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.

Transformers (Sort Of) Padlock (Sort Of)

Lock man openI wasn't the right age to be fascinated with Transformers when they were new, though I did like a lot of the early all-metal robot toys. It was almost like a three dimensional puzzle, and when you were done you could admire the cleverness of a racecar that turned into a robot. Quickly the knockoffs came, with often shamefully poor representations of the transforming robot concept, and looked lbad whether vehicle or robot.

Lock man package miniIn addition to the little vehicles, there were also converting toys that were in real-world scale. In the original toyline, the lead bad guy, Megatron, transformed into a kid-sized chrome handgun (which seems almost unimaginable now...) - way out of scale with the rest of the lineup of cars and jets and so on. They came up with an explanation of sorts in the cartoon, but since the big-budget films, they've neatly avoided those weird size issues by redefining many of the stock players.

The movies don't seem to feel any obligation to stick to the specific robot forms of the old characters. Now pretty much any earthly object can become a transforming robot thanks to the Cybertron mojo that hops into it (I think... those movies are darned confusing at times...). This new approach feels to me a bit like Frosty the Snowman coming to life thanks to that magic hat, but Transformers fans really don't like it when I say stuff like that.

Lock-man lockedThis knockoff transforming toy is named "Lock-Man" (how many memos got passed around to approve THAT name?) by a company called Four Star. By day, he is a mild-mannered ineffective all-metal padlock (Why "ineffective"? That dial on the front does nothing. The lock opens with a button on the side). However when trouble strikes, he transforms into the Johnny Long Torso of robots. But to help you, he'd have to unlock himself to run to your rescue - right? Wouldn't that leave your valuables unprotected? Seems like the Decepticons would have figured that out too.

I have to admit that even with my fondness for odd ideas (you're looking at a whole website full of 'em!), and poorly thought out rip-off products, Lock-Man is pretty lame - even for a knockoff (the original design is Bandai's "Metal Joe"). But at least he's not a Go-Bot, okay?



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