Are We Dinosaurs?

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I visited my local Computer Show that’s held once a month yesterday – I missed the last four months due to scheduling conflicts, but I needed some gear in a hurry so I made sure to make time to attend. I also wanted to get a feel for what’s happening at the “street” level and this show does just that.

My first reaction on entering the show floor: “Where is everybody?” I had seen old vendor friends simply disappear over time, but this show was an epiphany:

There were only six hardware vendors and eight laptop vendors – talk about a paradigm shift!

A few years ago there was only one person selling used/refurbed laptops – now there are eight! Contrast that to the normal hardware crowd that numbered about 12-18 vendors, now only six showed up. The balance of the show was made of up vendors selling things like cell phone gear, trinkets and software.

The traffic at the show was very light – usually there were people lined up at the door waiting for the show to open – aside from a hardy few, no line. Most of the time I would have to elbow my way through the crowd to talk to vendors – no problem now!

I talked to the folks that were there and more than one was not happy with the way things have developed – a steady erosion of business for the hardware folks.

Which brings me to my question:

Are we dinosaurs?

What happened to the enthusiasts who roll their own? I know some are out there, but our numbers are diminishing. Just look around at the hardware websites – more than a few have disappeared. Overclocking is mainstream – not the province of the “techno-geek” that it was in the early days.

I have nothing profound to say about this, but I do believe the business has shifted irrevocably and we are becoming dinosaurs. OUCH!

PS: Some show prices for CPUs:

Core 2 Duo:

6300: $183
6400: $225 – $240
6600: $320
6700: $500 – $545

AMD 4600+ AM2: $250 – $259
AMD 4800+ AM2: $299

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Discussion
  1. This is too funny...I was just talking about this the other day that I havent even saw any advertisment's for or been to a computer show/expo in years. I love/miss those things like crazy. You also have to consider the rise in secondary marketplace's such as eBay and Amazon, which have taken a nice chunk out of online vendors profits. Im sure the big wigs will come up with something as the market changes (or is constantly changing I should say.)
    Here's a copy of an email I sent stating my opinion:
    I think the internet has a lot to do with the decline of in-person hardware sales. I've been to 2 computer shows. My first was in 90 or 91 when I bought my 486DX50, and my last one was about 1 month ago. The difference in size was staggering. In my first show there was a huge hall that was packed full with vendors and people. My last show had a smallish hall that really wasn't very full.
    Back in 91 the internet wasn't around for all intents and purposes. If you wanted to buy hardware you got it out of a computer magazine or you went to a show. Now the internet is in most houses in the USA, and if you want to buy hardware you can go to any one of a number of reputable, low cost sites. There's no reason to go to a show anymore when hardware can be researched and shopped for from behind a computer.
    The local computer parts sellers (who also had booths at the shows) have a hard time competing with the big stores such as Best Buy, Frys, CompUSA, and Circuit City for B&Ms and Newegg, Zipzoomfly, Buy.com, and Amazon for the web sellers. I would bet that the small local shops do more in repairs than they do in parts sales.
    If anything I'd say there's more people that build there own computers than there's ever been. Back in the old days computer assembly took a lot more know how, without as many resources for help. It seemed more like an unapproachable magic box, so people tended to buy complete systems. Now everything is pretty much plug and play, with tons of information available online. Anybody can build their own, and have thousands of people to back them up if they run into problems.
    BTW, the only reason I went to that last show was because I thought I was going to an Irish festival, and I got my dates mixed up :-D I wouldn't have gone otherwise. It wasn't a total wash though. I ended up buying a heatsink and adapter set for about $2 cheaper than Newegg after taking the entrance fee into consideration ;-)
    I don't think we are fading away but instead going so mainstream it's not noticed as much. For instance you used to have to go to one of these shows to get the latest news and hardware, now you go to google, or newegg and find whatever you could possibly want. There is also much less fear about computers then there was in years past. It seems every teen these days is using the PC to chat or play games, not to mention how almost every high school these days offers computer classes which was very rare just a few years ago.
    "Computer Shows"
    It really depends on the area you live in, like here in WA you would think because of MS and the others there would be comp shows at least once a month. Nope none. But back in CA they had one every month at a different place for each area. Go to www.lacomputerfair.com
    I have bought everything you can think of brand new not refurbs.