Today in Tech History – Jan. 14, 2014

Today in Tech History logoIn 1878 – Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone to Queen Victoria at her Osborne House estate on the Isle of Wight. He reached out and touched her, a faux pas which made him the first commoner in years to lay hands on the royal person.

In 1973 – Elvis Presley’s concert, “Aloha from Hawaii” was broadcast live via satellite, and set a record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.

In 2005 – The Huygens space probe landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. It was the first landing in the outer solar system, and the furthest from Earth.


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One Response to “Today in Tech History – Jan. 14, 2014”

  1. Pete Costello


    I know you like tech history so this video might be of particular interest.

    AT&T’s Tech Channel video archive just published a video on the birth “Remote Computing”, modems and networking done in 1940. The video was done in 1990 and interviews the Bell Labs mathematician whose vision was demonstrated in 1940 with remote operation from Dartmouth to NYC.

    ————— The site’s blurb says ———————————-
    This film contains an interview with George Stibitz himself, at age 86. He passed away five years later.

    George Stibitz, back in 1940, put together a neat and unusual project. He imagined that one could use radio relays to transmit information to computers. So an experiment was set up—one that ended up being, essentially, the first data transmitted over a phone line, a proto-modem. He presented this at a symposium at Dartmouth College in September, 1940. After presenting his paper, he demonstrated his system, which was connected via the phone lines to the computer at Bell Labs in NYC. The system was open to members of the audience for the next few hours. It did simple calculations in NYC and transmitted the solutions back to New Hampshire.

    It’s the first instance of the remote operation of an electrical digital computer. The computer was Stibitz’ Model I, the specs for which are below:

    Model I:
    Began operation January 8, 1940. Demonstrated to the public September 11, 1940, Dartmouth College, dismantled in 1949. Cost: Approx. $20,000.
    Programming: Fixed program to perform the four operations of complex arithmetic. Speed: Approximately one minute per multiplication.
    Input/Output: Ordinary teletype with a modified keyboard.

    It was another 22 years before the first modem, the Bell 103, was invented, also at Bell Labs.

    Though invented at Bell Labs in 1958, in 1962, the first commercial modem was manufactured – the Bell 103 by AT&T. The Bell 103 had a speed of 300 bits per second, or 300 bauds.