April 21

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: April 21st

1977

An attorney for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) denies allegations made by Microsoft, responding that MITS is up-to-date on royalty payments, and is not required to license 8080 BASIC to competitors. The conflict will ultimately lead to Microsoft withdrawing its exclusive license in November.

1983

Mattel Electronics introduces the Aquarius computer, with 4kB RAM, 8kB ROM, a Z80A processor, a 40×24 text output to a TV, with 80×72 block graphics, in 16 colors. Price: US$160

1988

Tandy announces THOR-CD, an erasable re-usable compact disk system for music, video, or data. Delivery of production units is 18 to 24 months away. The format will never be commercially viable. The CD-ROM format, which will be incompatible with Tandy’s hardware, will become the dominate format.

The Tandy Corporation holds a press conference in New York to announce its plans to build clones of IBM’s PS/2 system computers. The Tandy 5000MC personal computer will feature an 80386 processor and IBM’s Micro Channel bus, and it will sell for US$4999-6999. The conference comes on the heels of IBM’s announcement that it would license patents on key PC technologies, a move signaling its willingness to let other companies clone its machines. Within five years, IBM clones will become more popular than the original IBM machines.

1997

A hacker known by the handle “Joka” tricks America Online (AOL) into briefly shutting down a site run by the Texas branch of the Ku Klux Klan for security reasons after AOL had declined to do so earlier in response to widespread criticism to the site’s offensive material.

In the lawsuit brought by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices agrees to a settlement, agreeing to acknowledge the term “MMX” as an Intel trademark.

2000

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 goes into effect. The United States government begins surfing the Web to enforce the first federal statute regarding online privacy. The new law imposes fines in the thousands of dollars on marketers who collect information under the age of thirteen.

2001

Spanish police announce that they believe nearly eighty people were involved in an elaborate international child pornography ring responsible for delivering more than twenty thousand images of children over the Internet. Based in Pamplona, Spain, the organization worked under a web distribution list dubbed “nudeboys2″. Twenty-one of the fifty-four distribution points were in the United States.

2003

Intel releases the 3 GHz Pentium 4 processor with 800 MHz front-side bus. Price: US$417 in 1000-unit quantities

2009

Amazon Video on Demand announces they will now be available in HD including TiVo DVRs and Roku Players.

Firefox releases 3.0.9, which fixes 12 vulnerabilities, 4 which were rated critical.

2011

Google launched Google Offers

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