August 15

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 15th

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Thomas Edison makes the first-ever audio recording, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”


MGM premieres the fantasy film The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, among several other uncredited directors, and starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Billie Burke, and Margaret Hamilton, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.


The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by the Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space. The event is named the “Wow! signal” after a notation made by a volunteer on the project. The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman that lasts for seventy-two seconds and will never be detected again.


Commodore International Ltd. announces that they will be purchasing the Amiga Corporation of Santa Clara, California. Disney begins publishing Family PC magazine.


Gunpei Yokoi resigns from Nintendo and founds his own company, Koto, on September 11.

Netscape Communications Corporation establishes Navio Communications, Inc. to focus on game console-based Internet software development.

Nokia releases the Nokia 9000 Communicator, which integrates a GSM cellular phone with a personal organizer for the first time.


Apple Computer begins shipping the iMac 233MHz, otherwise known as the iMac G3, to retail outlets in the US. The system features a 233MHz processor, an ATI Rage IIc graphics card with 2MB of SGRAM. The systems is only available with a Bondi Blue case, with the reset hole set in the side panel. It is also the only original iMac model to have an infrared port. According to Apple, over 150,000 orders for the system have been received since they began accepting them on Monday, August 3. Price: US$1299


Version 1.10 of HydraBBS is released.


Bret McDanel, a dissatisfied former employee of Tornado Development, Inc., a provider of web-based email and voice mail services, sends a single email to approximately 5,600 of the company’s clients using the moniker “Secret Squirrel” warning them of a security vulnerability that would permit malicious users to piggyback a previous secure session, grab the unique session ID and thereby read a user’s email despite the fact that the company’s site promised that email was secure. The email explains why customer data is at risk and directs them to a website with more detailed information on how to fully exploit the flaw. McDanel had previously warned the company of the flaw, but he had grown dissatisfied with the pace at which Tornado was addressing the issue. The emails, which are released over three days to avoid flooding the Tornado’s servers, come six months after McDanel quit, after he discovered that the company had still not addressed the issue. Unfortunately, the whistle blower, age 29, will eventually be charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and sentenced to sixteen months in prison. After serving his sentence, McDanel continues his appeals until, in October of 2003, the Ninth District Court of Appeals concedes that the evidence did not establish an intent to “damage” as required by the statute.

Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq iPAQ Home Internet Appliance IA-1, featuring an infrared keyboard, an AMD K6-2 processor, 32MB SDRAM, 16MB flash memory, a 56kbps modem, a 10.1-inch 800×600 resolution color display, the Windows CE operating system. Price: US$599 or U$199 with a three-year MSN access contract. Michael Cowpland resigns as chairman and chief executive officer of the Corel software company.

2001, a computer software retailer, announces that it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, that it laid off about one hundred eighty employees, and that it will be selling its assets to the Fry’s Electronics retail chain.

A team of scientists headed by Professor Edward Felton of Princeton University releases a paper that reveals serious security flaws in the anti-piracy technology supported by the music industry.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory, in Livermore, California unveils the most powerful computer ever constructed in the world. Named the Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX), it was built by International Business Machines IBM, and it is programmed to simulate the explosive effects of a nuclear bomb. It weighs about the same as seventeen adult elephants and requires the same energy to cool as 765 residential homes. It can accomplish the same number of calculations in a single second that a standard calculator would take ten million years to accomplish.


Version 1.3 of Torrentflux, a multi-user GUI for BitTornado, is released for Windows.


Andrew J. Steffl discovers Pluto’s moons, Hyda and Nix from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 15, 2005 and May 18, 2005.


AMD releases the Opteron 1210 processor operating at 1800MHz, the Opteron 1212 processor operating at 2000MHz, Opteron 1214 processor operating at 2200MHz, Opteron 1216 processor operating at 2600MHz, and the Opteron 1218 processor operating at 2800MHz, all of which feature two 1024 KiB level two caches.

Phantom Entertainment removes the Phantom Console from the Products page of the company’s website. However, the Phantom website does indicate that the software component of the Phantom, the Phantom Game Service, is now being developed to deliver online content for the Windows XP operating system in a system comparable to Valve’s Steam.

Version 2.0 Aqua Beta 2 of NeoOffice, the open source office suite ported to Mac OS X, is released.

The Voyager 1 space probe, the most far distant man-made object in space, reaches a distanct of one hundred astronomical units (15,000 million km or 9,300 million miles) from the sun, meaning that it is one hundred times more distant from the sun than the Earth. At such great distance, the sun is a mere point of light, so solar energy is not an option, but having a nuclear power source, Voyager 1 continues to transmit data. The spacecraft, launched nearly thirty years earlier, on September 5, 1977, has flown beyond the outer planets and reached the heliosheath, the outer edge of the solar system, where the sun’s influence wanes. Voyager 1 continues traveling at a speed of about one million miles per day and will cross into interstellar space within a decade.


Google launches Adsense for feeds.

After a 3 day outage, Netflix begins shipping movies again.


Facebook purchases Chai Labs - a program that lets users customize and launch search-friendly sites in verticals. It was acquired for 10 million.


Google announced they would be purchasing Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion dollars. It was a merger that was finalized on May 22, 2012


Google Maps charts 1 million public transit stops They revamped the Android app to include them.

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