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Day in Tech History

Jeffrey Powers

Daily rundown of Technology History
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Microsoft

1998 – Microsoft reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice regarding Internet Explorer on Windows 95. In the agreement, computer manufacturers could have the IE link removed. This was a small step in the antitrust suit against Microsoft and using bundled software and drive out competition.

The Microsoft antitrust trial would begin on May 18, 1998 and go until November 5, 1999.

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  • The Famous Apple Macintosh Superbowl commercial
  • Microsoft releases IE for Mac
  • AOL sues Microsoft on behalf of Netscape for IE
  • Cell Phone Tax rejected
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Switchback Railway

1885 – Sounding like anything but a roller coaster, the Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway was the first American designed amusement coaster designed by LaMarcus Adna Thompson.

Only 5 cents to ride, the Switchback was a simple coaster that took you about 600 feet to the next tower at six miles per hour. It had a height of 50 feet and a drop of 43 feet.

It opened on June 16, 1884 and eventually was replaced. But on this day, the roller coaster saw one of its first patents from this ride.

Learn more about Patents: Ingenious Inventions, How they work and How they came to be from Amazon

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  • Robert and Carleen Thomas (Amature Action BBS) were raided
  • Microsoft market value surpasses IBM for the first time to $26.78 Billion
  • Microsoft sells all shares of Comcast
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Apple Lisa

Happy Birthday to me.

1983 – at an introductory price of $9995, Apple introduces the Lisa computer – the first computer with a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The computer featured a 5 MHz 68000 microprocessor, 1 MB RAM, 12′′ monochrome monitor, dual 5.25′′ 860 KB floppy drives, a 5 MB hard drive and more.

Lisa cost Apple Computer US$50 million to develop. The software for it cost Apple Computer US$100 million to develop.“Lisa” is an acronym for Local Integrated Software Architecture.

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  • I Love Lucy gave birth on TV
  • First IBM PC virus was “the Brain”
  • MegaUpload was Closed
  • New York sets up 911 to accept photos from cell phones.
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The Batman TV Show

1966 – Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson entered our lives via ABC on Wednesdays. The television series “Batman” debuted with the episode Hi Diddle Riddle. Each half hour episode contained either part 1 or part 2 of the dynamic duo’s fight against the criminal of the week.

Get Batman: The Complete Television Series (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray] at Amazon

Of course, the show offered some high-tech video work, including angled cameras and inserted “BAM”, “SMACK” and “POW!!” graphics. Each episode did more than conquer a bad guy – it was also a chance to learn about the importance of doing your homework, using seatbelts and drinking your milk.

The show lasted three seasons before getting cancelled in 1968. There was one movie that also was produced in 1966.

Of course, we cannot ever forget “the Batman” dance move...

Batman Dance Move

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  • Sinclair 16/32 bit Quantum Leap
  • (fictional) Activation of HAL 9000
  • UNIX is introduced
  • ICANN opens up registraton for new top-level domains. Registration fee is $185,000
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iTunes

At MacWorld 2001, Steve Jobs announced Mac OSX – the base OS for Apple for the next couple decades. With Darwin, an open source BSD Unix service, 2D (Quartz), 3D (OpenGL) and Quicktime (QT5). The programming language of Classic, Carbon and Cocoa allowed programs from OS9 to run. Cocoa is an object oriented API for new apps.

OSX became available on March 24, 2001 for $129

Jobs also announced the PowerMac G4 with “Power to Burn”. Based on the PowerPC G4 chip at 733 MHz. Four models coming with CD-RW and Superdrive, 133 MHz system and memory bus, AGP 4x graphics and nVidia graphics.

Finally, Jobs announced iTunes – Their interface was simple and powerful. Create playlists and burn CDs in one window. You can also take an MP3 player and connect to iTunes to drag and drop titles. Finally, iTunes has an internet radio function to listen to all your favorite stations.

Below is the keynote from 2001 also showing off iDVD, iMusic, and the Powerbook G4 Titanium.

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Richard Stallman

1984 – Richard Stallman quit his job at MIT to begin the writing of GNU software. GNU – a recursive acronym for “Not Unix” and reference to the song “the Gnu” – is an operating system that is compatible with Unix software. Stallman wanted to bring a free software operating system for the masses to use as they needed. The open source community would then be able to grow the OS with their own code additions.

Even though no real stable version of GNU yet exists, Linux is based on the GNU kernel.

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  • v 2.0 of Perl is released
  • Steve Jobs accepts CEO position at Apple
  • Steve Jobs announces he has a “Hormonal Imbalance”
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Apple

1977 – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak officially incorporate the Apple Computer Corporation. Mike Makkula jr. invests $250,000 in venture capital and becomes the first chairman of Apple.

They also decided to move operations of the company outside of Steve Jobs parent’s garage and rent a building in Coupertino. This was so they could improve production of the Apple II, which debuted on April 16,1977.

Of course, the third founder – Ronald Wayne – was not present as he sold his stake in the company earlier in 1976.

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  • Matsushita acquires MCA
  • Yahoo! stock hits $475.00
  • Computer was Time Man of the Year
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Apple

2007 – With iTunes just signing a deal with FOX and their content for iTunes, stocks pushed upward to $200 a share. It was the first time Apple hit that barrier, and promptly dropped after. The company has been up and down, and in mid-2008 were at only $90 a share. However, after March 6th, 2008, the stock started to rise to the $400 / Share mark. Since then Apple climbed up to $700/share and then on June 9th, 2014 the stock was split 7-to-1. Currently, the stock is at $111 (technically $777 for those who purchased before the split).

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  • The National Machine Accountants Association is founded (later becomes AITP)
  • FM radio is patented
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Apple Acquires NeXT

1996 – Steve Jobs started Apple. When he left Apple, he started NeXT. When Apple started to fall, Steve Jobs came back. Of course, having 2 computer companies is not a good idea – So why not buy it out?That is what Apple did. In a $400 Million deal, they got a new OS and Steve Jobs. Of course, Jobs did not become CEO of Apple again – he reported to current CEO Dr. Gilbert F. Amelio.

NeXTstep OS would ultimately become Mac OS X.

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  • IBM 7040 and 7044 released
  • CIS wins $1 Billion from Spammers
  • Warner pulls music from YouTube
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Apple

1984 – Apple announced they would split up the Cupertino based company into three divisions – Apple II (handling all Apple III computers as well), the Apple 32 division (Lisa, and new Macintosh line of computers) and Accessory Products (Printers, keyboards, etc).

Delbert Yocam led the Apple II group which Steve Jobs would take care of Apple 32. Michael Muller would lead the accessories.

Apple did a lot of reorganizing, including Michael Spindler to VP of the European group and William Campbell to VP of sales in the US.

In 1984, they also introduced the Macintosh, with a groundbreaking Superbowl ad. At this time, Sculley and Jobs were co-working on a better Apple computer, but that would turn sour where Jobs resigned in 1985 to start NeXT Computers.

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Related articles
  • Mistrial in WordPerfect antitrust case against Microsoft (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
  • January 15: Ralph Baer Patents First Video Game (dayintechhistory.com)
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