Old Computer Collecting vs Electronics Building

Teo Zenios teoz at neo.rr.com
Thu Feb 2 16:08:47 CST 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe R." <rigdonj at cfl.rr.com>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
<cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: Old Computer Collecting vs Electronics Building

>   I was talking to a buddy of mine about this at lunch. He's an old ham
> used to build a lot of stuff. We were noting how people don't buy their
> kids things like Tinker Toys or Erector sets or anything that encourages
> them to build things. I don't know all the reasons why but I've been
> noticing for years that FEW people build or repair things. I've tried to
> sell electonic companents and tools at the hamfests and no one is buying.
> had a big box of top quality Utica tools for $3 each that I took to three
> hamfests and I sold ONE tool. When I was growing up MOST men repaired
> own cars (at least minor repairs) but now very few people even change
> own oil. I look at the modern hot roders and laugh. They hang a different
> exhaust tip on their car and think they have a race car! I BUILT my first
> car (Meyers Manx dunebuggy). I think the small size of the components
> deters SOME repairs/projects but I think that's only a small part of the
> problem. Most people are totally clueless about repairing or building
>     Joe

I think its because the tools needed to tinker have started getting
expensive, the schematics are hard to find, the equipment itself is so cheap
and outdated so quickly to bother with, large scale integration of many
circuits into proprietary hard to get chips, logic being done with software,
and most important of all its just not cool to do it. People who tinker with
cars these days do it by buying a new chip some engineering company put
allot of effort into making, or extreme bolt on intake packages and nitrous
for those who like melting engines. Most computer hacking these days just
involves software and adapters that convert inputs and maybe some case
modding. People used to get their shoes repaired too, when is the last time
you seen somebody get their Nikes resoled?

The only tools I use are analog (a decent handheld multimeter). My
electronics toolbox consists of a bunch of screwdrivers, a chip puller,
fluke meter,  various memory chips and SIMMs, fuses, battery holders, and
jumper wires. All I need it for is to figure out what is blow and swap it
out with another chip (if its socketed) or replace the board if I have to.
For the equipment I collect its not cost effective to buy a scope and
surface mount soldering stuff to repair a $20 machine or a $5 board even if
I knew how to use the equipment. Most of the people who do chip level work
here used to do it for a living, have an electronics background, or work on
equipment that predates surface mount large scale integration. I would think
the last thing a parent wants their kids to do these days is be a commodity
coder, engineer, or electronics repairman because of the low pay and
offshoring. We are turning into a nation of MBAs, burger flippers,
salespeople, and paper shufflers.

More information about the cctalk mailing list