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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa LX-110 Linear Turntable

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Alcatel Minitel 1 Videotex

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Avia Electronic Watch

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie Phone

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

Citizen Soundwich Radio Watch

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Eagle International Loudhailer

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fisher-Price 826 Cassette

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Giant Light Bulbs

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

GPO Trimphone

GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

Grundig Memorette

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hero HP-101 Intercom

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera



King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Marlboro Giant  AM Radio

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Micronta 3001 Metal Detector

Microphax Case II Fiche

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

Minolta 10P 16mm Camera

Minolta-16 II Sub Min Camera

Minolta XG-SE 35mm SLR

Minolta Weathermatic-A

Minox B Spy Camera

Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

Motorola 8500X ‘Brick’

Motorola Micro TAC Classic

MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

Music Man Talking Radio

Mystery Microphone

Nagra SN Tape Recorder

National Hyper BII Flashgun

National RQ-115 Recorder

NatWest 24 Hour Cashcard

Nife NC10 Miner's Lamp

Nimslo 3D Camera

NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Novelty AM Radio Piano

Olympia DG 15 S Recorder

Optikon Binocular Magnifier

Oric Atmos Home PC

Panda & Bear Radios

Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

Panasonic EB-2601 Cellphone

Panasonic RS-600US

Parrot RSR-423 Recorder

Pentax Asahi Spotmatic SLR

Philatector Watermark Detector

PH Ltd Spinthariscope

Philips Electronic Kit

Philips EL3302 Cassette

Philips EL3586 Reel to Reel

Philips PM85 Recorder

Philips P3G8T/00 Radio

Pifco 888.998 Lantern Torch

Pion TC-601 Tape Recorder

PL802/T Semconductor Valve

Plessey PDRM-82 Dosimeter

Polaroid Automatic 104

Polaroid Land Camera 330

Polaroid Supercolor 635CL

Polaroid Swinger II

Polavision Instant Movie

POM Park-O-Meter

Prinz 110 Auto Camera

Prinz Dual 8 Cine Editor

Prinz TCR20 B&W TV

Psion Organiser II XP

Pye 114BQ Portable Radio

Rabbit Telepoint Phone

RAC Emergency Telephone

Racal Acoustics AFV Headset

Radofin Triton Calculator

Raytheon Raystar 198 GPS

Realistic TRC 209 CB

ReVox A77 Tape Recorder

Roberts R200 MW/LW Radio

Rolling Ball Clock

Rolls Royce Car Radio

Ronco Record Vacuum

Sanyo G2001 Music Centre

Sanyo M35 Micro Pack

Satellite AM/FM Radio

Satvrn TDM-1200 Sat Box

Science Fair 65 Project Kit

Seiko EF302 Voicememo

Seiko James Bond TV Watch

Sekiden SAP50 Gun

Shackman Passport Camera

Sharp CT-660 Talking Clock

Shira WT106 Walkie Talkies

Shira WT-605 Walkie Talkies

Shogun Music Muff

Simpson 389 Ohmmeter

Sinclair Calculator

Sinclair Black Watch

Sinclair FM Radio Watch

Sinclair FTV1 Pocket TV

Sinclair Micro-6 Radio

Sinclair Micromatic Radio

Sinclair MTV1A Micovision TV

Sinclair MTV1B Microvision TV

Sinclair PDM-35 Multimeter

Sinclair System 2000 Amp

Sinclair Super IC-12

Sinclair X1 Burtton Radio

Sinclair Z-1 Micro AM Radio

Sinclair Z-30 Amplifier

Sinclair ZX81

Speak & Spell

Sony Betamovie BMC-200

Sony CFS-S30 'Soundy'

Sony DD-8 Data Discman

Sony CM-H333 Phone

Sony CM-R111 Phone

Sony FD-9DB Pocket TV

Sony MDR3 Headphones

Sony MVC-FD71 Digicam

Sony TC-50 Recorder

Sony TC-55 Recorder

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

Sony Rec Walkman WM-R2

Speedex Hit Spy Camera

Standard Slide Rule

Starlite Pocket Mate Tape

Staticmaster Static Brush

Steepletone MBR7 Radio

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder


Talkboy Tape Recorder

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

Technicolor Portable VCR

Telephone 280 1960

Thunderbirds AM Can Radio

Tinico Tape Recorder

Tokai TR-45 Tape Recorder

Tomy Electronic Soccer

Toshiba HX-10 MSX Computer

Triumph CTV-8000 5-inch TV

TTC C1001 Multimeter

Uher 400 RM Report Monitor

Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

Vextrex Video Game

VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

View-Master Stereo Viewer

Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

VTC-200 Video Tape Cleaner

Waco Criuser AM Radio

Waco TV Slide Lighter

Wallac Oy RD-5 Geiger Counter

W E Co Folding Phone

White Display Ammeter

Wittner Taktell Metronome


Yamaha Portasound PC-10

Yashica AF Motor 35mm

Yupiteru MVT-8000 Scanner


Widget Of The Week

Amstrad NC100 Notepad Computer, 1992

There’s no record of how many people took up Alan Sugar’s unusually generous money back offer on the Amstrad NC100 notepad computer – the promise was that you could figure out how to use it in just five minutes – but for once he was on pretty safe ground. The NC100 was one of Amstrad’s better offerings, a tough, practical portable computer with a genuinely useful assortment of software and features, at a fraction of the cost, and weight, of the laptops of the day. One of Alan Sugar’s undoubted talents in the early days was that he knew his customers. It was configured to appeal mainly to business users with a word processor, calculator and organiser programs (diary, address book, time manager, clock & alarm) stored in the device’s ROM memory. A set of 4 AA cells would keep it running for up to 20 hours, which made it ideal for people on the move and it could be connected to a range of peripherals, including modems and printers. Serious computer users and gamers could even create their own applications using the built-in BBC BASIC interpreter.


Above all the NC100 was small with an A4 sized footprint; it was also light and genuinely easy to use with a near full size QWERTY keyboard. Alan Sugar’s 5-minute claim was actually on the pessimistic side; most users could probably get it to do something useful in under 2 minutes, without any assistance. To compose a letter, say, all you had to do was press the On button and simple on-screen graphics showed which coloured buttons to press (yellow & red for the word processor). The next screen suggested that you give the new document a name then press Return, and you are ready start typing. More options are printed underneath the screen so there is no almost no need to remember commands or consult the instructions. For example, to spell check your document, simply press the yellow & 1 keys and the 48,000-word dictionary gets to work. It also has a surprisingly good assortment of advanced WP functions including Find and Replace, Block Move, Copy and Delete, bold, italic and underline fonts and merge contacts from the address book. The 64kb of built in memory sounds pitiful by current standards but that was more than enough to store scores of letters and documents. If you ran out of space there’s a slot on the side for a PC Card memory expansion module (up to 1MB).


Although the NC100 was powered by an ageing and comparatively slow Z80 8-bit processor it didn’t really matter to most users and it still had a lot going for it. It certainly didn’t suffer from the usual Amstrad handicap of being designed by or for Alan Sugar, with the inevitable cost and corner cutting that generally entailed. This was an existing product, designed and built in Japan by OEM manufacturer Nakajuma. Naturally it was customised for Amstrad and the UK market but the basic hardware, operating system and core software was tried and tested and common to a number or near identical models sold under a variety names in several other countries.


This one was found at a large Dorset car boot sale, covered in a thin film of muddy splashes – it had been raining – which probably went some way to explaining the ‘two quid’ asking price. Under the dirt it seemed to be in pretty good shape and there was no corrosion in the battery compartment so it had to be worth a punt. I curbed my usual urge to haggle and the stallholder unexpectedly produced a soft carry case and manual, making it even more of a bargain. After a quick wipe over with Mr Sheen it came up like new and it worked straight off. The only thing that needed replacing was a readily available CR2032 lithium backup battery.


Even after more than a quarter of a century the NC100 is still a perfectly useable computer. The only obvious disadvantage, compared with present day portable PCs and tablets, is the screen. Surprisingly it’s not the limitations of an 8-line display that hold it back, you quickly get used to that and in practice it’s all you need for creating simple text documents; it’s the LCD’s poor contrast range and grey blue graphics, which make it difficult to read. The lack of a backlight – presumably to save power – also makes it difficult to use in low or indirect light. This wasn’t just an Amstrad problem and similar models, like the Cambridge Z88 and Tandy WP2, also suffered but it didn’t have to be that way and at the time accessory companies were busily selling replacement high-contrast screens with vastly improved legibility


What Happened To It?

Amstrad was an early pioneer in the UK computer market and it had plenty of ups and downs but it will be chiefly remembered for the hugely popular PCW series of models, which first appeared in 1985. By the early nineties, though, was it starting to suffer from increasingly strong competition and its reputation had taken a knock following problems with faulty hard drives. Amstrad’s attention was beginning to shift away from desktop computers to portable devices, video games and emerging satellite television markets, but it hadn’t given up just yet.


The NC100 was part of a hoped for revival and the first of three notepad computers. Unfortunately, in spite of it getting generally favourable reviews it doesn’t appear to have been particularly popular and within a couple of years it had disappeared from view. Not being a ‘first’ or having any especially novel or innovative features prevents the NC100 from becoming a mainstream collectible but give it time. Relatively few of them were made and most of those were probably sent to the local dump or ended up in skips so there are not many of them around. Prices on ebay are still quite low but they have started to creep up lately so if you are interested in vintage computers, and the NC100 represents an interesting and little visited niche in the market, don’t wait too long.


First seen                1992

Original Price         £199.99

Value Today           £10 (1115)

Features                 8-bit Zilog Z80 processor, 215 x 33mm monochrome LCD screen (80 characters x 8 lines) with variable contrast, 64kb RAM, RS232 Serial port, parallel printer port, PC Card socket (memory expansion up to 1MB), external DC supply socket, built-in speaker, hinged stand/feet, software on 256kb ROM (BBC BASIC, word processor, Diary, Address Book, Time Manager, Calculator, Xmodem 

Power req.                     4 x 1.5volt AA cells

Dimensions:                   294 x 256 x 25mm

Weight:                          900g

Made (assembled) in:    Japan

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  7




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