I'm writing a feature article for FPGA Journalabout FPGAs and the re-birth of the electronics hobbyist. My theory is that electronics as a hobby went through a "dark age" period, maybe from the early/mid 1970s until recently becuase of the inaccessibility and cost of designing with state-of-the-art technology. Radio Shack shifted their focus from 50-in-1 project kits and hobbyist parts to selling toys, cell-phones, and stereo equipment.
Now, with the emergence of low-cost, high-capability FPGAs, development boards, and design software, I see a new age of hobbyist activity beginning (as often evidenced in this group).
I'm looking for a few people that would be willing to express views on this topic for the article.
I know, Austin will probably post a strong technical argument that Xilinx FPGAs are uniquely attractive to the hobbyist, somebody from Altera will send me a Cubic Cyclonium prototyping paperweight (they're very cool), and Actel and Lattice people will post just to remind us that they have low-cost kits too, but I'm primarily interested in some info from real, live, "working" hobbyists.