Retro Technology Product Review (From Iraq to the Hamptons)

From Here to There and Back Again

Cool Old School Gagets with an Awesome Story to Tell

I recently spent a week on vacation in The Hamptons, which is a region that occupies the South Fork on the tip of Long Island, New York. We had our friends out for a few fun days that we spent on the beach.

We wanted to hear some music at the beach, so my friend Mike brought along an old set of portable speakers with him. These Koss SA/30 M portable speakers were old, beat up, and sounded great. But that’s not the interesting part of the story.

My friend Mike served in the U.S. Army during the first War in Iraq (you know the one in the early 90s). He was a Communications Specialist who worked with radios in the field. For a while, he was driving around some high ranking officers in a Jeep with no radio. Ever the resourceful guy, he rigged up these speakers and a Walkman so that he (and the officers) could have some music while they were driving around Hell’s Half Acre. He said that he used them for over a year in the Iraqi Desert, and then Alaska, and finally back home for the next close to 20 years.

That’s not a bad run for a relatively inexpensive piece of gadgetry. Let’s see if my fancy new iPod will last that long under far more tame conditions. If a gadget makes that kind of a journey, seeing that type of action, then it’s worthy of my respect.

By the way, it was still mobile in our “old-meets-new” Little Tikes red wagon + iPod portable DJ booth. Good time and better friends.

Here is a picture of myself and my friend Mike sitting at a sidewalk cafe looking unimpressed at the group of young kids skateboarding around town. (When did I get so old?)

Me on the left and Mike on the right.

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2 responses on “Retro Technology Product Review (From Iraq to the Hamptons)

  1. Herbert

    Hey Chris,

    That’s pretty awesome, I like how you compared it to the relative fragility of the iPod. I wish I had a gadget that I can say went along with me through thick and thin; nowadays, we wrap up our products and protect them so well that we can’t feel much of their original texture…

    I like the speakers. They look very raw.

    If I were a decade or two older, I would say that “They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.” Alas, I am only a generation ahead on the skateboarding era (in fact I have tried mastering the skateboard…to my dismay the kids are much better than I am).

    Good pictures, they are key.

  2. Ian

    My older sister gave me a pair of these when I was about 7-8 years old, and I used them well into my teens. I absolutely loved them and was always surprised by their sound quality. I’d probably still have them if I didn’t plug the wrong power supply into them and blow up the amp. I still have the drivers out of them.

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