A couple of months ago, Louis Frenzel, an editor with Electronic Design, wrote an article, “Whatever Happened to the Electronic Hobbyist?” In the article, he bemoaned the dearth of electronics magazines we had way back when, but concluded:
Electronics has evolved and so, as a result, has the hobbyist. So perhaps the whole electronic hobby thing didn’t really go away, it just changed. It is different now because the way we design, build, and make electronic equipment just does not make it practical to work at the component level. We don’t fix much of our electronic equipment anyway. We just throw it away and get new and better ones. Aren’t we all just looking for our cell phone to fail or get lost so we can get a cool new smart phone?
Well, this week, Electronic Design posted a followup, “Veteran Electronics Hobbyists Finding New Ways To Enthuse Todayâ€™s Youth,” on its website. The article summarizes some of the responses that Frenzel received to his first article. Many readers noted that hams make up the bulk of electronics hobbyists today.
Another reader, John Gray, pointed to four websites keeping the art of the electronics hobbyist alive. I’ve mentioned MakeZine before, but the other three were news to me:
- Spark Fun. A seller of lots of interesting stuff. Check out their GPS and Bluetooth ICs and microprocessor prototyping systems.
- Hack-A-Day. A blog that has a lot of electronics hacks.
- DIY:happy. A blog covering all kinds of do-it-yourself projects. Recent items include how to make your own cat food and how to make a bicycle-powered iPod charger.