Hi, purely out of curiosity, is there anyone who can tell me what happened to popular electronics mail-order companies of the 1970s like Poly Paks in the US and BiPak & BiPrePak in the UK? There must have been a trend that killed them off, and caused other medium sized names to shrink while a few grew very large? Is there a book on this element of history??
It's easy to see a trend after the fact, but a reality is that even long standing businesses can go under. There have been some long existing chains here in Canada that went out of business in the past decade or so, and the immediate reaction is "but they've been there forever, how can it be...". The fact that the businesses had been around for a long time does not mean they are impervious to all the problems businesses have, it just makes it a lot more noticeable.
Poly-Paks just sort of faded out. Unlike a lot of things, I can't recall any exact time when it disappeared. I suspect their prime had peaked before they actually closed down.
A lot of their stuff was surplus. They started out in the early sixties, at a time when semiconductors were still relatively new, and so they were supplying things that the old-line stores weren't, and maybe doing it at a better price than a lot of places that did sell the parts (because they were selling surplus). But later, other outlets had come along to sell to hobbyists, either old-style stores adapting or new places starting up, and they were generally better than Poly-Paks. They had a wider range, their prices were good, and they weren't selling things of dubious origins. Say post-1975, there were other places to buy that sort of thing, but the other places had everything you'd need. Poly-Paks hadn't changed much, including their ads, and while you could get an 8080 from them by that point (though I can't remember if they had a better price on them or not), they didn't have all the peripheral ICs or even TTL to put together a computer. ANd as digital logic took over in a lot of things, the projects got more complicated. So while being able to get a transistor in the early sixties might have been neat, or get a PLL IC in the early seventies because you wanted to play around with them for their own sake, as the projects got more complicated the "neat IC" was a lesser part of it all, and my recollection is that Poly-Paks couldn't supply it all.
Their closing down might have been a result of this, or it might have been a result of overbuying something and getting stuck with too much stock and not enough cash, like any business has to be concerned with. Or maybe an owner died, and nobody wanted to take over. I don't know, but there are lots of factors that could have been the issue that had nothing to do with a "trend".
If you think electronic hobbyists are having trouble getting basic stuff consider hobby chemists. With the incredibly stupid war on drugs and the war's even more stupid means of enforcement it is virtually impossible to buy simple chemicals such as acids. In some states, possessing chemical glassware is becoming a felony. Laboratory supply houses like VWR are no longer accessible. UPS is imposing incredibly high hazardous material shipping charges. Suppliers, if you can find them, are loathe to sell small quantities to jerks who might sue them later.
If electronics still used vacuum tubes instead of semiconductors that operate at much lower voltage, selling electronic stuff would open the vendors to too much liability.
I can buy gallons of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids at most any hardware store or Home Depot. Ditto all sorts of organics. Some specific Meth precursors are getting hard to buy, which is good... meth does a lot of harm.
There are lots of mail-order lab-ware suppliers around. What states are you referring to? Have they shut down all their school chem labs, university chemistry departments, pharmacies, and pathology labs?
Tube-type (20 KV color) TV's are still on sale, as are plasma displays, hv backlit LCDs, ionizers, copy machines, neon signs, bug zappers, microwave ovens. And there are plenty of HV fets, diodes, transformers, and power supplies in the Mouser catalog. All that whining is uninformed nonsense.
How many scientific Nobel prizes has Canada scored lately? I can't remember seeing a Canadian electronic or scientific instrument that looks worth buying. There certainly must be some, but there's no obvious glaring intellectual advantage that Canada's advanced social policies have created. You may dislike Americans, but to claim the US is short on intelligence and knowledge is, well, stupid.
Salmon Egg wrote in news:C1F4A71F.614BA% email@example.com:
The UK is far more locked down than the US. While I could buy a small amount of H2SO4 with a motorcycle baterry, it is the ONLY way I can do it, a few tens of millilitres at a time with a waste of hard-to-recycle plastic and lead as waste.
Fortunately, a bit of invention (and good advice) got me the isopropanol and acetone I need for optics assembly cleaning. I gave up on the idea of home anodising because the few places that would sell what I needed are only allowed to sell complete kits here (at exorbitant prices). It's so ruthless that even these will go out of business very soon, once people realise they can never privately buy the acid needed to re-stock their original investment.
There are one or two chemical shops online in the UK, but they offer stuff almost exclusively useful to those who want to make explosives! I researched their names (and associated names found in conjunction) and found more than one forum of amatuer chemists occasionally discussing them. The general consensus is that such sites are fronts designed to hook the stupid would-be bomber. Their owners certainly never answered any question of mine, which they would if they'd had any real intention and ability to sell the stuff.
We do live in increasingly paranoid times. I'm not sure how, or even IF, thius can explain the lack of hobby electronics sales. Maybe it can. A lot of the public is becoming increasingly frightened of science in general.
There's still lots of chemicals available over the counter under the guise of industrial, common or trade names, you just have to hunt them down. There's some websites that help.
Given the vast number of drug labs that they bust (and I guess that might be the tip of the iceberg) restrictions on the procurement of chemicals is an abject failure.
I understood posssion *without lawful excuse* was the offence. A home chemical lab for experimenting surely is lawful Surely it's the same as building a simple 555 timer, it could be used for experimenting, hacking, learning, messing about, or; as a bomb timer. Does that mean that possession of 555's is a felony?
To assess public opinion on creationism, Gallup asked:
Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?
1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,
2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process,
3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?
Polled in November 2004, 38% of respondents chose (1), 13% chose (2), 45% chose (3), and 4% offered a different or no opinion. These results are also similar to those from previous Gallup polls, which extend back to 1982.
83% think it was a god? The war on intelligence and knowledge has been won!
TaeHun Kim Takes Geometry Class At Campus Middle School
DENVER -- A sixth-grader at Campus Middle School is getting big kudos for getting a perfect score on the math portion of his SATs.
TaeHun Kim scored an 800 on the math portion of the SAT, which he took in January at Cherry Creek High School.
"Few high school students achieve a perfect SAT score, but Tae's accomplishing that feat as a sixth-grader is rare indeed. Testing is not completed for 2005-2006; however, last year, no sixth or seventh grade student in the seven western states served by the Rocky Mountain Talent Search scored 800. An average score for the talented sixth-graders eligible to take the SAT was 452," said Cherry Creek Schools spokeswoman Tustin Amole. "Last year, Tae took the PLUS test and achieved the highest math, verbal, and composite scores in the region."
Kim is currently in an eighth grade honors geometry class at Campus Middle School.
"Tae amazes me with his incredible mathematical mind. He typically sees several ways to solve problems. I'm sure we will continue to see great things from him in the years to come," said Kim's geometry teacher Tim Peterson.
Kim is also a member of the school's Mathcounts team, but his interests extend beyond math, school officials said.
"He enjoys video games, origami, chess, and Anime and reads with the same passion he brings to his math studies," Amole said.
What the hell is wrong with YOU? Why are you so threatened by even the slightest criticism, but feel perfectly OK criticizing every other country on earth, not to mention bombing the shit out of many at various times? That's the sign of a very immature people. What next? You'll copy the Germans and declare you are the master race?
For a nation who noisily flaunts your principles in everyone else's face you sure don't like to stand up for them.
Why is being delusional better than being rational? You may believe your asshole is the centre of the universe but don't expect me to worship it - or give it a tax deduction. I'd rather give a tax deduction to doughnut shops - they serve a useful purpose.
For the record, I have never criticized every other country on earth (actually, very few of them, although I hear Tierra del Fuego is unpleasant most of the time) and I have never blown up anything bigger than an M80.
You can't accuse 300 million people, who elect a new government every few years, of sustained hypocracy. Well, actually, you do.
Of course, what you should have said is "I don't care about the original topic of this thread, I'll reply to make some commentary, and cross-post it to sci.electronics.design in addition to the original sci.electronics.components because I'm more interested in this off-topic stuff than in commenting in the original newsgroup about the original post".
Sometims not saying anything is more effective than trying to chime into every thread.
1/3, shared ditto; affiliated with Stanford University.
I don't mean to bash Canada, a nice place with very nice people, but when a Canadian claims that the US is "part of the ongoing war on intelligence and knowledge" I get a little skeptical. This is the same guy who bashes Americans for being fat but won't say how much he weighs.
Guess which country all those Nobels were shared with?