Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Apr. 6, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1917 – Following a declaration of war against Germany, President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order closing all radio communication not required by the US Navy.

In 1965 – Hughes Aircraft’s Early Bird launched into orbit. It was the first communications satellite to be placed in synchronous orbit and successfully demonstrated the concept of synchronous satellites for commercial communications.

In 1973 – NASA launched the Pioneer 11 spacecraft, the second mission to investigate Jupiter and the outer solar system and the first to explore the planet Saturn and its main rings.

In 1992 – Microsoft released Windows 3.1. It sold for $149 and added support for sound cards, MIDI, and CD Audio, Super VGA (800 x 600) monitors, and support for 9600 bps modems.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 5, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1911 – Cuthbert Hurd was born in Estherville, Iowa. He would grow up to work at IBM where he quietly persuaded the company that a market for scientific computers existed. He sold 10 of the very first IBM 701s and managed the team that invented FORTRAN.

In 1951 – Dean Kamen was born in Rockville Centre, New York. He grew up to found DEKA Research in 1982 which developed a portable dialysis machine, a vascular stent, and the iBOT — a motorized wheelchair that climbs stairs. Oh and the Segway.

In 1998 – Long before texting or cell phones while driving were considered a danger, a driver in Marseilles, France was distracted by her Tamagotchi virtual pet. She ran into a group of cyclists killing one and injuring one other.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 4, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1954 – Daniel Kottke was born in Bronxville, New York. He would go on to befriend Steve Jobs at Reed College, assemble the first Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak and work on the original Macintosh team.

In 1975 – Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership in Albuquerque New Mexico. The venture was later named Micro-soft.

In 1994 – Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark founded Mosaic Communications Corp, which they later renamed Netscape Communications Corp. Andreesen developed the Mosaic browser while at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.

In 2013 – Facebook announced Facebook Home, an integarted Android app that took over the home and lock screens. The HTC First would come April 12 as the first featured Facebook Phone to run Home.

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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. 3, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1966 – Luna 10 became the first spacecraft to enter lunar orbit. It completed its first orbit in two hours 58 minutes.

In 1973 – Martin Cooper, general manager of Motorola’s Communications Systems Division made the first handheld portable phone call from a New York City street to Joel S. Engel at rival Bell Labs. Presumably he gloated at least a little.

In 1981 – Adam Osborne unveiled the Osborne 1 at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It cost $1,795 at retail.

In 2000 – U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled Microsoft violated the nation’s antitrust laws by using its monopoly power in personal computer operating systems to stifle competition.

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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. 2, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1973 – Lexis launched Computerized Legal Searching. It was limited to searching the full text of cases in Ohio and New York.

In 1978 – The patent expired on Swiss inventor George de Mestral’s invention of a hook and loop fastener he called Velcro. Soon children everywhere no longer had to learn to tie shoes quite so early in life.

In 1980 – Microsoft Corporation announced their first hardware product the Z80 SoftCard for Apple. It was a microprocessor on a printed circuit board that plugged into the Apple II and sold for $349.00.

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Today in Tech History – Apr. 1, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1976 – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne decided to change their garage project into a company and formed Apple Computer. It would be incorporated the following January.

In 1997 – Dave Winer changed how he displayed ‘Scripting News’ so that it always showed the last ten days worth of posts. In other words the way every blog does it now. Whether this makes it the ‘first blog’ or not it was extremely influential and is definitely one of the oldest blogs out there, predating the term blog, of course.

In 2004 – In one of the best April Fool’s jokes ever, Google launched a real product. Weren’t expecting that, were you Internet? Gmail launched in invite-only mode, making a Gmail account temporarily prestigious in the geek world.

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Today in Tech History – Mar. 31, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1939 – Harvard and IBM signed an agreement to build the Mark I, also known as the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC). It weighed 5 tons and read data from paper tape and punch cards.

In 1993 – Richard Depew accidentally posted 200 identical messages to news.admin.policy while testing some auto-moderation software. It became the first USENET postings to be referred to as spam.

In 1998 – After three years of development and much wrangling with the Warcraft engine it was originally built on, Blizzard released the iconic game Starcraft.

In 2013 – IBM shut down the Roadrunner supercomputer, the first computer to run at more than one petaflop.

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Today in Tech History – Mar. 30, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 240 BC – Chinese astronomers observed a new broom-shaped “star” in the sky. It was the first confirmed sighting of Halley’s Comet.

In 1950 – Bell Telephone Laboratories announced the invention of a new kind of electric eye called the phototransistor. Dr. John Northrup Shive invented the transistor, which operated by light rather than electricity.

In 1951 – The Census UNIVAC System was accepted and subsequently devoted almost exclusively to tabulating results of the 1950 Census of Population and Housing. It was the first UNIVAC and was capable of completing 1,905 operations per second, which it stored on magnetic tape.

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Today in Tech History – Mar. 29, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1941 – 80% of US AM radio frequencies were reassigned to new channels as part of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement.

In 1945 – German soldiers blew the launch tracks for the V-1 rocket site near Letelle, Netherlands, ending the rocket attacks.

In 1974 – NASA’s Mariner 10 became the first space probe to cross the orbit of Mercury about 704 km from the surface.

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Today in Tech History – Mar. 28, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1905 – Cornelius Ehret of Rosemont, Pennsylvania received a patent for the “Art of Transmitting Intelligence.” It was the forerunner of the modern fax.

In 1935 – Robert Goddard launched the first rocket equipped with gyroscopic controls near Roswell, New Mexico. The rocket reached an altitude of 4,800 feet and flew 13,000 feet at a speed of 550 mph.

In 1979- A combination of equipment malfunction and human error caused a partial reactor meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. While no injuries or deaths have been attributed to the accident, it changed US nuclear attitudes significantly.

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