I’ve Found My Affliction: NADD

I’ve finally discovered the name of the disease that has been affecting my day to day life for years. There’s good news, I’m not alone. The bad news, as of now, there is no cure. It’s called Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder (NADD).

For the official diagnosis, read the white papers. Skip the first three paragraphs, they’re not important.

Okay, here’s the first test:

Stop reading right now and take a look at your desktop. How many things are you doing right now in addition to reading this column?

Uh oh. Um, okay, here we go:

  1. Safari browser window with at least 5 tabs. These are open to the same sites that I always have open.
  2. Second Safari window with blog articles I’m currently reading. (The tabs on the first window started overflowing)
  3. Third Safari window full of links to Ruby sites.
  4. NetNewsWire.
  5. Terminal window.
  6. PDF version of Programming Ruby.
  7. Several Textmate windows. (Current blog posts, and several Ruby programs).
  8. iTunes.
  9. The Filter.
  10. Entourage.
  11. Apple Remote Desktop.
  12. WorkGroup Manager.
  13. Oh yeah, this post.

I’m starting to see a problem here. Moving on.

My mother first diagnosed me with NADD. It was the late 80s and she was bringing me dinner in my bedroom (nerd). I was merrily typing away to friends in some primitive chat room on my IBM XT (super nerd), listening to some music (probably Flock of Seagulls — nerd++), and watching Back to the Future with the sound off (neeeeerrrrrrrd). She commented, “How can you focus on anything with all this stuff going on?” I responded, “Mom, I can’t focus without all this noise.”

I can’t claim these specific nerdities, but I did definitely as a teenager rig up two TV’s in my room so that I could watch TV while I was leveling up my Final Fantasy party or practicing Tony Hawk so that I could later kick my friends butts.

The presence of NADD in your friends is equally detectable. Here’s a simple test. Ask to sit down at THEIR computer and start mucking with stuff on their desktop. Move an icon here… adjust a window size there. If your friend calmly watches as you tinker away, they’re probably NADD-free, for now. However, if your friend is anxiously rubbing their forehead and/or climbing out of their skin when you move that icon 12 PIXELS TO THE RIGHT, there’s NADD in the house. BACK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.

I’m thinking of you right now Bri. I think I will move your windows around while you’re at lunch. I won’t tell you, but you’ll know I did it immediately when you sit down at your computer.

NADD can advance your career… if you’re in the right career. Ever worked at a start-up? Ever shipped software? What are the last few weeks like? We call it the fire drill because everyone is running around like crazy people doing random, unexpected shit. NADD is the perfect disease for managing this situation. It develops the skills to sift through the colossal amount of useless noise and hear what’s relevant.

Yeah, I definitely make a living in computer support. On a daily basis, random people find it okay to dump their technological woes along with all of their life’s stresses on me in hopes that I will be able to fix their problem. It’s up to me to sift through the junk and try to find a solution…in a very short amount of time. ‘Nuff said.

I wonder if there is a support group.

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1. zoe

keep your paws off my windows… not like i KEEP very many icons on my desktop anyway, cuz i like to keep it clean, y’know…