Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – February 10, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1958 – Scientists at Lincoln Laboratory at MIT bounced radar signals off the planet Venus, calling it the first measurement of interplanetary distances.

1996 – Chess’s international grandmaster Garry Kasparov began a six game match against IBM’s Deep Blue. Deep Blue won the first game, the first time that a current world champion had ever been beaten by a computer opponent under regular tournament conditions.

2004 – While talking about their forthcoming game, Game Neverending, Ludicorp unveiled a side project called Flickr at the O’Reilly Emerging Tech Conference in San Diego. It was a service that melded chat rooms with real-time photo sharing.

2009 – One of Motorola’s communication satellites Iridium 33 collided with defunct Russian satellite Kosmos-2251 destroying both. It was an unprecedented space collision.

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Today in Tech History – February 9, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1870 – US President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill authorizing “the Secretary of War to take observations at military stations and to warn of storms on the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.” This agency operating under the Signal Service eventually became the National Weather Service.

1969 – The Boeing 747 jumbo jet took flight for the first time. It was the first wide-body plane ever produced.

1995 – Dr. Bernard Harris became the first African-American to walk in space. Joining him, Michael Foale became the first British-born American to walk in space.

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Today in Tech History – February 8, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1971 – 10 years after the SEC suggested automation could solve the problem of fragmentation in over-the-counter stocks, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations or NASDAQ index began trading, the world’s first electronic stock market.

1996 – The US Congress passed the Communications Decency Act, part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In part, it attempted to hold website operators responsible for anyone younger than 18 seeing porn on the Internet. That provision was later struck down by the Supreme Court, however Section 230 which provides safe harbor to service providers is still in force.

1996 – John Perry Barlow posted “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” written in Davos, Switzerland. He foresaw a “civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”

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Today in Tech History – February 7, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1817 – The first public gas streetlight in the US was lit in Baltimore, Maryland at the corner of Market and Lemon streets.

1915 – The first completely successful tests of the wireless telephone from a moving train were conducted on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. Spoken messages were clearly heard 26 miles from Lounsberry to Binghamton, NY.

1984 – Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered spacewalks.

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Today in Tech History – February 6, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1957 – MIT introduced the cryotron, the first practical demonstration of superconductivity, invented by Dudley Allen Buck. The Cryotron paved the way for the integrated circuit which used semiconductivity.

1959 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments filed a patent for miniaturized electronic circuits, the first patent for what we now call integrated circuits.

1971 – Apollo 14’s Lunar Module lifted off from the moon returning astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell to the Command Module. Shepard had made extra history by becoming the first human to hit a golf ball on the moon.

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Today in Tech History – February 5, 2017

1850 – The first US patent for push-key operation of a calculating machine was issued to Dubois D. Parmelee of New Paltz, NY.

1944 – At Bletchley Park in Great Britain, the Colossus Mk I attacked its first Lorenz-encrypted message. Enigma had been cracked but Lorenz was a tougher cipher used in communications between Hitler and his generals in World War II.

1974 – The US space probe Mariner 10 returned the first close-up images of Venus and became the first spacecraft to use a gravity assist from one planet to help it reach another.

1999 – Victoria’s Secret’s online fashion show became the first major webcast, attracting an estimated 1.5 million viewers worldwide. Proving even back then, the Internet is for shopping.

Today in Tech History – February 4, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1890 – Thomas Edison received a patent for the first quadruplex telegraph, which could send two messages simultaneously in each direction. One message consisted of an electric signal of varying strength, while the second was a signal of varying polarity.

1998 – Noël Godin, a Belgian who made a practice of pie-ing rich and famous people struck a pie against the face of Bill Gates. Gates did not press charges.

2004 – Mark Zuckerberg and a few other guys at Harvard launched TheFacebook so Harvard students can look up and hook up with each other. They would eventually expand the service to the world. And drop the “the”.

2014 – Microsoft named 22-year employee Satya Nadella its new CEO replacing Steve Ballmer. Bill Gates stepped down as Chairman of the Board at the same time and was replaced by John Thompson.

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Today in Tech History – February 3, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1879 – Joseph Wilson Swan demonstrated the first practically usable incandescent filament electric light bulb to 700 people at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne.

1966 – The Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft landed safely on the moon in the Ocean of Storms. It was the first lunar soft landing and first transmission of photographic data from the Moon to Earth.

2011 – The Number Resource Organization announced that the free pool of available IPv4 addresses was fully depleted. The IANA allocated the last of the blocks equally between the five Regional Internet Registries.

2014 – Facebook launched its ‘Paper’ app for iOS in the US. Paper provided a more magazine like format for viewing Facebook content.

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Today in Tech History – February 2, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1046 – English monks recorded “no man then alive could remember so severe a winter as this was.” Their analog weather blog entry recorded the beginning of the Little Ice Age.

1931 – Friedrich Schmiedl launched the first rocket mail (V-7, Experimental Rocket 7) with 102 pieces of mail between Schöckl and St. Radegund, Austria.

1935 – Detective Leonarde Keeler, co-inventor of the Keeler polygraph, tried out the lie detector on two suspected criminals in Portage, Wisconsin. Both suspects were convicted of assault.

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Today in Tech History – February 1, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1951 -TV viewers witnessed the live detonation of an atomic bomb blast, as KTLA in Los Angeles broadcast the explosion of a nuclear device dropped on Frenchman Flats, Nevada.

1972 – Hewlett-Packard introduced the first scientific handheld calculator, the famous HP-35 for $395. It was the first handheld calculator to perform logarithmic and trigonometric functions with one keystroke.

1985 – Shortly after its founding the November before, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute kicked off operations.

1997 – Dave Winer changed how he displayed ‘Scripting News’ so that it always showed the last ten days 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.

Like Tech History? Get the illustrated Year in Tech History at Merritt’s Books site.