Category Archives: Where to get stuff

Cary/Crossroads Radioshack just another crummy example now

In an apparent about face the Cary Crossroads Radioshack is now missing almost all the stuff that had kept it a huge exception to the rule up to this point. The repair shop is gone, the wall of Littlebits is gone, everything to do with soldering except a few temp controlled irons is gone, all the plastic boxes, perf boards, and other stuff to do with building things is gone, and the wad of Arduino-related stuff is gone except for a few lonely Arduino boards and a shield or two on the near end of the back. Much quizzing of the staff suggests their supply chain is now a hypothetical construct. Quoting Porky Pig, “That’s all, folks!”

 

Alternative short distance rangefinder: measures light transit time, not reflection angle

Here’s a device available on a pair of Sparkfun boards that Rod pointed us and Triangle Amateur Robotics to:

http://datasheet.octopart.com/VL6180XV0NR-1-STMicroelectronics-datasheet-26529471.pdf

Update from Rod: A sensor + ARM M4 eval board for $20 from the chip maker:

 http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/STMicroelectronics/EVALKIT-VL6180X/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvfpQN6QVmrfGjb%252b49cDybCa83Lgq8kEXU%3d

At least one Radio Shack is upgrading itself with “Fix It Here!”

FixItHere

The Radioshack at Cary/Crossroads has set up a cellphone and tablet repair station in the corner of their store. It’s called “Fix It Here!”.  My eyes nearly popped out at the site of state of the art SMT rework tools right there, with a very sharp guy named Matt who knows how to use them. He’s there and ready to fix your broken glass, failed connectors, etc. The phone number is 919 851 0332.

And this particular Radioshack now has a wall full of Little Bits as well as a scrupulously maintained inventory of the other gadgets and gizmos embedded hobby enthusiasts need. I was encouraged that maybe they will adapt and pull out of their spiral.

(I have no connection to Radioshack, but I’ve been buying stuff mostly here since this store was opened. )

Why Indeed?

At a recent meeting Scott Hall told us about a $4 Cypress ARM system that his work group intends to use with a port of  an ultra-lightweight Linux called uClinux. Coincidentally there was a recent blurb on Slashdot about uClinux on a Motorola 68k and here is the article, the related Youtube page, and one of the subsequent (in my opinion, classic) /. comments about this subject. The Slashdot article is here.

cynical

The Amp Hour Redeems Itself Again

The Amp Hour has been terrible for the past couple of weeks. I’ve seriously wished for a refund of the few minutes of attention I paid them while listening and doing other things. ‘Nuff said.

However this week Chris and Dave have added one more data point to the curve suggesting that when they get somebody else into the conversation their podcast shines. This week’s episode is an interview of Eric Van Wyk, an engineer with amazing credentials. The specific Amp Hour web page for this episode contains many interesting details suggesting Van Wyk and company’s “Mooshimeter” will create immediate salivation if you’re part of the TriEmbed crowd.