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What's a propeller-head coder?

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Nice link Anna :) – Martijn Verburg Apr 19 '11 at 14:10
We use "we're going to get real propeller head about this" to indicate the non technical should probably leave the room. – Wyatt Barnett Apr 19 '11 at 14:40
+1 - learned something new. Laughed a little of this bronchitis out. – P.Brian.Mackey Apr 19 '11 at 14:43
@P.Brian.Macket - your comment is not programming related, but have you tried a Finnish Sauna? – Job Apr 19 '11 at 15:28
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I'm lampooning here somewhat but here goes :)

A propeller-head coder is seen as someone who is quite brilliant at developing software but often writes complex or 'clever' solutions that only they (or other propeller-heads) can understand.

PH: "See how I solved Euclids theory in Java in one line?"
D1: "Errrrr, nope."
PH: "How can you not see the elegance? It's one line"

Often the propeller-head is completely unaware that they are doing this and fail to see why other people just don't 'get it'. They can often get frustrated with people that 'can't keep up' and in turn people get frustrated with them as they are seen to be elitist and 'lording their intellectual superiority over others'.

YMMV a lot on this one.

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propeller head (or propellor head, prop head, prophead):

A propeller head (also spelled propellor head , and sometimes shortened to prop head or prophead ) is jargon for someone who is exceptionally, perhaps weirdly bright or knowledgeable, especially in some technical field. In computers, according to The New Hacker's Dictionary , it's a synonym for computer geek . The term refers to the child's beanie cap that comes with a spinning propeller sticking out of the top.

The New Hacker's Dictionary says that the propeller cap somehow became a self-parody symbol of the out-of-this-worldness of science fiction fans. It attributes the idea to science fiction writer Ray Faraday Nelson. We like this tongue-in-cheek definition from The Web Developer's Journal :

"The term 'prophead' is a holdover from the days when the nerd kids on the block wore caps with little propellers on top. This fashion gave way to the pencil pocket protector. Here at the WDJ, 'propheads' refers to programmers, developers and other technically-oriented types. A weenie doesn't even use a regular keyboard, just a little one with two keys: 1 and 0. Weenies talk among themselves in continuous data streams, which sound to mortal ears like a modem logging on."

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