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.

The Real Story Of The "New" Radio Shack

I'm crushing your store!

It's always dangerous to generalize, but I would imagine that a large percentage of Retro Thing readers have relied on Radio Shack for some crucial adapter, AC power supply, or spool of silver solder to make some cherished old thing work. For many of us Radio Shack was where our fascination with electronics and computers started. The internet is dotted with many such fans, so you can understand the furore heaved up over the recent news that the store is changing its name.

This is always gonna be their logo to me...The story out there is that Radio Shack is renaming its stores "The Shack", and fans of the old brand were furious. I had a hard time believing the reports I was getting - no way would a firm with such hardwon name recognition dispose of it casually. After reading through many angry & confusing posts, I went to the source. That's right, I called Fort Worth, Texas, where all the TRS-80's & those spring-loaded electronics kits came from.

So put aside anything you've heard up until now. What I learned directly from their marketing people is that Radio Shack is not changing the name of their stores to "The Shack", as many panicked bloggers would have you believe. The truth is that Radio Shack noticed that folks have nicknamed them "The Shack," so they are taking on the moniker to use in marketing.

I'll bet the first time machine will use parts from Radio Shack. When a brand has been around long enough to become almost like a friend, nicknames are an inevitable mark of fondness. You can probably think of other brands that have taken on these affectionate nicknames. Coca-Cola became "Coke", Federal Express is commonly "FedEx", McDonald's even call themselves "Mickey D's" in ads (let's ignore nicknames like "Monkey Wards", Little Seizures", and "Arf & Barf", okay?). 

So here's the message from Radio Shack and Retro Thing. Attention all you gadget hounds, geeks, experimenters, even people looking for an adapter to go from an X-10 home automation system to an apricot popover... no need to fret. Your neighborhood Radio Shack is still "Radio Shack", and if you're one of those electronics fans who has always referred to the store as "The Shack," you're about to be joined by many more people.

related:
Radio Shack Executive Decision Maker
Pong system with alarmingly Realistic™ gun
How TRS-80 enthusiasts helped spark the PC revolution

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