I was thumbing through some of my old del.icio.us bookmarks today, and came across sparkfun electronics again. Man, their coolness doubles in size every six months. $25 for a half-inch square self-contained radio data link, serial interface that you can run with a microcontroller, 3V, built-in antenna. Wow. $6 for a white Luxeon 1W LED ($8 for 3W, $25 for 5W). $5 for a 1W Luxeon that's TWO FRIGGING MILLIMETERS on a side. Holy crap.

And $20 for a color LCD like the ones from a cellphone. And speaking of cellphones, $184 gets you a quad-band cellphone module with a GPS receiver, camera driver, and a python interpreter. Add an antenna, a battery, a serial port, and a SIM card, and you've got a mobile data node. And I think you can even get prepaid SIM cards that can be topped-off online.

(note to self, places like this sell such cards, generally 5 to 20 cents per minute, which can be recharged with scratch-off coupons. And it looks like you can buy them from retail cellphone shops too. They all come with a phone number.. no wonder the phone numberspace is getting so crowded, you can buy them from vending machines in some countries..)

Each time I visit these folks (or browse through the digikey catalog, or just look through my old notebooks), I feel such a strong drive to build something. The delay involved in actually getting the parts usually means I don't get around to doing it. But maybe if I just keep buying stuff and stocking my workbench then the next time I'm in a construction mood I'll have everything I need already at hand and I can just start soldering away...