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The first transistor, a solid-state amplifier made of germanium, plastic, and gold, is invented by Walter Brattain and John Bardeen in a series of experiments conducted between November 17 and December 23.
Douglas Engelbart receives a patent for the first computer mouse. (US No. 3541541) The patent, titled X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System, is a simple hollowed-out wooden block, with a single push button on top.
The two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special air for the first and only time on CBS network. In it, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. Along the way, they are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire who are searching for rebels on the planet. The film will never be re-aired or officially released, but it will be widely boot-legged and eventually become a cult-classic, largely due to the unintentional campiness of the production. Visit The Star Wars Holiday Special fan site for more information.
Craig Neidorf (Knight Lightning) and Taran King and release the first issue of PHRACK Magazine, which will, after twenty years, become the longest running electronic publication on the hacker scene. Initially distributed by bulletin board services, it will eventually moves to the Internet. Visit the publication’s official website.
Veronica, an early search engine system for the Gopher protocol, is released by the University of Nevada. Veronica is an ever-expanding database that includes the names of almost every menu item on thousands of Gopher servers. The name, although officially an acronym for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computer Archives, was chosen to match that of the FTP search service known as Archie. Archie and Veronica being characters in the Archie Comics.
Apple settles a lawsuit brought by Carl Sagan after engineers at Apple code-named a computer for the famed astronomer. Though the code-name remained internal, Sagan took offense and sued Apple for defamation of character.
Sam Tramiel announces that the settlement terms that were made public in September with Sega have been concluded and that Atari has received a cash infusion of approximately US$90 million. Tramiel jokingly warns Atari employees in a company memo that he does not personally carry more than US$20 on his person at any one time.
SyQuest Technology, an early developer of removable hard disks, suspends its operations and files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Shopping.
Slashdot reports, There is a cool new tool out there called Napster that allows anyone to become a publicly accessible FTP site - tapping in to that huge resource of personal MP3 collections that everyone has, but have not been able to share… RIAA should be scared out of their minds because users are not logged on permanently, so it’s hard to track them down to take legal action.
Britannica.com announces its intention to cut seventeen percent of its employees or about seventy-five jobs. The Chicago-based firm is one of the most popular reference sites on the Internet and employs about 450 people.
Computer security experts warn that the software provided by Sony to uninstall its XCP tools creates additional vulnerabilities.
Sony releases the PlayStation 3 game console in North America. The system features a 3.2GHz PowerPC CPU, 256 MBXDR DRAM, built-in Wi-Fi, and a 60GB hard drive. Sony only releases four hundred thousand units of the PlayStation 3, and chaos erupts at several locations in the US due to retailers’ inability to meet the high demand for the system. Across the country, violence breaks out. In one incident, two men are shot in one incident, and in several other incidents, armed robbery was committed by those trying to take one of these first systems. It is the first gaming system to use Blue-ray Discs as its storage medium.
Dominoes and TiVo team up to sell pizzas over your DVR
AOL execs confirm a rumor that the AOL video hosting services will be discontinued on Dec 18, 2008
Intel releases the USB 3.0 specification
Major League Baseball and MLB.com drop Silverlight for Flash on the website.
Comcast launches 50 MBPS to Oregon and Washington
Jerry Yang announces he will step down from his CEO role. Shares dropped from $34 to $9 during the MicroYahoo events.
Intel launches the core i7 processor. i7-965 3.2 GHz processor $999 - i7-940 2.93 GHz $562 - i7-920 2.66GHz $284
Yahoo! announces it will be discontinuing their mobile application called "Go"
Google launched Image Swirl
Ronald Sugar joins Apple board of directors. He replaced Eric Schmidt, who resigned from the board in 2009.