Computing as a Craft

If you’re like me, you probably have a number of old computers laying around your basement, your closet, or worse yet–collecting dust right in the open. In my household, I can count three laptops and three desktops between two people. Additionally, I have an iPad.

For less than $400, I rebuilt my PC as a capable dual-boot machine to run Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, breathing new life into my love for computing and giving me new opportunities to explore current software and computing trends. Perhaps most importantly, this investment has confirmed my confidence in my abilities to “make things work.”

Moore’s Law is that computing power will double every eighteen months. In light of this, a three year old machine can seem disappointing. The desktop I built five years ago is an antique. Luckily, I built mine with industry standard parts and could reuse the case and DVD drive in my new build, saving some money. If I had bought a Gateway or some other proprietary machine, I’d have to junk it all and start over.

You don’t have to build a machine yourself to have replaceable parts. Most vendors like General NanoSystems in Minneapolis will build it for you at no extra charge. They will even install your operating system and software as you like.

What are your thoughts about buying proprietary machines from retailers vs those built with industry standard parts?