There's an article in Wired magazine about the decline of technical knowledge amongst average people. It's an interesting read, although I don't necessarily agree with all the points raised.
My dad and I were talking about this phenomenon recently. He's had to take the car to the shop because the power steering light comes on intermittently, and he can't take a look at it because it's all sealed off in a block. The garage just said they'd plug it in for a diagnostics test but if nothing showed up they couldn't do anything. When even the Fiat garage can't take a look inside their cars, something is wrong.
The main problem is that products today aren't designed to be user serviceable, which makes it nigh impossible to do anything because a) there's not the information available since it comes under trade copyright and b) you void the warranty.
I still want to take a basic mechanic course - changing a tyre, fan belt etc. Or I might just get my dad to teach me in the summer. He's always been good at stuff like that - his workshop in the loft is full of bits and pieces of electronics.
However, with regards DIY and stuff, my Mum and I are willing to try most things rather than getting someone in. We've always done the painting and decorating, we've polished up the floorboards, we've laid carpet, lino and vinyl floor tiles. The latest thing is tiling the kitchen, which neither of us have done before but which is coming out pretty well. It just needs grouting now, which we have done before and which is fairly simple. The only thing we've not done is plastering, because that's a skill we simply don't have. The old plaster was terrible, so we needed a professional to make it look good.
I'm not sure I have a point with this one. Never mind.