Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Oct. 30, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1938 – Orson Welles pwned the US radio audience with his famous broadcast of War of the Worlds. It was correctly introduced as theater but those not paying attention were fooled into thinking the play was the real thing.

In 1987 – NEC started selling the first 16-bit home entertainment system, called the TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem or in Japan, the shorter catchier PC Engine. It was originally more popular in Japan than the FamiCom, which we North Americans call the NES.

In 2012 – Disney and George Lucas announced that Disney would acquire 100 percent of LucasFilm, including ILM, LucasArts and Skywalker Sound. The company also announced it intended to release Star Wars; Episode 7 in 2015.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 29, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1675 – Gottfreid Leibniz wrote the integral sign in an unpublished manuscript. It’s a sign that would later haunt the nightmares of students and be widely misapplied on blackboards in movies. So happy Integral Day!

In 1969 – The first ever computer to computer link was established on the ARPANET. UCLA student Charley Kline sent the characters l and o to Stanford. The connection crashed before he could finish sending ‘login’. The Internet has been crashy right from the start.

In 1988 – Sega launched the Mega Drive console in Japan. It would be released elsewhere in the world later as the ‘Genesis.’

In 1998 – The Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.

In 2012 – Apple announced Scott Forstall would leave the company in one year, and that retail head John Browett had left the company as well.

In 2013 – Motorola announced it’s modular phone project called Project ARA. It would end up becoming Google’s project after Google sold Motorola.

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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 – Oct. 28, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1793 – Eli Whitney applied to patent his improved cotton gin, capable of cleaning 50 pounds of lint per day, and powering patent metaphors and arguments for centuries to come.

In 1955 – A pair of proud Seattle parents welcomed their new son into the world, having no idea he would become one of the most loved and hated man of all time. Happy birthday William Henry Gates the third. You know him as Bill.

In 1998 – President Bill Clinton signed into law the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, making it illegal for you to use computers the way they were designed to be used, if big companies didn’t want you to.

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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 – Oct. 27, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1904 – The first underground New York City subway line opened. The line ran from City Hall in lower Manhattan through Grand Central, Times Square and ended north in Harlem. Rides cost five cents.

In 1994 – HotWired launched bringing with it the first large quantity sales of banner ads. AT&T, Zima, MCI, Volvo, Club Med and 1-800-COLLECT all plunked down for the privilege.

In 2005 – The European Space Agency launched its first satellite, a micro-satellite called the SSETI Express Satellite, designed and built by European students.

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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 – Oct. 26, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1936 – The first electric generator went into full operation at Hoover Dam, about a month after President Roosevelt had dedicated the dam and tried to encourage people to call it the Boulder Dam.

In 1992 – Software deployment issues in CAD, the new ambulance dispatch system in London, caused 30-45 deaths. Poor training, a memory leak and no load testing contributed to the failure.

In 2004 – Apple debuted the iPod photo, capable of displaying digital photographs and album art on a built-in color screen.

In 2012 – Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system went on sale, with its tile-based start screen.

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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 – Oct. 24, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1861 – The First Transcontinental Telegraph line across the United States was completed, ending the need for the Pony Express which had only been around for a year and a half. Pony unemployment skyrocketed.

In 1998 – NASA launched Deep Space 1, it’s mission to seek out an asteroid, specifically, asteroid 9969 Braille. When that mission ended up being only partially successful, it went after Comet Borrelly where it got some choice information.

In 2003 – The Concorde made its last commercial flight, a victim of air traffic reductions and rising maintenance costs. 100 passengers, including actress Joan Collins and model Christie Brinkley, made the flight from New York to London in the aircraft’s usual three and a half hours. Flights have been slower ever since.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 23, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1906 – Alberto Santos-Dumont flew an airplane in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe at Champs de Bagatelle, Paris, France. Some argue he should be credited with the first flight at all. But that’s a long controversy.

In 1995 – A federal judge for the first time authorized a wiretap of a computer network, leading to hacking charges against a young Argentinean for breaking into sensitive U.S. government networks.

In 2001 – Apple announced their new music player, the iPod. Apple used PortalPlayer’s reference platform and hired Pixo to design and implement the user interface. The iPod became the first massively successful digital music player.

In 2012 – Apple announced the iPad Mini at 7.9 inches.

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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 – Oct. 22, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1938 – Chester Carlson, tired of the exhaustive process of hand-copying or photographing patent paperwork, decided to make an easier way. On this date he produced the first electrophotographic image. Xerox would later make it automatic, popular, and make Carlson rich.

In 1968 – The US bounced back from tragedy with the first manned mission to space, Apollo 7, safely splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean after orbiting the Earth 163 times.

In 1975 – The Soviet unmanned space mission Venera 9 landed on Venus. Pics or it didn’t happen you say? Well Venera 9 was the first spacecraft to return an image from the surface of another planet.

In 2009 – Microsoft released Windows 7. People liked it.

In 2013 – Apple announced the new iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display. They also released OS X Mavericks for free.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 21, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1879 – Thomas Edison finished up 14 months of testing with an incandescent electric light bulb that lasted 13½ hours. It improved on 50-year-old technology to make light bulbs safe and economical by using lower electricity, a carbon filament and an improved vacuum.

In 1949 – An Wang filed a patent for a magnetic ferrite core memory, that he called pulse transfer controlling devices. Two years later he formed Wang computers.

In 1983 – The seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures ruled the meter would be defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. This actually simplified it from the previous definition of 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of the orange-red emission line in the electromagnetic spectrum of the krypton-86 atom in a vacuum.

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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 – Oct. 20, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1975 – Atari filed for a patent on the sit-down “cockpit” arcade cabinet, literally putting you inside the game. The game Hi-Way with the slogan “Hi Way — All It Needs Is Wheels”, was the first Atari game to use the cabinet. It was a first-person driver in which you had to dodge cars and– well– drive.

In 1984 – The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in Monterey, California. It not only provided a world-class place to learn about sea life, but inspired millions of screensavers and wallpaper images.

In 2004 – Mark Shuttleworth sent out an email to Ubuntu developers announcing the first official release of the Linux-based operating system, Warty Warthog. Every six months since, a new version of Ubuntu comes out with a new alliterative animal-inspired name.

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