I was looking for the MAX7221 ICs all over (in Malaysia) and most shops did not carry them. Farnell did have some but it would be in SMT format. I wanted them in DIL format so I can pllug them into normal prototype boards. I wanted to ask some of my friends to search in Singapore but its not nice to do so, asking such favours like that.
Then just two weeks ago, I tried to see if Maxim does have samples or direct purchase. The problem with chip manufacturers is that they will gladly sell you in the thousands but does not have the time for people like me who only wanted a few. Most of the time, I would be pointed to their authorised distributors or regional sales office only to be told that I need to buy in hundreds instead. Haih. But when I came to Maxim website, they now to sell you in any amount!
Which is great and then, an idea hit me. Usually, these manufacturers do give out samples and sometimes, you need to be someone to get it but here, the form was in front of me. Without hesitation, I decided to try my luck and ordered 8 of these Max7221 in SOIC (Surface mount) and DIL versions.
And in just 10 days, it got through customs and landed on my desk! Whoo hoo! I am so happy, I am going to get more Maxim products soon.