Our short list of people that have, through every fault of their own, strive to live at that intersection of Intelligence and Obsession that garners people the moniker of GEEK. Hopefully it is one that they would self apply.
What we admire about Woz is that he marvelled at hardware, at integrated circuits, and elegant design of all of the above. He was always answering the question with the answer yes, and then wandering off to figure what he had really just gotten himself into.
We have admire a guy with the technical creativity to pull off the Apple 1, or even better, create the IO controller.
What would you do if you are just durping along and all of sudden, your body turns against you?
The kinds of vital research that Mr. Hawking is doing are so difficult that it is hard to imagine picking yourself up by your bootstraps. This is the true mark of a card carrying member of the geek club. He rebooted himself, used his disadvantages as strengths, and then leveraged technology to pick up the slack. In the face of adversity, he is a singularly great mind. Now, if he could just finished that cybernetic body... Ahhh what the heck, just submerge his brain in a vat of nutrient solution, fly him to CERN, and interface him directly with the LHC.
Rear Adm. Grace Hopper
Hopper once said, “the most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”
She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL.
You have to be obsessed to design a programming language, and then some, because Rear Admiral Hopper developed tools that made BUSINESS with computers a practical matter.
Rear Admiral Hoppers' focus had pointed her to where the money was. Last time we checked there is still a very large installed base of COBOL code. The greybeards that maintain that code are some deep. hackers. stackin'. paper.
That sexy smart phone that everyone is waiting in line for? Wouldn’t have been possible without ‘ol Guiglielmo. Besides a great first name, Mr. Marconi performed groundbreaking experiments in the internet of his day...radio. In 1900, seeking to capitalize on the results he achieved 5 years earlier with long distance radio broadcasting, he formed Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company Limited, selling long distance communications. That same year he was awarde a patent for "tuned or syntonic telegraphy". Leading directly to the unfortunate result of making people permanently crook their necks down at a 45 degree angle while they fiddle with their phones.
Alexander Graham Bell
The best work you do is the time you spend scratching an itch. At least that’s how it is for hackers. Bell had a big itch to scratch.
Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876.
It is safe to say that everything changed after that.