Peeking into Nerdhood: Episode 1

Dec 6, 2008

Fortunately for all, Lance will be returning once again as our Guest Interpreter today. Here he is:  

I realize that this post begins with a long preface. I couldn't help the flow of words, much like the flow of bees out of a hive that has been disturbed. Please wade through the preface, I promise to get to the interpreting at some point.

I am sometimes asked to do tech support for people, which is probably one of the most enjoyable and rewarding efforts a human being can be involved in. I find it equally as enjoyable as activities like:

  • Brushing my teeth with a fully charged cattle prod.
  • Cutting my toe-nails with armed, pin-pulled hand-grenades.
  • Eating my own face.
  • Watching Dancing with the Stars.
  • Death
Ah yes, as you can see, the joys of tech support are limitless. Often when I am helping someone configure their new bluetooth-enabled cluster of geosynchronous brain lasers, I end up having to explain some of the technical jargon. So, I thought that I could begin a series of episodes that would take a handful of tech terms and explain them for the normal Joe, or Joe-ita. You are the people that aren't concerned by the fact that Data didn't have a bluetooth or wifi connection into the main computer of the enterprise. Why oh why did they have to always hard wire his head into the system for him to communicate directly with the computer? Oh, am I off topic again? Sorry.

In this Episode, I will interpret the terms: Power Cycle, and Modem.

Power Cycle:

Sometimes when you are on the phone with a kind, caring, non-spongebob-squarepant-pajama-wearing tech support agent, you may be asked to power-cycle something. Usually your cable modem. The reason for this is that cable modems were forged from the same fires as the ring of power that Frodo had to destroy to save middle earth. When the ring was destroyed, so was any sanity in the way that cable modems and many other electronic devices are programmed.


There are two forms of Power Cycling: The first is the act of spinning one's body 360 degrees with one leg extended which results in the kicking of an electronic device during the last part of the spin. This action is very similar to what ninjas and karate types call a "roundhouse."

The second form is that of holding the device by any of its cabling and spinning the device in a circular motion like a windmill. Best results are achieved if the device is allowed to hit the floor, ceiling, counter-top, or other hard surfaces as it spins around. At least 10 revolutions are recommended for a complete Power Cycle.


Modems were invented by a husband and wife team of computer nerds to solve two huge problems that nerds everywhere were facing. Number one: Nerds needed to be able to communicate with each other and other humans, but needed a way to remove all emotion, tone, and personal interaction from the transfer of ideas. Number two: Nerds had been having little to no success making friends with other humans because of their sociological and hygienic deficiencies. Thus they needed a way to contact and communicate with new people, without the new people seeing, smelling, or hearing them.

Interesting fact: Windows Millennium (Windows ME) was developed as a weapon against modems. The developers on the Windows ME project believe that computers should never be allowed to communicate with each other, lest they all band together and tear a hole in the fabric of space with their infinite floating point calculations. Anyone who installed Windows ME would find that their modem would stop working, as would most everything else on and attached to their computer.


Modem is short for "More of them." Referring to the amount of friends that nerds thought they would acquire through the use of the device.

I hope that you have found this article useful. If there are other terms that you would like me to explain, please email them to me at