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April 2011

Jameco Electronics Newsletter

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Circuit Skills

Circuit Skills: LED Color Organ

By Collin Cunningham

Follow the next episode in the Circuit Skills series as electronic adventurer Collin Cunningham from Make Magazine rocks the house with an LED Color Organ. Collin's video demonstrates how to create that pulsing disco light effect. Judge for yourself if Collin missed his calling to be a rock star.

Watch the LED Color Organ circuit skills video.

Embrace Your Failure

Greg's CornerBy Greg Harris

I blew it. I made a whopper of a mistake at Jameco last month. I still feel horrible, am embarrassed about the error and I've apologized to everyone. All of us say things like "I'm only human" and "We all make mistakes," but too often these generalized comments disappear when it comes to specifics. That's a problem.

Darwin taught us that the fittest among us are the ones who will survive and survival within a company is no different. Those who make the fewest mistakes generally succeed and too many mistakes mean you are on the street. So why would I admit my mistakes when it would have been easier to cover them up?

The natural reaction is to cover up our mistakes. Or, if we acknowledge the error we'll say something like, "I'm sorry but it's not my fault." When someone says that to me, I get frustrated. What I would rather hear is, "I made a mistake, and here's how we can prevent future mistakes."

I want to take it a step further and propose that the key to success is failure. I know that doesn't sound quite right, but in the paragraphs ahead I'll argue that covering up or discounting our failures may feel like the right thing for our egos in the short-term but it's a mistake for the long term. I'll demonstrate that a culture that embraces and celebrates failure, is an organization that is well on its way to big-time success. And finally, I'll give you some tricks about how to help other people embrace their own personal failures.

Learn how to embrace our failures.

Tech Tips

Tech Tip In the past we've included a tip or two that readers have suggested, but this month we got inundated with clever electronics tips from readers like you. We've chosen some of them to share. Ideas for a fine-point probe, an eco-friendly etchant you can make yourself, plus a daring way to eliminate the need for a solder sucker.

Read some great ideas to make working with electronics a little easier.

Jameco welcomes the contributions of its customers. Frankly, we think what you write is more interesting than anything we could write. Share your electronic component story, project, or challenge, and we'll share it with the world. Send your story to [email protected]
IQ Challenge

IQ Challenge: Hi-Yo Silver! Away!

This month's challenge comes from reader Doug Leathem of La Porte, Indiana. Doug retells an experience from his youth. It starts on a dark and stormy night when he was listening to the Lone Ranger on his trusty AM radio. The radio was in great working order at the beginning of the show. But by the end he realized he could not tune to a new station nor turn the radio off. Can you explain the ghost in Doug's radio?

Read more about Doug's mysterious AM radio adventures.

Make Projects

Make Projects Jameco and Make Magazine have had a long relationship, but we're thrilled to announce that we've taken that relationship a step further. The two companies have joined forces to create a better Do-It-Yourself experience.

Fume Extractor Read about Jameco and Make Magazine's new announcement.

After you get up to speed on the news, why don't you try and make your own pocket-size fume extractor. Make will provide the step-by-step instructions and Jameco can provide you with the kit components.

Learn how to make a pocket-size fume extractor.
Fuel Cell Car

Salt Water Fuel Cell Car

How often do you see "salt water" and "fuel cell" in the same sentence, let alone followed by the word "car." Well, that's exactly what caught Jameco product manager Ryan Winter's eye when he selected this new product to add to the Jameco catalog. Product manager by day and mad scientist by night, Ryan donned a white smock and began working on this inexpensive educational kit. While Ryan hasn't yet succeeded in ridding the planet of its need for fossil fuels, he has found a great project for any budding scientist.

Learn more about the salt water fuel cell car.

New Opto Supply

Jameco made a sweet buy of overrun inventory from Sorenson Lighted Controls. This selection of optoelectronic components is brand new, came to us at a low cost and is offered to you at an attractive price. Obviously supplies are limited.