by Michael Freidson
Fast times at R.I.T.'s Computer Science House, the most wired dorm in the
They are the stuff of '80s movie lore--the real geniuses of Real Genius, the nerds of Revenge of the Nerds, the überhackers 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
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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