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derFunkenstein
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:49 am

just brew it! wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
I thought you were going to start a catsup-based business

Or canned lab-grown meat.

Those two might actually go together.
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:50 am

Da Shack was my first full-time job after high school, in 1989. I will always have a nostalgic place in my heart for them. Even then I could see their inevitable decline, when they weren't adapting quickly enough to rapid industry changes.

So many cool icons from them though. Trash-80 computers, the Golden Arrow RC car, Mach 2 speakers, Battery-of-the-month...

RIP
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:15 am

I'll always remember the Tandy 1000 HX... I still hear the SQ1 theme in Tandy sound

Arvald wrote:
Closed up in Canada years ago... reopened as the The Source by Circuit City. When Circuit City went down they were bought out by Bell Canada and now run as just The Source.

I dunno how I forgot about that... that's kinda weird. I think it was assumed at the time they'd be converted to Bell stores or something, but that never happened
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:23 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
I thought you were going to start a catsup-based business

Or canned lab-grown meat.

Those two might actually go together.

Mushroom Ketchup and Lab grown buffalo Pemmican.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:54 pm

whm1974 wrote:
So which stores now still sell the old school components? Or do you have to buy everything online now?


Amazon
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:02 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:
I'll always remember the Tandy 1000 HX... I still hear the SQ1 theme in Tandy sound

Arvald wrote:
Closed up in Canada years ago... reopened as the The Source by Circuit City. When Circuit City went down they were bought out by Bell Canada and now run as just The Source.

I dunno how I forgot about that... that's kinda weird. I think it was assumed at the time they'd be converted to Bell stores or something, but that never happened

I have friends who work for Bell who... um... extend their employee discount to friends.
 
BIF
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:17 pm

What was their brand of stereo components...Optima? Optimal? Optimus (not Prime)?

I ended up buying a JVC.

Had Radio Shack rechargeable batteries for the longest time, though was never a member of "The Battery Club". Radio Shack is going the way of the poor dumb Dodo, unable to adapt to a changing world.

CompUSA (and in its reincarnation as a TigerDirect retail store), just simply didn't DESERVE to survive. My problem with CUSA/TDRetail was that they spent more time marking up cheaper components and apparently making up for that by giving the hard-sell on their stupid, useless extended warranty and not enough time stocking parts for the enthusiast. They also had dozens of crappy TV models.

I think CompUSA's death could have been avoided.

Circuit City, on the other hand, should have been closed for fraudulent practices. This bunch of snakes tried to swindle their customers with the DIVX DVD standard, which was basically a movie rental scam. You buy a movie on DVD, at a somewhat discounted price; then can play it on your "special" Circuit City DIVX DVD player for 3 days (I think). After that time, the DVD would "lock", and if you wanted to watch it again, you'd have to somehow make a payment and "unlock" your disc. Supposedly all done through the DIVX DVD player via its phone line connection for authorizations.

So I bought one of these, being completely unaware of what DIVX was. I thought it was like "Dolby" or "SRS"; a feature. But instead, it was a payment plan! I learned this when I got the unit home and read the owner's manual, and I decided to box up the unit and take it back to the store. When I tried to return the player the very next day, the Circuit City staff kept trying to get me to keep the player. I had to talk to 3 people and finally the store manager.

At one point, the manager offered me a cash settlement to keep the player, saying that I could still use the player to play regular DVDs, and just don't buy DIVX discs. This is when I knew that Circuit City had a major problem on its hands, because they must have been under orders to avoid refunding DIVX players in order to keep sales numbers artificially high. It also creeped me out, so I told them I would only accept a refund or else I would have to call my credit card company and dispute the charge.

At this point, they relented and issued me a refund, which (if memory serves) I promptly took to Walmart.

Walmart is still in business, and Circuit City is not.
Last edited by BIF on Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Captain Ned
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:21 pm

Optimus and Realistic.
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BIF
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:28 pm

That's right, Realistic. I had the usual speaker-selector and source-selector boxes over the years, but the best was a phono mixer, complete with bouncy-bouncy VUE needles, level faders, line-in's and a cross-fader. I used that thing to make mix tapes. It was awesome, but I have no idea where it went off to. Now I have software to do all that stuff, but I don't make mixes because my iPhone can do all that stuff.

Wow, I just said Realistic went out of business because my phone replaced the functionality of their stuff. Hmmmm.... :oops:
 
whm1974
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:30 pm

BIF wrote:
What was their brand of stereo components...Optima? Optimal? Optimus (not Prime)?

I ended up buying a JVC.

Had Radio Shack rechargeable batteries for the longest time, though was never a member of "The Battery Club". Radio Shack is going the way of the poor dumb Dodo, unable to adapt to a changing world.

CompUSA (and in its reincarnation as a TigerDirect retail store), just simply didn't DESERVE to survive. My problem with CUSA/TDRetail was that they spent more time marking up cheaper components and apparently making up for that by giving the hard-sell on their stupid, useless extended warranty and not enough time stocking parts for the enthusiast. They also had dozens of crappy TV models.

I think CompUSA's death could have been avoided.

Circuit City, on the other hand, should have been closed for fraudulent practices. This bunch of snakes tried to swindle their customers with the DIVX DVD standard, which was basically a movie rental scam. You buy a movie on DVD, at a somewhat discounted price; then can play it on your "special" Circuit City DIVX DVD player for 3 days (I think). After that time, the DVD would "lock", and if you wanted to watch it again, you'd have to somehow make a payment and "unlock" your disc. Supposedly all done through the DIVX DVD player via its phone line connection for authorizations.

So I bought one of these, being completely unaware of what DIVX was. I thought it was like "Dolby" or "SRS"; a feature. But instead, it was a payment plan! I learned this when I got the unit home and read the owner's manual, and I decided to box up the unit and take it back to the store. When I tried to return the player the very next day, the Circuit City staff kept trying to get me to keep the player. I had to talk to 3 people and finally the store manager.

At one point, the manager offered me a cash settlement to keep the player, saying that I could still use the player to play regular DVDs, and just don't buy DIVX discs. This is when I knew that Circuit City had a major problem on its hands, because they must have been under orders to avoid refunding DIVX players in order to keep sales numbers artificially high. It also creeped me out, so I told them I would only accept a refund or else I would have to call my credit card company and dispute the charge.

At this point, they relented and issued me a refund, which (if memory serves) I promptly took to Walmart.

Walmart is still in business, and Circuit City is not.

I wonder how many DIVX and disc players got sold? I remember there was big campaign warning people about buying these things by the EFF and various consumer groups at the time.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:46 pm

whm1974 wrote:
I wonder how many DIVX and disc players got sold? I remember there was big campaign warning people about buying these things by the EFF and various consumer groups at the time.


You got me curious, so I googled on the terms "DIVX player controversy". Behold the horror:

According to an LA Times Article dated 1999, CC sold 200,000 units and lost, get this: $100 Million.

About 200,000 Divx players have been sold to consumers. Divx owners could buy DVD movies on a disposable disc for about $5 and play them during a 48-hour period. They could then throw away the disc or buy the movie for an additional fee. Divx players also play conventional DVD movies.


I remember now how I HATED the idea of throwing discs away. Then there was that phone line...

Divx also raised privacy concerns because it required consumers to hook their players up to a phone line and provide a credit card number so that the company could charge them for the number of times they watched a movie after the original 48-hour rental period. Consumers also had the option of buying the movie outright.

Yep, it was only 48 hours, not 3 days as I said above. I suppose my memory got fuzzy in 17 years. Or maybe my brain invoked some defenses to contain the trauma...

And this must have been the cash settlement offer that I received and rejected:
To compensate consumers who have paid more for the Divx feature, Divx will offer a $100 cash rebate to consumers who purchased Divx players before the Wednesday announcement. Retailers are expected to cut Divx movie prices in half and to slash prices on Divx players. Divx will keep its server up until June 30, 2001, for Divx owners who wish to play their movies until then.


CNET has a 2002 article about the whole sordid affair, including DIVX's last breath as a company/cosortium/going conern, but I won't post the URL because it has both a survey popup and an autoplay video. The first paragraph in their article pretty much says 90% of it anyhow:

In a nutshell, Divx is--or was--a pay-per-view variation of DVD introduced late last year by Circuit City. Today, Divx ceased operations, partly because of a lack of competitively priced players, partly because of a dearth of hot Divx movie titles, and mainly because of a consumer backlash which can only be compared to the reaction to New Coke.


At least Radio Shack never did anything like that. Did they?
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:59 pm

I thought way more than $100 million was lost by the DIVX/CircuitCity group over this. You know, I ran across a few of those DIVX discs back in my pirating days that I tried to copy/rip but no such luck. I guess since there were not that many of these discs sold and every movie that was on them were also available on regular DVDs anyway, that nobody even tried to break DIVX? I guess it wasn't worth the trouble...

Note, I no longer do not pirate anything anymore, I also don't condone doing anyone doing it either.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:00 am

whm1974 wrote:
I thought way more than $100 million was lost by the DIVX/CircuitCity group over this. You know, I ran across a few of those DIVX discs back in my pirating days that I tried to copy/rip but no such luck. I guess since there were not that many of these discs sold and every movie that was on them were also available on regular DVDs anyway, that nobody even tried to break DIVX? I guess it wasn't worth the trouble...

Note, I no longer do not pirate anything anymore, I also don't condone doing anyone doing it either.


It could have been more. The article I read that figure in was written in 1999, and the saga went on for another 3 years. And it was the LA Times, after all; so a grain (shaker?) of salt may be in order...
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:07 pm

BIF wrote:
What was their brand of stereo components...Optima? Optimal? Optimus (not Prime)?

I still have an Optimus four-channel ProLogic receiver that I got during my aforementioned workdays at a RadioShack. It is, in fact, a rebadged Pioneer built just a few short years before Pioneer stopped building their excellent home audio product line (including the highly-regarded Reference series components) and then, in a fit of pique, started flooding the market with junk car audio components that even Magnavox would have been ashamed to sell. It's only been recently that they've tried to undig some of that hole.

In any case, the receiver was dumped on us by someone who seriously heat-damaged the front panel in a way that jammed the motorized volume control knob, and who then refused both the repair estimate from the Tandy Service Center AND the unit. At the time, one of the benefits of working for RadioShack was being able to order repair parts from the Tandy service catalog at cost, so I repaired the damaged pieces and got a replacement remote control for, in total, about a third of the unit's retail MSRP. The ProLogic feature is nearly worthless now and I eventually had to replace the main power supply capacitors, but it still remains a very good stereo receiver.
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kvndoom
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Re: End of an E®A

Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:42 pm

ludi wrote:
BIF wrote:
What was their brand of stereo components...Optima? Optimal? Optimus (not Prime)?

I still have an Optimus four-channel ProLogic receiver that I got during my aforementioned workdays at a RadioShack. It is, in fact, a rebadged Pioneer built just a few short years before Pioneer stopped building their excellent home audio product line (including the highly-regarded Reference series components) and then, in a fit of pique, started flooding the market with junk car audio components that even Magnavox would have been ashamed to sell. It's only been recently that they've tried to undig some of that hole.

In any case, the receiver was dumped on us by someone who seriously heat-damaged the front panel in a way that jammed the motorized volume control knob, and who then refused both the repair estimate from the Tandy Service Center AND the unit. At the time, one of the benefits of working for RadioShack was being able to order repair parts from the Tandy service catalog at cost, so I repaired the damaged pieces and got a replacement remote control for, in total, about a third of the unit's retail MSRP. The ProLogic feature is nearly worthless now and I eventually had to replace the main power supply capacitors, but it still remains a very good stereo receiver.

Yeah I used their receivers and equalizers almost exclusively for much of the late 80's and 90's. Their speakers really went downhill after the 80's though.
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Re: End of an E®A

Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:13 pm

I managed to miss the whole DIVX thing, and only realized many years later that the thing everyone was complaining about had nothing at all to do with the popular codec suite.

Anyway, from the Wikipedia article...

DIVX (Digital Video Express) was an unsuccessful attempt by Circuit City and the entertainment law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca and Fischer to create an alternative to video rental in the United States.


A pack of rabid lawyers playing at business? Doomed from the start.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:26 pm

NovusBogus wrote:
I managed to miss the whole DIVX thing, and only realized many years later that the thing everyone was complaining about had nothing at all to do with the popular codec suite.

Anyway, from the Wikipedia article...

DIVX (Digital Video Express) was an unsuccessful attempt by Circuit City and the entertainment law firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca and Fischer to create an alternative to video rental in the United States.


A pack of rabid lawyers playing at business? Doomed from the start.

In addition to the various consumer groups, environmentalist groups also raised a big fess over this as well. Didn't want landfills becoming full with discarded DIVX discs. Yeah this thing was doomed from the start as this scam was widely opposed.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:11 am

whm1974 wrote:
In addition to the various consumer groups, environmentalist groups also raised a big fess over this as well. Didn't want landfills becoming full with discarded DIVX discs.

But the AOL discs will get lonely! Won't someone think of the AOL discs?
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Re: End of an E®A

Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:28 pm

I never threw away my AOL discs. They were good for target practice.
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just brew it!
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Re: End of an E®A

Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:36 pm

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:41 pm

just brew it! wrote:
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kwxngw/inside-the-weird-world-of-aol-disc-collecting-511

The floppy disk they used to shipped the client on could be at least be reformatted and reused. Although I knew a few people who used the CDs as coasters.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:03 am

just brew it! wrote:
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kwxngw/inside-the-weird-world-of-aol-disc-collecting-511

I feel sad for that guy.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:01 am

It's a shame, but you don't have to be smart to use technology any more, and there isn't enough demand among hobbyists for rheostats, resistors, capacitors, and diodes to keep the chain afloat (again, because tech has changed). Tech has become a commodity, so a store specializing in commodities has no purpose. I miss the days when any idiot couldn't just log on to the internet.
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just brew it!
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:18 am

Vrock wrote:
It's a shame, but you don't have to be smart to use technology any more, and there isn't enough demand among hobbyists for rheostats, resistors, capacitors, and diodes to keep the chain afloat (again, because tech has changed). Tech has become a commodity, so a store specializing in commodities has no purpose. I miss the days when any idiot couldn't just log on to the internet.

I'm going to have to partially disagree with this. The "Maker" crowd still needs discrete components. It would not have been that big of a stretch for RS to refocus on that market (Arduino/RPi gear, sensors/actuators, etc.); if they had recognized the trend early on and done this, I think there's a fair chance they'd still be around today. The electronics/"Maker" section of Microcenter's B&M stores is physically about the size of a Radio Shack store...

As far as "any idiot" not being able to log into the internet, that went out the window when AOL became a thing.
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:58 am

Even Home Depot now carries 3D printers and filament, along with dog food and car batteries. Now there's a company that's determined to expand marketshare so as to not go the way of Sears or Radio Shack.

Part of it may be the same reason Office Depot carries coffee and toilet paper too--many businesses allow ordering anything from a store on the office account. But I think it's more a corporate philosophy of fear instead of complacency. Evolve or die.
 
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:40 pm

bfg-9000 wrote:
Even Home Depot now carries 3D printers and filament, along with dog food and car batteries.

All the local Home Depots had a brief flirtation with car accessories and then rapidly scaled back. Currently my nearest store has maybe thirty linear shelf-feet of items remaining in a center aisle of the tool department, and it's mostly motor oil and other random stuff that you might buy to maintain other things they sell, such as a rototiller or riding lawn mower. My guess is that particular line couldn't compete with the dozens of auto parts stores, Walmarts, and Tractor Supply Company locations we have around here.
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Captain Ned
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:44 pm

The ONLY reason I go to my local Home Depot, since Lowe's is much closer, is for the hot dog stand where I can get a foot-long big fat chili dog for $3.50.

I once asked Lowe's about this and they claimed that local zoning prohibited them from installing their own hot dog stand.
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:04 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
The ONLY reason I go to my local Home Depot, since Lowe's is much closer, is for the hot dog stand where I can get a foot-long big fat chili dog for $3.50.

I once asked Lowe's about this and they claimed that local zoning prohibited them from installing their own hot dog stand.

Hard to beat the $1.50 hotdog and a drink in the Costco food court. Although you can't get chili on it, it's a decent hotdog. Big and juicy.
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:09 pm

Costco's food court is pretty darn tasty, I'll give you that.
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Re: End of an E®A

Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:27 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Costco's food court is pretty darn tasty, I'll give you that.

I just wish that the pizza served in the food court was the same pizza sold out in the store. The food court stuff is way too thick and fatty, while the "regular" pie is a very good NYC thin pizza (many dinings have been had from that pizza).

That said, they really do need to step it up and add chili/cheese options to their dogs. There must be cans of that somewhere up on those racks.
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