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Your examples still fail my "usefulness test" I mentioned before. It's basically just doing something technical for the fun of it. It's not different than writing some fancy program that does absolutely nothing useful, just so you can have fun programming. If you like to do that kind of thing, then more power to you; I personally don't like anything like that: I have to have a real purpose behind any project I spend time on, not just doing for the sake of doing.

As for the purpose behind playing an instrument, that's basically an enjoyment thing. If you're musically talented or inclined, you'll enjoy playing an instrument in a way you don't get just listening to someone else play. I don't think you even have to be musically inclined to understand the concept though: lots of people like driving cars, for instance; that doesn't mean they want to sit on their asses and watch someone else drive in circles. Having the experience yourself has a significant value, which you don't get by watching someone else have the experience.

The same partly goes for playing sports, except that playing sports also gives you exercise, develops your muscles and reflexes, etc. Sitting in front of the TV drinking beer and watching other people play sports just makes you fat.

I think my comment got downvotes because the people on this site are generally jerks who downvote anything that disagrees with their hivemind opinion. This place is far, far worse than Reddit that way, and this is usually a big complaint about Reddit. Reddit has nothing on the readership here. Because of this, I generally will upvote any comment I see here which shows up in gray, unless it's obviously a really bad comment that truly is worthy of downvoting. I see far too many comments downvoted here simply for expressing an opinion.




Your comment probably got downvotes because saying things like "This will probably get downvoted" is considered bad etiquette here.

Re: usefulness of HAM radio - it's not really 'useful' in the developed world, but it's a good system to have in place during times of disaster. It's not a hobby for everyone, which is understandable.


>it's not really 'useful' in the developed world, but it's a good system to have in place during times of disaster. It's not a hobby for everyone, which is understandable.

That's fine, but every time it comes up in circles like this one, people talk about it like it's such a great thing, and lament how there aren't enough people doing it these days.

Some things fade in popularity for various reasons; sitting around whining that they aren't as popular as they once were is pointless and unproductive, and just makes one sound like an old curmudgeon pining for the "good old days". How often do you hear people whine about big band or swing music not being popular any more? Or disco? Is it some huge travesty that they aren't? Are you going to downvote someone who says "I've listened to disco, and I really just don't care for it"?


Based on your comment, I'd assume that you listen to a lot of Drake and Rihanna.

Amateur Radio is just a hobby and does not need to be useful or to have a point. Like many hobby activities, it offers a way to learn lots of useful things.

I think your distinctions about music and "usefulness" are simply your own personal tastes. There is nothing superior about a Drake song to a Mozart concerto.

There is nothing superior about a satellite phone to an HF transceiver. Each has its own relative strengths which depend a lot on context. It has nothing to do with the present vs the past.

Amateur Radio is not a nostalgia hobby any more than cooking is. Just because you can buy pre-packaged food doesn't mean you wouldn't enjoy a less pre-packaged version now and then. I'd also argue that enjoying Jazz or Classical music can be done for its own sake, with no nostalgia at all, even though you might argue that Drake has learned all the lessons from previous composers and artists and is producing an overall superior product today than was available in decades past.


I don't know WTF "Drake" is, but I'll assume it's some kind of crap music since you mentioned it alongside Rihanna, which at least I've heard of somewhere. Where you got the idea that I would like crap music, I have no clue. A Mozart concerto is far, far superior to any kind of modern pop, though I'd also really like Bach, Handel, or Vivaldi.

But sorry, I completely disagree with you. Ham radio is absolutely a nostalgia hobby. It really offers nothing in usefulness over internet-based communications, unless you're one of those wackos who thinks civilization is about to collapse any day now. Normally, I wouldn't care much about it, because your second paragraph is mostly correct: a hobby doesn't necessarily need to be useful or have a point, and can offer a way to learn lots of useful things. My problem is that, for me, a hobby does need to be useful and have a point usually, and I don't see it here. I like electronics and all, but if I spend a bunch of time building a radio, WTF am I going to do with it? Chit-chat with a bunch of old men thousands of miles away? Yippee. I can't think of anything more dull. But what really annoys me are 1) expressing this opinion and being told I'm wrong (I'm not: it's an opinion), and 2) the constant whining I hear from ham radio enthusiasts about how the hobby has lost so much popularity, which is the only reason I even offer my opinion. I never hear disco fans whining about how discotheques playing 70s disco are all gone, but the hams are constantly whining about it. And then when someone explains from their perspective why they don't find it a worthwhile hobby, they get all defensive about it, as your post clearly illustrates.


> I hear from ham radio enthusiasts about how the hobby has lost so much popularity.

I'm not sure who you are talking to about this :) The hobby has actually gained tremendous popularity in recent years. There are more licensed radio amateurs now in the US than ever before.

FYI this is Drake: http://www.drakeofficial.com/

I mentioned him because of your assertion that only the most modern version of something is useful and non-nostalgic.

> being told I'm wrong

You made a variety of incorrect assertions. I am not trying to change your opinion, just help you avoid making embarrassing false statements. I also do not believe for a second that you are unfamiliar with Drake.


Out of curiosity, what (if any) online forum do you approve of?


They all have their plusses and minuses, like anything. There's no perfect forum, or else I wouldn't be here. Some sites have more interesting stories/articles, some sites have better comments from readers, some sites have better moderation systems, some sites are better depending on the subject matter you're looking for, etc. If I want to read discussion forums about a particular genre of music or a car, Reddit is easily the place to go (there's a subreddit for nearly anything). Slashdot still has good general-tech articles, but the commentary isn't that great any more (too many good people have bailed out, maybe things will turn around with the new ownership), and the moderation system sucks. SoylentNews basically copies Slashdot's articles with some extras, and has a smaller audience (mostly Slashdot refugees) but some of them are really extremist, but the moderation system is pretty decent there (like Slashdot's, but fixes the flaws mostly). This place has really good articles I don't find anywhere else, many about obscure programming stuff but others about other tech things, but the commentary is ridiculously dry and hivemind-ish and the moderation absolutely terrible, but there are comments from extremely knowledgeable people mixed in that are worth the read.




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