August 17

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 17th


Standards Western Automatic ComputerThe Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC), built under the management of Harry Huskey, is dedicated and activated at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).


A British patent for “A Computer Arranged for the Automatic Solution of Linear Programming Problems,” originally filed on May 21, 1962 is granted. The invention is concerned with efficient memory management for the simplex algorithm, and is implemented purely through software. It is among the very first software patents granted anywhere.


The world’s first compact disk (CD) is manufactured by Royal Philips Electronics at the Polygram recording company’s factory in Langenhagen, Germany. The Visitors by Abba. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.


Electronic Arts announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire Westwood Studios from Virgin Interactive in a deal valued at US$122.5 million. Westwood is based in Irvine, California and is best known for the Command & Conquer series.

Version 4.06 of Netscape Communicator web browser is released.

Yahoo launches Yahoo! Calendar.


THQ, Inc. announces the appointment of Peter Dille as their new vice president of marketing. Prior to his new position, Peter had been senior director of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA).


Nielson/NetRatings, an Internet media and market research firm, report that over fifty percent of United States homes (approximately 144 million people) have access to the Internet. United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York bars Eric Gordon Corley (known by the handle “Emmanuel Goldstein”), publisher of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, from republishing software hacks that circumvent DVD industry encryptions. Such codes would enable movies to be more readily copied and exchanged on the Internet.


The United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia declines the Microsoft Corporation’s request to delay the antitrust case against them while they appeal it to the Supreme Court.


Federal law enforcement authorities search the computers of a San Diego security firm that used the Internet to access government and military computers without authorization over the summer. Investigators from the FBI, the Army, and NASA visit the offices of ForensicTec Solutions Inc. seeking details about how the company gain access to computers at Fort Hood in Texas and at the Energy Department, NASA, and other government facilities. The searches began hours after it was reported that ForensicTec consultants used free software to identify vulnerable computers and then peruse hundreds of confidential files containing military procedures, e-mail, Social Security numbers, and financial data, according to records maintained by the company. While ForensicTec officials said they wanted to help the government and “get some positive exposure for themselves,” authorities pursue the matter as a criminal case.


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a partial ruling supporting Grokster and StreamCast. This appeal presents the question of whether distributors of peer-to-peer file-sharing computer networking software may be held contributorily or vicariously liable for copyright infringements by users. “Under the circumstances presented by this case, we conclude that the defendants are not liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and affirm the district court’s partial grant of summary judgment.”

Version 7.2 of the Netscape Mail and Newsgroups email and news client is released.


LG Electronics and Nortel signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture that will offer telecom and networking solutions in the wireline, optical, wireless, and enterprise areas for South Korean and global customers. Nortel will own one share more than fifty percent of the joint venture.

Pinnacle Systems releases Pinnacle Studio 10 and Pinnacle Studio 10 Plus, non-linear video editing software applications. This version has the same user interface as its predecessor, Studio 9, and its code base is taken from Liquid Edition, which is now called Avid Liquid. This version also introduces real time previews at full resolution along with the ability to mix PAL, NTSC, 4:3, and 16:9 format footage on the timeline. The minimum hardware requirements are raised and the program currently only runs on Windows XP. The standard version of Studio 10 has fewer features than the standard version of Studio 9, but Studio 10 Plus offers further enhancements including HD editing.


Business Week releases a report highlighting the effects of video games on children undergoing medical procedures, such as surgery. According to the report, playing certain “serious games,” such as Free Dive, increases the length of pain tolerance by children dramatically.

A Dell press-release announces that, starting in September 2006, Dell Dimension desktop computers will feature AMD processors and that later in the year Dell will release a two-socket, multi-processor server using AMD Opteron processors, moving away from using Dell’s traditional Intel processors.

In a legal challenge to the alleged NSA domestic surveillance program , U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules in American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) et al., v. National Security Agency (NSA) that the warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered that it be stopped immediately, on the grounds that such activities are violations of the rights to free speech and privacy. In her ruling, she writes, “The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.”


A second class action was filed against AT&T and Apple over battery issues in the iPhone. The new lawsuit alleges that Apple and AT&T deliberately did not inform consumers about the process of and costs associated with battery replacement in the device prior to its launch.


Users file a privacy lawsuit against Facebook siting it violates the California consumer privacy law.


Yahoo begins the transision of Search to Bing in the US. Yahoo also closes the Search Monkey service.

Yahoo also launches the iPad friendly application for mail.


Google went down for a short period of time.

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