24/05/2001 It would be charming if it weren't so funny -- Silicon Valley is concerned about its image as a nature reserve for nerds. It seems that promises of great riches and fast cars aren't enough to get students to take up the right courses at school. This being the US, the solution is clear -- an image makeover, courtesy of Hollywood. So, the Valley's finest sent off a geek-seeking missive to an industry development summit, challenging Tinsel Town down the road to come up with something positive. The trouble is that old enemy, reality. It is not now and never will be sexy, cool and hip to write computer software. You have to concentrate and think hard thoughts, sometimes for many months at a stretch. You will end up with megabytes of incomprehensible code that even you may have trouble loving. In eighteen months, it -- and possibly you -- will be redundant, and you'll have to start all over again. That it's also great fun and an intellectual challenge which beats the pants of crosswords is neither here nor there, at least when it comes to an image makeover. Geeks are born, not made, and they certainly won't crawl out of the woodwork any faster if someone comes up with Buffy The C++ Code Debugger. But don't let that stop them.