August 4

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Aug 4th


Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. He found a way to mix graphite and clay to make pencil lead.


The first facsimile was transmitted by radio across the Atlantic Ocean using the Belinograph invented by Eduard Belin. A message written by C. V. Van Anda, managing editor of The New York Times and addressed to the Matin in Paris, was sent in seven minutes.


Every phone was silent for one minute in memorial to the passing of Alexander Graham Bell - who died two days earlier.


Britain's first supersonic fighter plane, the P-1 English Electric Lightning, made its maiden flight


IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 25, with an 8MHz Intel 8086, combined system unit with monitor, no hard drive, and reduced-size keyboard. Price: US$1350


Only a few seconds before ignition, a computer halts an engine test in preparation for the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The shuttle engine’s computerized controllers determined that a valve wasn’t closing fast enough and sent a major component failure command from the computer to all three engines, telling them not to fire. The test and computer system are part of NASA’s efforts to ensure the safety of Discovery, whose flight will be the first since the Challenger explosion in 1986.


Hackers crack the NY Times Internet service and crash it.


Motorola and IBM introduce the PowerPC 740 and 750 processors, available in 233 and 266 MHz speeds. Price: US$550-570


Google is Incorporated as a privately held company. It went public on August 19 2004. The search engine was originally called "Back Rub".


Nuance Communications releases version 4.0 of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software package for Windows in several editions, including: Essentials,Standard, Preferred, Professional, Legal, Medical, and Mobile.


America Online, Inc.’s AOL Netscape Communications announces plans to remove a SmartDownload product feature that passes information about the downloads to Netscape without the user’s knowledge. The change comes following a class-action lawsuit filed by a New Jersey photographer in July seeking a minimum of US$10,000 in damages per person.

The first version of TortoiseCVS a CVS tool for Microsoft Windows released under the General Public License (GNU).

An unidentified sixteen year old Montreal, Canada-area hacker named Mike Calce (also known by the handle “Mafiaboy“) pleads not guilty to criminal mischief charges related to denial-of-service attacks against (), CNN and eBay, and Yahoo!, in February. Meanwhile, the prosecution levies an additional sixty-four new charges against him based on evidence discovered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police linking him to substantial attacks on five other websites.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. reveals plans to create approximately 275 new engineering jobs over the next three years to double its size in the software development center located in Dublin, Ireland.


A complete re-write of the Code Red worm, Code Red II, begins spreading across the Internet. China is especially hard hit. The worm is designed to exploit a security hole in the indexing software included as part of Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) web server software.

Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer urges the United States Congress to permit his state and others to tax e-commerce.


eMule is first released as a binary as version 0.05a. Hendrik Breitkreuz (also known by the handle “Merkur”) began developing the eMule project on May 13, 2002 after becoming dissatisfied with the original eDonkey2000 client. The source was first released as version 0.02 and published on SourceForge on July 6, 2002.


Germany’s Berlin-Brandenburg region completes the conversion from analogue to digital terrestrial television and becomes the first location in the world to switch off analogue transmitters. Red Hat files suit against The SCO Group seeking a permanent injunction against SCO’s Linux campaign as well as a declaratory judgement confirming that Red Hat hasn’t violated any of SCO’s copyrights

Version 1.8 of the Ruby programming language is released.


AOL releases a compressed text file containing twenty million search keywords for over 650,000 users over a three month period for research purposes. While none of the records on the file are personally identifiable, certain keywords contain personally identifiable information, such as users who searched for their own name, address, or social security number. Although the searchers are only identified by a numeric ID, the New York Times will successfully discover the identity of several searchers, and with her permission, exposed search number 4417749 as Thelma Arnold, a sixty-two year old Georgian widow. This breach in privacy will lead to the resignation of AOL’s chief technical officer (CTO), Maureen Govern on August 21, 2006 along with the researcher who released the data and his immediate supervisor, who reported to Govern. AOL will pull the records on August 7th, acknowledging that it was a mistake to release it, but the files have been mirrored on websites across the Internet.


Music sit Social.FM, Formerly Mercora – closes it’s doors.

Google Launches Street view in Australia and Japan.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation opposed the prosecution of the Missouri mom who created a fake MySpace account to harass a teenage neighbor, saying the prosecutors' misuse of a federal law that targets computer fraud could turn millions of Americans into criminals.

Apple updates the iPhone 2.0 software to fix some bugs in the software.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il issued a pardon to two Current TV journalists who were recently charged for perpetrating hostile acts against the communist state. After a visit from former President William Clinton, Laura Ling and Euna Lee were released. They were detained on March 17th

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