The English language is tricky

I am a bit of a word freak.  Not to the point of being an avid Scrabble player or anything, but I do find the English language fascinating.  So I subscribe to the word of the day email.  It is always a good diversion for a minute or so.

Well today’s word was paean as in

paean \PEE-uhn\, noun:
1. A joyous song of praise, triumph, or thanksgiving.
2. An expression of praise or joy.

Having never actually used this word I was started that it is very close to a homophone for peon as in

pe·on1 \pee-uhn, pee-on\, noun:
1. (in Spanish America) a farm worker or unskilled laborer; day laborer.
2. (formerly, esp. in Mexico) a person held in servitude to work off debts or other obligations.
3. any person of low social status, esp. one who does work regarded as menial or unskilled; drudge.

The emphasis is the only difference.  Make sure you get it right!


Of Resistors and Capacitors

Am I the only one who looks at a schematic and dreads seeing capacitors?  I don’t know if it is really dread.  Maybe it is more disappointment.  It just seems like I always have to special purchase the capacitors, which puts a crimp in spur of the moment building.

When I first started building 3 or 4 years ago, the best purchase I made was not a piece of equipment but rather a $15 resistor pack from Radio Shack.  It is kind of ironic.  But it really was.  I have not had to special purchase a resistor for a project (except for 1% or higher power ratings) since then.  The pack includes at least five of every 5% value 1/4 watt resistor.

But for capacitors, I also purchased the Radio Shack disc and electrolytic packs.  These have been helpful, but because they are a mix and match bunch of values the ability to find what I need is much more hit-or -miss (maybe better said miss-or-hit to represent the frequency.)

Is it not possible to get a pack of capacitors that contain every value?  I think there is also the matter of different types: ceramic discs, metal film, poly, mylar, mica, and on and on.

Then there is the issue of variable components.  If I need a potentiomater I can still go to Radio Shack, but a variable capacitor, HAH!  Better start looking at my catalogs.

Has anybody had a similar experience?  Or is there a good capacitor pack that would help me out?  How about an electronics parts store within striking distance of San Francisco?