Drugs of Choice – Performance Enhancements for Geeks

Reading a blog featuring a post about another blog (and now writing one about it) is pretty standard fare for this geek nowadays – it’s all about content and social now, my friends. However, today was a pleasant change as one particular blog set the old memory lane / flashback sequence going.

Geek Drugs

A recent post on I Love Coffee looks at which is best for you when trying to come up with new ideas – beer or coffee. Close to my heart, as I often have to turn to something to fire up the blogging pixie inside of me.

So which is best – beer or coffee?

To cut a long story short:

  • Beer is good for kickstarting your brain into coming up with great ideas – it affects your cerebral cortex, freeing you up from the distractions of ordinary life so it can come up with new ideas
  • Coffee is good for executing those ideas – it gives you an energy boost and helps you focus

So both. But you don’t want the short story, do you? I don’t do short stories…

Why the trip down memory lane?

Many years ago (the early 90s to be precise) when I first started exploring the online world, I was an avid reader of Wired magazine (the US version of course, I am a geek-snob). Each month, near the front, they would list their “Drugs of choice” during the production of that issue. Of course, the usual clichés applied – Jolt Cola and pizza were geek-juice back then.

I carried this idea on to one of my early blogs, each entry starting something like…

Drugs of choice:
20mg Fluoxetine (Daddy's little helper)
10mg Loratadine (Hayfever season)
Cheese and Pickle rolls
Vanilla Latte

Vanilla seemed to be a regular visitor in the noughties – vanilla lattes, vanilla ice cream, even vanilla flavoured cigars – more an affectation than addiction.

But there were definitely situations where a particular food or drink could fire up a performance enhancement for me and my team of geeks in the big pharma I used to work at.

A long, painful session trying to set up a room full of laptops, wireless access points and bonded ISDN lines, all while locked in the basement of a French hotel, only ended in success after someone smuggled in a case of Budweiser. Regular infusions of chips would ensure teams could work for 14 hours, party for 4 hours and then drive to the next hotel to do it all again the next day.

What’s the drug of choice now?

Based on the beer / coffee analysis, perhaps the answer is in the classic Vodka & Red Bull? Now I’m no longer in my 20s 30s though, I’m not sure I’m in the right demographic for that.

baby-guinnessInstead, I would recommend something I discovered on one of those big pharma trips to Dublin, where a week of extreme performance was fuelled by the “Baby Guinness”. A cut down B52, this is one measure of Baileys poured over three of Kahlua. In the hands of a master it can be poured to look like a miniature Guinness. In my hands, it looks more like a coffee cream, but I tend not to be too accurate with my measures either.

A lovely combination of coffee and alcohol, I can heartily recommend it for all your blogging or technical inspiration needs.

In the meantime, here’s the beer / coffee comparison from I Love Coffee that started it all…


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Jonathan Gwyer

Jonathan Gwyer first delved into geekery with a ZX81 in 1981 and has been working in IT since 1990.

A Microsoft Certified Professional with many years of large corporate experience and training, he now focuses on helping small businesses make the most of their IT.
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Drugs of Choice – Performance Enhancements for Geeks

by Jonathan Gwyer time to read: 2 min