Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do It Yourself, John

Years ago, Radio Shack was the shop for electronics geeks. I don't mean geeks like we need to go out and by the latest gadget and play with toys. I mean, build your own radio types.

You could get anything there and build any kind of electronic device imaginable for the time. As the home computer market grew, so did Radio Shack, its parent company, Tandy, introducing its own line of PCs.

My first computer was a Tandy. A 386 with I think a 20 mb hard drive and who knows how little memory. Didn't matter. It was top of the line for its time and ridiculously cheap. It was also so minimally tweaked by Tandy that I could do anything, add anything, shift anything and never once have a problem. It never crashed, never froze, never died.

Then, Tandy shifted and decided not to make PCs anymore and started selling Hewlett Packard, it also stopped stocking electronic doohickys galore. In essence, it stopped being Radio Shack and started being just another electronics retail store that will always be a pale follower of giants like Best Buy.

So...when my cable connection crapped out entirely last night and I was left today with very limited television and no internet access I hoped against hope to follow my theory to Radio Shack and find a solution. I was disappointed but not discouraged.

The problem, I surmised was the splitter. So the idea was to go to RS around the corner and get a broad band splitter. Not only did they not have it, they didn't know they existed. A far cry from the old days when a RS employee could tell you exactly how to build your own computer let alone not know something exists.

As it turned out a regular splitter works just fine while I wait for the Time Warner technician tomorrow. So all is well and I'm not all that worked up. But I do miss the more do it yourself nature of the store. And I am glad I got to create that sense myself and fix the issue without Time Warner's help.

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