Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Apr. 22, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1592 – Wilhelm Schickard was born. He would grow up to create an early form of calculating machine called the “calculating clock”, that could add and subtract up to six-digit numbers.

In 1993 – NCSA Mosaic 1.0 was released, becoming the first web browser to achieve popularity among the general public.

In 2000 – The Big Number Change took place in the United Kingdom, changing how phone numbers were dialed in many areas. With the boom in mobile devices, the UK had almost exhausted all possible numbers, and needed the change to increase the pool of numbers to be assigned.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 21, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1962 – President John F. Kennedy opened the Seattle World’s fair by telephone from Palm Beach, Florida. He pressed a gold telegraph key which focused an antenna at Andover, Maine and a Navy radio telescope station in Maryland on a star to pick up a 10,000 year-old radio signal. That in turn set in motion various exhibits at the fair.

In 1964 – Satellite Transit-5BN-3 failed to reach orbit after launch. It carried 2.1 pounds (0.95 kg) of radioactive plutonium from its SNAP RTG power source.

In 1988 – Tandy Corp. held a press conference in New York to announce its plans to build IBM PS/2 clones.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 20, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1926 – Sam Warner approved the sound-on-disc system created by Western Electric and created the Vitaphone company to develop the process to add sound to film.

In 1940 – Vladimir Zworykin and his team from RCA demonstrated the first electron microscope. It measured 10 feet high and weighed half a ton, achieving a magnification of 100,000x.

In 1964 – The first AT&T picturephone transcontinental call was made between test displays at Disneyland and the New York World’s Fair.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 19, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1947 – A report appeared in Billboard magazine of the first public demonstration of the Jerry Fairbanks Zoomar lens. The National Broadcasting Company in New York City conducted the demo and the zoom lens soon became standard TV equipment.

In 1957 – The first non-test FORTRAN program was compiled and run by Herbert Bright, manager of the data processing center at Westinghouse. It produced a missing comma diagnostic. Once fixed, a successful attempt followed.

In 1965 – “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits” by Gordon Moore was published in Electronics. Moore projected that over the next ten years the number of components per chip would double every 12 months. By 1975 he turned out to be right, and the doubling became immortalized as “Moore’s law.”

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