Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Hitachi DA-P100; an excuse for musing?

Hitachi_porta_cd2

According to the sticker, this CD player's birthday is April 1986.  While this Hitachi may seem chunky now, in its day it was really small.  I don't know where the DA-P100 falls on the timeline of portable & affordable CD players (I remember no-name portables that were alarmingly cheap in the late 80's), but I'm interested in making a different point.

This CD player is actually one of the most flexible and consumer-friendly devices I've ever seen.  There are three ways to power it; AC cord, wall wart/car adapter mini jack, and batteries.  It has both headphone and line out, a built in speaker, tone control, programmability, an LCD display, a power LED (why oh why did power LED's ever disappear?), even a switch marked "S&P" (salt & pepper dispenser, I expect).

When I look at any number of new gadgets, they often need custom power supplies with custom jacks, difficult-sized buttons each perform multi-stacked functions, no status display or power LED, etc. etc.  Hitachi didn't set out to reinvent the 16-bit digital wheel with this CD player, instead they created an easy to use device, with lots of simple and friendly touches.  And here's the clincher - after 20 years it still works.

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