30-day Geek Challenge | Day 24 Geek hero

This post is part of my ‘30-day Geek Challenge’.  As I stated, the order isn’t important, nor will I do one per day.  Feel free to make your own list, or copy mine and participate.  Should be a lot of fun!

I have been thinking on this one for a few days.  Mostly, I was thinking back to the first geek I could remember, but for some reason, nothing was coming to mind.  It was weird.

At first, I thought maybe the first geek I knew of was my programming and system administration mentor. His name was Mr Chumple (aka Paul Tiemman).  I met him back in 1999 when I worked as a programmer for Big Planet, an ISP company which was originally an investment from Nu Skin and then later purchased and rolled into it’s MLM conglomerate.  He taught me the ropes about programming, Linux and shell scripting.  Red Hat 5.1 was the first version I ever learned and it was fun.  Running WindowMaker was awesome! (still is)  I learned about Linus Torvalds and how he said ‘Linux’ :)  I still am very grateful to Mr. Chumple for all the time he spent with me during our time together at Big Planet.

Takes me back…

Later on, I continued to think more about the first geek I recognized.

Was it Bill Gates? No, surely not.  I mean, I had heard of him, but I don’t think I knew really who he was until I was using Windows 95.

Was it Steve Jobs? Nope, he wasn’t even in the picture in my mind until he started appearing on talk shows and was the face of Apple.  I remember him being forced out of Apple, but I don’t think he was it either.

So, more thinking, more cycles…and it hit me.  It wasn’t time to share with you about the First Geek I recognized.

My Geek Hero

Tonight, sitting at my computer, perusing Facebook I noticed a post from my friend Travis about Alan Turing.  Now that’s a guy I truly think of as a genius.  A guy who was truly a geek in every sense of the word.  So intelligent, so reclusive, so amazing, an enigma, if you will.

I remember reading about Turing in High School, probably senior year.  It was most definitely in a math class, might have been geometry.  The teacher was so enamored with the algorithms and the amazing things Turing did, I couldn’t help but look him up.

At the time, I wasn’t very interested in math, I’m still no good at it today.  But one thing that Turing did for me was help me to understand algorithms better.  Later on, in college, my discrete structures professor brought Turing back up, when the course covered the Turing machine. The class talked about Turing complete algorithms, essentially how the rules followed in sequence on arbitrary data can produce the result of any calculation.  Many of the modern programming languages and compilers implement Turing complete systems.

In the Facebook post I mentioned above, it appears there will be released a documentary about Alan Turing.  Including World War II, Computing, Code breaking and more.  In the preview they showed, which is available on Youtube, one gentleman mentions that it was a shame he died so early on.  If he’d have lived twice as long, the world would be completely different.  I don’t know if the world would have been better, but I do know that Alan Turing, my geek hero, surely has done more for the computing community than most.

Thank you for modern computing, Mr. Turing.