"Whoosh Boom Splat" and Building Your Own Technology
It's fun to build your own technology products -- things you can play with, operate and have fun with -- and that's one of the premises of "Whoosh Boom Splat" by William Gurstelle.
Sometimes people in today's internet world get too wrapped up in online activities, interacting only with bits flowing across the series of tubes. It's essential to periodically pull back from the monitor or jack out of the 'net and get back into the physical world. Let your hands feel something other than a keyboard, mouse, joystick or other input device.
Toward that end, you should go out today and pick up a copy of "Whoosh Boom Splat", read it until you come to a project that appeals to you, make a list of parts to buy, then head over to Home Depot or a well-stocked friendly local hardware store. Building your own spud gun will give you a totally different level of satisfaction than building a website, watching a video clip on YouTube, IMing for an hour or playing video games until your eyeballs dry out.
To spread the homebuilt tech joy, you should also fill out a few forms for your local library, requesting they buy "Whoosh Boom Splat", subscribe to "Make" magazine and provide other current resources for people interested in building some neat and interesting tech toys.
Although it's not truly a homebuilt approach, another option is to check out Lego Mindstorms. It might be more the product of Lego designers than of the builder's brain, but it might also be the spark that gets someone interested in learning more about technology or robotics. Give your niece or nephew a Mindstorms kit along with a subscription to "Make", and you could be the catalyst that results in them growing up to design and build the NanoFactory Home Replicator (tm).
Mixing a healthy dose of physical fun with blazing bits and laser lighting is a good recipe for keeping your mind active and preventing sores on your posterior.
Excuse me now while I go build something in Second Life; almost time for the Dr. Dobb's Journal Life 2.0 Summit to start...