December 31

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Dec 31st

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Prev: December 30 - Next: January 1 - Full Catalog list at Day in Technology History Project

1974

Popular Electronics releases its January issue, featuring the Altair 8800 computer on its cover, marking the leading edge of the age of the home computer.

1976

Microcomputer manufacturer CROMEMCO is incorporated by Harry Garland and Roger Melen, two roommates at Stanford University. The company’s name, CROMEMCO, is an acronym inspired by the name of their dormatory: CROthers MEMorial Hall COmpany. The company’s first line of products will be based on the Zilog Z80 microprocessor and the S-100 bus.

1981

Over 250 million floppy disk drives have been shipped worldwide to date.

1982

750,000 Commodore VIC-20 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

600,000 Timex/Sinclair 1000 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

575,000 Texas Instruments TI 99/4 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

1983

The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.

One million IBM personal computers have been sold to date.

1984

3.5 million Commodore 64 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

6,000 IBM JX personal computers have been sold in Japan to date.

1987

10.5 million units of the MS-DOS operating system have been shipped worldwide to date.

350,000 IBM PS/2 Model 30 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

340,000 Apple IIgs computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

308,000 IBM PS/2 Model 50 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

263,000 IBM PC AT Model 5170 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

261,000 Atari 130XE and Atari 65XE computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

255,000 Apple Macintosh SE computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

231,000 Apple IIe computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

217,000 IBM PC XT Model 5160 computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

210,000 Leading Edge PC Model D computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

1991

7 million Apple Macintosh computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

15 million units of Microsoft’s Windows 3.0 operating system have been shipped worldwide to date.

16 million units of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet application have been shipped worldwide to date.

According to Symantec, one thousand viruses exist in the wild.

1992

An estimated 135 million personal computers have been shipped worldwide to date.

1994

1 million units of Windows NT have been shipped worldwide to date. 10 million units of IBM’s OS/2 2.0 operating system have been shipped worldwide to date.

50 - 60 million units of Microsoft’s Windows operating system have been shipped worldwide to date.

According to the Information & Interactive Services Report, AOL now serves 1.5 million subscribers, Compuserve serves 2.4 million subscribers, Prodigy serves 1.2 million subscribers, eWorld serves 65,000 subscribers, and Delphi serves 120,000 subscribers.

1995

According to the Information & Interactive Services Report, AOL now serves 4.5 million subscribers, Compuserve serves 4.0 million subscribers, Prodigy serves 1.6 million subscribers, Microsoft Network serves 1.6 million subscribers, eWorld has 126,000 subscribers, and Delphi serves 125,000 subscribers.

The last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson is published. Following his retirement, Watterson will withdraw entirely from the public spotlight, giving no interviews, making no public appearances, never giving autographs, and refusing to license his characters. Visit the official Calvin and Hobbes website.

1996

65 million units of Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system have been shipped to date.

IBM announces that it has developed a hard drive capable storing five gigabits per square inch, which won’t be ready for the consumer market for years.

The NCR Corporation becomes an independent company, emerging as a spin-off from AT&T. Visit the official NCR website.

1997

In an attempt to make the Microsoft Network competitive with AOL, Microsoft announces the acquisition of Hotmail, a free web-based e-mail service, for an industry-estimated US$400 million. The entire acquisition will be finalized on January 3, 1998. Hotmail has 8.5 million users. Visit the official Hotmail website.

1999

1.4 billion CD-R discs have been shipped worldwide to date.

14 million CD-RW drives have been shipped worldwide to date.

The Chicago Syslink BBS, which has been operated by George Matyaszek for nearly twenty years, closes.

Computer Associates International, Inc. warns computer users of three newly found viruses designed to prey on Y2K vulnerabilities: the Esmeralda.807 virus, which will cause 32-bit Windows files to open slowly, the Lucky 2000 virus, which steers users to a Russian website, and the Spaces.1633 virus, which interferes with the Windows boot process.

2001

Apple Computer has sold a total of 125,000 iPods. Microsoft discontinues support for the Windows 1.01, Windows 2.0, Windows 2.1, Windows 3.0, and Windows NT 3.51 operating system.

2002

Apple Computer unveils its first limited edition iPods, featuring the signature of Beck, Madonna, or Tony Hawk or the logo of No Doubt engraved on the back plate for an additional US$49. They are the most expensive iPods yet sold by Apple. Price: US$548

2003

Tim Berners-Lee is knighted in recognition of his creation of the World Wide Web. Visit Tim Berners-Lee’s website.

2004

Daniel James Cuthbert, age 28, of Whitechapel, London donates becomes concerned that a website through which he has donated money towards Tsunami relief efforts is actually a phishing scam designed to collect credit card data from unwary users. Being a security consultant, Cuthbert uses an Apple notebook and a Safari browser to perform two very simple penetration tests between 3:12 and 3:15pm. The first test is simply to add ./././ to the website’s URL in an attempt to access the host’s higher directories. The action, while exceptionally mild, is interpreted at a DTA (Directory Traversal Attack) and subsequently triggers an alarm. Twenty days later he will be arrested at his play of employment, ABN AMRO (from which he will be consequently fired), and his home will be searched. On October 6, 2005, Cuthbert will be convicted of violating Section 1(a) of the UK’s Computer Misuse Act of 1990 and fined £400 by district Judge Quentin Purdy. Section 1(a) reads, (1) A person is guilty of an offence if (a.) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer. The prosecution will make an application for costs, which will result in another £600 in costs for Cuthbert, but declines to seize the Apple notebook.

Microsoft discontinues support for the Windows NT 4.0 operating system.

2006

Version 1.3 of the PC-BSD operating system is released. PC-BSD is a Unix-like operating system based on FreeBSD that features a simplified graphical installation process.

2007

Baidu CFO Shawn Wang dies in a accident no other details were divulged

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