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March 2011

Jameco Electronics Newsletter

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The Art of Yelling

By Greg Harris

Yelling A Little Louder I started yelling on the phone the other night at my cable TV provider for what I considered to be horrible customer service. My wife, not pleased at all, felt that if I knew anything at all about customer service, I would have refrained from yelling. She insisted that I could have been more effective if I had been calm. I'm not sure I could have stayed calm, but she posed an interesting theoretical question. Is it ever OK to raise your voice in an effort to get good customer service?

The call began when I saw two charges for the same movie on my bill. In both cases I knew with 100% certainty that no one watched any movies on those nights. When I explained that the bill was wrong, the customer service agent laughed at me. I cut him off and told him his condescending laugh implied I was either dumb or lying. He responded that it was impossible for the television company to make a mistake.

There is more to this story, but space constraints force me to request that you click through to read more. You'll read about me yelling at a Jameco vendor and then I'll teach you how to yell at your vendors... including how to yell at me.

I hope you'll continue reading here...


Vice President, Marketing
[email protected]

The World's Simplest Electronic Light-to-Light Converter?

Puzzler Challenge By Forrest M. Mims III

Physics professor Marcus Lichtmeister planned a lecture on demonstrating how light can be intercepted by certain phosphors or various optoelectronic sensors and transformed into entirely new light. His demonstration included a light-sensitive phosphor card, CCD and CMOS video cameras, ultraviolet and near-infrared image converters.

The optoelectronic devices were much more complex than the phosphor card and he wanted an ultra-simple demonstration of how an LED would glow when biased by a forward current provided by a suitable sensor. He rummaged through his parts and found solar cells, photo resistors, AlGaAs red LEDs, phototransistors, silicon photodiodes, transistors, miniature chokes and assorted resistors and capacitors.

How did he combine the smallest number of components to do what the phosphor card did?

SMT Soldering Nightmares

SMT Nightmare By Anonymous

A longtime Jameco customer tells a fascinating tale about the struggle between man, solder and SMT circuitry. His story of success and failure (actually mostly failure) is sure to make all of the rest of us feel good about our electronic skills.

Learn more about this smoking experience.

Electronic Tips

By Jerome Gunderson

Reader Jerome Gunderson offers two handy electronics tips solving the age old problems, "What do you do if your solder flux gets hard?" and the perennial favorite, "What do you do if you run out of solder wick?"

Find out Jerome's tip of the month.
Letter To The Editor

Turn Off the Lights!

In a recent newsletter we joked that a programmable LED solution was perfect for anyone who was too lazy to take down the Christmas lights because it could be reprogrammed for any season.

We got a note from a customer who is trying to champion the notion that we have too much lighting. Reader Greg Swisher made a number of compelling arguments for fighting light pollution.

Read Greg's letter here.

My Story: Rodney the Shybot

By Ezra Velazquez

Meet Rodney the Red Monster. Rodney isn't just any monster; he's a shy monster. From the depths of Southern New Jersey comes this reader-contributed story about a different kind of robot. A shybot.

Follow this step-by-step project on creating a robot with personality.

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]

Product Update: Solar Solutions

Product Update By Robert Cong

Jameco technical copywriter, Robert Cong, took advantage of some brief winter sunshine to test out the best solar additions to the Jameco line up. As our days get longer and the sun gets brighter, you'll want to read Robert's review of the newest solar offering.

See what's new in solar solutions.