Geeks were once ridiculed and reviled. Or perhaps that was just at my school. Either way, as first computers hit the mainstream, and then the Internet entered into our lives in a big way, geeks became the people to know. In fact, they started being considered cool.
The Internet is now awash with places for these geeks to hang out, and they do so in increasing numbers. These are the online destinations to learn about technology, both in a broad sense and the narrower, more specialized fields. What follows are 10 websites which house computer geeks, whether they’re providing the content, offering opinions, or fielding tech-related questions only the geekiest will know the answers to.
Techmeme is essential for anyone looking to see what technology news is trending at any given moment. You could find stories breaking faster elsewhere, but who of us has time to scour hundreds of sites or read endless RSS feeds?
Techmeme offers a snapshot of what geeks are discussing, on news sites, blogs, and Twitter. It will lead you to other sites where the coolest geeks are keeping tabs on different parts of the tech sector so that you and I don’t have to.
Slashdot is the place to go when you’ve grown tired of the stories which everyone and their dog are discussing. It’s populated by stories concerning technology and science, and will likely offer up topics that are escaping mainstream attention.
If Techmeme offers a mainstream view of what is happening, Slashdot offers an alternative view. And unlike Techmeme, Slashdot offers the opportunity to have a healthy discourse over the finer points of each article cited. Only true geeks need apply.
Hacker News is another social news site that offers a snapshot of what the tech community is discussing at a particular time. Similar to Slashdot in that the stories promoted aren’t likely to be mainstream, opinion posts and in-depth discussions on niche interests rule the roost.
As the name implies, articles related to hacking also crop up regularly. As do articles related to the startup scene, with the site being part of startup funding firm Y Combinator. If you like keeping an eye on what the next big thing will be, Hacker News is the place to hang out.
Reddit brands itself the ‘Front Page of the Internet‘, and that’s not too far-fetched a description. The site has grown from being a niche competitor to Digg to being one of the biggest websites in the world. Every subject under the sun is welcome, but we’re only interested in the tech side.
The /r/Technology subreddit is full of stories concerning all aspects of technology. Delving deeper into further subreddits such as /r/Computing and /r/Programming can bring you face to face with some of the geekiest geeks on the InterWebs.
Digg is the final social news site to make the list. While it isn’t the eclectic place moving at a frenetic pace it once was (see Reddit above), it’s still a great starting point for geeks of all flavors. There are multiple different categories, but we’re interested in the Technology section.
Digg Technology has stories sorted by Most Recent, Trending, and Top over periods of time. They can also be sorted by Images, Videos, and Text. Vote stories up and down or enter into the always-lively discussions. There is also the Technology Newsroom which acts like Techmeme.
Quora is a site that grabs you and refuses to let you out of its highly-addictive grasp. The name quite simply refers to Qu or A, and that is the very essence of the site. You can ask a question or you can provide an answer. Or you can, of course, simply read everyone else’s input.
While there are questions on all kind of different subjects, there is a Technology board, and lots of other boards related to technology. The great thing about Quora is that you’re likely to have your question answered by someone actually involved in the subject matter. Which means computer geeks are present in abundance. As they are on our own MakeUseOf Answers, but more on that later.
PC Advisor is a British-based site that has news and reviews, which are interesting but can be found elsewhere on the Web. Where the site comes into its own, however, is with its How-To, Forum, and Advisors sections dedicated to different aspects of technology and computing.
The forums have a Helproom for those in need, and a dedicated section for Absolute Beginners. We were all n00bs once, and we all needed a little guidance from those who knew more than us. This is awash with geeks happy and willing to help out their fellow man (and woman).
IT Toolbox is, like PC Advisor, a site with many different facets. There are traditional blog posts detailing different aspects of IT, all written by people who really know what they’re talking about. But there is more beneath the surface.
There are groups and communities built around subject matters such as cloud computing, coding techniques, and Linux. The people who hang out on IT Toolbox are more geek than they are cool.
Computer Forum is a traditional vBulletin forum, which is refreshingly simple and easy to navigate in these days when flashy graphics are getting in the way of functionality when it comes to websites.
This particular forum deals with computer hardware, software, gaming, and the Web. It has (at the time of writing) over 46,000 members and 188,000 threads. And with hundreds of users active at any one time, the discussions usually move at a fast pace. If you can keep up with that pace then you can keep up to date with news and views from geeks aplenty.
MakeUseOf is THE place on the Web for computer geeks to hang out. There are writers with different interests and areas of expertise, contributors who really know their stuff and are keen to help out, and a huge community hanging out together in one place.
I would hope you already know about MakeUseOf seeing as you’re reading it right now. But just in case, MakeUseOf features numerous articles every day that, as the name suggests, you’ll be able to make use of. Including app reviews, how-to’s, and opinion pieces. There is also a collection of Best Of’s, Cheats and Guides, Questions and Answers, a Directory of Web Apps, and Geeky Fun.
If you need to find a computer geek in a hurry then these are the online destinations to head to first. You may join the throng hanging out at one, or follow links to other parts of the Web where the content and the content creators get even geekier.
This isn’t a complete list by any stretch of the imagination. So, as is the MakeUseOf way, please tell us and your fellow readers any websites you know of that house the coolest computer geeks. But not nerds, dorks, or dweebs. Those guys are in a league of their own.