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Copyright

Title: The Best of The Joy of Tech
Author: Nitrozac and Snaggy
Publisher: O'Reilly
Copyright: 2003
ISBN: 0-596-00578-4
Pages: 192
Price: $15.00
Rating: 90%

Geeks have taken over the world, or at least part of it. Long live the propeller beanie and the pocket protector! It's kind of funny how the misfits and social outcasts of my high school days have become such important people in the world economy, almost by accident. It just so happened that the "geek", or computer buff, has become a major player.

Once a group or class of people become important, it's natural that someone makes fun of them. There's certainly a lot to make fun of in geek culture, and the Joy of Tech comic has been doing so since before Y2K. This book, a collection of the daily comics posted at http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/index.html, provides enough gigglebytes to make the day seem a bit more attractive. It's a welcome relief from the stodgy, dry computer books that some of us here at TechSoc.com read and write.

Sure, some of the humor is sophomoric, simplistic and dumb, but a lot of it gives the average geek his (or occasionally her) minimum daily requirement for laughter. Nitrozac (an awesome babe, as the webcam pictures on the site attest to) and Snaggy (lucky dude!) go at everyone in the computer industry, making fun of the cubicle rats and the CEOs alike. The seem to have a special liking for Apple, though Windows gets its share of strips, and Linux - which is easy to make fun of - gets its share of ribs, especially with Linux Lass, the super heroine whose body fulfills the dreams of many who got sand kicked at them when they were scrawny teens.

Lots of the comics feature the kind of in-jokes that limit the audience for this strip to true geeks. You won't be able to share many of these comics with your significant other who thinks the CD-Rom tray is a coffee cup holder. In fact, you may run the risk of being seriously ridiculed for reading a book like this. A plain paper wrapper is therefore recommended in some households.

The book also includes JoyPolls for each of the comics. These polls are humorous ways of going further with the subject matter of the daily strips, and adding a bit of interaction (and increasing page views on the site). I don't find the polls very interesting, and it's a good thing they got relegated to the back of the book.

Sure, you can see all these comics on the web site, but for $15 (or less, at your favorite on-line dealer), you'll have a good laugh. While it's already after Christmas, this could be a great gift for your favorite geek who's already got all the hard disks, 802.11 cards, and cables he or she needs. Take a break from the humdrum world of cubicle politics and read the Joy of Tech - it's a great way to let off a bit of steam and keep yourself down to earth.

Kirk McElhearn  

Kirk McElhearn (kirk@mcelhearn.com) is a freelance writer and translator living in a village in the French Alps. You can find out all about him at his web site, http://www.mcelhearn.com.