Ghosts of Christmas Past (part three)

 
Another great educational gift I received came from Radio Shack.  If their service were better, and their prices comparable to my local hobby shop, I would probably have given them quite a few of my hobby dollars.  As it stands, they only got a couple from my Mom and my Grandparents–and I did my best to recoup some of these expenditures where “battery club” was concerned.

The gift was a 75 in one Electronics Kit.  It was pretty cool, well organized and fun to put together.  I completed pretty much all the projects in the kit (there are bound to be a few that just didn’t excite me) and got my full value out of the toy.  I have seen modern versions of the toy, but it just doesn’t fill me with any great warmth–maybe it seems too easy.

Sadly, it did not imbue me with a great love for electronics and that is one thing that holding back my progress on my railroad.  I solder only when I have to, and there isn’t anything overly fancy or complex on my railroad.

As I have written, I received lots of educational toys and enjoyed most of them.  These days I have to go to stores that specialize in this kind of thing.  I find them fun and I encourage all of you parents out there to do the same.  There are lots of great educational toys–but they work best when you get involved in doing/building/experimenting with your children.

So Many Cords and Cables

The modern world is an amazing place.  We can do so much more than the generation before.  The only thing is that all of this needs electricity.  No, this isn’t a rant against nuclear power (for rants please see my other blog “The Octagonal Peg” located in the blogs I follow section located at the lower right).  Instead, I just want to lament the need for so many cords and cables.  So, so many cords and cables.

As a modern hobbyist, I have a ton of cords, a ton.  I’ve got adaptors for power for computers, DVD players, video games, tools, soldering irons, battery chargers, air compressors, and train power.  That isn’t really bad, because everyone has cords.  The problem is that I have to also include the staggering amount of USB cords I have.

USB stands for universal serial bus.  Clever acronym, but I have to take issue with the word universal.  Indeed, from the computer connection, it is universal.  Everyone I have fits into the USB slot in my computer.  The problem is, though, every single one of them has a different end that fits into the device.  So, for every modern, cool, hi-tech piece of equipment I have, I have another USB cable.  Perhaps I should be thankful that they seem to only come in two colours (white and black, though I suspect there are some grey ones out there) but it does make them difficult to distinguish when I am in a hurry.  I don’t want to over dramatize the dilemma, but I think frustration is a word that best categorizes it.

Someday, everything will be wireless.  A lot of things already are.  I should just sit back, complain less, and await this day.  Not really my style, though.  Until that day, as I drown in a sea of cords, cables, and other wires, as I occasionally trip over them, I will voice my concerns.