One of my all-time favorite writers Dan Rutter of Dan's Data published a great article about microcontrollers recently. You should read it. And everything else Dan writes. Anyone that would write a serious response to my own bizarre questions is worth reading carefully. Enjoy.
"...even as the repairability and hackability of common household devices has been falling, the accessibility of computerised control systems for home hobbyists has been going up. This has opened up whole new vistas for the part-time hardware hacker."