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'[OT:] jameco and other online suppliers'
2004\07\12@103748 by llile

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Don't you hate how everyone is going to online catalogs?

Obviously it is cheaper for them, and if they have a small stock of items
where the names of things are well defined, it may work well.  However,
this weekend I decided to order an item - called variously a battery snap,
a battery strap, a battery clip and other things, that plugs into a 9V
battery.  Easy!  But try as I might, I could not find a search term that
would bring any up at Jameco.  Frustrated, I went to Digikey, also found
nothing, then to Mouser, where I found one.

"This is fishy:"  I thought, and went back to Jameco.  Drilling down
through their menu system, I finally found the item uder "Bat Snap" and
"Bat Clip".  Phooey.  No mention of the word "Battery" or "9V" in the
title, and no consitency in nomenclature even in the same supplier. "Bat
Snap" Should have been in the Bat Cave, not in the electronics catalog.
This is not just a problem with Jameco it is a widespread disease.

Text searches STINK as efficient ways to find stuff.  If I had a paper
catalog, I would have thumbed through the index, which I can access at a
glance, found batteries, which would not have been abbreviated, and
thumbed a few pages until I found a PICTURE of what I wanted.  The eye,
with a page in front of it, can access the equivalent of hundreds of
megabytes of info and sort through images at a glance in a way that is
completely impossible even with a very fast computer and a fat pipe.

However, there is no browsing through pictures in an online catalog, it is
too slow.  Most search engines produce 20 hits per page, and one has to
load page after of page of irrelevant hits to find their item.

As more manufacturers switch to online catalogs, online datasheets, and so
on, my job as a specifier gets slower and slower.  It is frustratingly
difficult to find anything if you don't know the name for it, not just any
name, but the name or abbreviation the supplier thought of that minute.

Here is another example of an inefficient catalog.  Square D used to have
a nice paper catalog, now replaced by a cumbersome internet based online
catalog.  Square D is a huge electrical equipment supplier, and thier
equipment has frustratingly similar names.  Most people would not know
that an "Insulated Case Circuit Breaker" and a "Molded Case Circuit
Breaker" would be orders of magnitude different in cost.  The slightest
nuance in mis-stating the name of something could lead one to specify an
item that is thousands too expensive.  I was looking in Square D for an
item that I still can't remember the proper name for, and realized there
is basically no way to find it if you don't have the magic word.  Oh, and
Westinghouse and GE call the same item by a different name.

Ever try Google Image Search?  It is a good way to find clipart,
especially if you are not worried about copyright (i.e. not publishing
something or radically altering the image)  however it searches for text
near an image, not for the actual content of the image itself.  It
ludicrously finds all kinds of irrelevant images for any particular
search, because it can't really recognize images at all.  Once again, text
based searches stink.  There's gotta be a bettter way.



-- Lawrence Lile
Electronic Solutions
Project Solutions Companies
http://www.projsolco.com

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2004\07\12@104821 by Robert B.

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Jameco has notoriously been the worst for me.  Its hardly worth searching
for anything unless you happen to have the part number off an old order.
I'm not sure what sort of search they implement, but it could use some
serious revamping.  The funny thing is that I have searched the Jameco site
for a part, not found it, then searched Yahoo! with the same search, which
turned up a Jameco link!  Fishy!  Needless to say, I almost exclusively use
the menu system to find anything useful on Jameco.


{Original Message removed}

2004\07\12@113625 by dpmohne

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Thank goodness that Jameco still produces a semi-reasonable paper catalog,
otherwise they would never get any of my business because of their
frustrating menus, and a search that is even worse.

-Duane


On Mon, 12 Jul 2004, Robert B. wrote:

> Jameco has notoriously been the worst for me.  Its hardly worth searching
> for anything unless you happen to have the part number off an old order.
> I'm not sure what sort of search they implement, but it could use some
> serious revamping.  The funny thing is that I have searched the Jameco site
> for a part, not found it, then searched Yahoo! with the same search, which
> turned up a Jameco link!  Fishy!  Needless to say, I almost exclusively use
> the menu system to find anything useful on Jameco.
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

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