Need a Book on the Timex ZX81? Here’s Where to Go

I’d managed to visit San Rafael, California more times than I can count without visiting Electronics Plus in the city’s downtown shopping district. That changed yesterday, when I stumbled across the store and wandered in.

It’s an amazing place–a kindred spirit of Sunnyvale’s Weird Stuff Warehouse–that reminds me of the parts-oriented Radio Shacks of my youth, only a whole lot larger, and even geekier. My favorite section was the book department, which felt a bit like a time capsule. Some of the tomes are a bit worn, but I think that’s because they’ve been baking in the Marin sun for years, not because they’re used–there were multiple copies of some of them in stock. (Electronics Plus has been in the same location since 1970, long before any of these volumes were published.)

If you’re ever in San Rafael, stop into Electronics Plus–and for now, check out the fuzzy iPhone photos I snapped as I enjoyed browsing the books.



  1. John Baxter April 24, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    "…parts-oriented Radio Shack of [our respective] youth[s]…"

    Ah, yes. Boston's downtown and Commonwealth Avenue Radio Shack stores absorbed far too much of my time in the 1957-1962 period (before the purchase by leather goods maker Tandy). Wonderful places–especially Commonwealth Ave which was much bigger. The transistor section appeared during that period.

    Before that, it was Dow Radio in Pasadena, CA, which met my needs–including parts for the obligatory boyhood crystal radio.

    Must visit Electronics Plus if I ever get down to San Rafael again. (And offer them their choice of some of my dust-gatherers, like my IBM 704 manuals, for which I have little remaining use.)


  2. Harry McCracken April 24, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I used to hang out at the Commonwealth Avenue Radio Shack on the BU campus–if it's still there, it's the oldest surviving 'Shack, and larger than most.


  3. jamie April 24, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    great post though id like to see more pics 🙂

  4. Ram April 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    some one should make them ebooks and put them on the internets…

  5. Bart April 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    How many of you remember when hardware & software even came with manuals? The stack for the original MS Office must have been 10" high. As I sit here, I can look up at my bookcase and see my original HP-19C manual and my original HP-2116 programming and hardware reference manuals, among many others. Ah, the good ol' days.

  6. Derek Etnyre April 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    I love going to local Hamfests ( amature radio swap meets). I find lots of old books and vintage computer junque.

    Find the old book fun to read and give me inspiration for things to program…