posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 04:25 PM
EE student here:
Far as I can tell, what happened is a combination of the number of varieties of individual parts sold and number of manufacturers have gone up, along
with the complexity of the circuits used in modern devices, while the amount of education and general interest in the subject has gone far down.
There's no profit for radio shack in stocking any but the absolute barest circuit components (their selection for integrated circuits is pretty much
just DIP IC555s and 741), and electronics magazines are definite specialty products. You can still get catalogs, but, with the death of practical
education in high schools, nobody publishes periodicals with schematics for simple but useful projects for beginners and people of intermediate
From what I've seen almost nobody WANTS to know what's going on in their electronics, let alone actually knows.