Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Goodbye, Radio Shack?

This is a sad story, but not surprising.

It's been a long time since I visited a Radio Shack store. The last time I went, it reminded me more of a mobile phone outlet than anything else. It seems that over the years they drifted away from being a parts supplier/geek toy outlet to become a generic electronics device store. At that point, I think a lot of people could see the end was near.

The Radio Shack of yesteryear used to have racks of electronic parts (diodes, transistors, resistors, etc.), unique electronic handheld games, radio controlled vehicles, Tandy computers, and electronic kits. The kits were great for learning electronics since they taught you basic circuit design principles and in the later years, integrated circuit logic. The kits also let you build an AM broadcast station, games, sound effects generators, etc. For a kid in the '80s and early '90's that was into electronics or computers, it was great.

Now, of course, many of those items have moved online. Some of the kits live on through a brand called Elenco, and are still available through Amazon. Here is also another retailer the sells project kits. Despite all the changes in the world of technology, it will be sad to see Radio Shack go, if only for nostalgia reasons. Yet, nowadays, there are even more powerful electronics kits available...especially with the development of the Arduino (one among many microcontroller kits out there).

Even if all the stores close out for good, hopefully someone will still maintain sites like this one, which houses all the past Radio Shack catalogs over the years.

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