[Greg Shikhman] is at Octopart this summer as a software development intern. In between the time he’s spending getting coffee for the other devs, he came up with historical pricing for thousands of components available at Octopart
There’s a lot of cool data out there, like this bit of pricing info for a 555 timer. We’re guessing a few people were out of stock of 555s around the end of May, explaining why they were selling (well, available for) $1.68 a piece. If you’re trying to source components, it might be worth your while to check out Octopart’s historical price index. Buying a PIC microcontroller last August was a roll of the dice; in one day the price changed from $5 to just over $2.
With all this data, it’s even possible to data mine for real life events unrelated to shipping and stocking issues. Japanese manufacturer Renesas was hit pretty hard by last year’s earthquake, and this shows up in the historical prices for one of their microcontrollers. Not bad for an intern’s project.