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Today in Tech History – April 26, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1884 – The New York Times reported that “sending mails by electricity” was to be investigated by the Post Office Committee of the US House, by providing for contracts with an existing telegraph company. The article promised it could lead to 10 cent telegrams!

1970 – The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force.

1986 – Design flaws made worse by human error during a safety test, led to the worst nuclear disaster yet, and a partial meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.

1999 – RePlay TV began shipping the first Digital Video Recorder. It could pause and rewind live TV as well as schedule shows to be recorded. Models ranged from being able to store 6 hours to 26 hours of recorded shows.

2014 – A team of archaeologists hired by Fuel Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment Studios uncovered a pile of buried Atari E.T. games in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The games were dumped 31 years before after the game flopped in sales.

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Today in Tech History – April 25, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1944 – Lt. Carter Harman of the 1st Air Commando Group rescued four men from the jungle in Burma, flying a Sikorsky YR-4 helicopter. It was the first combat rescue by helicopters in the US Army Air Forces.

1953 – Watson and Crick presented their findings on the double helical structure of DNA in the publication Nature. They noted that the structure “suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.” 50 Years later the Human Genome Project had concluded sequencing the genome and published a follow-on in Nature on their vision for genetic research.

1961 – Robert Noyce received the US patent for the silicon-based integrated circuit. He went on to found the Intel Corporation with Gordon E. Moore in 1968. Noyce fought a long patent rights battle with Jack Kilby who invented a germanium based integrated circuit.

2014 – Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business. Nokia retained its mapping, research and network infrastructure business. Microsoft gained most of the mobile phone parts of the company.

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Today in Tech History – April 24, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1970 – The Chang Zheng-1 rocket launched, carrying the first Chinese satellite, the Dong Fang Hong-1.

1981 – At a meeting called “Apple II Forever“, Apple introduced the portable Apple IIc. The machine came with 128 kilobytes of RAM and a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive.

1990 – The Space Shuttle Discovery launched with the Hubble Space Telescope on board. The following day, Hubble was released into space.

2015 – The Apple Watch started shipping. It could be bought in some high-end fashion stores but Apple Stores had none in stock. Only online orders could be taken through Apple.

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Today in Tech History – April 23, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1827 – Mathematics student William Rowan Hamilton presented his “Theory of Systems of Rays” at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. It led to the development of the wave theory of light which led to the development of quantum mechanics.

1940 – A patent was granted to Herman Anthony for a leak-proof dry-cell battery. The patent was assigned to Ray-o-Vac.

1941 – Ray Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam, New York. In 1971 he would expand SNDMSG to work between computers on the Arpanet, which would become email. He chose the @ symbol to separate the recipient’s name from the computer domain.

1982 – Sinclair launched the ZX Spectrum which popularised home computing in the UK.

2005 – At 8:27 PM, Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube, uploaded the video Me at the zoo making it the first video ever to be uploaded to YouTube.

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Today in Tech History – April 22, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1592 – Wilhelm Schickard was born. He would grow up to create an early form of calculating machine called the “calculating clock”, that could add and subtract up to six-digit numbers.

1993 – NCSA Mosaic 1.0 was released, becoming the first web browser to achieve popularity among the general public.

2000 – The Big Number Change took place in the United Kingdom, changing how phone numbers were dialed in many areas. With the boom in mobile devices, the UK had almost exhausted all possible numbers, and needed the change to increase the pool of numbers to be assigned.

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Today in Tech History – April 21, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1962 – President John F. Kennedy opened the Seattle World’s Fair by telephone from Palm Beach, Florida. He pressed a gold telegraph key which focused an antenna at Andover, Maine and a Navy radio telescope station in Maryland on a star to pick up a 10,000 year-old radio signal. That in turn set in motion various exhibits at the fair.

1964 – Satellite Transit-5BN-3 failed to reach orbit after launch. It carried 2.1 pounds (0.95 kg) of radioactive plutonium from its SNAP RTG power source.

1988 – Tandy Corp. held a press conference in New York to announce its plans to build IBM PS/2 clones.

1989 – Nintendo released the original GameBoy in Japan. It sported the same controls as the NES and used black and gray pixels for the display.

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Today in Tech History – April 20, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1926 – Sam Warner approved the sound-on-disc system created by Western Electric and created the Vitaphone company to develop the process to add sound to film.

1940 – Vladimir Zworykin and his team from RCA demonstrated the first electron microscope. It measured 10 feet high and weighed half a ton, achieving a magnification of 100,000x.

1964 – The first AT&T picturephone transcontinental call was made between test displays at Disneyland and the New York World’s Fair.

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Today in Tech History – April 19, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1947 – A report appeared in Billboard magazine of the first public demonstration of the Jerry Fairbanks Zoomar lens. The National Broadcasting Company in New York City conducted the demo and the zoom lens soon became standard TV equipment.

1957 – The first non-test FORTRAN program was compiled and run by Herbert Bright, manager of the data processing center at Westinghouse. It produced a missing comma diagnostic. Once fixed, a successful attempt followed.

1965 – “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits” by Gordon Moore was published in Electronics. Moore projected that over the next ten years the number of components per chip would double every 12 months. By 1975 he turned out to be right, and the doubling became immortalized as “Moore’s law.”

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Today in Tech History – April 18, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1925 – The first commercial radio facsimile transmission was sent from San Francisco, California to New York City. It was a photograph showing Louis B. Mayer presenting Marion Davies with a gift.

1930 – BBC Radio made the startling announcement that nothing terribly important had happened. Listeners who tuned in to hear the news bulletin were told, “There is no news,” followed by piano music.

1986 – Newspapers reported that IBM had become the first to use a megabit chip, a memory chip capable of storing one million bits of information, in its Model 3090.

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Today in Tech History – April 17, 2017

Today in Tech History logo1944 – Harvard University President James Conant wrote to IBM founder Thomas Watson Sr. to let him know that the Harvard Mark I was operating smoothly. It was used in conjunction with the US Navy Bureau of Ships.

1967 – The Surveyor 3 spacecraft was successfully launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida on its mission to the Moon. It was the first to carry a surface soil sampling scoop.

1970 – The Apollo 13 spacecraft returned safely to Earth after a frightening malfunction caused the team to abort landing on the Moon and instead scramble to keep themselves alive.

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