Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

Digital pioneer

Andrew Kay

After getting his engineering degree from MIT, Kay moved to California and went to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he worked on the development of the Redstone rocket. Kay left JPL to start his own company, and invented the first digital volt meter, which improved the accuracy of voltage measurements. In 1981, he attended the West Coast Computer Faire, which featured the new “portable” computer invented by Adam Osborne (Honorary Unsubscribe, Volume 2). By next year’s Faire, Kay showed his own competing model, with better hardware: the Kaypro II (the “II” to capitalize on the success of the Apple II), for just $1,795 — or, in 2014 dollars, $4,432. It weighed 29 pounds, so most dubbed it “luggable” as opposed to portable. As Osborne faltered, Kaypro jumped ahead and became the largest portable computer company in the world. Using their Kaypros, Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2010: Odyssey Two, and Stephen Case added a modem to his, explored the primitive online world, and went on to create AOL — America Online. But Kay was slow to adopt the de facto industry standard MS-DOS operating system, and his company also faltered, and entered into bankruptcy in 1990. Kay continued to make computers until he was about 90 years old, selling them from a storefront in southern California. He died on August 28, at 95.

Kaypro II computer

From This is True for 7 September 2014


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

About the HUs
About This is True

Subscribe Free
to This is True
Your E-mail:


Oldest: Memory savior Miep Gies

Newest: Comedy Writer Chris Bearde


Complete Name List

Prev: Privacy advocate Hal Finney

Next: Rock producer Cosimo Matassa

Complete Name List

Copyright 1998-2017 ThisIsTrue.Inc, all rights reserved. May not be copied or archived without express, prior, written permission. "This is True" is a registered trademark of ThisIsTrue.Inc, Ridgway Colorado.