Electronics tinkerers, software hackers and radio hams have long played crucial roles in the development of modern technology. Will they continue to?

The “Do It Yourself” movement that spawned the computer revolution–and inspired untold numbers of tinkerers to pursue careers in science–has stopped moving. Heathkit ceased making its electronic kits 10 years ago. Popular Electronics and Byte magazines have hung up their soldering irons. Meccano, the maker of Erector sets, went bankrupt in 2000. Last year Scientific American dropped the Amateur Scientist column, citing a long decline in readership, and Edmund Scientific sold off its consumer catalogue and shut its famous retail store in Barrington, N.J.