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Date a Geek: Dan Cohen of Gear Diary

331520_10150315868993555_1828315153_oDue to the controversial popularity of our How to Date a Geek Girl and How to Date a Geek Guy guides, we have introduced a special column featuring real life single geeks. This week, we have interviewed our colleague, Dan Cohen of Gear Diary

templatesTell us a bit about yourself (Age, hometown, what you do for a living):

I’m turning 50 this March, which still freaks me out because until I look in the mirror (and am reminded by the bits of gray), I think of myself as being somewhere in my mid-twenties.

I grew up in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. We moved there because my father, a scientist, took a position with Bell Labs in Murray Hill. When I graduated from high school, I swore I would never move back to New Jersey other than to visit my parents, and yet… here I am as an adult living in the Garden State. I’ve found that I love the area.

While I’m the Senior Editor of the tech site, Gear Diary, my main vocation is as the senior Rabbi of a Reform synagogue in South Orange New Jersey. I’ve been a part of this community since my last year in rabbinical school; it’s an amazing group of people, and one of the things that has been the most fun for me is the overlap between my rabbinic work and my passion for technology. My congregants tend to think it is neat or amusing; I’m fine with both.

What makes you a geek?

I love gadgets and tech, and I get fascinated and/or thoroughly amused by the smallest, silliest, and yes — stupidest things. I do tend to get bored with tech really easily, but I come by it honestly enough. My dad headed the research department that led to the first transatlantic fiber optical cable system. He was a “real geek”; I’m just a poser.

Perhaps the best example of my super-geekdom– I was so excited to get the first iPad mini, but I was in Havana Cuba when pre-ordering opened. I found a way to get to a proxy server that made it look like I was in the US, which allowed me to access the ordering system to order my iPad mini in the middle of the night. I can’t imagine a non-geek doing something like that.

Android, iOS, or other?

I’m pretty well steeped in Apple’s ecosystem, so I have an iPhone 6 Plus, an iPad Air 2, and a MacBook Pro with retina display. I love the seamless way the different devices work together, and I appreciate the ability to move from one to the other without having to think about it too much. That noted, it’s important to me to be as device and platform agnostic as possible, so I always make sure that I have at least one Android phone and tablet available at any given time. Most days I carry my iPhone 6 Plus and my Sony Xperia Z3.

Your favorite comic book hero and why?

Batman. He’s got a dark personal history and its what motivates him to do good in the world. I’m always impressed by people who take the pain and loss they encounter and use it as their motivation to make a difference.

Most of all, I’m looking for someone to whom kindness comes naturally.

I especially love the fact that Batman doesn’t have any special powers. He’s just a guy who happens to be in really good shape; he uses his mind (and money) to come up with awesome gadgets that allow him to do his superhero thing.

What gadget can’t you live without?

It may sound incredibly boring and trite, but I’d have to say my iPhone 6 Plus. I used to carry my phone and an iPad (or iPad mini) everywhere I went, but with the iPhone 6 plus I can get everything done by just carrying the iPhone. The screen is big enough and the phone powerful enough that I can do pretty much everything I need to do on it. It really is a powerful pocket computer.

What is the last book or ebook that you read?

My most recent reads were a couple of eBooks by David Baldacci while I was on vacation in Aruba. I don’t get to do a lot of fiction reading during the regular year, so when I’m on vacation — especially a beach vacation — I rip through a book pretty much every day. I used to bring a bag just to carry my dead tree books; now I can carry a virtual library with me on my iPad or Kindle.

If you could meet anyone (living or dead) for lunch who would it be and why?

I would actually like to have lunch with my grandfather who died about 18 years ago. He was a Russian Jewish immigrant who risked everything to give his family a better future. I’m able to do what I do, to play with the gadgets I play with, and to go out and have a good time because of what he did. Unfortunately, when he was alive I never thought to take the time to really try to understand what it was that motivated him to leave everything behind and to come here in the early 1900s.

What do you look for in a girl. And does she need to be a geek too?

This is actually the hardest question. I’m single for the first time in years, so I haven’t had to think about this in a while. I’m most interested in spending time with someone with whom I can have a good time, someone with whom I can laugh… a lot, but also someone with whom I can have serious conversations that make us both think. I would love to meet someone who doesn’t take herself — or others — too seriously. Ideally, I’m looking for someone with whom I have enough in common that we have an overlap of interests, but I also want there to be enough differences that we can challenge and learn from each other.

My ideal woman doesn’t need to be a geek, but it would be fun to date somebody who is enthusiastic about technology. Ideally she would love animals, traveling, and she’d understand my hectic work schedule. Most of all, I’m looking for someone to whom kindness comes naturally.