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Editor's Note: What Do You Do When You're Not On the Computer?

Jan 14, 2011, 23:04 (29 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

Microchips are replacing chemical processes in amazing ways, and shrinking formerly giant machines down to little bitty things, and making all kinds of tasks easier and cheaper. I took a friend to get a dental implant last week. The surgeon used a CAT-scan type device that fit over her head like a little helmet, and it took pictures from several angles. Then a software program knit all the images together into a beautifully-detailed color model that could be rotated through the layers at all angles. I've never seen anything like it; it was so good it looked fake, like a Pixar animation.

So many activities are easier now with computers-- photography, audio production, writing books, illustrations, blueprints, 3D architectural drawings, and on and on. There are even 3D printers for creating prototypes, models, and other objects. Computers control everything it seems-- machine embroidery, wood routers, lathes, and other material cutters; cameras, cars, you name it. Instead of making finicky manual adjustments, adjustments are made in software. I think demand for programmers is going to rise for a long time.

I still prefer the old-fashioned methods for some things. I already spend enough time on the computer, and I want to retain some manual skills. I think our brains get stale from doing the same thing all the time and need variety to stay sharp and healthy. Most folks are multi-faceted, with multiple interests. So what are your ideas of a good time? When you're not messing around with computers (desktop, server, mobile) what do you do? Can you get away from microchips for a change of pace? Do you even want to?