January 24

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: January 24

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Prev: January 23 - Next: January 25 - Full Catalog list at Day in Technology History Project

1925

A two minute long motion picture of a solar eclipse is recorded by the United States Navy from the dirigible Los Angeles from an elevation of about 4,500 feet, about nineteen miles east of Montauk Point, Long Island, New York. It is the first time a dirigible has been used for astronomical observations in the US.

1948

IBM dedicates the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC), also known as the Poppa, at the company’s world headquarters in New York City. The SSEC is the first computer to combine electronic computation with stored instructions, and it will be the first computer to run a stored program and the last large electromechanical computers to be built. It contains 13,500 vacuum tubes and 21,000 relays and occupies three sides of a 1,800 square foot room. Among it’s most notable accomplishments will be the calculation of a table of the Moon’s positions which will be used to plot the course of the 1969 Apollo flight. It will be decommissioned in 1952.

1950

Percy LeBaron Spencer is issued a patent for the original microwave oven, which he describes in his application as a Method of Treating Foodstuffs. (US No. 2,495,429) However, the first commercial microwave oven, the 1161 Radarange, won’t be marketed to the public until 1954.

1956

As part of the consent decree resulting from the 1949 antitrust case, AT&T and Western Electric are restricted from expanding their businesses into any field outside the telecommunications industry, with the notable exceptions of conducting research.

1964

The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces the IBM 7770 Audio Response Unit, which makes data within a computer available over the telephone.

1968

The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces expanded programming support for the Operating System/360 (OS/360). The system allows the IBM 2311 disk storage drive and the IBM 2314 direct access storage facility to be shared by up to four System/360 computers.

1978

The Soviet satellite Cosmos 954 burns up in Earth’s atmosphere upon re-entry, scattering debris over Canada’s Northwest Territories.

1984

Apple Computer releases a 3.5? floppy.

Apple Computer releases a 300-baud and 1200-baud modem. Price: US$300 and US$500 respectively

Apple Computer releases a modified C.Itoh printer as the Apple ImageWriter printer. Price: US$595

At the annual Apple Computer stockholders meeting at the Flint Center at the De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California, Steven Jobs introduces the Lisa 2, featuring a 5MHz Motorola MC68000 processor, 512KB RAM, a 16KB ROM, a built-in twelve-inch black and white monitor, a keyboard, a built-in 400KB 3.5? floppy disk drive, and a mouse. LISA is an acronym for Local Integrated Software Architecture. Price: US$3,495 (standard), US$4,495 (5MB hard drive), US$5,495 (10MB hard drive)

The Apple MacintoshAt the annual Apple Computer stockholders meeting at the Flint Center at DeAnza College in Cupertino, California, Steven Jobs introduces the Macintosh, featuring a 7.83MHz 32-bit z Motorola MC68000 processor, 128KB RAM (not expandable), a 64KB ROM, a built-in 400KB 3.5? floppy disk drive, a built-in nine-inch black and white monitor, eight bit mono sound, and a mouse. The system comes with the 216KB System 1 operating system, which was derived from LisaDesk. It features a revolutionary graphic interface and comes bundled with the MacWrite word processor and MacPaint. It is the first commercially successful system to feature both a graphical user interface (GUI), rather than a command line interface, and a mouse standard. The system’s introduction comes after numerous delays since the beginning of its development since 1979. Within seventy-five days, fifty thousand units will be sold. Within six months, one hundred thousand units will be sold. In September 1984, the system will be upgraded to include 512KB RAM standard. Price: US$2,495 Weight: 20lbs

Microsoft releases Microsoft BASIC and Microsoft Multiplan for the Apple Macintosh to coincide with Apple’s launch of the Macintosh computer. The release comes at the behest of Steven Jobs, who had seen what an enormous role Basic had played in the success of the Apple II. However, the development of Microsoft’s implementation was rushed to market for the Macintosh’s release and was significantly flawed.

1985

Apple Computer settles a trademark-infringement lawsuit with Management and Computer Services over the use of the word Mac for Macintosh computer-related products for an undisclosed sum.

Space Shuttle Discovery is launched on the fifth mission of the shuttle program.

1986

Voyager 2The Voyager II space probe makes its closest approach to the previously unexplored planet Uranus. The spacecraft comes within 81,500km (50,600 miles) of the planet’s atmosphere. It will radio back thousands of images along with data that will lead to the discovery of new rings, ten new moons, and a bizarre magnetic field. Launched on August 20, 1977, the Voyager II has already examined both Jupiter and Saturn.

1990

Andrew Milner and Phil MacKay release version 0.01 of RemoteAccess BBS (RA) software. Written in Turbo Pascal and Assembly Language, RemoteAccess is initially a QuickBBS clone, but it will quickly outstrip its competition in terms of features and popularity.

The Muses-A or Hiten lunar orbiter is launched by Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. The Hiten is the first space probe not of Soviet or US origin to reach a lunar orbit. However, the two-stage probe will fail to send back data.

The United States Secret Service and the New York State Police raid the homes of three members of the hacker group Masters of Deception (MoD), Acid Phreak, Phiber Optik, and Scorpion in New York City.

1995

Macromedia completes the acquisition of Altsys, the developers of Freehand, a vector graphics editor. Visit the official Macromedia Freehand website.

1997

Apple Computer releases Mac OS 7.6, the first part of Apple’s new OS strategy, exactly thirteen years after the debut of the Macintosh.

Microsoft releases version 5 of Visual FoxPro for Windows. Visit the official Visual FoxPro website.

NEC Home Electronics releases Boundary Gate: Daughter of Kingdom for the NEC PC-FX in Japan.

1998

RemoteAccess BBS v2.52 is released. It is the first version of RemoteAccess 2.50 with revised copyright information based on the sale of RemoteAccess by Andrew Milner to Bruce F. Morse of Haverhill, MA.

2000

At approximately 7pm GMT, the United States National Security Agency (NSA) experiences serious computer systems, leaving it unable to process intelligence data for seventy-two hours. Later in the week, the agency will reveal that although no significant intelligence information has been lost, thousands of man-hours and US$1.5 million dollars were required to remedy the situation. Visit the official website of the NSA.

Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard HP, IBM, and other computer manufacturers begin selling systems with the Windows 2000 operating system pre-installed.

EMI of the UK and Warner Music of the US announce that they will merge to become the world’s largest record company, with nearly a twenty-five percent global market share. The deal would allow the companies to better compete with the Universal Music Group of France. However, European regulators will oppose the plan and it will fail. Visit the official EMI website. Visit the official Warner Music website.

Sun Microsystems releases the Solaris 8 operating system.

2001

AOL Time Warner announces that they will cut about two thousand jobs in an effort to streamline operations.

Japan’s leading daily newspaper, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reports that the Sega Corporation has admitted that it will be discontinuing production of the Dreamcast video game system after March 2001 in favor of releasing games for rival systems.

A misconfigured router leaves several Microsoft websites offline.

Novell releases version 7.1 of the SUSE Linux operating system is released.

2006

The Walt Disney Company, agrees to purchase Pixar Animation Studios in an all-cash deal, leaving Steven Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder. Visit the official Pixar website.

2007

In an entry on his blog, Rick Jelliffe reveals that a Microsoft>Microsoft employee offered to pay him to make corrections to Wikipedia articles regarding Office Open XML. In response, a Microsoft spokesperson will later defend the offer by explaining that the article had been heavily written by IBM employees in support of their rival OpenDocument format, though no evidence to that end was ever provided.

2009

Gary McKinnon, the hacker who broke into NASA to prove there was knowledge of extraterrestrial beings, one the right to a judicial review of a prior decision to extradite him to the United States. If he would've lost, he could face up to 70 years in prison.

IBM Lays off 2800 employees in Canada and speculates additional cuts in the United States

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