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.

Oddball Micros: Commodore MAX

Cbm max

Here's another quirky little computer from Commodore. It's not that I'm picking on them by selecting so many of their machines for my "Oddball" series -- they were an incredibly prolific design company, and some ideas were really off-base.

The Commodore MAX (Ultimax in the USA) was released for Japan in 1982, as a follow-up to the immensely successful VIC-20 series. It was envisioned as the low-end mainstay of the Commodore line-up, with the C-64 as their high-end offering. In reality, the MAX was a stripped-down version of the C-64. It was an awful home computer -- membrane keyboard, tiny 2.5K RAM memory, and crippled graphics. Programming in BASIC was only possible with an add-on ROM pack.

I suspect Commodore intended this machine for people who wanted a gaming machine that could serve as a "real" computer in an absolute emergency. The reality was that nobody wanted such a crippled computer, especially when fierce price wars soon forced Commodore to offer the C-64 for only a couple of hundred dollars.

Commodore MAX (northnet.org)

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