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.

Airline Mini Reel To Reel


A client dealt me a vexing problem. It should have been easy. He would like a 3 1/2" reel tape transferred to a CD. I knew about these tiny reels. They run at slower speed than standard reels (same speed as audio cassettes) and were intended for speech; things like dictations and audio letters. 

Audio letters were a neat idea. You'd make a little tape to ship to a friend - the boxes sometimes even had a place to write the address and affix a stamp.  I have a little stack of these audio letters, I just never tried to play them before.  So I just thread it up on my Akai M-8 dream machine and go to town, right?

Turns out that at least in this case, the source recorder seems to have been pretty unreliable speed-wise. I found the Airline tape player pictured above (Airline was the in-house brand of Montgomery Wards, a US department store), and I can see why the tape I've got might be a bit dodgy.  It uses several different sets of batteries for its different functions.  I'm guessing that one set runs the motors, perhaps the other set runs the amp?

I was going to use this player to try to finally get this tape transferred, but there is too much to repair, and even when it's at full steam I don't know that it'll even do the job. I can fix it digitally, but it would be so much easier to repair if I could just tweak it in the analog realm.


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