Mr. Robot offers a field guide to the phonies of the geek world

4 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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A Holden Caufield for the 21st century.


Hollywood’s latest excursion into geekdom is Mr. Robot, a new series on the USA Network. I only saw the first episode, but the memes and tropes presented have a certain ring of truth. One of the funniest was the observation that the fastest way to identify a techno-wanker is by the Blackberry he displays…

There he is, Terry Colby, the CTO. Even though he’s the head technology guy at one of the biggest companies in the world, he owns a Blackberry. So this is it right here. But also looks like he doesn’t see a terminal very often.

He’s not a techie. He’s a moron. An arrogant moron. The worst kind.

Oh, hi.

Tyrell Wellick. I’m Senior Vice President, Technology.

Elliot. Just a tech.

Don’t be so humble. You know, I started out exactly where you are, and to be honest, you know, my heart is still there. So I see you’re running Gnome. You know, I’m actually on KDE myself. I know this desktop environment is supposed to be better but you know what they say. Old habits they die hard.

An executive running Linux with…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m an executive. I mean why am I even running Linux? Again old habits. It’s gonna be fun working with you. I should join the rest of the group. Bonsoir, Elliot.

But it’s not just the good guys who run Linux, or so it seems at this early stage in the storyline. Wellick is the evil new techno chief at Evil Corp, so maybe guys with ties who loudly lick their Linux chops should be viewed with suspicion. Or maybe just anyone who wears a tie.