Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Apr. 18, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1925 – The first commercial radio facsimile transmission was sent from San Francisco, California to New York City. It was a photograph showing Louis B. Mayer presenting Marion Davies with a gift.

In 1930 – BBC Radio made the startling announcement that nothing terribly important had happened. Listeners who tuned in to hear the news bulletin were told, “There is no news,” followed by piano music.

In 1986 – Newspapers reported that IBM had become the first to use a megabit chip, a memory chip capable of storing one million bits of information, in its Model 3090.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 17, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1944 – Harvard University President James Conant wrote to IBM founder Thomas Watson Sr. to let him know that the Harvard Mark I was operating smoothly. It was used in conjunction with the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships.

In 1967 – The Surveyor 3 spacecraft was successfully launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida on its mission to the Moon. It was the first to carry a surface soil sampling scoop.

In 1970 – The Apollo 13 spacecraft returned safely to Earth after a frightening malfunction caused the team to abort landing on the Moon and instead scramble to keep themselves alive.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 16, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1959 – The programming language LISP had its first public presentation. Created by John McCarthy, LISP offered programmers flexibility in organization.

In 1971 – Abhay Bhushan proposed FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in RFC 114.

In 1976 – The Helios-B deep-space probe made what was then the closest controlled approach to the Sun at 43 million km or within 0.3 AU.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 15, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1452 – Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists, inventors and engineers in history, was born near the Tuscan town of Vinci.

In 1892 – The Edison General Electric Company and the Thomson-Houston Company merged to form the General Electric Company, manufacturer of dynamos and electric lights.

In 1977 – The first West Coast Computer Faire took place in Palo Alto, California. The star of the show would turn out to be the Apple II. The computer featured a built-in keyboard, 16 kilobytes of memory, BASIC, and eight expansion slots all for $1,300.

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Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.

Today in Tech History – Apr. 14, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1894 – Alfred Tate, a former Edison associate, and the Holland Brothers, opened a public Kinetoscope in New York City at 1155 Broadway, on the corner of 27th Street. It was the first commercial motion picture house.

In 1956 – Ampex demonstrated the VRX-1000 videotape recorder at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention in Chicago. It was the first successful commercial videotape recorder.

In 1996 – Jennifer Kaye Ringley hooked up a camera in her dorm room at Dickinson College and set it to upload a picture every three minutes as an experiment. The JenniCam would eventually reach 4 million hits per day at its peak.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 13, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1960 – The United States launched Navy Transit 1-B. It demonstrated the first engine restart in space and more famously the feasibility of using satellites as navigational aids, proving systems like GPS would work.

In 1970 – The crew of Apollo 13 heard a sharp bang and vibration followed by a warning light. Jack Swigert radioed back the famous words “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

In 1974 – Western Union, NASA and Hughes Aircraft, teamed up to launch the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1. The system relayed data, voice, video, and fax transmissions to the continental U.S., Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the Virgin islands.

In 2000 – Heavy metal band Metallica launched their lawsuit against Napster for enabling thievery and copyright infringement. It was the beginning of the end for Napster and all music piracy. Well, at least for Napster.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 12, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1961 – Yuri Gagarin of the USSR made a 108-minute orbital flight in the Vostok 1 spacecraft, becoming the first human in space.

In 1981 – Commander John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen crewed the first launch of a Space Shuttle on mission STS-1. During the mission the space shuttle Columbia used an HP-41 calculator to calculate the exact angle at which they needed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

In 1994 – Immigration Lawyers Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel intentionally posted to more than 6,000 Usenet discussion groups about their green card services. It is considered the first occurrence of commercial spam.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 11, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1936 – German computer pioneer Konrad Zuse filed for a patent for the automatic execution of calculations, and described combination memory, an early form of programmable memory. Zuse was working on what would become Germany’s first computer, the Z-1.

In 1957 – The Ryan X-13 Vertijet took off from Edwards Air Force base flew for a few minutes and landed. The significant part of the short flight was that it took off and landed vertically, becoming the first jet capable of doing so.

In 1970 – The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched from Kennedy Space Center. The second-stage inboard engine shut down early but orbital insertion was achieved. However the problems were not over.

In 2012 – Pebble launched its smartwatch Kickstarter. It would become successful and lead to the resurgence of interest in smartwatches.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 10, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1710 – The Statute of Anne entered into force in Great Britain. The statute ended the practice of copyright being enforced by the Stationer’s Guild under the licensing act and for the first time granted copyright to authors.

In 1943 – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania began work on the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer known as ENIAC. The machine that was synonymous for years with the word computer, could perform 5,000 additions per second.

In 2003 – British Airways and Air France announced the retirement of all Concorde supersonic jets. After a quarter century of supersonic speeds, passengers in the 21st century would go slower than those who flew in the late 20th century.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 9, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1860 – Parisian typesetter and inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville used his Phonoautogram to record sound onto paper but had no way to play it back.

In 1919 – Presper Eckert was born in Philadelphia. Eckert became famous for his work, with John Mauchly on the ENIAC project.

In 1959 – NASA publicly announced the selection of the United States’ first seven astronauts, who quickly became known as the “Mercury Seven”.

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Subscribe to the podcast. Like Tech History? Get Tom Merritt’s Chronology of Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.