Tech on a Budget

Ok, so I've written enough about motorcycles, and Korean life lately, so here is something else to chew on...

Those who know me personally are acutely aware that I have been on something of a DIY-bender for my entire life. This may have come about due to my fathers encouragement to always "make my own" when I was a child, or due to the fact that I was never the most affluent individual, and fixing/making things myself just makes better financial sense. Either way, as any good DIY-er will tell you, the greatest benefit of doing it your own way is the satisfaction of knowing how your device works, and how to tinker with it if it isn't up to spec.

Truthfully though, this isn't really something a hobbyist can do very much anymore. Things like smartphones, tablets, and even some laptops have now been miniaturized to the degree that soldering components on and off them isn't really an option. However, while this avenue of DIYing may be experiencing its death rattle, I recon there still are a variety of awesome hands-on tech projects that can be done and allow the would be DIY-er to end up with both a useful product, and the skills that he/she developed in learning how things work along the way.

I personally have yet to try Arduino, as it seems a bit childish in some of its uses, but for someone not used to electrical projects this is a good starting point. Personally I just jumped right into MegaSquirt and built it as intended for a car I have back in the states. While both of these are paint-by-numbers exercises, with all of the electronic goodies and supplies available at TechnoMart and Yongsan I'd say Seoul is well-equipped for supplying a variety of unique and unusual creative projects as well.

Yea, I only wish mine looked as good as this
My current project is more software related: Getting Ubuntu Linux to run on my new (to me) HP Pavilion laptop. Expect an update when I get that set up in such a register that you can detect the cheesy grin of smug self-satisfaction I'll be wearing right through your display. Do you have any ideas for tech projects, or where to get cheap gadgets yourself? If so please leave a comment (I don't get enough of those...)

Update: No smarmy grin here. Sure I got my Linux box up and running, but it took some head bashing only to get multiple languages and wireless drivers set up. Not looking to be a promising beginning as I march forward in an attempt to get Wine to play ball with some of my favorite win apps from before. Still have a lot of data transferring and settings to play with, but all in due time I hope... If anyone has any suggestions for a Linux noob I'd appreciate em.

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