Reportedly, Mark Burrows put forth the idea of a KDNK radio program that would offer helpful advice to computer users in 2004. Now, 18 years later, Geekspeak continues to solve problems, answer questions, and assist KDNK listeners who are challenged by modern computer technology or software.
In addition to Mark Burrows, past Geekspeak hosts included: Cale Fogle, Neil Pollack, Steve Skinner and Donna Dalton. The show may hold the record for the longest running public affairs show in KDNK history (but no one this reporter contacted is absolutely sure about that).
Geekspeak’s current hosts are Louie Girardot and Matt McBrayer. McBrayer may be the more technologically knowledgeable host as he has worked with commercial-grade, cloud-based storage. McBrayer maintains several Internet servers of his own, and he can repair both PCs and Macs. One of McBrayer’s recent projects involved designing and installing a high-tech computer-controlled lighting system for lounges and dance clubs in the Aspen area. McBrayer’s favorite software is GNU Linux.
Both McBrayer and Girardot report that the most common questions callers have are pre-sales questions about new purchases. But, when asked what the worst possible choices might be for a password, McBrayer suggests to avoid “dead pets names and the year of birth.”
Girardot reports that he specializes in “dumbing-down the technical jargon” and making the radio show accessible and fun. However, on a serious note, he also warns everyone to refrain from using pet names or sequential numbers in passwords (i.e. “Rover 123”). The bulk of Girardot’s work is performed in “the Apple world.” Girardot has worked in two different Apple-certified repair centers, and he believes that computer “technology will fall in line if we just keep working at it…and if we are nice to each other.” Girardot’s favorite software is Adobe Photoshop, and his business, Louie the Computer Guy (LTCG), has sponsored Geekspeak for seven years.
In the course of my conversation with the Geekspeak hosts, I told them that I had once retired harddrives containing sensitive information by smashing the drives with a hammer, and I wondered if that method was effective. The Geekspeak team replied that “In nearly all cases, that should be an acceptable way to render a drive inoperable and non-recoverable.” (That’s a relief!).
I was also compelled to ask if anyone had ever admitted to using a computer’s CD/DVD tray as a coffee holder. Girardot said that he had met only one person who had actually done it, and yes, that person had broken their CD/DVD tray. When asked where was the furthest location a program listener had called from, Girardot replied that at one time the Geekspeak hosts had received fairly regular calls from a U.S. serviceman who was stationed in Germany.
KDNK listeners are always welcome to contact the Geekspeak team, but if you’re not inclined to speak on air with McBrayer and Girardot, you can always go to www.kdnk.org and click on the “Listen” link while the show is live (the first and third Monday of every month at 4:30 p.m.). If you are so inclined, the KDNK studio phone number is 970-963-2976.
When asked if the Geekspeak hosts are ever stumped, Girardot replied, “All the time,” pointing out that “There are so many variables to consider in the tech world. We will usually float a couple of possible fixes and ask the caller to call back during the next show and tell us what worked (or didn’t).”
And, just in case your radio is broken or your cell phone’s battery is dead, McBrayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Girardot can be reached at email@example.com