. As humans we want things to be perfect smooth clean, however I believe that having a completely clean and sterile environment doesn’t offer you anything. Having that spot on your desk that you scratch at, or that place that is worn down where you rub your finger, adds a subtle character that you will never be able to replicate.

After a week on a standing workstation I can honestly say I like it. I have more energy, I feel more focused, I am not as tired. However we shall see what tune I sing after a few weeks of this.

The Spectrum

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I have a few fundamental problems with color theory and how people are using it.

I believe color theory is extremely important. There are proven physical and psychological effects that different hues have on people.

The problem I have is more one of interpretation. There have been countless studies on this subject, however I have never seen a single one where the cause and effect doesn’t seem, to my anyway, to be forced. Most of them try and attach a set of emotional adjectives to different colors or color pallets. We as humans have too wide a gamut of emotions for colors to be that simple.

Variations of different colors mean something drastically different depending on someones culture heritage. Even within the same country different colors could mean different this depending on your demographic and/or socioeconomic position.

What we can do is study the direct physical effects of color use that information to allow designers to use colors based on what effect they are trying to achieve. Instead of emotion, we should measure heart rate, blood flow, pupal dilation, sweat, brain activity, breathing rate, etc. We then need a larger variety of tests in order to measure a extensive variation of purposes, such as productivity, health, cognitive function, information retention, etc. We also need to do the exact same test over a vast span of time with varied demographics at different countries all over the world.

I doubt a study of this magnitude will ever be done on to my satisfaction. However to be fair this study may already exist, and I may just be ignorant. At the end of the day, even with this level of information we as Designers need to be able to take this data and throw it all out the window; sometimes taking the risk is more important.

Workspace Luminescence

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I have light sensitivity issues, and unfortunately it took me several years to figure out this little fun fact about myself. Early on in my life I stumped several optometrists, who all agreed there was something “wrong” with my eyesight, but none of them could figure out exactly what it was. As an adult I realized that my eyesight is one of my most important tools and in fact there is nothing “wrong” with them; my eyes are just extremely precise, and like most precision tools, very sensitive.

There is actually bit of controversy surrounding the legitimacy of issues involving Compact Florescent Tubes, as most of the underlying causes of them have been reduced to the point of being completely undetectable by the human eye. The problem I have with completely dismissing them is that recently we have discovered that there is still unnoticeable affect on people. Under long term conditions poor quality lighting can actually affect a wide range of physical and mental health problems. In my scenario, headaches, eye strain, and even slight depression, all of which get progressively worse over time.

Unless you are able to somehow convince your company to spend the money to install sky lights in their building and then use only halogen bulbs, there is no way to completely eliminate these problems. There are always ways to improve them; you can find florescent lighting options that will decrease the risk of these problems.

Keep a look out for Full Spectrum Bulbs, although this has become a bit of a marketing term and many bulbs that are labeled as Full Spectrum are not. The bulb’s Color Temperature should be less than 5000K and more than 3000K, with a little over 4000K being optimal. The higher the Color Rendering Index the better, but I would aim for a rating of 80 or more. Last but certainly not least is the flickering effect, and unfortunately this is the hardest to figure out because nobody really advertises it. You want something in the higher ranges, preferably 60 kHz or more.

The best that I have been able to find on the market is the Philips TL 950 Compact Florescent Tube. Although the Color Temperature of 5000K is a little cooler than I would like, I haven’t been able to find a better florescent bulb on the market. Philips seems to me to be leading the market right now in quality lighting.

At the end of the day, Halogen is going to be produce the best quality light, and you can also get a small halogen lamp and place it at your desk.