About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.


I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.

2018-02-09

Coloring in Library Books

This could be fun.

Libraries around the world have posted images from their collections, and you can use them as coloring pages. The images range from scenery to complex patterns.

There's a whole Twitter chain about it, #ColorOurCollections.

Usually coloring in the books will get you kicked out of the library, so embrace this rare opportunity.

2018-02-06

Want to Help Develop an App for Making Friends?

Interested in an app designed to help make new friends?

Yeah, sounds like similar to most social network apps, but it's supposed to help you meet people with similar interests. 

From u/voidupdate's original Reddit post, you can link to a fairly quick Google survey asking questions about meeting new people, finding things to do, and how frustrating you think it is to schedule activities with a group, so this app may be similar to Meetup.  

2018-01-28

The Book That CAN Hurt You

All this time I've been telling everyone that books can't hurt people, so there's no reason to get out your pitchforks and torches and run to the library to ban them.

Turns out I was wrong.

There's at least one book that could kill you (maybe there are more, I haven't checked).

The book Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers by Robert Kedzie contains a collection of wallpaper samples...that are toxic. I am uncertain if reading the book could actually kill anyone, but most libraries that owned copies eventually removed them from their collections and destroyed them. So, it's a pretty rare title. The remaining copies are in special collections, and their pages are encapsulated in plastic so the arsenic can't hurt anyone.

Kind of makes those parents who storm the library and demand that Harry Potter be removed from the shelves look a little silly.


You can actually look at a digital copy of one of these books at the National Library of Medicine. As far as I know, you can't get arsenic poisoning over the Internet.

2017-11-29

Nerdy and Geeky Gifts Guide - Winter 2017 Edition

Maybe you’re into Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogswatch, or some other holiday.

Maybe you refuse to acknowledge holidays.

Doesn't matter. You know why? Because December is a big month for gift giving, so deal with it.

While you're passing around gift baskets, you ought to do right by your nerdy friends. Sure, you could spring for a Loot Crate subscription, an Enterpise-shaped pizza cutter, or a even a Nintendo Switch (which would certainly be welcome in my house), but those are the gifts you’ll find on any lame “Top 53 Geek Gifts” list thrown together by a news outlet where the nearest thing they've got to a nerd is the reporter who once watched part of Ghostbusters by mistake when he walked into the wrong theater.

You’re here because you want to show that you’ve dug deeper than Buzzfeed and the Dallas Morning Herald.

You're here because you want to show you care!

Hold onto your hats because here it is: the extra thoughtful, Nerdy and Geeky Gifts Guide for 2017. Winter Edition!

2017-11-22

Don't Let the FCC Board Block Your Access to YouTube

Once again, it's time to tell the US government that they have to stop Internet providers from charging you extra to watch the news, play a video game, or Facetime with your grandmother.

Net neutrality rules are currently part of federal law, and they prevent service providers like AT&T, Time-Warner, Charter, Verizon, or Comcast from charging extra for easy access to an Internet service such as YouTube, email, Facetime, Steam, or perhaps a news service they disagree with.

Unfortunately, the FCC chair Ajit Pai publicly announced his plan to slash net neutrality rules, flagrantly ignoring over 22 million previous public comments on net neutrality, and now he has called for a vote to allow Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and Charter to block apps, slow down websites, and charge fees to control what you see and do online.

The FCC board votes December 14th.

But if Congress gets enough calls, emails, letters and tweets, they can stop the FCC. They have blocked FCC votes before.

All you have to do is contact your representative.

To make this easy, there's an automated phone system that will connect you with your representative's office.

And if you don't want to give out your phone number, I hear you. Click over to GovTrack and put in your zip code to find out how to Tweet, email, write, or phone your reps.

Want to do something physical? You can attend a local protest on December 7th. The current FCC chairman was a Verizon attorney before taking that position, which sounds an awful lot like a conflict of interest. You can join the protests outside Verizon retail stores across the U.S. to show that you support net neutrality.

If you do nothing, you can't complain when your video streams continuously buffer, but if we all voice our opinion, the government can't ignore us.

EDIT: Here's a timely follow up--an open letter from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to the FCC regarding its refusal to cooperate in a state fraud investigation concerning public commentary on the repeal of net neutrality.