April 12

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Day in Technology History for April 12th

Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History April 12

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1976

Ronald Wayne, one of the founders of Apple Computer, leaves the company just eleven days after the company was established, relinquishing his ten percent share for US$800. In his short time working with co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Wayne illustrated the first Apple logo, wrote the company’s partnership agreement, and wrote the manual for the Apple I. He choose to leave the company because the partnership agreement imposed unlimited personal liability on all three co-founders, irregardless of which partner incurred the debt. According to the later book, Apple Confidential 2.0 by Owen Linzmayer, neither Jobs nor Wozniak were financially well-off, and Wayne realized that he “either was going bankrupt or the richest man in the cemetery.” By 1982, a ten percent share of Apple Computer will be worth US$1.5 billion. Read more about Ronald Wayne in an excerpt from Apple Confidential.

1979

Kevin MacKenzie emails the MsgGroup to suggest adding some emotion to the text of emails, with punctuation such as -) which indicated that the sentence is tongue-in-cheek. Though flamed by many at the time, emoticons will become widely used after Scott Fahlman suggests the use of : - ) and : - ( on a Carnegie Mellon University BBS on September 19, 1982.

1981

An HP-41 calculator, introduced in 1979, is used aboard the first NASA space shuttle flight, the Columbia, to calculate the exact angle at which the shuttle will need to re-enter the atmosphere.

1991

John Sculley demonstrates an IBM PS/2 Model 70 running the Pink OS to IBM engineers. Pink is an object-oriented OS that makes IBM-compatible computers appear to be a Mac running the System 7 operating system.

1992

In a jury trial, the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, California, finds Sega Enterprises guilty of infringing on an American inventor’s patent and orders the company to pay US$33 million. The jury finds that the infringement was intentional, which qualifies the judge to triple the fine. The inventor’s attorney will later seek an order barring Sega from selling video games.

1994

The first commercial spam is posted to at least six thousand Usenet message boards using a simple Perl script written by a programmer only known as “Jason,” shortly after the National Science Foundation lifted its unofficial ban on commercial speech on the Internet. The spam is posted by Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, two lawyers married and practicing law together in Phoenix, Arizona under the practice name Canter & Siegel. The script floods message boards with an advertisement of their services available for an upcoming “Green Card Lottery.” The Usenet community vehemently protests the messages. The law firm’s internet service provider will receive such a large number of complaints over the next two days that its mail servers will crash repeatedly, forcing it to terminate the firm’s service. Large-scale implementation of “cancelbots” is launched by Arnt Gulbrandsen within minutes of the firm’s first posts. However, by December 1994, the two lawyer will claim to have successfully solicited one thousand new clients through the ads and “made $100,000 off an ad that cost them only pennies.” Legions of spammers will follow in their footsteps.

1995

Authorities carry out a large-scale crackdown on Canadians pirate boards, following nearly a year-long investigation. Seventy-five Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Officers are involved in the operation, fifteen suspects are arrests, and two hundred thousand dollars of computer hardware is seized. The bulletin board systems busted include: Bad Sector, Beyond Corruption, Jurrasic Park, Lineup, Main Frame, Necronomicon, No BBS, The Notice, On The World, Perfect Crime, Red Alert, Restricted Area, Rubbish Heap, Skull Island, Twins, The Underworld, and Wolf Pack.

1996

Public shares of Yahoo! are offered in the company’s initial public offering (IPO), rocketing the company’s value to US$1.1 billion overnight. The stocks, which are initially offered at US$13, trade for as much as US$43 before settling at US$33 at the close of market. However, industry analysts predict that users have no loyalty to any one search engine, and they predict that Yahoo!’s initial appeal has dubious long-term stability.

2000

International Business Machines (IBM) introduces the 32GB Travelstar hard drive for portable computers. It has a capacity of seventeen billion bits of data per square inch, which is a new record for hard drive areal density. The drive spins at a rate of 5400RPM, partially disabling error correction to allow smoother video playback.

2001

Chinese hackers attack a number of US websites protesting the spyplane incident. Among other sites, they hack the Navy Acquisition system. The incident in dispute occurred when a US EP-3E aircraft flying over the Exclusive Economic Zone waters of China, about 70 miles (110km) from the Chinese island of Hainan, was intercepted by several Chinese J-8IIM fighters, one of which collided with the wing of the EP-3E, forcing it to land on Hainan and killing the pilot of the J-8, Wang Wei.

2004

MareNostrum, the most powerful supercomputer in Europe and the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world, is booted up for the first time at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in Barcelona, Spain. The system is composed of 2,560 JS21 blade servers, each of which features two 2.3GHz dual-core IBM 64-bit PowerPC 970MP processors and runs the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 operating system. It has a total capacity of 62.63 teraflops. .

2008

Andrew Baron – founder of Rocketboom - built up his Twitter account to 1500 followers. So why not sell it on ebay? The auction got up to $1,500 before Baron pulled the plug. $1 a follower – That’s pretty interesting data.

2009

Researchers from Ohio State University publish a study stating those using Facebook on a regular basis will not score that well when they take an exam. Up to one grade worse than those who do not use the social network.

2011

Cisco discontinues the Flip camera

2012

Google+ gets a new design. A block of "Whitespace" initiates a meme on what to do with that open space.

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