Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I have an entire phalanx of machines that go ping!

I've been meaning to do this one for a while. In fact, I had planned to do it here and had the title reflect that it was going to be about my top ten favourite tech guys. And girls. Since I've been feeling like I'm a little behind on my random rambling, I decided to do this one today. Finally. After all this time.

Naturally, as is my custom, the title of this post comes from the mind of Joss Whedon. Or at least from one of his shows - this one from Dollhouse, from the mouth of one Topher Brink, one of my favourite tech persons. But where does he come into this? Read on and find out!

But first, just for Thief, here's a palm tree:

Now on with the show!

10. Marco Pacella (The 4400)

He's kind of in the classic mould of a tech guy - glasses, unashamed geekiness, socially awkward. But underneath it all, Marco Pacella of the National Threat Assessment Command is a pretty cool dude. As head of NTAC's Theory Room (a name I have adapted for my own room), he was Tom Baldwin and Diana Skouris' first point of call for theories about the eponymous 4400 and their related abilities. show's end...spoiler alert (highlight to read): he gains the ability to teleport!

9. David Levinson (Independence Day)

He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become a cable repairman. Not the type with a van, mind you. No, David Levinson (wonderfully portrayed by Jeff Goldblum) was Independence Day's arbitrary disaster movie everyman main character. But with a degree from MIT and the smarts to suss out the alien's nefarious scheme to blow up every major city on Earth. Though this is a Roland Emmerich film, so they all still blow up. But he does later show that he's smarter than the Area 51 scientist portrayed by Brent Spiner. Kudos.

8. jPod (jPod)

Shown here by the cast of the short-lived Canadian TV show adaptation of the Canadian novel jPod and most about the TV show characters, the jPod are probably the most successful slackers in the videogame industry. In their thirteen episode run, they manage to acquaint themselves with Chinese Mafia kingpins (the wonderful Kam Fong), suffer through one boss who is kidnapped and shipped off to China while the other hijacks them for his own personal project before blowing himself up. And this is just skimming the surface of their hi-jinks. They also gave me the phrase "The F-Bomb". Seek out and watch episode two, "A Fine Bro-Mance", for the context.

7. Douglas Fargo (A Town Called Eureka)

One of numerous techies and engineers resident to the mysterious town of Eureka, Douglas Fargo quite possibly has the distinction of being the most accident prone. His inventions routinely turn on him (see "H.O.U.S.E. Rules" for a good example) and apparently, his file at Global Dynamics uses the phrase "inappropriately pushed button" some thirty-eight times. While these things don't inspire the usual round of confidence you would like to have in the world's scientific elite, Fargo is no less of a wonderful and endearing character. Such is the life of the comic foil, it would seem. But he is still a genius. One day he'll invent something that will work perfectly and not be misappropriated.

6. Alyx Vance (Half-Life 2)

Our only entry for a videogame character, Alyx Vance, daughter of physicist and Black Mesa researcher Doctor Eli Vance is the erstwhile companion of everyone's favourite tight-lipped theoretical physicist, Doctor Gordon Freeman. Despite the fact that Freeman is a physicist, his overuse of the trusty crowbar appears to render him unable to use computers and his MIT education to navigate obstacles. Here is where Alyx is an indispensible ally - she hacks into computers, uses her sparking gadget thing to open doors and makes you play fetch with her pet robot, Dog. A robot her father built, then she added to. The end result is very impressive. Her resilience, resourcefulness and great company earn Alyx Vance the number six spot.

5. Q (the James Bond Franchise)

Alas not the John de Lancie Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, this is the Q that kept James Bond alive for so many films. A divisive issue it may be, increasing Bond's survivability, but nonetheless, Q's appearances in the first twenty or so Bond films were scenes to look forward to and cherish. Ably played by the late Desmond Llewellyn, Q could easily match and outwit his reckless colleague while providing him with the means to defeat the bad guys. Despite what the gritty Daniel Craig Bond films will have you believe, Bond couldn't really ever be without Q.

4. The Lone Gunmen (The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen)

While their spin-off show might have slightly...well...tanked, their appearances in their parent show The X-Files were often the highlight of an episode. The oddball combination of John Fitzgerald Byers, Melvin Frohike and Richard Langly provided invaluable assistance to Mulder and Scully during their investigations. While in their first appearance in "E.B.E." they're set up as ridiculously paranoid conspiracy nuts, they became three of the most endearing characters in the entire series. Enough to get their own, aforementioned short-lived series.

3. Tony Stark (Iron Man)

"A genius, billionaire playboy philanthropist." Tony Stark's own words summing him up beautifully. This man graduated from MIT when he was seventeen and built a crude, but functional, powered armour suit in a remote Afghan cave with little more than "a box of scraps", as Obadiah Stane yelled at a poor, unfortunate scientist nowhere near a brilliant engineer as Tony Stark. His techie achievements and marvels are too numerous list in their entirety, so will stick with the miniaturised arc reactor and the Iron Man suit.

2. Topher Brink (Dollhouse)

Here is, the man behind this blog entry's title! Although I haven't watched all of Dollhouse YET, Topher made quite the impression as the strangely endearing, slightly amoral tech king supreme of the Los Angeles Dollhouse. Topher's best moments include noticing Victor's "man reaction" (and resulting investigation with Doctor Saunders) and his brilliant reaction to an experimental memory drug in the episode "Echoes". A genuinely funny turn. Makes you want a drawer of inappropriate starches...

1. Claudia Donovan (Warehouse 13)

Feisty hacker chick with deviantly coloured hair. When describing Claudia to my friends, I use those words. They roll their eyes, knowing my affinity to that kind of girl. No surprise really that Claudia snags the top spot here. As the youngest member of the Warehouse, Claudia strives and struggles to bring the reality of 21st Century technology into the Warehouse, much to the consternation of her boss, Artie. The hi-jinks that oft ensue from Claudia's tampering and tinkering are a delight and pleasure to watch. As are her constant pop culture references and her text alert on her phone - a Cylon voice proclaiming "By your command". And you can't help but find it cute when she genuinely exclaims "Zoinks!"


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