September 15

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Podcast Episode - Day in Technology History

Day in Tech History: September 15th


Charles Darwin reaches the Galápagos Islands aboard the HMS Beagle.


Cosmic radiation is first suggested as the subject of a paper published by Theodor Wulf. He reports the results of four days of observations he made the previous Spring from the top of the Eiffel Tower. He suggests that the Earth is under constant bombardment from radiation from outer space, from sources other than the Sun.


A.H. Renfell and Captain Rickards demonstrate the first robot made in Britain at the Model Engineering Exhibition in London.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System (MUMPS) programming language, also known simply as “M” is approved as an ANSI standard. The programming language was created for use in the healthcare industry to make writing database-driven applications easy while efficiently using computer resources.


The RCA 12AX7RCA releases the 12AX7 vacuum tube. It is a miniature dual triode vacuum tube with high voltage gain.

What will become the world’s oldest computing society, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), is founded. The ACM organizes conference and educational workshops to exchange information on technology.


During the Muhammad Ali - Leon Spinks World Heavyweight Championship bout, Atari, Inc. kicks off a six million dollar advertising campaign, which cost more than the entire video game industry spent on advertising in 1977. The campaign includes three thirty-second spots featuring stars like Carol Channing, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Billie Jean King, Jack Palance, Pelé, Gene Rayburn, Bobby Riggs, and Pete Rose. The theme, Don’t Watch TV Tonight, Play It, will be seen by viewers of programs such as Battle Star Galactica, Midnight Special, NCAA Football, NFL Monday Night Football, Sunday Big Event and others. In addition, full-page magazine ads will appear in People, Penthouse, Playboy, Sport, TV Guide, and Us. It is estimated that the campaign will reach 95% of United States households, with more than one billion impressions during the holiday selling season.


Texas Instruments and IBM enter into a joint agreement by which Texas Instruments will produce chips for cards for networking office machines with computers.


Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIGS computer, featuring a 16-bit Western Design Center W65C816 (65816) microprocessor operating at 1 MHz or 2.8 MHz. “GS” stands for Graphics and Sound. It is only about ninety-percent compatible with Apple II software. Price: US$1,000 - US$1,900


Apple Computer stops shipments and instigates a recall of its PowerBook 5300 portable computer. Apple admits to two such machines bursting into flames within the past week due to the overheating of the lithium ion batteries. Apple wants to replace them with a cooler nickel metal hydride battery which don’t stay “charged” as long.

The Intel Corporation announces a US$100 million new manufacturing and complex in Du Pont, Washington. A second phase will cost hundreds of millions. Ground breaking is scheduled prior to October 31 and the facility will employ 1,200 people by the end of 1996.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer releases the film Hackers, directed by Iain Softley and starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Jesse Bradford, Matthew Lillard, Renoly Santiago, and Laurence Mason, to US theaters. In it, A young boy is arrested by the US Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. Years later, he and his new-found friends discover a plot to unleash a dangerous computer virus, but they must use their computer skills to find the evidence while being pursued by the Secret Service and the evil computer genius behind the virus. Several Apple Computer products appear throughout the film, along with several other personal computers, to control television programming, a supercomputer, traffic lights, building lights, and more. The film will be widely criticized for its wildly inaccurate portrayal of computing, cracking, hacking, and programming. Produced on a a relatively small budget, the film will gross US$3,173,101 in its opening weekend. MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hrs 47 min


Apple Computer announces several Power Macintosh 6500 systems with 275 to 300 MHz PowerPC 603e processors, and the Mac OS 8 operating system.

Hackers deface the Coca-cola website with a picture of a Coke bottle that reads “ADM Crew,” with words next to it that read, “break me.” The website is subsequently replaced with a message reading, “Hi! The Coca-Cola Company’s Internet Web servers are temporarily down for maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please visit us again very soon.”

Google registers the domain The search engine was on before this time, and the link to the Stanford site is still in operation.


Jupiter’s rings are declared to be made of dust from the impacts of cosmic bodies that crashed into Jupiter’s moons. The idea comes from studies of the rings made by scientists at several institutions.

Microsoft releases Office 97 Service Pack 2.

WorldCom and MCI Communications finish their landmark merger, the largest in US history, forming MCI WorldCom which will later be renamed WorldCom. In 2003 the company will become the largest bankruptcy case in United States history in a prime example of the waste of excesses of the bubble.


Intel introduces the Intel Mobile Celeron processor, operating at 433 and 466 MHz, featuring 128KB Level-2 Caches, 66MHz Front-Side Buses, and 18.9 million transistors. They are based on a 0.25 micron process and are intended for use in low-cost mobile computers.

Microsoft announces that it will acquire the Visio Corporation, a developer of technical drawing applications, for US$1.3 billion in stock. The websites of the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are defaced by “The United Loan Gunman”. Some media sources believe that this new hacking group is actually the notorious “Hacking for Girlies” (HFG) group which had earlier defaced the website of The New York Times.


A human error which allowed a hacker to access the credit and debit card information of about 15,700 customers from the website of Western Union, a subsidiary of First Data, is discovered. The vulnerability was created when “performance management files” were left open on the site during routine maintenance. Over the coming weekend, the company’s website will be replaced with an out-of-service message.


VeriSign deploys a wildcard service into the .com and .net top level domains (TLDs) causing confusion as URLs with invalid domains are redirected to a VeriSign page. ICANN will order VeriSign to stop the service, and the company will comply with the order on October 4.


Version 0.7 of Desktop Light Linux (DeLi Linux) is released. DeLi is particularly optimized to run on older personal computers. DeLi Linux requires only a 386 processor with 8MB RAM. However, it works best with a 486 and 16MB RAM. A full installation with the full package installed requires nearly 400MB of hard disk space.


Version 1.0 Alpha of the SeaMonkey free, open source, cross-platform Internet suite is released.

Version 6 of Power Render, a general purpose software development kit for games and 3D visualization, is released for Windows. In addition to providing an API for developers, the software package includes several tools for artists to build content from Autodesk’s 3ds max, Alias Wavefront’s Maya, and Newtek’s Lightwave.


Sony releases the mylo Personal Communicator, a portable instant messaging and internet communications device. The brand name “mylo” stands for My Life Online. Using Wi-Fi instead of cellular networks, the mylo targets consumers in the 18-24 age group.

Sun Microsystems Game Technology Group releases version 1.0.0 of the Java OpenGL (JOGL) wrapper library, which allows most features available in the C programming language to be used with the Java programming language through the use of OpenGL.


Best Buy purchases Napster for $121 Million

Intel unveils the six-core "Dunnington" Xeon 7400 processor. The processor will have the 45nm technology, a 16MB L3 cache memory and will contain the monolithic design – where all 6 cores are on one piece of silicon. $856 to $2,729

Unysis also unveiled the ES7000 which will hold up to 16 chips, or 96 cores. $26,430 to $135,000

The European Union joins the US investigation into the Google-Yahoo ad deal.

Microsoft’s research project of 2 years called “Wallop” is shut down. Apple releases Mac OSX 10.5.5

HP cuts 24,600 jobs – 7.5% of the company in a restructuring effort due to the purchase of EDS. They expect the job cut will save 1.8 Billion dollars.

Google launches Gears for Safari

IBM announces Virtual Storage Optimizer. The program would reduce physical storage requirements associated with storing virtual images  


Google releases Chrome 3.0

A recent contest to find bugs in search engines found that Bing has a lot of bugs, while Google is the cleanest.


HTC debuts the Desire HD and Z series phones. Desire Z uses an 800 MHz Qualcomm 7230 processor and the HD has a 1GHz Qualcomm 8255. Both phones run Android 2.2

Microsoft launches IE 9 Beta

Skyhook sues Google over patent issues and also accusing Google of forcing Motorola to drop their service for Google Maps

Twitter begins rolling out their new design to users. Includes a side-pane that will show messages and replies and an easier interface to view embedded photos and video.


Heidi Klum is announced to be the most dangerous search celeb on the net

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