Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Paper-based Google

In Musings on Oct 14, 2012 at 00:01

Look what got delivered (unannounced) here at JeeLabs the other day:

DSC 4171

That’s nearly 3000 pages of product and price information, in a 2 kg package :)

Crazy? Maybe. But there’s still some value in seeing so many products at one glance:

DSC 4172

What would be even nicer, IMO, is a paper version with QR codes so you can instantly tie what you see to a web page, with more information, full quantity pricing details, and engineering specs / datasheets. Or at least a direct link between each full page and the web – that’s just 4 digits to enter, after all.

It feels a bit old-fashioned to leaf through such a catalog, but hey… when you don’t know exactly what you need (or more likely: what range of solutions is available), then that can still beat every parametric search out there.

RS Components have an excellent selection of electronic and mechanical parts, BTW.

  1. So true…

    I have the 2-book Conrad business catalog on my shelf, almost 6000 Pages together. Especially useful, since their online parameter selection is terrible, seems like the person entering the information didn’t care a bit for browseability.

  2. Nothing really beats a paper based catalog, browsing for something that you really don’t know what’s called, but you have an idea of what it may look like, hard to do on the web. And my respect for the amount of datasheet’s available on the website.

  3. you can also ask the Farnell’s and DigiKey’s catalog but check if you shelf can support 4kg more ;-)

  4. QR codes in a catalog would be a total waste of (paper) space, because if you have product numbers and the manufacturers website, you can (almost) instantly tie what you see to everything else. Besides, reading a QR code would be done on a mobile device, but when I’m designing something, I’m using my desktop or laptop. I’m pretty sure that it would be much more of a pain to read a QR code on one of those machines, then it would be to just “type in the number”.

  5. There are indeed times when browsing on paper is a delight – and some things are very tempting to purchase! When I was working in electronic design back in the 1970s and early 1980 we used to get the RadioSpares (as RS was then called) representative visiting about once every three months with a box of new goodies to show. It’s good to see the company is still around and that it’s forward looking (e.g. Raspberry Pi).

    Aside: in A4 magazines a printed image can look a whole lot better than a PDF even on the iPad3, and there’s the feel and smell of the paper. But I still want the PDF on my iPad for carrying round!

Comments are closed.