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Thursday, March 6 12:00 AM ET

Geek Reveals Secrets to Success in Online Dating

By Ross P. Davis

Gainesville, FL - Area geek Ross Davis claims to have discovered a foolproof methodology for meeting women on the Internet. Davis reasons that a geek's ability to filter information and navigate digital environments allows him to be a skillful player in the online dating game.

Davis explained, "Usually it's as simple as punching the right parameters into the site's search form. The proper query will allow you to quickly dial up dinner and a movie for two."

Sitting down to demonstrate, Davis zipped through a few screens and was soon paging over search results.

"This one looks cute," said Davis, pointing to a girl wearing a bikini top, smiling drunkenly at the camera with her arms around two friends. "Let's check out her profile."

"Favorite TV shows: American Idol, Survivor, Two and a Half Men...," he murmured.

Squinting closely at the list of shows he said, "Hmmm, I'm not seeing Fullmetal Alchemist on here."

"Not to worry," Davis said cheerfully, "even the best search won't yield a 100% hit rate."

After navigating a few more pages, Davis clicked on the picture of an attractive blonde woman in a bar, surrounding by the grinning faces of her friends.

"Let's see what we've got," Davis said, "'God is a big part of my life and I am looking for a man to share His love with me.'"

"Dammit!" he cursed, "I explicitly specified atheists only!"

Davis, brow furrowed, waved off questions as he continued to sift through profiles. After several minutes of silent clicking he exclaimed abruptly, "Again with the dancing! What the hell is it with these women and dancing?"

Calming down, Davis explained that this part of the process is where a geek truly gains an advantage. While the layperson is limited by the site's interface, the computer expert has more tools at their disposal.

"This site doesn't allow me to exclude profiles by keyword, so I'll simply write a custom crawler. A little perl, a little curl, and we'll be in business."

Davis then spent the next five hours pouring over poorly formatted HTML, obfuscated javascript and a variety of obscurely-named cookies.

"Alright," Davis said at last, "we are ready to rock and ro-" Davis paused. "Hang on, I think I can make this multi-threaded."

Once he completed his program and set it running, the programmer's thoughts turned philosophical.

"You know, it has been suggested to me that I have allowed computers and the Internet to have too much emphasis in my life. Family, friends, ex-girlfriends, psychologists... all give me the same delusional message. 'Life is a pie,' they say, 'and no one slice should dominate the whole.'"

He continued, "What they don't realize is that fitting slices of different sizes into a pan is a classic 0-1 Knapsack Problem. A simple greedy algorithm yields a reasonable solution, though a comprehensive dynamic programming approach is certainly feasible in this case."

"What I'm trying to say is that these people are living in the past," Davis concluded. "Computers are the future and it won't be long before they are maximizing our happiness in all aspects of life - including love."

With that, Davis eagerly called up the output of his search program. Frowning as he glanced over an apparently meager harvest, the technophile reported, "Okay, so we've got three matches."

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"'Tatyana' appears to be a spam account that offers Russian brides as well as, strangely enough, plutonium; 'Steve Le Gay' is actually a guy who some frat boys apparently put on here as part of a hazing process; and 'Chloe'... well, you can see in the background of her picture that she's running Windows Vista."

Dejectedly pushing away from his desk, Davis sighed, "What am I supposed to do now? Go out and meet people?”

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