View Full Version : Golden Era end...

02-27-2007, 02:26 PM
For the first time in probably five years, I attended one of the monthly "Fourth Saturday" computer sales down at the Fairgrounds....and I can't believe how much that sale has changed over the last few years.

Just a few years ago, that thing sprawled several rooms at a local hotel, with hardware out the wazoo; motherboards, memory, CPU's, you name it, there was stuff, not so much.

Yes, there are still several vendors there, but the number has dropped tremendously; heck, the portion of the Hobbies building the sale occupied would have been probably 1/3 empty had it not been for three tables of golf clubs, hand tools, and cleaning products. Aside from a few titles, most of the software packages there are now historical curiosities more than true bargains (I actually saw an old, original box of Lotus 1-2-3).

Now, this is NOT at all a knock on the good folks who work so hard to bring that show to OKC; it's just a reflection of how a really fun time in computing has come and gone so fast we barely had time to enjoy it. Yeah, you can still home-build, the vendors are still out there, but that energizing and naive time of hobbyist "build-it-yourself" seems to have passed.

I remember back when every strip mall had a computer store, and every newspaper stand sported "Computer Shopper" magazine when it was a two-inch-thick tome of hardware manufacturers. I remember just how cool it was to grab a copy of that in anticipation of buying the stuff to build a new computer. Shows like Fourth Saturday were *stuffed* with vendors AND buyers - one of the coolest vendors was a guy who had literally HUNDREDS of different types of connectors and could buy something to connect just about anything to anything. I didn't even realize most of those types of connectors even existed. You could pick up just about any kind of memory, CPU, or case you needed, because there were so MANY vendors selling.

With the big-box manufacturers like Dell shaving desktop margins down to nearly nothing, and the components now commoditized to the point of virtual absurdity, I guess the market for that homebrew PC builder just isn't what it used to be. And I must admit that it doesn't make a lot of sense to try building a machine from scratch when you can call Dell and have one built for maybe $500 (okay, okay, that's an oversimplification, but you get the point).

Oh, well, I guess that's enough nostalgia for the now. The friend that asked me to accompany him to the show picked up what he needed, and was able to take my "sage" advice for whatever it was worth; and my kiddo was delighted to have picked up a copy of an old Windows 98 "Monopoly" game for $5, so the day was a success - and only cost $4.....still, seeing how that show has changed, and how that whole era that inspired it seems to have already passed, still makes the "ubergeek" in me just a little sad.


02-28-2007, 10:57 AM
it is sad.....heck 2-3 years ago you could build one cheap. Now Sams is almost giving away computers. Thats progress brother, or is it?