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.

Chunky Compaq Portable

Join me on a trip back to the Dark Ages -- January 1983, to be precise, and the introduction of the Compaq Portable computer. The Portable had the distinction of being the first IBM-PC clone to include a legally reverse-engineered version of the IBM BIOS (low level system routines). The work-alike system software cost $1 million and took a year to write, but avoided the wrath of IBM's legal department.

The luggable Compaq gave users the ability to take a truly IBM compatible computer with them wherever they travelled and was an instant hit. Compaq sold 53,000 units by the end of 1993, bringing in over $110 million.

The machine's specifications are laughable by today's standards: 4.77 MHz processor, 128K RAM , and two 5 1/4" floppy drives. The Plus model (October 1983) added a 'gigantic' 10 MB hard drive. The9 inch CRT display cames in a gorgeous shade of green and featured the revolutionary ability to switch between MGA (hi-rez monochrome) and CGA (ghastly low-rez "color" mode).

At 34 lbs, this machine stretches the meaning of 'portable,' but it did offer a wicked arm workout.

Compaq Portable (oldcomputers.net)


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