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Saturday November 13 1999
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Most Wired Colleges

Geek House: America's Most Wired Dorm
by Michael Freidson

Fast times at R.I.T.'s Computer Science House, the most wired dorm in the nation

The lounge is equipped with a CPU, a Webcam, and *women* They are the stuff of '80s movie lore--the real geniuses of Real Genius, the nerds of Revenge of the Nerds, the ├╝berhackers of War Games. But instead of igniting giant-size Jiffy Pop popcorn pans or playing Global Thermonuclear War with sentient computers, members of Rochester Institute of Technology's Computer Science House (CSH) in upstate New York are using their mental "bandwidth" for far less useful things. For instance, meet Brenden "Friar" Tuck, a hard-core gamer who--always pushing the limits of sartorial good taste--wears a homemade portable computer on his lapel. "I started out with a laptop hanging around my neck," he says, petting his CPU lovingly. "But I realized the battery life on the thing was horrid."

Or meet CSH Chairman John "Soco" Robinson. When he's not developing his own operating system ("Down with Windows!") or scheming for world domination, he is tinkering with the innards of the lounge soda machine. "The coin slot no longer works. You have to use an interactive Web interface to get a Pepsi," he says with sheepish pride, adding that a student once purchased a soda from Arizona.

In all, there are 67 R.I.T. students living in CSH. Most are male. Most have computer-related majors. Most harbor secret crushes on singer/songwriter Jewel.

Next: That's nice, but what's it got under the hood?




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