Hardware Hobbyists vs. Emulator Enthusiasts vs Replica Recreators

blstuart at bellsouth.net blstuart at bellsouth.net
Wed Jun 17 15:17:00 CDT 2009

> I will say this, a computer is nothing more than a bunch of parts that
> don't do interesting things without software.   Whether that software
> is a specific set of applications, an operating system, or a ROM with
> some sort of interpreter or debugger in it, or some code you yourself
> have to type in, there's not much a computer can do without code.  All
> it will do is sit there and take up space and, if turned on, consume
> electricity and produce heat.

I've been trying to stay out of this, but I've just had an
epiphany regarding what the hobby/calling is for me.
I've heard this kind of statement a number of times,
and I can't really argue with the point that a computer
doesn't *do* much without software.  But it's never
really had the "ring of truth" for me, and I finally figured
out why.  It's the implication that if the computer isn't
*doing* something interesting it *isn't* interesting, and
that's where I differ from some.  If one comes at the
computer from the perspective of it being something
to use, then it probably wouldn't be very interesting
without running software.  But if one comes at the
computer as an object of study, then both the hardware
and the software can be interesting in the absence
of the other.  And I have to say that coming at it as
an engineer and programmer, I do see them as objects
of study more than as tools to use, or at least as both.
But the utility has never outweighed the intrinsic
intellectual interest in these artifacts.  That's probably
part of why the cultural and business aspects of computing
are of less interest to me than to some other folk.

Just my 10 milli-dollars worth.  (Even my opinion has
been devalued by the economy.)


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