Today in Tech History

Today in Tech History – Oct. 14, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1884 – US inventor George Eastman received a patent on his new paper-strip photographic film. It would reign for over 100 years until digital stole its thunder.

In 1977 – The Atari 2600 was released in North America, though it may have been available in Macy’s and Sears on September 11.

In 1985 – The first official reference guide for the C++ programming language was published. It was written by the language’s creator, Bjarne Stroustrup.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 13, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1884 – Geographers and astronomers adopted Greenwich as the Prime Meridian, making it the International standard for zero degrees longitude. Today the Greenwich observatory shoots a laser northwards at night to indicate the meridian. It is not a dangerous laser.

In 1983 – Bob Barnett, president of Ameritech Mobile communications, called Alexander Graham Bell’s nephew from Chicago’s Soldier Field using a Motorola DynaTAC handset. It marked the launch of the first cellular telephone network in the US.

In 1985 – The first observation of a proton-antiproton collision was made by the Collider Detector at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

In 2000 – Tristan Louis suggested sound and video tags be added to the 0.92 spec for RSS feeds. This led to enclosures which allowed media files to be delivered through RSS and paved the way for podcasting.

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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. 12, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was first published unleashing in book form the world of Vogon Poetry, essential towel behaviour, and the BabelFish.

In 2001 – An era ended as the Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection, killed off by 1-hour developing and the rise of digital cameras. Bank One bought most of the company and re-launched a company that went on to stop making cameras and film.

In 2003 – Adam Curry posted an AppleScript called RSS2iPod that took MP3s downloaded by RSS to a folder and automatically transferred them to a connected iPod. Christopher Lydon’s Radio UserLand was used as the example.

In 2005 – After previously assuring us nobody wanted to watch videos on an iPod, Steve Jobs reversed course and Apple started making videos available on iTunes. ABC/Disney was the only TV network available at the time but you could get episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives the day after they aired.

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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. 11, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1950 – CBS’s mechanical color system is the first to be licensed for broadcast by the FCC. Color TV would not become widespread until the late 1960s.

In 1957 – The Jodrell Bank observatory, with the world’s largest radio telescope, designed by Sir Bernard Lovell, began operation. It’s first job was to track the just-launched Sputnik satellite.

In 1958 – NASA launched the lunar probe Pioneer 1 the first of the Pioneer program. It didn’t get very far, falling back to Earth and burning up in the atmosphere.

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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. 10, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1964 – The opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics in Tokyo became the first Olympic broadcast relayed live by geostationary communication satellite. Too bad the US networks gave up on live broadcasts of the Olympics.

In 1967 – The Outer Space Treaty came into force, banning nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction being placed in Earth orbit or on any other celestial body. It also prevents any state from claiming a sovereignty over any celestial resource like the Moon.

In 1995 – The Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrapped up “A Day in the Life of Cyberspace” an attempt to chronicle what people did online that day.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 9, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1876 – The first two-way telephone conversation occurred over outdoor wires between Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Watson. They used a two-mile telegraph line linking Boston and East Cambridge.

In 1947 – Eckert-Mauchly Computer Co. signed a contract with Northrop to develop the BINary Automatic Computer. BINAC was the only computer ever built by the company founded by ENIAC pioneers J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly.

In 2009 – The first lunar impact of the Centaur and LCROSS spacecrafts kicked up some dust as part of NASA’s Lunar precursor Robotic program. The impact has led to greater certainty that there is water on the moon.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 8, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1860 – Telegraph lines opened between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This allowed gold miners to tell backers farther south that they still hadn’t found any gold.

In 1921 – KDKA radio in Pittsburgh conducted the first live broadcast of a football game from Forbes Field. The University of Pittsburgh beat West Virginia University.

In 2003 – To allow IT departments to prepare for critical updates, Microsoft conducted the first regularly scheduled Windows patch release. It became lovingly known as “Patch Tuesday”.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 7, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1806 – Englishman Ralph Wedgwood received the first patent on carbon paper, which led to the initials cc to indicate a carbon copy which led to the email option to “cc” somebody.

In 1954 – IBM sounded the death knell of vacuum tubes, building the first calculating machine to use solid-state transistors. It was an experimental version of the IBM 604 Electronic Calculating Punch, that was desktop-sized and slow just like it’s vacuum-tube powered brother, but it used 5% of the power!

In 1959 – The Soviet Space Probe Luna 3 took the first photographs of the dark side of the moon. You’re welcome Pink Floyd.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 6, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1893 – U.S. copyright was issued to William K. L. Dickson for a “publication” consisting of “Edison Kinetoscopic Records.” It was the first motion picture copyright in North America. No torrents were uploaded until much later.

In 1914 – Edwin H. Armstrong received a US patent for a “Wireless Receiving System” which described his famous regenerative, or feedback, circuit. Armstrong would go on to pioneer FM radio.

In 1927 – Al Jolson appeared on a movie screen in New York City and said for all to hear “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.” It was the first talkie.

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Today in Tech History – Oct. 5, 2014

20140404-073853.jpgIn 1969 – The first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on the BBC. The show created the Spam sketch that would eventually inspire the slang term for unsolicited email.

In 1991 – Linux Kernel, version 0.02 was released, attracting a lot of attention. Author Linus Torvalds felt this version was at least usable and worth a wider release.

In 1992 – IBM announced the ThinkPad line of Notebook computers at offices in New York City.

In 2002 – “Xbox Media Player” and its first beta source code was released. The code was a result of Frodo, the founder of “YAMP” (Yet Another Media Player), joining the Xbox Media Player team. The project was later changed to Xbox Media Center and then just XBMC.

In 2011 – Steve Jobs died at his home surrounded by family. The co-founder and CEO of Apple has fought pancreatic cancer for years.

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