SEANFX

Media Rants, Podcasting, Filmmaking, Production, Design

Get Your Geek On Radio Shack

Let Your Geek Fly!

I have a bit of advice for Radio Shack and it’s current struggles.  Let’s be honest, I don’t think you can compete with the electronics stores of today and Amazon.  But you can go back to your roots and get your geek on.  Yes you will have to close some stores.  But you have to look at what made you, you.  All those little parts on the wall that the normal consumers would never know what to do with them.  Don’t you even remember where your name came from?  I do!  If you think you do put it in the comments.

Radio Shack you need to go back to your roots and help everyone’s inner nerd shine.  You still have all those same parts there but only the die hard users know that.  Even to me when I walk in all I see is a cell phone kiosk.  You used to be so much more than that.

  Here’s what I would do.

    1. Go FULL ON NERD!
    2. Hold tech clinics right in the store!  Help your customers build robots, electronics and computers from scratch. Nerds should know how to do that blindfolded. (hum that might be a good contest…)
    3. Put 3D printers and other rapid prototyping devices in your store for people to use and try out.  Maybe you become a real test lab before they buy.
    4. Hold invention contests.  Help them invent and create new stuff. Go all Apollo 13 on stuff. Sell grab boxes and say make something with this, promote the heck out of that!  There is a new nerd movement growing jump on and ride.
    5. Mentor programs.  You know how many older hackers go into stores or at least use too?  What a great way to put an older person to work giving advice and working with young people.  What if they could pass their knowledge down to new hackers?
    6. Partner with Life Hacker, How, DIY Networks and let them build shows around your parts and products.  You’ll be able to sell kits for things you’ve couldn’t have dreamed up on your own.  Then you can show them how it’s really done.  Don’t you see the new age of DIY?
    7. Connect!  I mean really go all out on video and audio connectors and adapters.
    8. Maybe even partner with a coffee or snack shop encourage people to come in and hang out, test, learn and build.

When I was a teen I loved Radio Shack. I loved it when the new catalogs came out, it was my “Sears” catalog.  Let me tell you I spent a lot of time there, so much time there they offered me a job right out of high school.  The manager figured I knew their products and I did!

Look at what I made when I was a teen.  Yes, I’ve kept it all these years.  I built this before I had access to anything like an internet and life hacking websites.  Luckily my Father is a Mechanical engineering and he was able to give me a lot of help and advice.  Every electronic part you see here I got at Radio Shack well other than a few parts I picked up at the local hardware store.

switchboard

This is a light board I build for when I was DJing and working with bands.  It was the low voltage lighting controller for the stage lighting system.  I even had LED indicators so I’d know which switch was on.

 

connection

This is where the telephone lines came in to the switch board.

 

pcboard

 This was the control board I made.  I know it’s not pretty or that complicated.  If I plugged it in right now it would still work.  You can still see the date I etched into the board when I made it.  1986.

 

relays

These are the relays I used to switch the lights on and off.  The great part was I only needed a few extension cords to power the lights.  The controls were near the lights and I ran the telephone line up to the control boxes.  So everything was a very light weight system.  Saving time setting up and carrying things around.

 Don’t forget the Audio and Video Connectors

Like I mentioned in option G. you (Radio Shack) has always been the best place to get connectors.  I could patch into anythings.  Play that up and expand that selection too.  You still can.  It’s my default place to go to get my gear connected up.  Here’s my tackle box full of connectors.  I guarantee every Film or video-maker, audio engineer has one of these.  I even have a mini bag for emergency audio/video patch jobs.  There some contests in there where you’d have people show off their boxes and try to connect things.

connectors

Radio Shack is for the REAL DIYer, it always has been and always SHOULD be.

I made stuff and not just kits I took the stuff off the walls of Radio Shack and I made new things out of it.  I learned a lot!  I learned how to make things, I learned how to make it look interesting and useful.  I learned how these part could work together and what they did. I learned how to use new tools.

I think you’re really missing an opportunity to double down and go real geek. Please don’t turn into a kiosk in the middle of a Mall selling iPhone cases and Bluetooth ear buds.  You’re better than that.  I learned so much when I was a kid.  Your stores made me feel like a mad scientist and it made me a better artist and product designer.

 

 

Drive with a view

image

 

I can’t be the only on who hates being behind an 18 wheeler in a town you don’t know and I can’t read the street signs because of the wheeled wall in front of you.

So here’s the idea.

Mount low cost flexible video screens on the back doors of trailer trucks. Someday soon these screens will be able to go on to surfaces like this just like a giant sticker or wallpaper.

The front of the truck has a camera lens with a similar view a car might have traveling behind the truck. (In a perfect world the lens would change based on the rear car distance.)

From the Drivers POV you can see and read what’s in front of the truck almost like wasn’t even there. The trailer door latches and mechanical parts are still visible so it doesn’t totally disconnect drivers from reality.

Now the question is, do you cover the whole trailer to improve the view from all directions?

Quackers

Here’s my concept restaurant I doodled up called “Quackers”. Think Potbelly and Zoup smashing into each other. I love Potbelly and I like Zoup.  But I think if you serve soup you should offer more than oyster crackers and saltines.

So having an uninspiring cracker choice got me thinking and this is what I came up with.  I think soup should be just as much fun to load up on as Frozen Yogurt, like you would if you went to Orange Leaf.

quackers_small

Restaurant Features:

  1. Dozens of Soup Features Daily.
  2. Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup will be there every day!
  3. Locals get to decide Regulars get to pick the 3rd.
  4. Quack Tops.  ( The seemingly endless toppings bar. )
  5. The Quacker Cracker.  Hey it’s fun for everyone.  Put your chunchables in the top and perfectly crushed bits drop into your bowl.
  6. Artsy fun atmosphere.
  7. Eclectic furnishings.
  8. WiFi yes it would have to be a very friendly WiFi place power outlets everywhere.

Quack Tops:

  1. Crackers, Saltine, Unsalted
  2. Ritz Crackers
  3. Club
  4. Sesame Crackers
  5. Flavored Crackers
  6. Cheez ITs
  7. Gold Fish
  8. Wheat Thins
  9. Croutons ( This might need it’s own bar! )
  10. Cheese. Sliced American
  11. Cheese, grated Cheddar, Mozzarella
  12. Swiss Cheese
  13. Popcorn
  14. Bacon
  15. Green onions
  16. Regular onions
  17. Tortilla Chips/Strips
  18. Crispy Egg Noodles
  19. Sour Cream
  20. Corn Bread for the Chili and bean soups.

That’s a pretty good list so far.  What’s your favorite thing to put in soup?

The WriteLight

The Pitch:

The WriteLight is the size of a ballpoint pen so it fits easily into your pocket and is ready to go just like your phone’s camera. It gives you a an easy to use secondary light source when taking photos with your camera phone.

The Idea:

I work with a few people that love photography, including myself.  We’ll take pictures with anything.  Now thanks to great cell phone cameras I never feel like I’m without something that will capture a pretty decent image.  But I always feel the flash is lacking on these phone.  Look I get it I’m expecting way too much from a phone camera flash.

One day we were playing around with our camera phones and trying out alternative lighting.  Like pen lights and small LED lights.  Then I realized what I wanted was a light that had a bunch of lights like the ones in cell phones, mainly because they are bright.  Since I’m an artist I’m always carrying around pens.  So I came up with the WriteLight.

You can vote on it at Quirky and if we’re lucky maybe they’ll make it!

I didn’t want a light that attached to the camera or supplements the camera light.  I wanted a light that could be positioned any where around your subject work like a video light, add more visual drama and best of all fit in my pocket right next to all my favorite pens.

Key Features:

  • Size of a regular pen.
  • 8 Super Bright LEDS
  • SWIPE your Light. Swipe across the length of the pen to turn on the lights one at a time.
  • The more lights the brighter it will be.
  • Color Knob so you can change the color of the light to add even more lighting effects.
  • Rechargeable by a USB cord or use the USB adapter power supply to recharge the light pen.
  • Has a clip to hang off a short. But could come with an accessory that acts like a tripod.
  • Different finishes to match peoples phones. Chrome, White, Black

write_light_pitch_01 write_light_pitch_02 write_light_pitch_03 write_light_pitch_04 write_light_pitch_05 write_light_pitch_06

Funny faces

Trying something new with Paper on my iPad.  If you’re an artist, have an iPad and don’t have Paper, get it!  You won’t regret it.

My problem is I so many other apps I always forget I do have it.  But it’s a great app to use and I thought I’d used to practice making stylized faces.  I don’t do faces to well but practice make perfect or kind of goofy in my case.

Now I need to go sit in a mall somewhere to get some better reference.

I’ll add more to the gallery as I make more.

My Super Train

I’m inspired by Elon Musk and he’s rethinking our transportation future. So here’s the start of the train system I’m designing. I’ll call it the Zip Train for now.

image

I’ll post a full breakdown of the project soon.

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