Atari’s Consumer Electronics Division Engineering Technical Staff submits a petition to its department head, Dave Remson, protesting that the Atari 5200 (PAM) game system analog controller suffers from several performance and “human engineering” (ergonomic) issues. The staff recommends conducting formal focus groups in order to solicit solutions. However, Atari won’t heed the petition, and upon release, the controller is widely criticized for its poor usability.
Commodore International announces the B(700) and P(500) series of microcomputers, featuring a 6509 CPU, 64KB RAM expandable to 256KB, 28KB ROM, BASIC, a 80×25 green phosphor monitor, a built-in 94-key keyboard, two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, and several I/O ports. Price: US$1,700-3,000
The Simpsons debut in the short segment “Good Night” on The Tracey Ullman Show.
Richard Gillmann releases the source of his DLX BBS Program to the public domain.
The Assassin’s Guild BBS, perhaps the largest Pirate BBS in the world, is seized by United States Marshals and Investigators from Microsoft and Novell. The board is the base of operations for both the Pirates With Attitude (PWA) and Razor 1911 warez groups, two of the most infamous pirate groups on the internet. On January 12, 1996, Scott Morris, the board’s sysop, will agree to a settle a civil suit brought by Microsoft and Novel.
Infogrames Entertainment confirm its acquisition of video game developer Accolade for US$60 million.
Caldera Systems releases version 2.2 of the OpenLinux operating system, featuring Corel WordPerfect 8 and StarOffice software. Price: US$50
(IBM) introduces the IBM ThinkPad 570 portable computer, featuring mobile 300 to 366MHz Pentium II processors, a 4GB hard drive, an external floppy drive, a 64MB RAM, a 12.1 to 13.3 inch inch TFT LCD screen, and a USB port. Visit the official IBM website. Price: US$2700-4000 Weight: 3.9 pounds
Microsoft reveals plans to acquire Access Software Inc., a leading developer of golf games for personal computers, for an undisclosed sum.
The United States Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 in a case against ApolloMedia Corporation, a privately held San Francisco, California company that maintains Annoy.com, which encourages users to anonymously send vulgar email to politicians whom they disagree with.
Casio introduces the Casio Cassiopeia E-115 handheld computer, featuring a 131MHz 64-bit NEC VR4121 processor, 32MB RAM, a 64,000-color 2.3 x 3.0-inch 240×320-pixel display, a Type II CompactFlash slot, infrared and serial ports, speaker, microphone, stylus, and the Pocket PC operating system. The lithium ion battery powers the unit for about six hours. Price: US$599 Weight: 9.2 ounces
Compaq Computer introduces the iPAQ Pocket PC handheld computer, featuring a a 206MHz Intel StrongARM processor, 32MB RAM, a 2.25 x 3 inch color screen, a USB port, and the Windows CE 3.0 operating system. Expansion packs offer access to PC Cards, flash memory cards, email, music player, digital camera, modem, bar code scanner, etc. Price: US$699
Hasbro Interactive announces that it has reached a settlement in an intellectual property lawsuit under which GT Interactive and Varcon Systems will cease all sales of video games that infringe on the copyrights of Hasbro’s arcade games.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) releases the HP Jornada 545 handheld computer, featuring Windows CE 3.0, a 4096-color 240×320 pixel passive matrix display, and 16MB RAM. Price: US$499
Microsoft introduces Pocket Expansion Packs for Pocket PC devices to promote the launch of the Pocket PC operating system. The Fun Pocket PC Expansion Pack will be made available free to qualifying new purchasers of Pocket PCs. It includes a true-to-arcade edition of Pac-Man in honor of the game’s twentieth anniversary.
Microsoft then launches the Pocket PC specification for handheld computers at an event held at New York City’s Grand Central Station. The Pocket PC runs Microsoft Windows CE 3.0, and includes several bundled applications, including: an internet browser, a music player, and a word processor.
Apple Computer announces that it has shipped its five millionth iMac computer. .
MandrakeSoft releases version 8.0 of the MandrakeLinux operating system, based on Linux kernel 2.4.3. .
An Apple I computer with a nine inch amber monitor and a Magnavox cassette player, sells for US$14,000 at auction.
US District Judge Stephen Limbaugh rejects a request to invalidate a St. Louis ordinance that went into effect in 2000 limiting minors’ access to video game arcades. The judge rules that video games are not protected by the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Adobe creates a Flash multimedia player that can be embedded in TVs and set-top boxes.