Veronica Belmont and Ryan Block Interview on GeekSugar

Geeks We Love: Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla and Ryan Block of gdgt

Veronica Belmont and Ryan Block may just define the idea of "Love 2.0." She's an on-screen tech wiz for Revision3's Tekzilla and a World of Warcraft expert, while he stays behind the camera lens and glued to his laptop to report on the latest and greatest gadgets for social network and tech-centric web app gdgt. There couldn't be a more perfect pairing for our geeky Valentine's Day series! Thankfully, Veronica and Ryan took a few moments out of their busy schedules to chat about love, gadgets, and how to keep it all connected despite their world travels during this installment of Geeks We Love. And seriously, can the photo get any better? I think not.

So tell us: how did you meet?
R: We actually met at a press event in SF! I was out from NY covering CTIA for Engadget, and I saw Veronica and knew I had to meet her. I was there with Peter, who helped make up a flimsy excuse to some of her co-workers in order to get me introduced.
V: I actually noticed him the second he walked in. I was there to shoot product videos for CNET along with a few of the editors. I remember joking: "Cute boy, 12 o'clock!"
R: When you're on the beat at these press events, you rarely meet anyone who can hold a conversation about anything other than technology -- let alone find your perfect woman. It was a pretty great moment.

It seems that you are both surrounded by technology 24/7. Do you think that tech brings you closer together as a couple, or creates more of a distraction?
V: I say that it brings us together. There aren't many people in the world that I feel I could relate to as well as I do with Ryan. When you're this involved with technology all the time, it's almost a lifestyle choice.
R: I think it definitely brings us together. We complement one another — we are constantly sharing all kinds of stuff about tech, gaming, and Internet culture with one another. Plus, I think only V would understand why there are a thousand gadgets (and boxes) laying around the house, cluttering up the place.

Find out what Veronica and Ryan think of the iPad, allowing electronics in the bedroom, and why they can agree that "ear mullets" are their least favorite tech trend when you read more.

Which is your favorite way to communicate — talk, text or tweet?
R: We don't really tweet at each other too much, but we do IM all day with one another.
V: Is it weird that we IM each other from across the room sometimes? When we first got together, we lived on opposite sides of the country from one another, so IMing was a regular part of our routine. We never really gave that up!
R: Yeah, I guess that's weird, but it's also kind of a joke and cliché at this point because I think everyone IMs people in the same room! I've never seen an office that didn't do that kind of thing!

Are gadgets allowed in the bedroom, or is it strictly a no-electronics zone?
R: I don't think there's such thing as a no-electronics zone. But not because we're obsessed, just because it's a normal part of our lives — we both read Kindles in bed now, you know?
V: Laptops and Kindles are allowed within reason. The only gadget I hate having around when I'm trying to sleep is his iPhone. I'm a very light sleeper, and he sometimes gets calls and text messages if anything wacky is happening on gdgt. I need my eight hours!

I know that you both travel quite a bit for your respective careers. How do you keep the romance alive during all of your tech and gaming world tours?
V: It's nice when we get to go on trips together for work, but that doesn't happen very often. We try to call and check in with each other before we go to bed, and we'll usually pick up a little present from wherever we're visiting.
R: Yeah, kind of standard stuff. I'd say generally we're able to keep in touch better than simple calls. One nice thing is that we usually go to CES together. CES is the most stressful week of the year for our part of the tech industry, so it's amazing to have each other around, to have that support system. But generally we try to keep our respective trips short — for obvious reasons!

What are some of your favorite/least favorite tech trends?
V: Bluetooth headsets. They're fine if you're multitasking around the house, but there isn't a single person on this planet that doesn't look like a tool wearing one in public. No exceptions!
R: Bluetooth headsets are pretty bad, but wow, I had no idea you were so passionate about this! However, I think calling Bluetooth headsets "Bluetooths" (i.e. "I'm wearing my Bluetooth right now.") might actually be as bad as wearing them everywhere.
V: As Ryan likes to say, they're "ear mullets."
R: I'm not sure who coined that one, but it's pretty damned good.

Veronica: If you could describe Ryan as a WoW character, what would he be?
V: We've actually had this conversation before! I've been trying to get him to play for years, but it just isn't happening. If I had to pick a character for him, it would probably be a Blood Elf paladin. I'm not especially partial to Belfs, but they're the only Horde race to have paladins (and there's no way I'd date someone that plays Alliance). Ryan is multifaceted, so putting him in just the role of a tank or healer wouldn't really fit. I tried to convince him to play as a shaman, like me, but he thought they were too hippy-dippy.
R: I was a 10th prestige, level 55 in Modern Warfare; I'm presently 1st prestige, level 57 in Modern Warfare 2. Wait, WoW? What's that?
V: OK, maybe you're more suited for tanking than I thought.
R: I class with a suppressed assault rifle, Cold Blooded Pro, and Ninja Pro, so I'm more of a stealthy type.
V: So you're a rogue. How about an undead rogue? Or a druid in cat form? They're stealthy. OK, next question.

Ryan: Are there any “game changing” gadgets out there that have you really excited about the future of tech?
R: I recently got some hands-on time with the iPad, and it's pretty exciting. Not as immediately world-changing like the iPhone felt, still very interesting. Whether you want one or not, I think gadget companies are going to push 2010 as the year of the tablet -- and the iPad is going to be out in front of that parade in a big way.

What activities do you enjoy that don’t involve technology?
R: I think we're both somewhat obsessed with discovering new places to eat, and very obsessed with coffee. We're blessed in that SF has some amazing cafés and roasteries.
V: It's hard to live in San Francisco and not fall in love with the food. The produce is so fresh, and we don't have to walk far to eat really well. We've been trying to cook more at home too, but our schedules have made it difficult to keep the fridge stocked with supplies. Plus, I always want the latest in kitchen gear that I have no idea how to use, like a really nice KitchenAid stand-mixer like the one Alton Brown has.
R: Ooh, yeah, and I would really like a sous vide immersion circulator. We're geeking out about hardware again, aren't we?

Have you ever tried to go a day without using any technology/gadgets/electronics whatsoever?
R: I think you'd have to try really hard to do that. I mean, every time you look at a clock or get in a car, you're engaging with technology. But it is nice to unplug for a bit, and we try to take mini-vacations every now and again where we can keep (relatively) offline and just enjoy the downtime.
V: I wish dinner would be a tech-free zone. Just once I'd like to eat a meal without an iPhone making an appearance!

Are there any other projects you’re working on besides gdgt, Qore, and Tekzilla?
V: I write the occasional column for MaximumPC and DoubleX, and I also co-host a science fiction and fantasy podcast/book club called The Sword and Laser. It's about as geeky as it sounds!
R: I'm way too involved with gdgt right now, but once in a blue moon I'll write something for Engadget. I've got a couple hobbies I'd like to see launched in 2010, but overall Veronica is much better about juggling lots of side projects. We'll see what I can get done!

How will you be spending Valentine’s Day?
V: We're hopefully getting out of town for the night, at least! My mom is always worried that we overwork ourselves, so for Christmas she gave us a gift certificate to a cute little inn just outside of town. No laptops allowed!
R: I'll be bringing my laptop.
V: So romantic.
R: You know you're gonna bring yours, too!

Don't miss a thing — be sure to check out the other Geeks We Love all week!

Source: Dave Schumaker

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