21 guilty pleasures for geeks

Things you don't even admit on anonymous forums

Apple iPhone

It's OK, you're in safe company. We know you didn't really buy that gadget because it could interface seamlessly with the cloud, or because it offers the best range of features for Small to Medium Enterprises, or even because it has the fastest processor this side of a supercomputer.

You just like touching its rubbery buttons and the fact that it goes 'ping'.

You're not alone. In fact, while you're here there are some other guilty pleasures that we'd like to share...

1. The iPhone Unlock swipe
You've used your iPhone every day since you bought it, but even all those apps you've downloaded can't compare to the first thing you do with your iPhone every day: gently, caressingly, swiping your finger from left to right across the Unlock button. It's the nearest you ever get to foreplay. And you love it.

2. Seeing how juiced up your PC is in Vista / Windows 7
You know you've got a kicking system, and how. Yet every day you dive into the Welcome Centre just to see it all by the numbers. "Windows-capable? Don't make us laugh. Just look at the stats I'm getting," you say (probably to yourself).

3. The Macintosh bong
A cross-between a call to action, geek whimsy and the harbinger of PC doom, the Macintosh bong is one of the great geek pleasures. It confirms your status as a man (or woman) who has thunk different, sticking it to the (PC) man with your non-conformist ways. Sometimes you stick it through your kick-ass speakers. Sometimes you simply soak it up on headphones. But the best is when you Zap the PRAM by holding down the Command-Option-P-R keys so your Mac starts up again, and again.... and again. Or you could just watch the Bong video on YouTube.

4. Looking at the user stats on your blog
OK so your mum is the only person who looks at your blog and that's only because you set her homepage to it last time your configured her PC, but still. Every day you pile on to Statcounter, Technorati or Google Analytics just to see how well you're doing. What, you're supposed to get them to ignore your own IP address? Where's the pleasure in that?

5. Gently dropping the needle on a vinyl record
We know this is a bit old school, but seriously you should try it. Whether you do it by hand, or use the tonearm thingy, nothing beats the gentle kerchunk and that few seconds of crackle before the record starts proper. And judging by some of the albums in our collection, it's probably the most musical part too. Ditto crackles and pops, BTW. Music just isn't the same without them.

6. Waggling the analogue sticks on your PS3
Whether you're fragging your way through FPS mayhem, careering around a virtual racetrack or lolloping around a platformer, the best bit about it all is the feel of those rubbery pointy things that squirm beneath your thumbs. You especially love it when you waggle so far that the joystick reaches its softly clunking stop (in any direction). It's even better when you send it yawing back the other way. Sometimes you don't even turn your PS3 on before you start to fiddle. Stroking the PS3's pervy, curvy case comes a very close second.

7. Smashing the ball in Wii Tennis
OK, so you could just wave your arm around lazily while lying semi-comatose on your sofa. But surely it's much (much) better to lift the Wii-mote right above your head, violently jerk your arm down and then listen out for that thundering whack as your virtual racket hits the virtual ball. Of course you're rewarded with the shimmering, heady sight of the ball screaming banshee-like across the net. Bingo, one set-winning ace in the bag and the shame-faced joy of seeing your four-year-old nemesis crumple, crying, to the floor. Guilty pleasure? Oh yes.

8. Spinning the clickwheel on an iPod classic
It's a) the thing that makes the original iPod so iconic; it's b) what helps you speed through those 10,000 songs in your pocket. But c) (and it's a big c), it's sheer joy to whizz your finger round and round until the blood inside it goes dizzy. It's the high-tech equivalent of twizzling your hair. We love it.

9. Getting your high-def kicks with HD DVD
It wasn't the first time you backed the wrong format and it won't be your last - indeed there's a whole cupboard full of obsolete equipment gathering dust under the stairs right now. Your HD DVD player though has to be the pick of the bunch. Let's face it, it's no more obsolete than some of the first and second gen Blu-ray players out there, and it still boasts better interactive bells and whistles, brilliant picture quality and a vast library of super-cheap movie titles available via eBay. You don't shout about it, but quietly, serenely, you feel rather smug.

10. Cranking up your home cinema system for the THX OMMMMMmmmmmm
200W per channel amplifier? Check. Seven surround sound speakers and two active subs? Check. The neighbours are out? Stuff it, who cares! That latest Blu-ray blockbuster may shift more CGI pixels than a supercomputer in a Pixar render-farm, but hey - just listen to this. Everyone, come on, OMMMMMmmmmmm. It's what war would sound like if Hare Krishna had an army.