Our latest celebrity Nerd is Mike Wendland, America's premier high tech reporter, radio show host and author. Mike is best known for his "High Tech Talk" reports that air on all 215 NBC television affiliates. His bytes of wisdom can also be heard on his "PC Talk" radio show, airing on the CBS-owned Talk Radio 1270 in Detroit. Some of his lesser accomplishments include winning 20 Emmy Awards and authoring five books, including his latest, The Complete No Geek Speak Guide to the Internet. Guru and sage to the ordinary user (although he is fluent in Geekinese), Mike investigates high tech advances and reviews websites from his cozy little cyberniche, www.pcmike.com. Recently, Mike beamed some illuminating insights about the media, the Net, and the demise of the dead tree industry.
NW: How did your NerdLife evolve?
MW: It started out of necessity. I was an investigative reporter for WDIV-TV in Detroit, and as my projects became bigger and more complex, I needed help in organizing my notes, documents and interview logs. I started with spreadsheets, worked up to relational databases, and got involved in the early nineties with a group called the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting.
NW: Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a Nerd.
MW: Advantages: I find out lots of interesting stuff faster than most people. Disadvantage: Like a doctor, everybody has a computer problem they want me to diagnose and fix for them within a three minute conversation.
NW: What special talents make you stand out among your peers in Nerdom?
MW: I believe the Net is the single most important development to communications since the invention of the printing press. I evangelize it 24-7 to the point that people call me "PC Mike", a moniker that I now use on the air and in print for the 215 different NBC television stations that get my "High Tech Talk" reports each week.
NW: If you were able to pry your fingers off the keyboard and mouse, what kind of leisure activities would you pursue?
MW: [I would go] scuba diving in the Caribbean, hike in Hawaii, read on the front porch of a remote cabin in the Colorado Rockies.
NW: How has being a Nerd influenced your romantic life?
MW: It keeps me up too late at night - long after my wife has fallen asleep.
NW: Which Nerdly values and behaviors do you insist on teaching your children?
MW: Never stop asking, "Why? Who says? How come? Show me!"
NW: Describe your worst career flop.
MW: My biggest flop was when I told a group of newspaper publishers what I thought was the obvious: that the dead tree industry was doomed because the Net was going to streamline the way people consume news. They didn't see that it was so obvious back then, and they booed me. That was in 1995. Today, though, they grudgingly nod acknowledgement.
NW: If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
MW: A black Labrador. Why? I loves the water, having fun, and when things get muddy, it just shakes it off!
NW: What are your favorite tools of the trade?
MW: A Mac G4, my dual processor SGI's, my 800 MHz PIII, Dialpad, cable Internet access, Excel and my Palm VIIx.
NW: How have the resources on Nerdworld's website enhanced your Nerdiosity?
MW: They make me realize that I'm not alone!
NW: What have you been dabbling in lately?
MW: I love updating my pcmike.com website every day, watching it grow in depth and usefulness, and experimenting with streaming video and audio.
NW: Any other little deep, dark secrets you'd care to reveal?
MW: I'm 54 - way older than most of the kids who populate Nerdom, but way more enthusiastic about [the Net] than anyone else I've ever met.