December 23

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Dec 23rd

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Benjamin Franklin is severely shocked while electrocuting a turkey.


The Point Contact Transistor Amplifier or just transistor (short for transfer resistance) is first demonstrated by William Shockley, Walter Brattain, and John Bardeen to their superiors at Bell Laboratories. A microphone and headphones are connected to the transistor, and the device is actually spoken over with no noticeable change in quality according to Brattain’s notes. Later, realizing that another major breakthrough in electronics had occurred in Bell’s lab, Shockley will write that hearing speech amplified by the transistor was in the tradition of Alexander Graham Bell’s famous Mr. Watson, come here, I want you. The demonstration model is about half an inch high - mammoth when compared to the seven million transistors that can fit onto later computer chips. However, at one hundredth of the size of a vacuum tube, the transistor can control much higher volumes of electricity and heat than its predecessor. The messy collection of wires, insulators and germanium referred to as the point-contact version, will later be improved upon by William Schockley with the creation of a junction transistor. The three inventors will share the 1956 Nobel prize in physics for their work, and the transistor will go on to supplant the much bulkier vacuum tube. Read more about how the Point Contact Transistor works at PBS Online.


Netscape Communications, Spyglass, and the University of Illinois settle their legal contentions over web browser patents out of court. Netscape agrees to pay US$2.2 million in damages and up to US$1.4 million in licensing deals with other companies.

1998 announces that it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise US$115 million through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of common stock.


United States district court Judge J. Frederick Motz orders Microsoft to include the Sun Microsystems Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in Windows. Microsoft announces that it will appeal the decision.


Version 2.0 beta 1 of the EasyPHP WAMP bundle under a GNU General Public License. The package includes an Apache server, a MySQL database, and the PHP extension.


iPhone becomes the top reason why people post to Flickr

Santa is found on Google Earth

Facebook removes the Project Playlist widget for legal reasons. MySpace pulled the widget a couple months prior.


A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacked on major providers like for an hour.

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