There was a time when you could run down to Radio Shack to pick up almost any electronic part you needed. No more. Now they sell satellite dishes, cell phones, Compaq computers, and, for some reason, a few hundred choices of remote control cars. Gizmo city. The electronics section is a realm of diminishing inventory.
Not that I fault them. It's hard to make a living, even when marking up a ten cent component to a buck ten. Not enough volume. Not enough electronics geeks. It's cheaper to buy a brand new widget than it is to find and replace an old one's ailing component.
Gone too is the TV repairman. Gone except for the lone few, inhabiting odd shaped office spaces that somehow resist illumination and look perilously uninhabitable.
When someone says they are making their own computer it really means that they are buying larger scale modules and plugging them together. The aren't making a computer, not in the Woz-nean sense of soldering shift registers onto an 8 bit bus with rainbow colored wires and troubleshooting code with o'scopes and logdic analyzers. But that's ok, Woz worked with the modules of his time to build a greater whole, hackers today wield larger, more complex hardware and software modules to make devices infinitely more capable. They just don't pick any of it up from Radio Shack.
Yeah, well, back to searching for a pigtail fuse adaptor for the 20amp slo-blo 32v glass fuse blown out in our computer UPS a few months ago. Sure, if I was charging myself by the hour for fixing this I could have bought a new UPS along with the computer by now.
It's the thrill of the chase.
Conquering the unknown.
Getting ones hands dirty.
Ok, I'm just cheap...and stubborn.