Years ago, DaniWeb had a bigger following in the Hardware/Software section than we did across our development forums. We were really huge into virus removal and hijackthis logs, for example. However, we did a complete 180 over the past 5+ years. What features and functionality do you hardware and software guys want to see to build that section back up?
It would be interesting to see more of a following for the Hardware/Software area of the forum. Obviously it would increase the knowledge base that would become available to the users of Daniweb.
I think the reason there has been a demise, is the movement in education away from Hardware especially. Whilst most people have access to a computer of some kind, very few understand how it works and even less care.
There are however, changes occuring that may change this. For instance, here in England, the government is starting to introduce Computer Science topics into Secondary Education (ages 11-18). This is a great improvement, as it enables so many more people to engage with computer science, a subject which has been restricted to University level courses.
I also think that MSoft has done a great job in protecting its OS/systems as of late, and people have also become more aware of what they shouldnt be opening or downloading, or clicking... Also, everyone who gets viruses generally has a nerd friend who they lean on for help. I know I fix my fair share of computers all over the place for family and friends.
Hardware will make a comeback when PC gaming becomes popular again, or when custom projects (like arduno / raspberry pi) become more mainstream. Personally, I would love to learn more about robotics or home automation. However, I am stacked up with web based technologies for work and learning C++ instead of being made fun of for "relying" on scripting languages...
I still love PHP and Python, though :-/ </soapbox>
It's my impression that viruses are not nearly as much of a problem as they used to be. Maybe it's because anti-virus software have "won" the fight. I think it also has to do with the history of it all. In the early days of PCs (win95 - winXP), a lot of kids were discovering what could be done and had fun creating viruses that screwed with people's computers. Then, the viruses started to focus on gathering info and powering ads (i.e., spyware / adware). And now, that is no longer need since most people's info and habits reside in the servers they connect to regularly, and those spyware / adware stuff is built into nearly all services people use everyday, so why bother writing viruses for that. But hey, I might be wrong, since I migrated to Linux a few years back, viruses are just some vague memories from a past life.
I think a similar situation might be happening with computer hardware. I remember that in the early days of PCs, hardware failures were much more common than today. My first computer (200MHz) required a replacement of the CD drive, the motherboard, the hard-drive, and one RAM stick, not to mention having to re-format and re-install the OS roughly every 4-6 months. My second computer (733MHz) was only a little bit better. But after that, I never had to re-install an OS, nor replace faulty hardware components (except recently changed by power supply). It's my general impression that this is the case for most people too. I think hardware has just been getting a lot more reliable, and if hardware breaks after 3 years or so, why bother repairing if you can get a newer model that is fairly cheap and usually about 10 times better than your 3 year-old model was.
I think this is probably what is responsible for most of the slow-down in the hardware / virus forums. However, the Linux/Unix / Network / Windows forums are still reasonably active.