October 25

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: October 25th

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Giovanni Cassini discovers Iapetus, a moon of Saturn.


Already weakening signals over the new transatlantic telegraph cable cease altogether. The cable won’t be replaced until 1866.


Radio Corporation of America (RCA) brings image orthicon television cameras into use at its studios in Radio City, New York. For the first time, television camera tubes are more sensitive to light than the prevailing film emulsions.


The first domestic microwave oven is sold by Tappan.


The Bulova’s Accutron 214, the world’s first electronic wrist watch, is placed on sale in New York City. The Accutron has the potential to keep time accurately within two seconds per day, using a germanium PNP transistor circuit with a 360Hz tuning fork.


Digital Equipment Corporation releases version 1.0 of the OpenVMS operating system.


The independently produced horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, and Brian Andrews, to US theaters. In it, a psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood escapes on a mindless rampage while his doctor chases him through the streets. Produced on a budget of US$325,000, the film will be a surprise blockbuster success. MPAA Rating: R Running Time: 1hr 31mins


Osborne Computer announces the Vixen computer, featuring a Zilog Z80A, 64KB RAM, a twenty-five line display, and two 390KB disk drives. The system comes bundled with the CP/M 2.2 operating system, the WordStar 3.3 word processor, Supercalc 2, MBASIC, a game called Desolation, Osboard Software (a graphics package), and Media Master for transferring data to MS-DOS disks. An optional 10MB hard disk can be added with an interface card for an additional US$1,498, which is more than the price of the system. The Vixen is a technologically superior follow-up to the Osborne 1, the world’s first commercially successful portable microcomputer; however, unlike its predecessor, it will be a complete failure due to the recent release of the IBM PC (specifically the IBM Personal Computer/AT), which will dry up demand for systems running the CP/M operating system almost overnight. As a result, the Vixen will be the last machine produced by Osborne, and later in the year, the company will close. Price: US$1,298.

Osborne Computer announces the Encore computer, featuring an Intel 8086 processor, 128KB RAM (expandable to 512 Kb), a built-in modem, one 390 kB disk drive, the MS-DOS operating system, and a monochrome sixteen line line screen. Weight is under ten pounds; price is US$2,195.


New York Newsday and American CITINET announce an online newspaper on a phone company videotex gateway called Info-Look.


Nexus BBS Software is released to the public.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit corporation established to manage the assignment of domain names and IP addresses on September 18, 1998, elects its Initial Board of Directors, choosing Michael M. Roberts as its Interim President and Chief Executive Officer.

Microsoft releases Service Pack 4 for Windows NT 4.0.


Intel introduces the Mobile Pentium III processor, running at 400, 450, or 500MHz, with 28 million transistors, a 100 or 133MHz bus, and a 64 bit bus. New and faster non-mobile Pentium processors are also introduced, running at 500, 533, 550, 600, 650, 667, 700, and 733MHz. This new family of processors uses a new 0.18 micron process technology, creating transistors with finer linewidths. Code-name: Coppermine Price: US$348 (400MHz), US$530 (500MHz) for portable versions US$239 (500MHz), US$776 (733MHz) for desktop versions WMS Gaming, manufacturer of arcade games, casino slot machines, and pinball machines, announces that it will shut down its pinball game and cabinet design and manufacturing operations. The announcement marks the end of the arcade era. The Star Wars Episode I pinball machine is the last game produced by the company.


Version 4.76 of the Netscape Communicator web browser is released.


Microsoft releases Windows XP home and professional editions, based on the Windows 2000 interface and the Windows NT kernel, but the system’s Compatibility Mode allows most software written for older versions of Windows to operate correctly. The system consists of source code 50 million lines. The release is marketed with a US$250 million publicity campaign. Price: US$199 (Home Edition), US$299 (Professional Edition), US$99 (Home Edition Upgrade), or US$199 (Professional Edition Upgrade)

Microsoft posts the first Windows XP

Microsoft releases Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP. Price: US$39.95


Apple introduces the Mac OS X 10.3. Code-name: Panther

Three Michigan men gain access to Lowe’s computer system while wardriving and steal credit card information.


Version 9.2 of the SUSE Linux distribution is released under a GNU General Public License.


iMesh revealed the first P2P service approved by the RIAA, iMesh 6, which allows users to listen to music of their choice from a set library for a monthly fee. iMesh users can purchase tracks for US$0.99 each. In addition to the paid library, iMesh 6 also allows users to access large amounts of “non-copyrighted” music and video files, at no additional charge. Attempt to download copyrighted material not provided by the music industry and record labels are blocked by iMesh, before the download is complete.


Upper Deck Entertainment releases World of Warcraft Trading Card Game.


FBI seized 28.5 million worth of bitcoin from Ross Ulbricht - aka Silk Road - the mastermind behind the online drug market. FBI seized 144,000 bitcoin and investigated another 111,000 which Ulbricht might also own.

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