Even In A Digital Age People Like To Build Stuff -- Like Real, Physical, Stuff

from the tinker-away dept

Over the past few years, there's been a bit of a renaissance of the "DIY" culture towards building all sorts of "stuff." It's sometimes unfortunate when so much focus in the tech world is just on the latest in what's happening online, in that it ignores all sorts of other interesting things going on. The NY Times is noting a return to having even software and internet developers practice building physical things as well, in part just to get them to start thinking outside the (computer) box when thinking about how to design digital things. Think of it as cross-training for the digital developers mind.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. identicon
    Jake, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 7:21pm

    That's actually a really good idea; a lot of the fundamentals of good mechanical engineering -primarily maximum possible simplicity + fewest possible bits = maximum reliability- also apply to computer code.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    some old guy, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 7:43pm

    ...maximum possible simplicity...

    Is there a term for accidentally using perfect opposites to describe something?

    ...minimum possible complexity...

    If not, we really need a term for that. 'You jaked that' just doesnt do it for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    tm, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:03pm

    Techie Turned Builder

    I definitely consider myself a hard core techie, by almost any definition. But it's strange that one of my most favorite hobbies is building things. Like wood furniture and stuff. I'm just barely old enough to have not grown up with all the technology and stuff. I didn't have a family computer until late Jr. High. Never had an iPod or cell phone until the end of college. However, since I was very young, I was building things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Sudsy, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:15pm

    minimum possible complexity

    OxyMoron comes to mind...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Xyro TR1 (profile), Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:31pm

    Re: minimum possible complexity

    So does plain ol' moron. =)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Justin, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

    I always said

    Like I always say, I work with my head all day for money. I work with my back all night and all weekend to keep myself sane. When I'm outside of work, the last thing I want to do is more stuff that reminds me of the 9-5. So I built my own desk, built my own desk chair, work on my house, and work on my car. I also get more out of having something tangible to gauge the success of the day. Whereas with technology, you don't always have something physical that can show others how much you accomplished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Urza, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:43pm

    Technology may actually be helping this...

    Personally, I think technology is part of what makes building real things possible. You don't have to dig around and try to find a good book on the subject, find someone to teach you, or just make random attempts on your own. There are great sources of information on building just about anything online. And especially for new tech, you can find articles appearing in much less time than it would take for good books to be released.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dean W. Armstrong, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 8:55pm

    Soldering Iron grip

    I got the sense from the photo accompanying the article that perhaps it was the first time many of them had held a soldering gun, unless they were using it in some creative manner that wasn't soldering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Matt, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 9:52pm

    I'm a developer, and while I find tech projects interesting I don't particularly see the relevance it has on how I code. Granted, this may be because "I don't know what I'm missing" or maybe since I don't work on a device level. Anyway, I'd definitely agree that the Internet has enabled a lot more people to try a lot of new things, one happening to be DIY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 10:19pm

    It's a change of pace

    I really enjoy DIY articles. Some of the crafter types
    are pretty damn clever too. A good portion of my non-work
    related web surfing is spent at DIY sites.

    Seeing clever people overcome the obstacles they encounter
    fascinates me. I find the DIY ethic appealing too.

    Not strictly DIY but Frighteningly talented.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 6:27am


    i think you're nitpicking here. i don't find much of a difference between "maximum simplicity" and "minimum complexity" nor do I have a problem with either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 6:28am

    Re: minimum possible complexity

    oxymoron's aren't always false.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 6:31am

    Re: Soldering Iron grip

    Those aren't soldering iron guns. Those are plain old soldering irons. However, while you were incorrect with the term, you were correct with your observation. That definitely is not the way to hold a soldering iron.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Paul, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 6:33am


    I'm a fan of Make magazine.


    It's a really great site and worth the subscription in my opinion. Especially considering all the projects you can find on the Make Blogs, its ridiculous how much you can learn to build there. I also enjoy Instructables.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Scott, Aug 19th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    I'm a software engineer but I really like to build things. I build things like my home office for doing my software engineering which I blog about at http://www.acuminate.net/. Building something with your hands gives you a lot of pride. Being able to experience your work with all your senses allows you to truly admire your work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    chris (profile), Aug 19th, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    oh great. now you will pirate real stuff too.

    it's bad enough you internet freaks have to steal all the intellectual property in the world, now you want to steal the real stuff too?

    news flash weirdos: you can't make everything yourself. you have to have factories and unions and stuff. you think the RIAA is bad, wait until you start cheating companies like ford and coke, or worse the united auto workers, out of their profits. take my advice, stop making stuff now or you will be sorry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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