Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Nov. 28, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1660 – 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray met after Wren’s astronomy lecture to discuss the formal constitution of a society of philosophers that would become the Royal Society. It still exists and recently opened its archives on the Web.

In 1814 – For the first time, an automatic steam-powered press printed The Times in London. German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer built the press. The Times quickly pointed out that they would not layoff workers, but instead increase printing, bringing the paper to a wider audience.

In 1964 – NASA launched Mariner 4 toward Mars where it would conduct the first successful flyby of the red planet.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 26, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1894 – Norbert Wiener was born in Columbia, Missouri. He would get his BA in mathematics at age 14 but is most remembered for his theory of regulation and of signal transmission which he called “cybernetics”

In 1922 – “Toll of the Sea” debuted. It was the first color movie that didn’t require a special projector, the second technicolor film ever, and the first in wide release.

In 2003 – The final flight of a Concorde ended when the supersonic jet touched down at Filton, Bristol, England, the airfield where it was built.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 25, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1816 – Gaslight illuminated Philadelphia’s Chestnut Street Theatre, improving on an innovation pioneered in London. Instead of coal the gas was created from pitch, reducing the malodorous vapors caused by the wonder’s creation.

In 1957 – PG&E and General Electric inaugurated the Vallecitos Nuclear Power Plant in Pleasanton California. It was the first privately funded atomic power plant.

In 1976 – The Project Viking landers passed through superior conjunction at Mars, enabling scientists to begin an experiment that used the landers as transponders. The data collected confirmed the Shapiro Delay, becoming one of the best confirmations of General Relativity we have seen.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 24, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1932 – The FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (known then only as the Technical Crime Laboratory) officially opened in Washington DC. It’s location was chosen because it had a sink, and its one employee, Agent Charles Appel had to borrow a microscope.

In 1969 – The Apollo 12 command module with its all-Navy crew splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to the Moon. Credit goes to the USS Hornet for its second flawless recovery effort.

In 1998 – AOL announced it would purchase Netscape Communications, merging what were then two of the biggest names on the Internet.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 23, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1889 – A “nickel-in-the-slot player” was installed at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco, the first jukebox. Up to four people could put in a coin, put on earphones and listen to a record playing on an Edison Class M phonograph.

In 1963 – At 5:16 PM the BBC premiered its new family science fiction show, Doctor Who, with its first episode, “An Unearthly Child.”

In 2004 – Blizzard launched World of Warcraft, destined to become the largest MMORPG ever made.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 22, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1963 – One of the most famous 8mm home movies ever recorded was filmed on a Model 414 PD Bell and Howell in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. The Zapruder film showed President John F. Kennedy and Governor John Connally being shot.

In 1995 – The first feature-length film created entirely using computer-generated imagery was released to theaters. Toy Story grossed more than $350 million worldwide, making executive producer Steve Jobs, very happy.

In 2005 – Microsoft’s Xbox 360 went on sale in North America. The follow-up to the Xbox would become a smash hit.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 21, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1877 – Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a machine that could record and play sound.

In 1905 – The Annalen Der Physik published Albert Einstein’s paper, entitled “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” The paper revealed the relationship between energy and mass. You know the relationship as E = mc².

In 1969 The first permanent ARPANET link was established between the Interface Message Processor or IMP at UCLA and the IMP at the Stanford Research Institute.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 20, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1984 – The SETI Institute, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence was founded by Thomas Pierson (CEO), and Dr. Jill Tarter. No luck so far, but they keep looking.

In 1985 – Microsoft finally released Version 1.0 of Windows. It was considered slightly inferior to competitors like DESQview and the Macintosh.

In 1998 – The first module of the International Space Station launched. Zarya, also called the Functional Cargo Block, provided electrical power, storage and propulsion. It’s now consigned to being used for storage.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 19, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1872 – E.D. Barbour of Boston, Mass. received the first U.S. patent for an adding machine capable of printing totals and subtotals. The so-called “calculating machine,” proved impractical.

In 1967 – Hong Kong TV, the first free over the air commercial television station in Hong Kong was established. Today it is known as TVB.

In 1981 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos banned video games, citing such insidious examples as Space Invaders and Asteroids as a “destructive social enemy, the electrical bandit.”

2006 – The Nintendo Wii launched in North America.

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Today in Tech History – Nov. 18, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1883 – US and Canadian railways adopted five standardized time zones to replace the multitude of local times scattered across North America. It was called “The Day of Two Noons” as each railroad station clock was reset as standard-time noon was reached within each time zone.

In 1928 – Steamboat Willie premiered at Universal’s Colony Theater in New York City. It was the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was also the first official appearance of Mickey Mouse. Happy birthday Mickey, now give us back a reasonable public domain date.

In 1977 – A startup called Microsoft, fresh off developing its own version of FORTRAN, won the right in arbitration to license its version of BASIC, previously licensed exclusively through MITS, makers of the Altair.

In 2012 – The Nintendo Wii U launched in North America. The console did not yet feature it TVii service but did require a 5GB download which took over an hour to update the console’s software.

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