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.

Convergence II - Casio VL-Tone


First in what would become a long line of cheap keyboard instruments, Casio's VL-Tone boasts four instrument presets, white-noise beats, a 100 step sequencer - and here's where the "convergence" part comes in - a calculator!

The VL-Tone had some famous users like Devo and Human League, but most recently you may remember a car ad featuring the band Trio's song "DaDaDa" which uses a VL-tone beat throughout.  Besides its novelty and historic value, there's little that makes the VL-tone an interesting "keyboard" today, though you have to admire Casio including some limited sound creation capabilites.

After mention of the VL-tone, people always bring up the Kraftwerk song "Pocket Calculator" - specifically the line "it plays a little melody".  Folks often think that this song uses the VL-tone, but it doesn't.  "Pocket Calculator" is more a tribute to the VL-tone - and why not?  Combining a little synth and a calculator is a great idea.  As cool and flexible as modern synthesizers are today, you still can't use one to figure out how much to tip on a lunch split three ways.


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