The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

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JimGlass
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by JimGlass » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:13 am

People seem to be absorbed with their I-phones these days and they have little time for anything else. Not uncommon for me to wakeup at 3:00AM with nothing to do besides surf the internet for an hour. It appears forums of all kinds have less and less activity. The past few years I have become more involved in shooting AR-15's, reloading and wild hog hunting. Even those related forums that were active just two years ago have become stagnant. My machine shop is still in place but the machine shop business has almost faded away. It has transformed into a hobby shop. I really don't know what people do with their time. I do feel people have less and less discretionary cash. All things recreational are pulling back. Golf courses are closing up around here, fewer and fewer boats on the road and water, fewer people hunt and fish. Wife and I have become "snowbirds" spending winters in Florida, plenty of activity in Florida where the population has increased by 5 million in the past 10 years.
Tool & Die Maker/Electrician, Retired 2007

So much to learn and so little time.

www.outbackmachineshop.com

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:31 pm

JimGlass wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:13 am
People seem to be absorbed with their I-phones these days and they have little time for anything else.
Yep! That may explain your next observation.
I do feel people have less and less discretionary cash.
Government policies of the last 10-or-so years have had something to with it. However, I and others like me who routinely interact with businesses in a support capacity have noticed that the average worker's productivity has declined—despite the substantial increase in office automation over the last 20 years. I have had a few clients say as much, and those who have said it have generally blamed the distractions caused by cell phones.

One client now requires that employees put their phones in a marked basket when they punch in—it is a condition of employment and applied to everyone except management. They had to do this because the preventable accident rate in the shop increased as cell phones proliferated. Employees who were monkeying with their phones would be oblivious to their surroundings—until they got hurt by something that could have been avoided if they had been focused on the job. In other cases, errors caused by distracted employees reduced production yield. Either way, labor time was lost to the company, driving up manufacturing transfer costs and hurting profitability. Injuries would drive up workers' compensation claims, which of course meant the company would be charged higher premiums for workers' comp insurance.

More than a few manufacturers have responded to this sequence of events by moving production out of the country and to a location where labor is cheaper and "hungrier"—and less likely to be distracted by an electronic gadget. Predictably, as manufacturing jobs have moved "off-shore" the USA's ability to produce wealth has diminished, which inevitably has lowered the size of the average paycheck. Hastening the move, of course, is an increasingly unqualified workforce, one that lacks the practical skills that are required if manufacturing is to occur.

Ergo it could be said the rise of the cell phone has caused the fall of discretionary income.
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liveaboard
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by liveaboard » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:35 pm

I think it's the money people spend on their gadgets, and the data service that sucks up the disposable income.
I'm amazed at the huge prices of those breakable, loseable things.

I just grudgingly bought my first 'smart' phone. It's supposed to be break resistant [we'll see about that...], water proof, it has more memory + computing power than my first PC, and it only cost $170 including 23% sales tax.
It's not a brand you've ever heard of and [of course] it's Chinese made.

I haven't used it yet. Too distracted by my fun machine tools.

reubenT
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by reubenT » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:27 am

Haven't been around here much, just not that much to talk about. I think cell phones and internet have been as much a curse as a blessing. I hate cell phones myself and don't use one. Got one just for driving truck because it was necessary, but got it on monthly subscription and did not renew it soon as I quit driving. The gaming foolishness is drawing off many a good young man who'd otherwise be interested in mechanical trades and hobbies. And a lack of small shops in communities that are accessible to the young with potential interest may be a factor.
I grew up the old fashioned way with no electric or phone for several years till I was about 8. My parents were not mechanical in the least, so I got nothing from them in that line. But the genes were in order to develop it big time. So it grew from library books. So now I have my small foundry and machine shop, antiques only. Hands on is the way I like it, don't need no puter doing my stuff for me. Program a computer and then sit and watch it do everything for me? that ain't no fun. Ok if ya want to make hundreds of identical parts, but not for my custom creations. And I've been through a great variety of studies and experience in various areas of education. Natural healing and nutrition, nutrient dense soil fertility studies, with some farming activities, horse training, radio electronics, auto mechanics, logging and sawmilling, house construction. My plan is to build greenhouses to grow fresh produce in and do shop projects as support. Generators, water heating devices, steam engines, maybe eventually a steam biochar power plant combo. And yah, my grandfather was a horse farmer till tractors came in. I had a draft horse and mule awhile. Then riding horses. Had a neighbor down the way who logged with mules till he passed on. I got my mule from another logger who used them. But I guess that era has about passed on now. I suppose by the time I get old I'll be part of a rare breed having been there done that on so many things, from ancient technology on up. Just being interested in many things and researching and trying out many things has made for an interesting life so far, and it's like to get more interesting.

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liveaboard
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by liveaboard » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:29 am

I think the device [TV, computer, phone...] is being blamed for the habits of the users.
I spend too much time on the computer for sure, but I do learn a lot while wasting my time there.

Some people get stuck; games or other distractions that don't seem to us to be nourishing in any way. But who are we to tell?
I also started my learning with books; they were relatively expensive so I could only buy a few.
The internet allows me to access forums like this one, where I can find information and ask for information from others, without any geographical boundaries at all. and at very low cost, nearly zero.

And the mobile phone; some say it's a trap and enslaves users, but when I got one I was freed. I no longer had to be near a fixed line phone, if I'm needed I can always be reached anywhere.
This means I can go anywhere.
Internet communication and banking even lets me live in one country while my business is in another.
This wouldn't have been possible before [and I'm old enough to know what before was].

People are people, they sit on their rears writing posts like this one instead of getting on with the day. They drink, smoke, take drugs, and waste away.
There's always something to blame; kids spend too much time with the [fill in current gripe here].
Marijuana crisis
Crack crisis
PCP crisis.
Opioid crisis.
There will be another substance along soon.

I have a machine shop addiction; I get obsessed with whatever thing I'm working on. Sound familiar?
Just because the things I [we] make have an actual physical reality, is it better than the games kids play? Some of my [our] work adds wealth or has a use, others are just for fun and/or creative satisfaction.
The computer people can say the same thing.
Other people grow plants, keep animals, or make art.


Evening news;
"There's a new junk crisis being reported! people are collecting junk, taking it home, and making it into more junk! these addicts spend all their time and money on their habits, they stay in their dark junk rooms with their loud dangerous machines, ignoring their jobs and families.
All over the country, cars are rusting in driveways because the garage has been filled with these unregulated industrial machines. there have been injuries and deaths reported."
"This is bad Jim, what's the solution?"
"Counseling and more controls on machine sales; metal should only be available with a prescription.
"Watch out for the telltale signs; if your friends or parents don't upgrade their smart phones, ignore social media, refuse to throw out broken appliances, move suspiciously heavy objects around, or have oils stains on their clothes. Also look out for grimy hands or small cuts."

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SteveHGraham
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:58 am

I know a lot of poor people, and I can tell you something interesting. The poorest people have the most expensive phones. They are obsessed with them. Expensive phones bring them status. Their friends admire and envy them when they upgrade. They talk about new models that are coming out soon.

When they upgrade every year or two, they don't think they're paying $800 for a new phone. They think they're paying $125 or whatever the monthly payment is.

Poor people make themselves poor. It's not the imaginary 1% or the Illuminati. They can't stop blaming others, and they vote for politicians who take what we have and give it to them so they can waste it, but they do it to themselves.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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seal killer
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by seal killer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:46 am

All--

What liveaboard said. At the same time, I am worried about what rubenT said.

SteveHGraham hit it out of the park with his comments about some folks. I have a niece that fits that description to a T.

What will happen? I don't know. But I do know This, too, shall pass.

--Bill
ps A couple of months ago, I successfully turned 70. I'd write more, but I need to jump on the Komatsu and finish this concrete block wall. (I wrote a lot more, but deleted it. It should go under my OT: Building in a . . . blah, blah, blah topic.)
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:55 pm

liveaboard wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:29 am
And the mobile phone; some say it's a trap and enslaves users, but when I got one I was freed.
Actually, you didn't get freed. You became enslaved, because every time the phone twiddles, beeps and burps and you choose to respond, your irreplaceable time is being stolen from you by someone else.

I have had a cell phone since the latter 1990s, first a Motorola Star-Tac then some sort of Samsung thingie, and now another Samsung thingie—all have been and will continue to be flip-phones. I have no need for a computer in my pocket and no desire to have one constantly vying for my attention like a spoiled child. The phone is in my pocket and powered up when I'm out and about, but I do not feel compelled to respond to it when it starts vibrating and making funny noises. I have it for my convenience, not some other person's.

I don't text, send pictures or hold my phone in the air shooting video when someone is making a spectacle of themselves. You will never see me walking down the street with my face in my phone. I'm situation-aware at all times while in public, keeping my phone in my pocket, which makes me a poor target for the segment of the population that prefers to steal instead of work to get what they want.

If I need to communicate with anyone I dial their number and have an actual conversation in the way human beings have communicated ever since they developed the ability to speak. If you can't be bothered to hold an interactive conversation with me I can't be bothered to pay you any attention. Talking on the phone is not as good as face-to-face conversation, but it is far better than trying to read small print on a screen and using one's thumbs to type, all the while trying to fully grasp what it is the other person is trying to tell me.

When I'm home, my cell phone is switched off. I don't want the thing bugging me while I'm in my office trying to get something accomplished or while relaxing in front of the TV or taking a nap. Succinctly stated, I don't live my life in cyberspace and neither should you. :D
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liveaboard
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by liveaboard » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:54 am

I don't get chirps or whistles; but if I did, and I choose to respond, then I make my own choice. I call that freedom.
But what is freedom?
Of course it's a fluid term, in reality no one alive can be completely free. We can be more or less free, it's all relative.
At the very least, we're bound by our physical bodies; the need to eat, sleep, and stay warm. Most humans are subject to the laws and conventions of humans, and those very few who think they aren't don't succeed for long.

I need to be available in case of emergency at any of my rental properties.
Knowing I can be reached but no one calls, means everything is probably good in my world. My anxiety level is lower than it was before I had a mobile phone. My phone rarely rings.
So the mobile phone works for me; I do get sales calls which are unfortunate.
I can sleep late, walk my dog in the countryside, and spend my days in my workshop amusing myself, while simultaneously keeping my responsibility of care 1,500 miles away. That pays for the above.
Sometimes I have to go and do actual work, sometimes I can get it all arranged on my mobile from the middle of the forest. My mobile means I don't have an office to go to at all.
Is this freedom?
Freer than some, less free than others I guess.
It's all relative.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:59 am

What technology does to you depends largely on you.

When TV became popular, people told us it would make everyone brilliant. They said it would be used for education. That turned out to be complete BS, as we all know. TV broadcasting started before World War II, and with thousands of channels, there is still nearly nothing of real value offered. Then we all got computers and the Internet, and people made the same rosy predictions. For 90% of the population, they were wrong. People used their computers at work or for looking at filth or cat pictures. They used them for Facebook and Instagram, which, for most of us, are worthless vices.

Some of us, however, are actually using computers in constructive ways. I go to Youtube every day to learn, and it has changed my life. Forums have changed my life. I do things I would never have been able to do because of the Internet and computer applications.

If you need a smartphone for business, there is no substitute, regardless of what old cranks who are proud of their moldy filing cabinets and desk calendars say. If you need to keep an eye on your child or demented parent, nothing else comes close. Your phone can be a scientific calculator. It can teach you music theory and calculus. It can fill your world with books you don't have to carry in boxes when you move. It can bring you engineering and science lectures. Or you can look at filth and cats with a magnifying glass and send people photos of every single meal you eat.

The invasion of privacy is not much of a concern to me any more, because we now have no privacy with or without cell phones. If you think Uncle Sam doesn't know where you drive or whom you call, you're dreaming. He can even figure out what you buy, using store surveillance video. He can use your relatives' voluntarily provided DNA samples, which have probably already been uploaded to quack DNA companies, to convict you of crimes you thought you got away with 50 years ago. Your car stores information about the way you drive, and it can be used against you in court.

Most people can't be blessed. Give them the world, and they will still fail. Other people manage to get the blessings of technology without being corrupted too much.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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seal killer
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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by seal killer » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:11 am

SteveHGraham--

Re: "It can teach you music theory and calculus."

It can teach you calculus??? I had enough of that long, long ago! But just in case my smartphone shows signs of teaching me integration or derivatives or Fourier analysis, I'm throwing that baby in the trash and buying a flip phone!

I hope rubenT hasn't bought them all up!

--Bill
You are what you write.

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Re: The home shop machinist, health of the hobby

Post by Torch » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:23 am

Good luck finding a flip phone any more. They are becoming an endangered species.

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