August 19

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 19th


African American astronomer and mathematician Benjamin Banneker sends a copy of his first almanac to Thomas Jefferson to disprove Jefferson’s belief that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites.


Gene Roddenberry, the American producer of the sci-fi series Star Trek, is born. Read a biography of Gene Roddenberry.


The tradition of Saturday morning television for children begins in the USA. The ABC television network’s programming includes Acrobat Ranch and Animal Clinic.


IDT Corporation announces the acquisition of Genie Online Service, which caters to 20,000 subscribers, from the Yovelle Renaissance Corporation. The specific terms of the purchase the service are not revealed, however, IDT gains the rights to the Genie name as well as to the one hundred gigabytes of service content. Geoff Rochwarger, president of Genie and Howard Jonas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IDT publicly agree that the deal works well for both parties. Genie employs twenty people in Rockville, Maryland and manages around sixty system operators.

Netscape Communications releases version 3.0 of the Netscape Navigator web browser. This version introduces a number of new features, including new plug-ins, background colors for tables, the archive attribute is the first to face any serious competition from another web browser. The competition comes from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 3.0. Previously, Netscape’s dominance in the web browser market had been unchallenged. Code-name: Atlas


AMD announces that it has ceased manufacturing the K5 processor.


Air traffic control over a wide New England area blacks out due to a computer crash at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Boston Center. The region affected is from the Candian border to Long Island for about thirty-seven minutes beginning at 6:50pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) during which time about three hundred planes were being tracked by seventy-five traffic controllers.


The ABC news website is defaced by the “United Loan Gunmen.”

Apple Computer Corporation announces that they have filed suit against eMachines, Inc. alleging that the eOne PC was illegally copied from the design of the Apple iMac computer. However, the similarity appears to be confined to the machine’s translucent blue case.

Intel Corporation, confirms a report that they plan to exit the market for chips that process two and three-dimensional graphics for personal computers. The announcement less than a year after introducing their first graphics controller chip,the i740, in February of 1998.

Microsoft Corporation announces that their newly released Office 2000 and MSN Messenger software packages contain bugs in security implementation that may make them vulnerable to attacks.


The Kalisto console warez group determines how to rip and redistribute Dreamcast GD-ROMs as CD-ROM ISOs without the need for a swappable “bootdisk” CD-ROM. The revelation marks the beginning of Dreamcast game piracy. In only a very short period, Swapping Dreamcast games online will become wildly popular. So much so that a few weeks later, Sega will offer Kalisto a financial incentive for them to stop releasing games for the Dreamcast platform. On September 2, the group posts a message to their site announcing that, “Sega has offered us stock options to stop releasing DC, so this will be it, our last release. Thanks to all who have supported us throughout our stay in the DC scene. Take note this is NOT a joke. We are really stopping all DC operations with this release. We will continue on with the PSX. Bye.” In 2004, Kalisto was named as one of six groups targeted as part of Operation Fastlink by the United States Department of Justice.


The Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japan Economic Times) daily newspaper publishes an article in which is states that Fujitsu Ltd., one of Japan’s largest technology firms, will reduce its worldwide workforce by fifteen thousand employees, or approximately ten percent. The article attributes the cuts to a “high-tech slump.” The article also states that the company will be closing several overseas plants.


Sony releases the Clie PEG-SJ20 handheld computer, featuring 16MB RAM, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a backlit monochrome 320×320 pixel screen, the Palm OS 4.1, and a Memory Stick slot. Price: US$199


The Korean Network Information Center (KRNIC), the organization entrusted with internet resources management in Korea, launches the Hangeul.KR service. Hangeul are Korean characters, and the service allows websites to register web domains that include native Korean rather than western scripts.

The Sobig worm becomes known, spreading rapidly via email. It sets a record with the sheer volume of email it sends. The computer worm is most widespread in its “Sobig.F” variant. Sobig is a computer worm in the sense that it replicates by itself, but it is also a Trojan horse in that it masquerades as something other than malware. Many of the Emails carrying the worm will have one of the following subjects: “Re: Approved,” “Re: Details,” “Re: Re: My details,” “Re: Thank you!,” “Re: That movie,” “Re: Wicked screensaver,” “Re: Your application,” “Thank you!,” or “Your details.” Information on Sobig from Symantec

Version 1.0 of the SQLite Database Browser, a public domain, open source GUI database client for SQLite database files. It allows users to visualize a database without an actual working knowledge of the SQL language. It is written in Qt, and it is thus cross-platform compatible.

Version 1.1 of the QiLinux Free operating system is released. QiLinux is a Linux distribution suitable for desktop and server functions that was created from scratch. The QiLinux project is intended to integrate the work of the vast community of free software developers in order to create a modern, safe, and easy system for administrators and desktop users.


The first stocks for Google would start trading. 19,605,052 shares at $85 a share.


AMD releases the Mobile Sempron 3300+ processor, which operates at 2000 MHz and features a 128 KiB level 2 cache.


Microsoft lifts a licensing restriction that had allowed software running inside virtual machines to shift hardware only once every 90 days.

A federal judge rejects the Massachusetts transit agency's attempts to bar three students from discussing subway card vulnerabilities--until sometime next year.


Google adds apps script to spreadsheets so you can add certain functionality. A good example is the ability to send an email using a button in the spreadsheet.


McAfee reports that Cameron Diaz replaces Jessica Biel as the riskiest celebrity to search for on the Internet.

Domain sells at auction for $1.26 million. sold for $225,000 and for $70,000. and were also up for bid, but no one wanted to meet the $5 million reserve price.

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