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I remember spending much of my pre-teen and teen years flipping and drooling in the once defacto electronics guide, The Radio Shack Catalog.  No always the best products, but it sure had everything.

I have been introduced to a website archiving all of these great catalogs, and it’s been fun looking at all those products again.  I am amazed at how many I still have; which still work!

The TRS-80, one of the first computers I fiddled with.  STA-7 stereo receiver, which is still in use today.  Liner tracking turntable.  Chronomatic 248 clock radio (introduced in the 1986 catalog).

What items do you still have and use?  What items do you remember the most?

I would like to get a Wii for my son this Christmas (OK, for me too), but it doesn’t look like they are going to be available anywhere. It doesn’t seems any stores are selling them, and the places online who are selling them, are charging too much. What gives, what is with this consistent Wii shortage? Some may say that it’s planed by Nintendo, but what do they have to gain, people want it, lots of people do, but they can’t get it. We are members of the YMCA, they have a Wii in the kids area and all the kids love it. Even they would like to buy a second (or third) machine, but can’t because they can’t find them. This is really frustrating.

Joel Spolsky wrote in his blog recently about visiting the new 7 World Trade Center building. The basis of the entry was about the elevator technology used in the building, I found this very interesting. Basically you choose your floor from the lobby and you will be directed to which elevator to wait for, thus grouping like floor requests together. Great idea. Joel, in his analytical way, found a bug with this system as such:

People who aren’t used to the new system come into the lobby and see an elevator with an open door. They jump into it, and then get stuck going to some random floor because they can’t key in their destination once they’re inside.

At first read, I thought, sure that could be an issue, then contemplated it for a moment. Joel is thinking about how elevators work now, where a door would be left open for convenience. This wouldn’t be the case in the new system as a floor needs to be chosen first. OK, small oversight on my part–there are already people in the elevator, and someone is running for it (no chance this person will wait another 2 minutes for the next elevator). The leap through the threshold before the door closes, of course causing it to open and forcing all on the elevator to wait until it closes. Now I see how this person has a very small chance to get to the floor they desire. So I guess the users learn to enter their floor first after their first building tour, kind of a hammer over the head approach.

I have a feeling a keypad will be installed on the inside of these elevators as enough people complain, or they will just have to remember and conform. It does sound like an efficient system for a large busy office building. Perhaps I will try to look this up, perhaps at Otis.

I found this at the Otis site, its a system called “Compass™ destination entry” I am curious to here their response to the hurried passenger who jumps into a car to find no floor selectors.

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