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.

Sony VCD Video Player

Sony_vcd_ve700_player Video CD, or VCD, is a more or less forgotten video format.  The tech specs aren't too impressive today, displaying only a quarter of broadcast resolution (putting it somewhat lower than VHS quality) using Mpeg1 compression.  Invented in '93, it never really caught on in North America, but was huge throughout Asia.  Since VCD is video material on a regular CD, the media is very low cost, fast to replicate, and more reliable than VHS.

These qualities also made VCD's insanely popular with bootleggers.  Throughout Asian countries, and even at flea markets here in the US, it was easy to find barrels full of illegal VCD's.  While standalone players like the one picture never sold well in the US, pretty much every DVD player ever made has VCD compatibility built in.  Before DVD recorders & media were affordable, the VCD format hung on as an underground format for cheap copies of Hollywood movies that would play in any DVD player.

Today VCD has given way to cheap DVD replication.  DVD's higher quality and interactivity have made it easy to roll over the VCD format, now quite long in the tooth.  There is an S-VCD format that is much higher quality that can fit a whole feature film onto a single CD with limited interactivity, but DVD's have deservedly own the war.  The only place I've still seen VCD's in use is in Karaoke CD's that also play cheesy music videos while you croak along, and I've seen them in a few multi-media kiosks (the origin of the above VCD player).

More geekery about VCD


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