Back in the days of Ninjalane I would post a little something in the Forums about what I had planned for the coming year along with what went right and what was a total failure. As I have mentioned over and over the enthusiast PC hardware world is shrinking. There isn’t much to discover anymore and many users aren’t concerned with the details about how a computer is assembled.
2017 was a pretty good year for Hardware Asylum. Of course there were speed bumps along the way, some small, some large while most were simply annoying. The largest of these is missing Computex for the second year in a row. This is a huge disappointment for me personally not so much from doing something fun or hooking up with long time friends but, rather Computex was/is the show that convinced me that there could be a future in running a hardware review website and I like to be reminded of that.
In terms of success let’s go down the list. First we have YouTube. The future of PC hardware isn’t so much with reviews but an attempt to make PC hardware entertaining. I was able to launch several videos in 2017 and one of them actually took off, in fact I look at my past video postings and the view results are quite impressive and promising.
Second would be modding. One of my goals for 2017 was to continue doing computer modding and for the most part I succeeded. I did a pretty basic retrofit mod for the Hardware Asylum YouTube channel and a rather extensive build/mod called the View X31. This was another watercooling build with custom automotive paint and lots of RGB lighthing. Sadly it took longer than expected to finish but, did give us lots to talk about on the Podcast.
Finally, we once again were able to sponsor the BoiseLAN with some prizes and did a short overclocking workshop to keep up appearances. I’m hoping to do that again in 2018 and maybe, just maybe, do some real extreme overclocking this time with LN2.
The first item on the list is the continuation of the Hardware Asylum Podcast. Darren and I have a vested interest in the Podcast and scheduling aside we aren’t planning any format changes.
I really believe that the Hardware Asylum Podcast is one of the best if not THE best show out there dedicated to enthusiast PC activities. Our topics might be a little weak at times but our audio quality exceptional, editing is awesome and we are always pushing ourselves to deliver on time. The real problem, and ongoing battle, is market penetration. With the prevalence of YouTube and continual issues with SEO it is difficult to get discovered.
With that said, the show is growing, so I have that going for me, which is nice You can find the podcast here on Hardwareasylum.com, iTunes and in Google Music.
Go subscribe already.
Bring Back the Forums?
I bring this up every year and I sometimes wonder why? Web forums have been the bane of my existence and yet tied to my history. When Ninjalane.com launched back in 1999 the forum was a large part of the site and while the actual forum software changed over the years it would enjoy fits of activity and total desolation. Before launching Hardware Asylum it had become a spam magnet and I figured it was best to be shut down.
Thing is, social media has largely replaced the purpose of a web forum and younger readers tend to gravitate to reddit for their social interaction. Everyone else, who actually uses a forum, already has a “home forum” and isn't looking to leave. Needless to say, starting a forum from scratch will be an uphill battle. Despite all this I still have people asking me to “bring the forum back”.
I’ve been looking at XenForo to replace PHPBB and with any luck it will keep the spammers under control. Personally I still like PHPBB for its ease of use but, XenForo has a large following and even larger database of mods that simply plug in. The only downside is that XenForo isn’t free and they have created a paid modding community meaning that setting up a forum will actually cost me money making it a real gamble.
Believe it or not but I have actually invested in doing video. I have studio lights a shiny new 4k video camera and now just need to build a set and start recording. I have resisted this forever and sadly it might be the one option that allows Hardware Asylum to survive.
In 2017 I had a plan for how to build a tech channel that was about computer hardware but not about doing reviews. Instead it would support what we do at Hardwareasylum.com and really become a multi media extension of the site. I told myself it would take three months but the realization was that it was a much larger project than I expected.
Casemodding / Overclocking
My goals here haven’t changed, I want to get back into overclocking and casemodding and with any luck I’ll have the time to make that happen. What people don’t realize is that overclocking, real overclocking, is rather expensive and there is no guarantee that you’ll get anything from it. Despite this I have been itching to get back into it.
Casemodding is also going to be a large part of 2018 and given my background in fabrication I’m thinking it is high time I start showing off. And by showing off I’m thinking more automotive colors, welding, elaborate dremel work, watercooling, custom lighting, etc.
A New(Old) Theme
All of my plans this year revolve around a single theme. “PC as a status symbol”.
This was my theme from 2017 and sadly I wasn’t able to make it happen. The way I see it the PC market needs to be saved. Too many of us rely on our phones and tablets to get by and that isn’t right. Don’t get me wrong a mobile is a great thing and in some respects is an equal to a desktop.
I know this to be true however I don’t want to believe it. What I do believe is that enthusiasts, both young and old, need to start showing pride in their computers again. “Oh you have a GTX 1060?, I have a watercooled 1070 on dual loops” “Oh you have a Dell?, I’m rocking a custom painted Phanteks Ethoo EVOLV with a vertical GPU and pushbutton RGB”
It isn’t so much about cost either. The real determination should be “bought or built” with some wiggle room in the middle.
Once again I have some really bold plans for Hardware Asylum in 2018 and with any luck all of those plans can be realized. My primary goal is to try and crack the “PC as a status symbol” problem and really make an effort to educate and find ways to strike a balance between written and recorded mediums.