Due to the controversial popularity of our How to Date a Geek Girl and How to Date a Geek Guy guides, we have decided to introduce a new special column featuring real life single geeks. This week, we have interviewed our colleague Phil Goldstein of Fierce Wireless.
Tell us a bit about yourself (Age, hometown, what you do for a living):
I’m 25 (turning 26 in July), from Suffern, N.Y., and I’m the editor of FierceWireless, meaning I’m the day-to-day editor of the publication. I also copyedit FierceWireless:Europe.
What makes you a geek?
I’ve always been something of a dork, which I suppose is slightly different from a geek in that it has a more endearing connotation. But I’m a geek, too. I know more about The Lord of the Rings than most people should (though, it should be noted, I don’t speak Elvish or any other Tolkien languages). I’m less obsessed with Game of Thrones, though I’m incredibly excited for Season 3 of the show on HBO. I know a lot about comic book history and mythology (Marvel more so than D.C.). I have always been in love with reading and learning. In college I was a journalism major and history minor but studied Walt Whitman and poetry from World War I a great deal. I got my Master’s degree last year in international affairs and am very much interested in foreign policy. And, let’s face it, I’m a technology writer. I likely know way more about cell phones and mobile technology than most people would ever want to know.
Android, iOS, or other?
For me, it’s Android, hands down. I’ve been an Android user for a long time, though I have daily interactions with iOS since I also own an iPod touch. I enjoy the level of customization Android affords both handset makers and users. I like widgets. I like differentiation in software and services. I’m a heavy users of Google services like Gmail, Gchat, Chrome, Maps and search, and I like how tightly they’re integrated into the operating system. And I think Google Now is one of the coolest mobile software innovations to come along in the last few years.
To me, the iPhone is now synonymous with elegance, precision and stability but to a certain extent also conservatism and boringness. I have recommended to colleagues that their parents get the iPhone as their first smartphone because of its simplicity. But I think that speaks to the fact that the iPhone, as a platform, has not evolved much in the last few years.
Windows Phone has a lot of elements that I appreciate, including its user interface and cloud connectivity to Windows 8 and Xbox. But I don’t use Xbox or Windows 8 yet, so perhaps I don’t fully appreciate what it could do for me. And BlackBerry 10 has a lot of great elements for productivity, and the new U.I. is slick and powerful, but I think I’m hooked on Google services.
Your favorite comic book hero and why?
This is tough. From a Marvel perspective there are so many to choose from, but I’m going with Iron Man/Tony Stark. The guy is a “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist,” and also, as embodied on the screen by Robert Downey Jr. (who just rocks), has incredible panache. Iron Man is a powerful comic book hero, but I like that Stark has used Iron Man to have a greater appreciation of mortality and then realize that he has a higher purpose in life.
On the other hand, I think Superman is a fascinating comic book hero for the reasons David Carradine explains in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2.” The mythology of Superman is unique among almost all superheroes. He didn’t have to do anything to become Superman. When he wakes up in the morning, he’s Kal-El, he’s Superman. His costume is Clark Kent. I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that Kent is Superman’s critique of the entire human species, but it is unique.
What gadget can’t you live without?
My smartphone, which right now is a Motorola Droid Razr M. I don’t care about the PenTile subpixel layout. Maybe that makes me less of a geek. It does what I need it to do and I love the form factor.
What is the last book or ebook that you read?
Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, by Steve Coll. It’s extremely well researched and is a non-fiction book that at times reads like a novel. I’d highly recommend it.
If you could meet anyone (living or dead) for lunch who would it be and why?
This is another tough one. If I had to pick one person I would say Walt Whitman. He was and is America’s greatest poet. He was a New Yorker through and through. He had, in the words of author Peter Quinn, “this penetrating look into the New York soul.” But more than that, he was optimistic about the future of America, and while he was incredibly anguished by–and saw firsthand–the carnage of the Civil War, he felt that something better in ourselves could come out of it. He saw the power and promise in immigrants coming to America, and so I would love to get his thoughts on our present debate over immigration. As a writer and a poet myself, I would be awed to be in his presence.
What do you look for in a girl? And does she need to be a geek too?
I suppose I look for a handful of qualities in a girl. They should be intellectually curious, compassionate, down to earth and not consumed by vanity or the opinions of others, willing to take and dish out a good joke, full of laughter, passionate about what they do, willing to try new things and respectful of other’s opinions. There definitely needs to be chemistry, but you also have to be comfortable doing almost anything with that person, whether it’s hiking, watching a movie on the couch or digging a car out from two feet of snow.
They don’t need to be a geek, but if they are, that’s a plus, tough I think I’d probably have enough geekdom for the both of us.