October 4

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: October 4th

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The first complete English edition of the Bible, translated by Miles Coverdale, printed in Antwerp, is published.


Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens patents a pocket watch.


The first power printing press capable of detailed book work is patented by Isaac Adams of Boston, Massachusetts.


The “Dick Tracy” comic strip, created by cartoonist Chester Gould, debuts.


Enrico Fermi measures the speed of a neutron.


The world’s first solar-powered telephone call is made by Bell Telephone.


The beginning of the Space Age is marked when Russia launches Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite, into Earth orbit from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The craft will circle the globe every ninety-five minutes at almost twenty thousand miles per hour five hundred miles above the Earth for approximately three months, until January 4, 1958. The name Sputnik translates to “companion” or “fellow traveller”. The 184 pound satellite transmits a radio signal which amateur radio operators around the world will be able to track, and it carries instrumentation for temperature measurement. The launch highlights the technological achievements of the Soviets and sparks some worrying questions for the politicians of the US. President John F. Kennedy will state that “the nation was losing the satellite-missile race with the Soviet Union because of … complacent miscalculations, penny-pinching, budget cutbacks, incredibly confused mismanagement, and wasteful rivalries and jealousies.” The fact of is, though, that the Russian “lead” is largely due to the fact that the US has suitably forward basing in Europe and Turkey from which to launch attacks, allowing them to focus on short-range rocket technology. The Soviets, on the other hand, lack overseas bases, and have been forced to develop long-range rocket technology. Two Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory scientists tracking Sputnik find that they can determine the satellite’s orbit by analyzing the Doppler shift of its radio signals during a single pass. They conjecture that if a satellite’s position were known and predictable, then the Doppler shift of its signals could be used to locate a receiver on Earth. Thus, one can navigate by satellite. A system called Transit, a forerunner of the Global Positioning System (GPS), will be developed and, in 1964, be put into use on US nuclear deterrent submarines.


The Lunik III satellite, the first to photograph the dark side of the moon, is launched.


The science fiction television series Stingray premieres with the episode “Stingray” in the UK. In it, a World Navy submarine is mysteriously destroyed and Troy and Phones are assigned to investigate. However, they are captured by the Aquaphibians and sentenced to life imprisonment in the undersea penal complex of Aquatraz by Titan of Titanica. The series will run for thirty-nine episodes, until June 27, 1965. The series uses marionettes rather than live actors.


An advertisement in Science magazine by Hewlett-Packard introduces first programmable scientific desktop calculator, which Hewlett-Packard calls “the new Hewlett-Packard 911A personal computer”.


Free Software Foundation is founded by Richard Stallman to support the GNU Project in Massachusetts, United States.


Effective at midnight, Atari Corporation closes its tender offer for outstanding shares of the Federated Group of Electronics Stores and Federated becomes an official subsidiary of Atari.


The Mission to Mars attraction in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World closes.

Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Home brand, a broad range of consumer software products targeted at home computer users.1995


Gunpei Yokoi, inventor and toy maker, dies at age 56. He designed Nintendo’s Game & Watch handheld games, the Game Boy, and the Game Boy Pocket. He also produced the popular Metroid series of games.

Version 3.04 of the Netscape Navigator web browser is released.


AMD introduces the 700MHz AMD Athlon processor, the world’s fastest and highest-performance x86 processor. Major computer manufacturers, including Compaq and IBM also announce the availability of systems based on the 700MHz AMD Athlon processor. Price: US$849 in quantities of 1,000-units

HydraBBS version 1.05, six revisions behind the current release, appears on the cover of the CD included with the October issue of AmigaActive Magazine.

Intel Corporation reveals that they have chosen Itanium as the brand name for their new line of microprocessors. Previously, the chips were assigned a code name of Merced.

The Los Angeles Times blames Pacific Bell for the failure of a number of government computers whose failure caused state agencies in California to turn away citizens applying for drivers’ licenses, food vouchers, and vital services.

Palm Computing releases the Palm VII handheld computer with wireless support in 260 cities throughout the US. The Palm.net network costs start at US$9.99 for eighty transactions, with access to email, Internet messaging, and over one hundred content providers. Palm Computing releases the Palm Vx handheld computer. It is based on the Palm V design, expanding memory from 2 to 8 MB.

Red Hat begins releases version 6.1 of the Red Hat Linux operating system, “Cartman”. This version includes the Star Office 5.1a office suite. Price: US$29.95 - US$140.95


Maxtor announces that it will acquire the hard drive business of the Quantum Corporation for about US$1 billion in stock.


Casio introduces the Casio Cassiopeia E-200 handheld computer, featuring a 206 MHz Intel StrongARM SA-1110 processor, 64MB RAM, a CompactFlash Type II slot, a Secure Digital and MultiMedia Card slot, and the Pocket PC 2002 operating system, a USB connection, and a 65,536-color reflective TFT display. Price: US$599 Weight: 7 ounces

Compaq Computer introduces the iPaq H3870 handheld computer, featuring a 206 MHz Intel StrongARM SA-1110 processor, 64MB RAM, Bluetooth wireless communications, a 65,536 color TFT screen, a Secure Digital expansion slot, and the Pocket PC 2002 operating system. The battery provides about twelve hours of operation. The device will be available in November. Price: US$649

In San Francisco, California, and London, England, Microsoft introduces the Pocket PC 2002 operating system. Code-name: Merlin Toshiba America Information Systems introduces the Toshiba Pocket PC e570 handheld computer, featuring a 206 MHz Intel StrongARM SA-1110 processor, 64MB RAM, a CompactFlash Type II slot, a SecureDigital slot, a 65,536-color reflective display, and the Pocket PC 2002 operating system. The battery provides about eight hours of operation. The device will be available in November. Price: US$569


Hacker Vasily Gorshkov, age 27, of Chelyabinsk, Russia, is sentenced to three years in prison for convictions on twenty counts of conspiracy, fraud, and related computer crimes. Gorshkov is also ordered to pay restitution of nearly US$700,000 for the damages he caused to the Speakeasy ISP of Seattle, and the online credit card payment company PayPal.


Mandrakesoft acquires the professional support company Edge IT, which focuses on the delivery of services and support to the corporate market in France. Edge IT has six employees.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, wins the Ansari X Prize for the SpaceShipOne, which has successfully completed two private spaceflights. Version 2.0.0 of the R programming language is released. This version introduces “Lazy loading”, which enables the swift loading of data with minimal expense of system memory.


Microsoft holds the Xbox Show, “X05″, October 4 and 5 in Amsterdam. At the event, Microsoft revealed the launch line-up for the new Xbox 360 console, as well as new titles coming to the system.

Yahoo!purchases online social event calendar Upcoming.org.


George Takei gets his own asteroid: formerly known as 1994 GT9. The new name will be 7307 Takei


Twitter CEO Evan Williams steps down, COO Dick Costolo becomes the new CEO.


Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the 5th generation iPhone would be called iPhone 4s. It improved the processor to the new A5 chipset, included Retina display and introduction of Siri - the voice command system inside the iPhone. Cook also announced iOS5, which would be able to download on October 12. A lot of people noticed how despondent Cook was. It wasn't until October 5 that we knew why...


CNN uncovers the original voice of Siri - Susan Bennett.

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