August 20

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 20th


Bell Laboratories announces the development of a self-contained electronic artificial larynx for people who have lost their voices through surgical intervention or paralysis of the vocal cords.


Apple Computer and Adobe Systems sign a letter of intent for Apple to include Adobe’s font technology in the future Apple System 7 operating system.


The Federal Trade Commission decides by in a four-to-one vote to cease investigating Microsoft for unfair trade practices. The US Department of Justice notifies Microsoft it is proceeding with its own antitrust investigation, focusing on DOS marketing practices. The European Commission also begins its own independent investigation.


George Johnson of the New York Times reminisces about obsolete computer hardware and software in a column titled, “Let’s Boot Up the Trash-80 and Play Some Oldies.” Written just before Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system is released, the article bemoans the lack of a home for computer antiques. The fate of Windows 3.1 is obvious, according to Johnson. In digital bonfires across the country, millions of copies of the old software will be wiped from hard disks to make way for the new. One by one, all those carefully crafted bits, the ones and zeros that form the gears and pulleys of Microsoft’s contraption, will disappear in infinitesimal puffs of heat.


Yahoo launches Yahoo! Small Business.


The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Quantum Corporation plans to lay off 615 employees, or more than one quarter of its entire workforce. The twelve month restructuring plan is projected to save the company more than US$100 million per year beginning in 2001.

Version 3.6 of the Spitfire BBS software is released.


AMD announces the 1.1 GHz Athlon 4 processor for portable computers, featuring a 200 MHz system bus, PowerNow technology, and Streaming SIMD Extensions. Price: US$425

AMD announces the 900, 950, and 1000 MHz Duron processors for portable computers, featuring 200MHz system buses, 64KiB Level-2 Caches, PowerNow technology, and Streaming SIMD Extensions. Price: US$130

Apple Computer begins shipping a Power Mac G4 computer with dual 800 MHz processors, a CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive, 256MB RAM, and a 80GB hard drive. Price: US$3499 Hewlett-Packard announces the DVD100i DVD writer, which is to be released in September. It is the first consumer grade DVD+RW drive available for personal computers. Price: US$599 The Wireless Developer 2001 conference is held from August 20 - August 24 at the Santa Clara Westin hotel in Santa Clara, California.


AMD releases the 2 GHz Athlon XP 2400+ processor. Price: US$193 each

AMD releases the 2.133 GHz Athlon XP 2600+ processor. Price: US$297 each

Sony announces that production of Betamax videocassette recorders will cease after just two thousand more unites are produced for the Japanese market. The number of units for the fiscal year has reportedly reached 2,700. Sony blames the final demise of the format on difficulties sourcing components and the advent of digital recorders.

Version 3.06 of the O’Caml programming language is released.


Version 1.20 of IM2, a multiprotocol instant messaging application for Microsoft Windows, is released.


The website of notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick is defaced by Pakistani hackers with offensive messages. The domain names,,, and remain defaced for several hours before the affected files are replaced. Mitnick comments that, “The Web hosting provider that hosts my sites was hacked, fortunately, I don’t keep any confidential data on my Web site, so it wasn’t that serious. Of course it is embarrassing to be defaced—nobody likes it.”


AOL launches AIM 7

After weeks of silence, Apple finally announces they are aware of the “3G” issues people were having with their phones. A “Rare” letter from Steve Jobs was sent out saying the fix will definitely be done by the next update.

Alabama woman seeks class action status in lawsuit that charges Apple's iPhone 3G network is slower than advertised. American Airlines launches in flight WiFi. $12.95 for 3 hours.

The FCC finishes their outline for Comcast’s attempt to filter Bittorrent users. They gave Comcast 30 days to submit its "network management" compliance plan for its approval. If acceptable, The company will not be fined.

Microsoft launches “Photosynth” – a 3d approach to photographs.


Google mobile team opens up image search results for mobile phones. Any phone that can display images could use the function.


Google and Yahoo are found not liable for allegedly defaming an Argentine entertainer. The entertainer sued because when searching her name, pornographic websites showed up in the results.

Google also Acquires - a visual search and e-commerce engine.

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