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Computer Tinkering at Home (case study)

I think I finally understand why friends spend so much time on the hobbies and projects which they love. For background, the past few days I have spent many hours tinkering, fixing, patching and fiddling with my family’s computers, and I actually had a good time doing it. I can hear a few of you saying, “Couldn’t you find something better to do with your time (like flossing your cat’s toes)?”, and the answer is No, this type of stuff is fun to me.

Is it really worth me doing all this work or would it be cheaper to take the computers into a Computer Place (e.g. Best Buy, Staples, or Big Al’s Computer and Donair stand) ? That question always comes up when I start on these kind of projects, sometimes it is me who asks, but many times it is Mrs. C8j who is asking it (i.e. she wanted me to be doing something else that she deems more important (possibly feline toe flossing)).

Where I cut my teeth on computers

As with the folks who tinker with cars, they could get their cars fixed by a licensed garage, but there is a feeling of accomplishment and a bit of pride when you fix problems (and the joy of the frustration you build up trying to fix the problem) by yourself. How can that be put in monetary terms?

This quandary is much like writing this blog, I make about slave wages writing this tome (not that I am complaining, I only mention this for comparison), I could make more money working overtime at work, or refereeing basketball games or the like, but I get a certain level of enjoyment doing this (even that really weird post about the Departed on Tuesday).

Is it Worth Doing?

I have also learned that most computer shops can do competent jobs fixing up computers, but I usually end up tinkering with machines even after they are “fixed” to understand why they broke in the first place (or to figure out whether I created my own problems, by creating problems from “fixing” other problems). Sometimes all I really needed to do was run an Anti-Virus program.

Do you have a hobby that sometimes monopolizes your time (to the detriment of earning real money)? Do you rationalize why you do it, or do you simply enjoy it?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I used to “tinker” with my computers because the cost of replacing or repair was high. I actually liked repairing them, now I just buy any cheap laptop, they all work the same.

  2. I upgraded the CPU in our laptop once. I had a really difficult time getting the lid off and made quite a few scratches on the laptop. Anyway, it worked out well and it was a pretty cheap upgrade. Went from a really old CPU to a cheap recent CPU.
    I spend tons of time dealing with the blog these days.

  3. The departed post was some of your best work! There are much worse hobbies than blogging at least blogging costs neglible money and might even generate some money. You could be into scapbooking or cycling that generate NO income

  4. People who get obsessed with what they’re ‘leaving on the table’ by doing something they enjoy don’t understand that most people don’t make money 24 hours a day. They even rationalize this with things like coupon cutting saying ‘it takes me an hour to save $5 in coupons but since I make $20 an hour at work, it’s not worth it’. Well, if you do it when you watch TV when you’re not making any money anyways, it comes out as a net positive.

    Point being, spend some time doing what you enjoy for the enjoyment factor, leaving money out of the thought process!

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