#tbt Tom’s Diner and MP3s

Here is a little known fact that I find interesting. The MP3 Audio format was finalized in 1992. While it was being developed, Karlheinz Brandenburg used Suzanne Vega’s song Tom’s Diner as his reference sample. The song was chosen because it sounds flat, has a wide range of frequencies and a large variation in volume. Additionally, the almost-mono…

Omnichrome HeCd 356 Laser

I found an old Omnichrome Helium Cadmium laser on eBay a few months ago and had to have a look at it. HeCd lasers are used to produce UV light and generally output only a few mW of power. Sadly, this laser was broken and never fired. I don’t have the tools to properly investigate the cause…

Wamco KW-105AL

Here is another eBay find that I thought was worth sharing.  This is a Wamco alphanumeric minitron display.  It is similar to a numitron in that it is also an incandescent filament display but the packaging is significantly different.  I believe these devices were primarily used in aviation because of their resilience but I’m having troubles backing up that belief with…