Is (New Technology) is Killing (My Hobby)?

<tl;dr> Betteridge’s law of headlines applies, “No.” </tl;dr>

In the ham radio communities, a rash of posts are going around about how FT8 / the Internet / Millenials / Nobel-prize physicists are destroying amateur radio:

Every one of my hobbies has these discussions about newcomers and/or a technical innovation leading to a decline in the perceived enjoyment their of a long-time group.

  • Cooking: Use of a microwave, Zojurishi, or Instant Pot to help speed meal preparation.  I am not going to forgo hummus awesomeness until tomorrow (to soak chickpeas overnight, boil for a couple of hours, cool, then make hummus) when I can plop dried chickpeas into Instant Pot, having it ready in 35 minutes.
  • Cycling:Electric assist!  Recumbent riders!
  • Geocaching: Cell phone users!   A lot of folks who started in the aughts (2001 – 2009) had access to a dedicated GPS unit, typically a Garmin, but sometimes a Magellan or Delorme.  The market for handheld GPS units is relatively small, so the innovations have been meh.  For example, the Wherigo player hasn’t been updated in over ten years.  However, thanks to phone users, there have been more published through third-party utilities, and some of them are excellent.

    “New” Last update: over ten years ago
  • Programming: Java/Swift/Scratch!   When I was an undergraduate, our department was not well-organized as evidenced by a different programming language each quarter (Pascal, assembly, Modula-2, C, Fortran, APL,  C++, and back to C).  While it cured me of any fear of reading the manual, there are much more productive ways to learn than RTFM.

I would assert that if your enjoyment of a hobby depends on everyone doing it the same way, forever, you’re the one who’s not doing it right.

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