Monday, May 01, 2006

Scenes from a Geek Marriage

I have been thinking that I ought to start a series of posts entitled "Scenes from a Geek Marriage," for the benefit of those of you who don't have the pleasure of being married to a geek. Because if you're not, I don't think you could ever imagine what our house is like.

Last night, we were in bed talking about data analysis--our pillow talk often sounds like a chat between Joel Spolsky and Suw Charman on a hot date. Through a long series of unforseen events, I have wound up in charge of the data analysis for a client on the results of some focus group tests, for which my husband is providing extensive technical expertise and support (as usual). And, doing this project on somewhat short notice, and without the tools we'd like to have, we've been proceeding in MS Access for the sake of finances and expediency.

(Don't worry, we're aware of the R Project for Statistical Computing, and we are planning on learning R before the next round of surveys takes place.)

So we were discussing the fact that the focus group participants were each shown 2 videos chosen at random from a larger batch, and that it is a bit of a pain to make "video A then video B" show up as the *same* combination as "video B then video A." At which point, my husband bursts out,
"It's just binary math! It's like subnet masks!

"Look...we've got the first videos in column 1 and the second videos in column 2. We assign number values for each of the videos, so Video A = 1 and Video B = 2, etc. Then, we make column three equal to 2 to the power of the number in column 1, plus, 2 to the power of the number in column 2, and then we'll have one value for the video combinations, no matter what the order is."
(Note that his wording was more elegant--I was half asleep at the time.)

1. Can anyone wonder why I'm madly in love with this man?

2. If you married your own geek you could have bedtime conversations like this, too.
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