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Sal Ammoniac
06-02-2010, 03:13 AM
I was at the Concord Fry's (a large chain of electronics mega-retailers in the Western U.S.) this weekend and spotted the DIP version of the Propeller packaged individually right alongside the other Parallax items that Fry's has stocked for some time now (Ping, GPS, USB-to-Serial, etc.) This is the first time I've seen the Propeller chip itself at Fry's.

The price is $12.99, which is 50% more than the direct-from-Parallax price, but it's still nice to see the Propeller getting shelf space at Fry's. Is Radio Shack next?

jazzed
06-02-2010, 03:38 AM
Gee, it's about time :)

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May you create something useful, even if it's just a hack.

wjsteele
06-02-2010, 03:41 AM
I think they should start putting the Demo boards out there as well! Of course, they've had the Hydras in stock so long the boxes are getting worn out.

I bought one just because I felt so bad about it sitting there!

Bill

jazzed
06-02-2010, 05:55 AM
I was always amazed that you could buy tooth-paste and solder-paste in the same store.

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Ken Gracey
06-02-2010, 06:06 AM
Tomorrow our Josh Donelson is going to Fry's Electronics to help them make some more decisions about stocking the Propeller line.

Last time I was at Fry's corporate offices I got a chance to sit in the "vendor tank" waiting room. The guy next to me had a big box of blow-up earth balls and the lady across the way had some kind of figurine doll to pitch to them. All of us were waiting to present our proposals to the buyers.

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Ken Gracey
06-02-2010, 06:08 AM
@jazzed: so, which are you using to brush your teeth?

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Searider
06-02-2010, 06:09 AM
I don't recomend that you purchase a Prop from Fry's online. I did during the prop shortage and they shipped it, packaged like it was a domino or something indistructable. It was in a magazine size envelope with NO protection for the pins. As you can imagine, the pins were all smooshed.

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Microcontrolled
06-02-2010, 06:17 AM
I've heard various complaints about Fry's packaging the Props badly.
Say, Ken, do you think that you could get Radio Shack to carry DIP Propellers? They carry other Parallax goods and there are more of them around then Frys. I think it would be a good business move if you could talk them into it.

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Ken Gracey
06-02-2010, 06:39 AM
@Microcontrolled: our RadioShack buyer recently left for a new job and my current contact is being a bit non-responsive. To be honest, anything that's short of mass consumer technical interest [i.e. cell phones] is a "hard sell" to RadioShack corporate these days. The back half of the store with components is not interesting to them anymore. Yet I shall still carry the torch and do my best to show them how to inspire their customers once again with products that help inventors and stimulate creativity instead of those that thieve away our inspiration (TVs and related consumer stuff). But, even as you can see from a distance at least two (RFID Reader and TSL230) of our five sensors are being sold on closeout.

I'll carry forward and try again!

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Microcontrolled
06-02-2010, 07:29 AM
Yea, everyone wants consumer stuff now. But really, if it wasn't for RadioShack, I would have never gotten started in programming and wouldn't have found Parallax for a long time after I was already into some other type of programming. Radio Shack needs to carry more electronics and Parallax equipment, as even in the last few years the parts sections have dwindled to 1/4th the original size. Even the local electronics store that isn't part of the chain has cut back big. Seriously, if you do not know where to look, you will never be able to get what you want out of the electronics field. Just my 2 bytes.

Micro

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wjsteele
06-02-2010, 07:46 AM
So, Ken, I think you solved your own problem. You need to build a "consumer" friendly robot that is run by a propeller. Sell it in Radio Shack and make sure the entire hacker community (not just us good guys) knows about it. Design it so that the main board... let's call it a "Demo Board," is easy to use with other projects. But have a default load of the software that is useful to them... something like a robot that hooks to your TV and plays games with you.

Heck... that could be the next Furby... but hackable! I think it should be called the Penguin! No... that's already taken... how about the Penguin II! (Having it powered by the Prop II would be nice! :-D)

Bill

jazzed
06-02-2010, 07:52 AM
Very funny Ken:)

When I was in the Navy I once woke up at 5AM and accidentally brushed my teeth with Head & Shoulders from a tube.
Pretty bad way to start one's day, but longer term it taught me more about attention to detail than boot-camp did.

I remember seeing Ping, etc... in those Radio Shack component drawers; what a waste. Fry's was burned badly by having too much TTL inventory ... it hung around in their stores for years. Clearly, they all seek lower hanging fruit.

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localroger
06-02-2010, 08:05 AM
In the 1970's the Lake Forest Plaza was the largest shopping mall in the southern US, and the Radio Shack within it was the busiest Radio Shack in the USA. I was in there all the time -- lived about 3 miles away, and my Dad was a physicist. I remember the day they put PBOX kits on deep discount must-go sale. I bought about 20 of them and still have a lot of the parts. (Anybody need a 100 KHz crystal?)

Around 1989 I was shopping at a different mall in Metairie when someone tapped me on the back. It was the guy who used to manage that Radio Shack, and he recognized me. We sat and talked for about an hour, and got caught up. He was selling life insurance. He said he had to quit RS because he was sick of important decisions being made by people who wouldn't recognize a Radio Shack if they stumbled into one by accident while looking for a pay phone.

It has, of course, only gotten worse since then.

hover1
06-02-2010, 08:43 AM
Ken beat me to the commts about a few items being on clearance. That usually is the death call for those components. The last time I went in to get the RFID's, the salesman was "Deer in the Headlights" and I had to show him where they were in the parts bin. I suspect RS will be cleaning more areas out for phones, routers, HDMI cables and such.

I would like to commend the Parallax sales force in getting into Radio Shack in the first place. I was looking for something else in RS about 6 years ago and came across the What's a Microcontroller Kit. Having worked with 4004, 8008, 6800, 8080, and Z80's back in the 70's and 80's and done assembly language on the CoCo 6809, I was again intrigued. My life had taken a turn and took me away from the hardware development, so I bought the kit, and I have been here ever since.

So Radio Shack is the reason you guys, (and gals), have to put up with me.

Jim

PS I still see the WAM hung proudly on the pegboard.

blittled
06-02-2010, 09:09 AM
It was Radio Shack that got me started on electronics. Back then RS had a whole wall that was a pegboard with almost every 74 TTL series chip, SPO256 (which I still have) and many other parts. Too bad they went to a Circuit City mentality. If they would go back to their old way of doing things especially with Parallax parts I bet the number of Prop users would double!

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Will work for Propeller parts!

Ken Gracey
06-02-2010, 09:16 AM
If I write a book about Chip I'd be sure to discuss the role of RadioShack in driving some of his interests. Some of the notable influences include:

- buying TRS-80 computers, large bass woofers, components and stereo equipment
- sorting through closeout tables of 8-tracks
- picking up the Mimms books and 100-in-1 kits
- buying and taking apart their strobe light systems
- watching my dad get the free batteries as part of the "battery card" weekly giveaway (I think you could choose one battery per week, or "buy one, get one free")

We spent a fair amount of time in their store in Carmichael, CA, usually in between paper routes, fireworks and BB gun experiments.

I'm reading similar stories above about buying a What's a Microcontroller? kit at RadioShack. It's fantastic to know that so many people have been inspired by that kit. It's also not on their "discontinue" list, by the way.

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

hover1
06-02-2010, 09:18 AM
Unfortunately margins on a 7400 chip and an iPhone are a lot different.

As far as small parts, if I can wait a week or two to put together an order to Parallax, Digikey, or Mouser, it's almost cheaper than getting it at The Shack nowadays.

Jim

Microcontrolled
06-02-2010, 09:46 AM
I would rather pay more for a part like a PING sensor if I knew that I could get it local and not have to wait. Some projects need immediate parts, and it's worth paying for. I also have the Forrest Mimms books and they are what advanced me into working with timing circuits and logic gates.

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hover1
06-02-2010, 09:54 AM
I agree with paying a little more for something you need right away.

Get all Forrest's books! They gave me a good boost through my initial electronics traning back in the 70's.

Jim


Microcontrolled said...
I would rather pay more for a part like a PING sensor if I knew that I could get it local and not have to wait. Some projects need immediate parts, and it's worth paying for. I also have the Forrest Mimms books and they are what advanced me into working with timing circuits and logic gates.

ihmech
06-02-2010, 10:28 AM
I'm also pretty disappointed with Radio Shack. My grandfather and Radio Shack was why I got into tinkering with electronics. My grandfather used to own a TV and Radio repair shop in Marion, IN. This was back in the days of tubes. How times have changed!! I am now 30yrs old and when I was about 12yrs old, I asked my mom to take me to Radio Shack...I think I needed a light bulb or something...can't remember. I was looking around and happened to pick up "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims, III. and that was it...I was hooked! I didn't have enough money for the book, so I ran out to the car and begged my mom to come in with me and check it out. She bought me the book and its resting on my desk next to me as I type this. Its well worn, but I still use it!

My favorite local Radio Shack was about a 40x40 metal building and it was 3/4 full of components and such! Oh what memories....they eventually sold thier building and moved over by Walmart in one of those "malls". Now its all cell phones, other junk, and those four insulting gray componet cabinets. I went to three different stores looking for simple inline headers...every store had the same stock as the others and no headers!

I wish I had known about Parallax back in the 90's. I can't imagine where I would be now if I had. I've only known about Parallax for the last two yrs. But what fun it has been!! I am alway happy to tell people about Parallax and tell them how much fun this stuff is. My wife has a hard time understanding why I can sit at my computer all day trying to write code and fail constantly. I just smile and tell her I learning and having fun. :) I enjoy thier products so much, it makes me want to work for them! Although, I don't want to move that far and don't think I would be much use to them. LOL

Keep up the good work Ken and all of you at Parallax!!
God Bless

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"If it ain't broke, your not trying"

ihmech
06-02-2010, 10:32 AM
I agree with Microcontrolled...I needed an optical isolator IC and could not source one locally.ˇ So, I made my own out of an IR LED, aˇIR phototransitor, and a little black heat shrink tubing.ˇ So, I would gladly pay a little more if I could buy it locally.

Microcontrolled said...
I would rather pay more for a part like a PING sensor if I knew that I could get it local and not have to wait. Some projects need immediate parts, and it's worth paying for. I also have the Forrest Mimms books and they are what advanced me into working with timing circuits and logic gates.


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"If it ain't broke, your not trying"

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
06-02-2010, 10:33 AM
Speaking of margins, my brother is in the retail hardware business. He avers that the highest margin items in the store are fasteners. I can't help but to imagine that the same applies to discrete components at RadioShack. Hardware store fasteners are merchandized in little drawers, and so are RadioShack components -- in bigger drawers but at the same huge percentage markup. But when you gotta have it, you gotta have it, and my local RadioShack has plenty of my hard-earned cash to prove it.

The major difference is that hardware store fasteners are merchandized in bulk and stocked by contracted vendors. RadioShack's components are blister-packed in space-inefficient point-of-sale units, even though they're no longer hung from display pegs, and stocked from their warehouse in Texas. This leads to gross inefficiencies by comparison. What would really be great to see is hardware store-style bulk merchandizing of electronic components.

I suspect another part of the reason hobbyist products are being downplayed is because of the typical RadioShack salesperson's lack of basic electronics knowledge. They might know cellphones inside and out, because that's what they use every day. But an NPN transistor? Forget it! RadioShack's new mantra could well be, "You have questions? We used to have answers!"

The problem with RadioShack's new emphasis is that they're just going after the low-hanging fruit. But so is everyone else, and it's going to kill them in the end.

-Phil

Post Edited (Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)) : 6/2/2010 2:39:29 AM GMT

hover1
06-02-2010, 10:44 AM
Amen brother!
Jim
ˇ

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) said...
But an NPN transistor? Forget it! RadioShack's new mantra could well be, "You have questions? We used to have answers!"


-Phil

Brian Riley
06-02-2010, 11:49 AM
Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
I'm reading similar stories above about buying a What's a Microcontroller? kit at RadioShack. It's fantastic to know that so many people have been inspired by that kit. It's also not on their "discontinue" list, by the way.


WAM at Rat Shack is exactly what got me back futzing with micros a half dozen or so years ago! Thanks, Parallax!

cheers ... BBR

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cheers ... brian riley, n1bq, underhill center, vermont
The Shoppe at Wulfden
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www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/prop/ (http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/prop/) - Propeller Products
www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/k107/ (http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/k107/) - Serial LCD Display Gear

Brian Riley
06-02-2010, 11:55 AM
Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) said...
RadioShack's new mantra could well be, "You have questions? We used to have answers!"


..... naaahhhhh ... It's "You have questions? We have dumb looks!"

cheers ... BBR

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cheers ... brian riley, n1bq, underhill center, vermont
The Shoppe at Wulfden
www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/ (http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/)
www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/prop/ (http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/prop/) - Propeller Products
www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/k107/ (http://www.wulfden.org/TheShoppe/k107/) - Serial LCD Display Gear

CameronM
06-02-2010, 12:40 PM
Then it'sˇ"Would you like to buy a cell phone?"

Brian Riley said...

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) said...
RadioShack's new mantra could well be, "You have questions? We used to have answers!"


..... naaahhhhh ... It's "You have questions? We have dumb looks!"

cheers ... BBR

Ken Gracey
06-02-2010, 12:57 PM
@Sal: I went to Roseville, CA Fry's Electronics tonight to look for the Propellers. Couldn't find any Propeller chips, but I did buy two toggle switches and four in-ceiling speakers for the Parallax conference room. The speakers were a very boring purchase, to be honest.

Where did you find the Propeller chips in Fry's? Were they near the other Parallax kits, or over by the individually packaged ICs?

Thanks,

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Nick McClick
06-02-2010, 02:18 PM
@ken - sounds like they were with the kits and next to other Parallax stuff. In some stores, kits are pretty close to components, tools, etc. @ my local Fry's, they're separated from the components, solder equipment, etc.

All this talk about Radio Shack reminds me of an old Onion article (http://www.theonion.com/articles/even-ceo-cant-figure-out-how-radioshack-still-in-b,2190/). I can forgive them for their confusion, though - electronics retailing has been pretty tough these past few years (CompUSA, Circuit City).

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heater
06-02-2010, 03:01 PM
Julian Day - CEO RadioShack said...

"Even the name 'RadioShack'—can you imagine two less appealing words placed next to one another?"



What?! Am I so old? No, he just does not get it.

"Radio" - In the article he says this is some kind of old fashioned WWII word and "don't we live in the digital age". Well excuse me, there may not be so many "hams" around any more but "radio" is alive and well. The term "wireless" is the in-thing now a days. As in WIFI, wireless mouse etc etc and is very much digital. Never mind mobile phones, remote controls etc etc.

Aside: "Radio" is even the more modern word, dating from 1907 vs "wireless" from 1894.

"Shack" - Well I guess that is American for "shed" and as we all know every man needs a shed. Or a garage or a basement. Some place where a man can do his own thing and think his own thoughts in peace and quite. Away from the wife and kids. A place that can be a mess or noisy if need be. I place to explore his creativity, make stuff, make a mess, whatever, without restriction. Need not be anything to do with radio or electronics.

Perhaps they should rename themselves "WirelessShed".

Now in the article he mentions they have their stores in the malls. Here is the clincher. You see the only reason a man will go to the mall is to accompany the family on their endless search for fashion items and shiny things. But lo there is RadioShack and the promise of boredom relief with toys for boys.

In Scandinavia there is a chain of hardware stores, Class Ohlson, full of nails, screws, tools, computer parts yes even electronic components. They have learned this lesson. They put every store smack bang in the middle of the malls surrounded by fashion stores. A place of refuge and boredom relief for husbands, boyfriends and sons why their girls are gorging on expensive trinkets.

My Swedish friend who's into marketing calls it "day care for husbands".

To keep this all on topic. it would be great if Class Ohlson stocked up on Props and bots and stuff alongside their LEDS, resistors, cables etc.

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For me, the past is not over yet.

Toby Seckshund
06-02-2010, 04:39 PM
The thing that I always loathed was the way that a larger company would move into town with a vast array of high end components right the way downto nuts and bolts. This would kill off the little component "corner" shops and the the large corporate would decide that you only need helecopters and speedboats. We had 4 small shops in Bristol that got swamped by M*****s, I bet it was the same over most of the UK.

It was the same for Hardware shops, Q&Q did for the "Four Candles" too

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eod_punk
06-02-2010, 07:43 PM
Around here at work we say: "You have questions, we have cell phones."

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Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
06-02-2010, 09:45 PM
As much as I hate the current situation, Radio Shack has simply gone where the money is...

There are more sales and higher markup in those cell phones, TV's, and cables than there is in selling RFID readers, and resistors.

Our purchases are not enough to pay salaries, mini mall locations, and overhead.
If we represented more than 60%-75% of the sales, I guarantee they would hire employees who were trained in electronics.

Like I said, I hate it too, but...

OBC

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jazzed
06-02-2010, 10:47 PM
In the US at least, the word Shack was commonly associated with HAM radio in the phrase "HAM Shack" .... As heater points out, it was a place of refuge and the wifey didn't have to hear the incessant key coder clicking. My wife is always threatening to move me and my gear into one of those backyard prefab buildings from HD or Lowes ... I may agree to that soon :)

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Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
06-02-2010, 11:09 PM
heater,

I wish the Class Ohlson concept would catch on here in the States. Not so much the mall part (I would still hate malls), but the mixture of hardware and electronic bits. The local hardware store in my little burg of 7000 does a great job on fasteners: two full aisles lined with drawers and bins. But I still have to rely on the local RadioShack's apparently dwindling selection of components when I can't wait for delivery from DigiKey or Mouser. Perhaps, if RadioShack drops their component line completely, the hardware store will take up the slack.

OBC,

On a gross profit percentage basis ((retail - cost) / retal), I'd bet that RadioShack makes more selling resistors than they do pushing cellphones. The problem, though, is inventory turns and dollars per square foot. I've always thought that getting the components off the wall and into drawers was a good idea. But even the drawers are not going to be a cash cow if the stuff in them is blister packaged for wall display and can't be densely packed in the drawer compartments. If you've got a product that doesn't turn quickly, you can't let it take up a lot of room in the store. That's why hardware stores sell fasteners in bulk out of little drawers.

-Phil

Sal Ammoniac
06-03-2010, 02:03 AM
The Propeller chips I saw in the Concord Fry's were in the same section as the rest of the Parallax stuff (GPS, Ping, Basic Stamp, etc).

I agree with the other posters--it's a shame that Radio Shack has turned into "Cellphone Shack" and has eliminated almost all electronic components. The stores themselves now feel more like miniature Best Buys rather than the feel I remember from the late '60s and '70s.

I live in Silicon Valley, and you'd expect that there would be plenty of places selling electronic components here. Sadly, this is not the case. The only one I know of that's still in business is HSC in Sunnyvale. This place sells components of all sorts from rows and rows of bins in a big, dusty warehouse. Need a 10uF 16v tantalum cap? No problem--locate the bin and count out how many you need. 120 ohm 0.1% resistor? No problem. Surface mount? Also no problem--just find the right reel and cut off a strip containing however many parts you need. They don't tend to stock some of the more exotic ICs, though.

Perhaps this is all due to the maturation of the industry. Fifty years ago consumer electronics was expensive, and people tended to have more free time, so it made sense for many to build a TV from a Heathkit. Nowadays, Chinese factories can build TVs for far less than it would cost for the equivalent TV in kit form.

I'm also seeing this effect in the local mega bookstores (Barnes & Noble and Borders). Ten years ago the computer sections of these stores were easily 5x larger than they are today and you could find books on compiler theory, graph theory, embedded programming and many other topics. Now days, these books have disappeared to be replaced by 100 different books promising to teach you Excel or Outlook in 24 hours.

Dave Hein
06-03-2010, 02:05 AM
As others have mentioned, RadioShack does have the RFID reader on clearance.ˇ I stopped by my local RadioShack after lunch today and picked one up for $10.ˇ The regular price at RadioShack was $50!ˇ If your interested in playing around with RFID now's the time to do it.ˇ However, you have to act quickly because at that price they're going fast.

I did see a few Basic Stamp kits at RadioShack, which was nice to see.ˇ I first got involved with Parallax products when I bought a Basic Stamp kit at RadioShack several years ago.ˇ The Shack website lists the Basic Stamp kit in their "top seller" category.

Dave

jazzed
06-03-2010, 02:18 AM
Dave Hein said...
As others have mentioned, RadioShack does have the RFID reader on clearance. I stopped by my local RadioShack after lunch today and picked one up for $10. The regular price at RadioShack was $50! If your interested in playing around with RFID now's the time to do it. However, you have to act quickly because at that price they're going fast.


This is exactly what I was thinking while waiting for my wife to finish with Target today .... I went in RS, found some batteries for my garage remote and the RFID reader. Unfortunately, the only clerk in the store was helping someone buy a cell phone the entire time I was there! I couldn't wait all day ....

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Propeller Pages: Propeller JVM (http://www.brouhaha.com/~sdenson/PropellerJVM/index.html)

markaeric
06-03-2010, 04:04 AM
I too am a proud owner of various Forest Mimms books, and "mini notebooks". As well as a 150-in-1 electronics kit about 16 years ago. Then about 3 years ago, I finally bought the "Whats a Microcontroller" kit, after eyeballing them sitting on the shelves at radio shack stores across the country.

While I may have a general dislike for the store, and most of the products they carry, it is fair to say that without such junk, they wouldn't have a store on every corner, and thus eliminating any chance for the electronics hobbyist/professional from having the potential convenience of buying a measly component or two. Sure, they're no digikey, but I've been lucky enough to find what I needed numerous times. In fact, I'm surprised that they still carry any components at all! 6 or 7 years ago, I've had the displeasure of working for them (and that's an understatement!), and in those couple of months (all bad things MUST come to an end), I can count all the times someone purchased a component on 1 finger. Needless to say, we never had to replenish the stock in those drawers! Maybe it's the lack of serviceability of most modern electronics, or a declining interest in hobby electronics - I don't know. At least they haven't *completely* abandoned their roots, but still, RIP Tandy.

Mikerocontroller
06-03-2010, 04:56 AM
I don't like shopping at Radio Shack. Remember that irritating battery of intrusive questions they would ask you before they would ring-up a purchase? Just about the time they abandoned that practice they took up selling cell phone plans. More than once I have left the store without completing a purchase because the clerks were tied up dealing with cell phone matters. More and more I find little reason to shop there. Their products are generally inferior and overpriced. Nothing they offer is unique or exclusive. I try not to allow them to "help" me as this just results in confusion and frustration.

blittled
06-03-2010, 06:24 AM
Thanks for the heads up on the RFID at RS. I just bought the last one at my local RS. The bag was obviously opened but the electrostatic bag inside was still intact with all its parts. That's another thing about the RS's in my area, about 10% of their stock is taped up and obviously returned and yet they sell it at full price! At least the RFID is only $10 so I can put up with it otherwise I won't buy a "repackaged" product.

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Will work for Propeller parts!

eod_punk
06-03-2010, 06:36 AM
Here's an interesting article from Wired about one of the last old school Radio Shacks.
www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_radioshack/ (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_radioshack/)

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There is no problem that can't be solved with a suitable amount of explosives!

EOD Memorial (http://www.eodmemorial.org)

Microcontrolled
06-03-2010, 08:16 AM
I like the line: "Once most of us were makers, now most of us are users......the American who built, repaired, and tinkered with technology has evolved into an entirely new species: the American who prefers to slip that technology out of his pocket and show off its killer apps.". I promise, the only time I will be showing off "killer apps", is if they are ones I programmed or they run on a device I designed. I, and most here, are not satisfyed with simply showing off some device we BOUGHT, but showing off something we MADE.

Micro

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Check out my new website!! (http://microcontrolled.propmodule.com/home.html)

Use the Propeller icon!! http://www.proptools.org/images/Propeller.gif

Follow me on Twitter! Search "Microcontrolled"

jazzed
06-03-2010, 08:30 AM
Maybe you can learn how to MAKE killer apps? That at least has some commercial appeal.
Can a Propeller run iPhone apps? If not why not? Could PropII run iPhone apps?

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Propeller Pages: Propeller JVM (http://www.brouhaha.com/~sdenson/PropellerJVM/index.html)

Microcontrolled
06-03-2010, 08:33 AM
Mac doesn't open-source their code any more then windows does. Who knows what the app is encoded in? I doubt that the Propeller will be running iPhone apps any time soon. Also, I have attempted making iPhone apps and figured out there was no easy way to do it without a Mac, which I don't ownn.

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Check out my new website!! (http://microcontrolled.propmodule.com/home.html)

Use the Propeller icon!! http://www.proptools.org/images/Propeller.gif

Follow me on Twitter! Search "Microcontrolled"

SSteve
06-03-2010, 09:14 AM
heater said...
What?! Am I so old? No, he just does not get it.


heater, The Onion is a satire site. The real CEO of RadioShack didn't say those things.

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OS-X: because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows

links:
My band's website (http://www.theuniversalsteve.com)
Our first album on the iTunes Store (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252FW ebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253 Fi%253D267294586%2526id%253D267293499%2526s%253D14 3441%2526partnerId%253D30)
Our second album... (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261.359617850&type=2&subid=0)

SSteve
06-03-2010, 09:39 AM
eod_punk said...
Here's an interesting article from Wired about one of the last old school Radio Shacks.
www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_radioshack/ (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_radioshack/)

The end of the article has a link to the Radio Shack Catalog (http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html) archive. Apparently I spent a lot of time looking at the 1975 catalog because I remember just about every page. Looking through it online was almost surreal!

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OS-X: because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows

links:
My band's website (http://www.theuniversalsteve.com)
Our first album on the iTunes Store (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252FW ebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253 Fi%253D267294586%2526id%253D267293499%2526s%253D14 3441%2526partnerId%253D30)
Our second album... (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261.359617850&type=2&subid=0)

Invent-O-Doc
06-03-2010, 09:41 AM
I worked at RadioShack back in the 80s and 90s in high school and college and it was a pretty fun job, kind of like the job the guys in the hardware stores have but for electronice. I also remember the electronics kits and the TRS-80 and good tandy computers. There were many good times coming up with solutions to people's problems from weird cable/satellite hookups, to electronic circuits, to computer problems or whatever. They used to have good stereo equipment and speakers. It looks like time has passed that outfit by and the employees do not seem very smart like you used to find at many of the stores. It was great to hear that they were carrying microcontrollers and sensors, though.

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Tom Talbot
New Market, MD, USA

heater
06-03-2010, 09:50 AM
SSteve: "The Onion is a satire site. The real CEO of RadioShack didn't say those things"

Ha, got me!

From what I'm hearing here perhaps he should have said those things...

My comments re: "radio" and "shack" still stand.

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For me, the past is not over yet.

SSteve
06-03-2010, 10:00 AM
heater said...
Ha, got me!

A sign of good satire. Taco Bell is another of their favorite targets. This video is hilarious: Taco Bell's New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature (http://www.theonion.com/video/taco-bells-new-green-menu-takes-no-ingredients-fro,14348/)


heater said...
From what I'm hearing here perhaps he should have said those things...

My comments re: "radio" and "shack" still stand.


I'm with you 100%. A few years ago when I went into my local RadioShack to get a catalog and they told me they no longer made printed catalogs I felt like the guy hit me in the stomach.

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OS-X: because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows

links:
My band's website (http://www.theuniversalsteve.com)
Our first album on the iTunes Store (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252FW ebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253 Fi%253D267294586%2526id%253D267293499%2526s%253D14 3441%2526partnerId%253D30)
Our second album... (http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=Nb9I3FbXETg&offerid=146261.359617850&type=2&subid=0)

KeithE
06-03-2010, 12:58 PM
Sal Ammoniac said...
I live in Silicon Valley, and you'd expect that there would be plenty of places selling electronic components here. Sadly, this is not the case. The only one I know of that's still in business is HSC in Sunnyvale. This place sells components of all sorts from rows and rows of bins in a big, dusty warehouse. Need a 10uF 16v tantalum


Well off the top of my head I can think of Anchor Electronics in Santa Clara right down Central Expressway from Halted. You can download their ancient looking catalog from their website. (Actually really close to the NVidia headquarters.) And Jameco up in Belmont. Some of the Fry's Electronics stores have components, but it's not great. Better than the Shack though. The electronics swapmeet still meets at DeAnza - I believe that this Saturday is the date for this month. Although it's not what it used to be. I haven't been to the one in Livermore since the .com days, but I heard that it's still going on.

But for comparison when I was in Beijing last May we called up a distributer and purchased EOL'ed parts for a friend at 1/10th the price of what I could get them for in the US, and they hand delivered them to our apartment. And they worked!

HollyMinkowski
06-03-2010, 07:13 PM
@Ken Gracey

I'd like to read a bio about Your brother Chip http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/smile.gif
You should write one....

Also, I think some sort of small and cheap Propeller kit
that was something like the Ybox project would be a nice
product for you guys to sell to retail outlets. perhaps you
could make it where you could send new code to the eeprom
using a web page interface instead of the 25$ USB dongle you
sell. Ybox with a solderless breadboard area and ethernet
eeprom chip programming...a winner I think http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/smile.gif

Ken Gracey
06-04-2010, 01:30 AM
@Holly.

I HATE the external USB converters and we'll always put them on the PCBs in the future. I'm totally supportive of your "cheap Propeller kit" concept. Just need some time to sketch it out, or to ask the forum members to do that for us. At the same time we need to be careful not to squish the growing 3rd party support we see from other board developers like uController, Gadget Gangster, Mikronauts, etc.

Perhaps David Carrier/Timothy Sweiter's work with on Spinneret will support remote programming via web. And if it doesn't that's okay because it IS supported by Kevin's new WiFi module. The WiFi module is about six months overdue but it's finally nearing production.

And regarding Chip's bio. I need to put it together before too much more time goes by. My dad would certainly have another interesting perspective that I'd need to capture. He could probably identify some of the early behavior that influenced Chip's interests. I've got enough material already, but they are from only one perspective. In his 5th grade class he wrote a paper about how a computer works (?) and the teacher didn't know how to grade it because it was over her head. Or the important role of Mr. Wofford, the junior high instructor who had the room full of Timex Sinclair computers. This teacher was very influential and involved Chip in classroom instruction. But the real entertaining stories revolve around Chip's first product (ISEPIC) and the friends from the 80's computer shows. I am certain a few of these guys were from another solar system. One of the biggest disruptions in our home happened when Chip announced he wanted to buy a used Lotus Esprit Turbo at the age of 17.

More later - I've absolutely got to get back to the "plan".

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
06-04-2010, 01:55 AM
Slightly off topic, but for those who are curious...

Here's a link to an ISEPIC cart and manual..
www.atariguide.com//79/7996b.htm (http://www.atariguide.com//79/7996b.htm)

As I understand, he did the circuit path layout using black tape on a drawing table.
You can REALLY see it when you open the cart and look at the board. Square traces! :)

I still blame Chip for starting me out on my life of piracy. <SMIRK>
Tried to gift him mine at UPENE'08, but couldn't get him to accept it. :)

OBC

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Propeller Feature Projects: PropellerPowered.com (http://www.propellerpowered.com)
Visit the: PROPELLERPOWERED SIG forum (http://www.savagecircuits.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?29-Propeller-Powered) kindly hosted by Savage Circuits (http://www.savagecircuits.com).

ihmech
06-04-2010, 02:57 AM
A few months back I was with my wife visiting her parents and I saw a Radio Shack sign down a side street. I got excited and asked her "You guys have a Radio Shack in this town!" We pulled up to the store and it looked like an old school RS and looked like it had been their for at least 50yrs. I thought finally a franchise store that didn't sell out. I ran in and to my horror....what components they did have was in a small corner with a lot of it on closeout and most of the store was full of scrapbooking supplies and candles!!

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"If it ain't broke, your not trying"

Ken Gracey
06-04-2010, 03:07 AM
@ihmech - RadioShack offers two different types of arrangements: company-owned stores and dealers. The dealers are what you referred to as a franchise. The company-owned stores are located in malls and suburban areas and they don't fall into such a state as you described, but dealers are most common in small towns. In fact, the RadioShack dealer near me (Truckee, CA) just closed up a month ago. Apparently I was the only person who went in there to buy stuff from the back wall. I couldn't find a transistor on my last visit, however.

RadioShack corporate boasts that 95% of all Americans live within 5 miles of a RadioShack. I'm one of the 5% who lives 40 miles from a RadioShack.

RadioShack could survive with some attention to their historical success. Robotics, education, science fair projects and renewable energy are popular concepts that tie their past success to today's interests.

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Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/ParallaxKen for some insider news.

Sal Ammoniac
06-04-2010, 05:41 AM
KeithE said...
Well off the top of my head I can think of Anchor Electronics in Santa Clara right down Central Expressway from Halted.

Wow! I've lived here for decades and never knew this place existed. I'm heading there on Saturday to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

ihmech
06-04-2010, 09:10 AM
@Ken

I find it very sad how things have become. I'm one of the 95% and my Radio Shack is a joke. The guy running the checkout doesn't even know what the parts I purchase are or do. It seems like everything is throw away any more. My Grandfather was a lot of my influence in getting into an electronics hobby and Radio Shack was a big boost too. My Grandfather had a Radio and TV repair business that he started up not long after he came back from the Pacific in WWII. All of his equipment was either a "Heath Kit" or an "Eico Kit" that he built himself. But he was self taught and it truley amazed me. I have some of his old equipment and even his "Eico Tube Tester". I have some old tubes I test just for fun and look forward to sharing it with my first child when he/she is old enough(got about 15 days to go on that first child!). I was going to make electronics a career, but my math skills and the lack of jobs anywhere near me kept me from really diving into electronics.

In the last couple years I have really been getting back into it and its thanks to you guys and gals at Parallax!

I got started programing first with a "WAM" kit, then a BOE Bot, and recently a PE labs kit...how many BOE boards is too many...I have 4 so far and don't think its enough. Its like a sickness, I can't get enough! I was excited to hear about the UPENE in Ohio. I am going to attend in August and wanted to take my Grandfather with me, but sadly his health keeps him close to home. So, I'm bringing a friend and hoping he gets an interest in programing.

I have just about finished my first Stamp project and look forward sharing it with everyone when its finished! It's not as amazing as many of the things that others have built, but its a big deal to me. And I hope to learn some good stuff on the Prop. in August and then dive into my PE kit soon.

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"If it ain't broke, your not trying"

CameronM
06-15-2010, 11:31 AM
ˇAt the fry's in san marcos,ˇcaˇthey had the DIP version of the prop, the edu kit, SchmartBoard Kit (Kind of pre built, almost every thing but the surface mount was already pre soldered). It was allˇover by theˇsoldering irons, and by the other boards made by SchmartBoard.

Sal Ammoniac said...
I was at the Concord Fry's (a large chain of electronics mega-retailers in the Western U.S.) this weekend and spotted the DIP version of the Propeller packaged individually right alongside the other Parallax items that Fry's has stocked for some time now (Ping, GPS, USB-to-Serial, etc.) This is the first time I've seen the Propeller chip itself at Fry's.

The price is $12.99, which is 50% more than the direct-from-Parallax price, but it's still nice to see the Propeller getting shelf space at Fry's. Is Radio Shack next?

markaeric
07-28-2010, 07:23 AM
I was just at the Renton, WA store and without looking, I found the DIP Propeller hiding next to somewhat unrelated products. At least it was packaged pretty well. However, I did not see any other Parallax products, but as I just said, I wasn't really looking. I wish we had that store back in Michigan, though. Got a shiny new multimeter!


Edit: Sorry for the poor picture quality.

BigFoot
07-28-2010, 09:57 AM
We have a Shack around the corner from work and we buy allot of our R&D stuff there.
I learned AutoCad on a Tandy 2000 running Dos 2.0, those were the days when a
10 Meg hard drive was huge.

soshimo
07-29-2010, 04:52 AM
@ihmecc
I know what you mean about the checkout people. I sometimes get very strange looks when I come into RS after a bike ride - all sweaty with my backpack. I go straight to the back and start sorting through part bins. I'm usually after one particular component but end up taking a few. Can you imagine this sweaty, bearded guy, who just came in on a bicycle, dumping a bunch of chips, resisters, caps, and wires on the counter. I can't imagine what this guy is thinking and if his expression is any indication it's probably not good.

I also was re-motivated after many years with the WAM package. I've been going to RS since the early 80s when I got into electronics in high school. After being a sonar technician in the Navy my interest was even more keen and I practically lived at the shack in the late 80s early 90s. I then migrated away from electronics as my software career took off. It was only after a decade that I happened to be in an RS looking for headphones that I saw the WAM kit. I bought that and the BOEBot kit.