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.

MasterType: Use QWERTY To Save The Universe!


Because my last name (yes... I have a last name) starts with "B", I was one of the first two kids to use my grade school's new Apple II in 1981.  The librarians in charge impressed upon myself and Andy Amato that we were using a precious piece of equipment, that learning BASIC was going to be essential in our daily adult lives, and that we should ignore the photographers that were there from the local paper.  I'm not even kidding.

2mastertypea_2The school's software selection was limited.  After we'd conquered the primer that explained brave new concepts like "off switch", one of our mainstay programs was "MasterType". Setting out to teach typing skills under the guise of an invasion from space, we actually enjoyed learning how to type.  Alien monsters crept in from the four corners of the screen, converging on our base in the center.  Each alien had a name tag of sorts, and by typing the word you'd unleash a missile in its direction.

It was an effective typing program.  The graphics and sounds were better than what we were used to Atari-wise, so just seeing the game in action was a thrill.  Most importantly we were playing a GAME during school!  I still can't believe that we got away with it.

Totd6Just in case you think that this genre of type-em-up shooter disappeared with MasterType, the Sega Dreamcast had a very similar game in the early 2000's called "Typing of the Dead",  The game uses the same graphics as gory zombie shootfest "House of the Dead", but in place of a gun you use the Dreamcast keyboard to type out strange non sequitr phrases appearing on screen.  The result of your good typing makes a bloody mess of the undead - just like the original game.

I don't know that we should demand that "Typing of the Dead" should be part school curriculum, but you could do worse than bringing back a revamped MasterType.  And no fair letting kids use their cellphone to text in their answers.  Those punks are already way too damned good at that.


Hermes military field typewriters

Thoroughly pimped out classic typewriters

A typewriter that you can still get today



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