Time was, Radio Shack was a great source of parts (and as often as not, decent advice about many of them) for electronics and computer hobbyists. Apparently the focus these days is more on pushing cell phones and digital cameras. I understand that these are profitable market segments, but it would be nice to see them reach out a bit more to us geeks.
The latest case in point: A while ago, I needed a null modem adapter to connect an RS232 device to my PC. Both devices being DTE, this called for a null modem adapter. I checked online and Radio Shack actually still carried them, so I went by the store and picked one up.
It works fine (they’re so simple that there’s really nothing to go wrong), but I made the mistake of actually reading the package (I must have been bored on the train or something). Somehow, they managed to get the description *exactly* wrong…
Null modem adapters aren’t “used to connect a modem to your computer.” They’re used when you’re connecting a NON-modem device to your computer — hence the term, null modem (as in no modem.) How did such a howler get through the whole production process? Does nobody in QA know what a null modem adapter does, anymore?
At least it has a “macho” connector.