My last word on building computers!

Ian S. King isking at
Fri Jan 15 12:56:46 CST 2016

A number of years ago, I read an interesting book titled "Buehler's
Backyard Boatbuilding".  In the front matter, the author decried the
decrease in DIY, whether that was fixing your own car or (his topic)
building your own boat.  For the author, it was a clear sign of the
intellectual apocalypse.

When I was an undergrad, my roommate built his own guitar, performing all
the bending, shaping and glueing.  It took a long time.  He could easily
have purchased one with the money he would have earned in the same hours -
at minimum wage.

So I think this is in fact a broad theme that touches on values such as
independence and pride in one's skills and abilities - and for some,
curiosity (*can* I do this thing or that?).  Individuality is another value
I see expressed (less and less) in the motorcycle community - time was when
the phrase "stock Harley" was an oxymoron.  (And don't get me started about
the stupid phrase, "factory custom".)

And smack that kid!  :-)

On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:33 AM, Murray McCullough <
c.murray.mccullough at> wrote:

> I’m not sure to what degree one can/wish to build there own car. If
> one puts their mind to it; then anything is possible. I’m sure this
> applies only to die-hard builders and not representative of the
> ‘average’ guy/gal. One, and I may be stereotyping here, does not have
> the time to build much of anything is this hurried world we inhabit. I
> know this website caters to the experimenter/hobbyist in the computing
> world but I wonder how many of us have the time/inclination to build
> an old machine. I recently tried to revive my Coleco ADAM but couldn’t
> find old capacitors/transformers – maybe in America they’re available!
> (I could run an emulator on my PC/Mac but to what end? It’s definitely
> not the same as running the real thing is it?) As for new machines I
> guess there are builders /programmers of Raspberry Pi’s but they have
> a limited use for power users and for ‘old’ computer aficionados of
> classic computing era! Do young people want to do this? They may be
> computer savvy but I don’t think too many have an interest in building
> anything, particularly from the vintage era. My friend’s grandson,
> he’s 7, told me the computer is a tool for getting ahead not for
> looking back. Yikes!
> Happy computing!
> Murray  :)

Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <>
Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical
Narrative Through a Design Lens

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."

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