June 5

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: June 5th

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1783

The first hot-air balloon ascent flies unmanned for ten minutes. It was constructed by the French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier at their home town of Annonay, France.

1833

Ada Byron, who will later become the Countess Lovelace, meets computer pioneer Charles Babbage in England. Byron will later become known for writing a description of Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine.

1924

Ernst Alexanderson transmits the first facsimile message across the Atlantic.

1938

The first machine to produce intelligible speech-like sounds is exhibited by Bell Telephone scientists Homer Dudley, Richard Riesz, and Stanley Watkins. Called “Pedro, the Voder,” it is put on display to the public at the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to human voices, it can imitate the sound of various farm animals. It is basically a spectrum-synthesis device operated from a finger keyboard and a foot pedal pitch control. Its operation requires a user to be well trained in the use of the controls.

1943

Final contracts are signed as the Army fully funds the ENIAC. Captain Paul N. Gillon is credited as naming the machine ENIAC. The agreement goes into effect starting July 1

1977

The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale. The Apple II featured an a 1MHz MOS 6502 processor, an integrated keyboard, a built-in BASIC programming environment, expandable memory (4K expandable to 48K), a monitor capable of color graphics, a sound card, and eight expansion slots. Most importantly, they have a total of eight expansion Slots for adding peripherals and come bundled with the first “killer app” of the business world, the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. The combination popularizes personal computers among business users.

Taito introduces the classic arcade game, Space Invaders, in Japan.

1983

Coleco Industries announces the Coleco Adam computer, featuring a Zilog Z80A processor, 80kB RAM (64 kB user RAM, 16 kB video RAM), three sound channels, 16-color graphics, a ColecoVision game cartridge slot, 4 MC6801 microprocessors, which control operation of peripherals, SmartWriter word processor in ROM, a full size 75-key keyboard, CP/M compatibility, a version of BASIC compatible with Applesoft BASIC, three expansion slots, Adam net jack, two joysticks with keypads, a 256×192 graphics and 36×24 text on TV display, a 256-512 kB tape-cartridge device, the Buck Rogers: The Planet of Zoom game, and a 10-15 cps 80-column daisy wheel printer. Price: US$599

Atari introduces the Atari 600 XL, featuring a 1.79 MHz 6502-C processor, 16kB RAM, 24kB ROM, and a 320×192 graphics and 40×24 text on TV screen. An optional CP/M module is available. An optional package bundle called The Writing System includes AtariWriter word processor on a cartridge and a 20-cps letter-quality printer for US$600. Price: US$199

Atari introduces the Atari 800 XL, with 64 kB RAM, the Atari 1450 XL, with built-in 300 bps modem, and the Atari 1450 XLD, with built-in 300 bps modem and disk drive.

1989

PopulousUK game developer Bullfrog Productions releases Populous, one of the first commercially successful “god games”, is released for the Amiga, Atari ST, and PC. The game garners great a great deal of popularity for its originality and is often cited as the simulation game from which all others originate.

1995

Bose-Einstein condensate, a state of matter formed by bosons cooled to temperatures very near to absolute zero, is first created.

1996

Apple Computer, Inc. announces they will close its printed circuit board assembly plant in Elk Grove, California by year’s end. The plant is just over a year old and cost US$80 million to build. Direct X 2.0, a collection of application programming interfaces for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming and video, on Microsoft platforms, is released for Windows 95 and NT 4.0.

Peter Crisp, a longtime Apple Computer board member steps down and is replaced by Edgar Woolard, Jr. of E.I. du Pont de Nemourts & Company. It is also revealed that Steve Capps, a key developer of the Macintosh operating system, left the company earlier in the week.

1997

Electronic Arts Inc. agrees to purchase rival game company, Maxis, Inc. Maxis is well-known for their line of SimCity games.

1998

Industry programming pioneer Jim Nitchals, who was responsible for such classic games as Asteroid Field, Bug Attack, Ring Raiders, and Star Thief for the Apple II computer dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 36. In addition to being a giant of the gaming industry, Nitchals was also a hero of the anti-spam movement.

Reuters, the Associated Press, and other news services relate the news that comedian Bob Hope has passed away over the Internet. The information turns out to be untrue.

The US Depart of Commerce (DoC) releases the Green Paper outlining its plan to privatize the Domain name system (DNS) on January 30th. This is followed up by a White Paper.

2000

AMD begins shipping 600 to 700MHz Duron processors to computer manufacturers. Price: Starting at US$112

AMD introduces 750MHz to 1GHz Athlon processors. The processors include an integrated 256kB Level 2 on-chip, full-speed exclusive cache. Code-name: Thunderbird Price: US$319 to US$990

2001

AMD, Inc. AMD announces two new Athlon microprocessors, the Athlon MP, which runs at 1GHz and 1.2 GHz, as well as the AMD-760 MP.

The Omron Corporation announces that it has developed a microprocessor for cellular telephones that is ten times faster than existing processors.

Nevada becomes the first US state to vote to legalize online gambling.

Reuters news service reports that a research firm, Jupiter Media Metrix, has released a report indicating that the combined companies of AOL Time Warner, Microsoft Corporation, Napster, and Yahoo, Inc. control just over half of all time spent online by United States computer users.

Simplex Solutions, Inc. and Toshiba Corporation jointly announce that they have developed a new method to develop microchips so that they yield up to ten percent greater performance or better. The method involves laying out the transistors in diagonal patterns to reduce the distances between them. Toshiba plans to use software created by Simplex to make chips by the second half of 2002.

2002

Mozilla 1.0, Mozilla’s first public release, is made available.

2006

GNU Bison 2.3, a free parser generator computer program written for the GNU project, is released.

NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha Intel, a version of the open source OpenOffice.org office suite that has been ported to Mac OS X, is released.

The Pirate Bay (TPB) goes down, citing database server problems that are the result of all the publicity resulting from the May 31, 2006 police raid against them.

2008

Verizon Wireless announces they will acquire Alltel for $28.1 Billion.

Former Broadcom CEO Henry Nicholas is indicted on 25 counts including conspiracy and securities fraud related to options backdating, as well as numerous drug violations

2009

Hacker and Defcon founder Jeff Moss joined the Homeland Security Advisory Council

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