No more hardware tinkering

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Growing up with computers, any fellow computer nerd that I knew would be proud to upgrade their PC's hardware on their own, getting the latest graphics card for new generation PC video games. My dad would always build PCs for my brother and I, so I was never into modding hardware as much as my friends were, but I would still enjoy talking about the latest developments. Besides being a good way to save on the cost of getting an entire new computer, or going to a hardware store and paying someone else to do it, it was a way to make the personal computer, more personal. Tweaking all aspects of it to make it work to the extent of its capabilities so it does more of what you want it to do.

In recent years, the buzz around hardware components has shifted to entire system upgrades. Hardware has become so much cheaper that it's just more convenient to get a new box or laptop every 2-3 years. Not to mention that circuitry has gotten so miniaturized that messing with it is getting to be impossible. And now with computers coming in different form factors like tablets and smartphones, even using the term Personal Computer is going out of style.

My nostalgic side misses the enthusiasm around customizing computer hardware. But, now that the hardware is commoditized, we can instead focus on how we customize the software to work for us. After all, computers are ultimately just tools, so the more they fade into the background to do just what we need them to, the better.