The last five months have felt like five years. If you’ve been lucky enough to keep your job, your health, and your home, then count your blessings because millions of Americans aren’t as fortunate. But that probably also means you’re looking for something to do, and the PS4 can only entertain you for so long. Here are four tech hobbies you can dive into right now.
Let say you’ve worn the joysticks on your DualShock 4 down to their nubs and burned through every Sony-exclusive title. What’s next? It’s time to build a gaming PC. Hey, if it’s good enough for Henry Cavill, it’s good enough for anyone. There’s a reason PC gamers have their noses up at console players—they get better graphics, higher frame rates, and enjoy ultra precision with a mouse and keyboards.
The price of a custom-built PC ranges from console prices to thousands, but the process is no more difficult than assembling a LEGO set. Here’s a few ways to set yourself up for PC success:
- The forums are your friend. Subreddits like /r/buildapc are full of community members ready and willing to help first-time builders assemble the perfect rig.
- Use PCPartpicker.com to list out your parts and get the best prices from different retailers.
- PC’s can crank out more frames per second than consoles, so consider spending a little more on a high refresh rate display.
- Make sure your Internet connection is optimized and in order for faster gaming performance.
From day one, VR was held back by two issues: cost and games. A full-on headset with controllers and motion sensors like the HTC Vive Pro or Valve Index can cost up to $1,000 and the game selection was pitiful. There’s only so much Arizona Sunshine you can play.
That’s all changed in 2020. The Oculus Rift S, a legitimated VR setup with headset and controllers (no sensors needed), costs only $400. Not cheap, but much more affordable for most gamers. And the games? Half-Life Alyx and Star Wars: Squadrons, two AAA titles, both have full VR support. Virtual reality is done with its growing pains and ready for that new PC you just built.
PC gaming and VR are fun but how about something productive? Picking up new skills during quarantine are all the rage and graphic design, specifically UX (short for “user experience”) design, is a popular pick while everyone is stuck indoors.
While you can’t watch a YouTube video about design and call it a day, Adobe does have a new app that makes design and prototyping easier to learn for beginners. It’s called XD and copywriters, producers, programmers, and other trades are picking it up as a resource to put their ideas to theoretical paper. Adobe does daily challenges, tutorials, and offers tons of other resources that have built quite the community around this app.
Thousands of homes are getting upgrades right now. With little to do outside the house, people are focusing their improvement inwards and taking on projects to renovate and remodel. Maybe you’re not ready to bust out the tools and knock down drywall, or maybe you’re a renter, but that still leaves you a great option for an upgrade—the smart home.
Is a smart home a hobby? It can be. There’s a virtually unlimited number of commands you can program to change lights, colors, locks, music, and more. All it takes is a hub (Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomePod), a smartphone to program shortcuts and commands, and the gear to control—Philips Hue lights, Nest thermostats, and Ring doorbells.
These hobbies aren’t necessarily cheap or free, but what tech hobbies are? What makes these hobbies appealing is that you can start them right now and each of them can deliver months or even years of entertainment.