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.

Polaroid I-Zone Camera


Always kind of sad to think of something from 1999 as "retro," but when you consider how digital photos have quickly steamrolled every other kind of amateur photography, Mr. Land's instamatic Polaroid film does seem retro indeed.

My father had an early Polaroid camera - it was like having the drug store built right into it. There was a bit of song and dance associated with getting the film out of the camera (pull the picture out, peel off a mysterious black layer, wait a minute, peel something else off, watch the picture slowly develop, apply the stick surfaced carboard backing to prevent the Polaroid from curling, etc. etc.). The process eventually became very simple, but instant pictures lost none of their magic.

Through the years, Polaroid introduced lots of models to inspire folks to use their products for casual photography. Putting aside that Polaroid photos are often a bit blurry, only advanced models had decent lenses, and that the cameras coudln't fit in a pocket or purse, the main problem was that the pictures were pretty expensive.

I-Zone was a line of inexpensive cameras targeted at kids, that dispensed 1" square photos that were also stickers. The cameras came in fashion colors, including transparent (yikes!  a transparent camera!), the one above even had with a color-changing thermal paint job (as evidenced by my thumb print above the lens).

There were a ton of accessories like mini picture frames, a little photo booth, even a mini handheld  digital scanner specifically for uploading the tiny I-zone pictures. Polaroid even created an expansive website for sharing pictures and chatting.  I was a member and even met other who were intrigued by the artistic possibilities afforded by the little photos, but then we were all kicked off for being too old.

Even with this cool hipster product (still too big to fit in a pocket, the film still a little too expensive), Polaroid has fallen on tough times. The newest I-zone cameras are conventional digital cameras, but if they ever come out with one that fits in your pockets and prints photos cheaply then they might have something.

Polaroid i-Zone cameras, digital film scanners and film


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