August 21

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 21st


William Seward Burroughs of St. Louis, Missouri receives four patents for the first successful “Calculating-Machine” (US No. 388,116-388,119) One year after making his first patent application on January 10, 1885, he incorporated his business as the American Arithmometer Corporation of St. Louis, with an authorized capitalization of US$100,000. Within a year, he will produce fifty machines. The machines will ultimately prove difficult to use but Burroughs will continue to improve on them and go on to become a pioneer of the calculator industry.


Ralph Baer files a patents for creating a “Television Gaming Apparatus and Method.” This is just one of many pieces that will later become a component of the Magnavox Odyssey.


Gary Kildall of IBMmeets with Bill Gates of Microsoft again, to talk in general terms about their planned personal computers. IBM asks if Microsoft will develop some programming language interpreters/compilers for it. Bill Gates agrees to supply BASIC and other software development tools. IBM also asks for CP/M, but Gates says Digital Research, Inc. will have to supply that system.


A United States Federal Judge in New York approves a US$18.6 million settlement of combined shareholder suits filed against Warner Communications, Inc. all of which related to problems with the company’s Atari subsidiary before it was divested and relinquished to Jack Tramiel.


The United States Justice Department takes over an investigation of Microsoft stemming from an investigation initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1990. The original investigation is to look into claims of collusion between Microsoft and International Business Machines IBM.


Nintendo launches the Virtual Boy portable video game system in the United States. The system, designed by Gumpei Yokoi, features a 32-bit 20MHz RISC microprocessor, digital stereo sound, double-grip controller with dual directional control buttons, and a display system designed by Reflections Technologies of Massachusetts. The special headset with two RTI mirror-scanning 384×224 pixel LED arrays which project two images onto two mirrored screens, one red image and one black image to create a stereoscopic 3-D environment. The game Mario’s Tennis is included in the hardware. Price: US$179.95

The Microsoft Windows ‘95 operating system is launched. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows ‘95 is a complete operating system; it does not rely on MS-DOS, although some remnants of the old operating system still exist. Windows ‘95 was written specially for the 80386 and compatible computers to make ‘full’ use of its 32-bit processing and multitasking capabilities. The system’s interface is so similar to that of the Macintosh that Apple will bring a suit against Microsoft.

United States District Judge Thomas Penfield approves a July 1994 consent decree between Microsoft and the United States Justice Department. In this decree, Microsoft cannot force computer manufacturers to license other Microsoft products when licensing the Windows operating system; however, Microsoft may continue to develop “integrated” products.


Autodesk, Inc. announces plans to acquire Discreet Logic Inc. for almost US$530 million in stock. Discreet Logic makes UNIX and NT video and graphic software

Nintendo Co. Ltd. reveals that they have canceled a plan to transmit games directly to consumer’s homes through a satellite.

2000, Inc. states that they have reached a settlement of a pending copyright infringement suit made against them by Sony Music Entertainment. The agreement allows to use some of its music on its Internet-based system at a cost expecting to reach as high as US$20 million.


AOL Time Warner, Inc. confirms that it will cut 1,200 jobs in its Internet unit and take a third-quarter charge of up to US$125 million. An additional five hundred jobs will be lost as part of the alliance between Netscape and Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Brazil RNP2 is connected to the Internet2 Abilene Network over a 45Mbps line. It was a connection between Rio de Janeiro and Miami Florida. It would be a gateway to multiple academic networks connected to the I2 project.

Washington, DC-based Riggs bank has its Visa customer database is cracked and 3,600 bank account names and files are stolen from the database by hackers. First Virginia Banks and SunTrust are also both compromised, with an additional four hundred Visa accounts compromised. All of the banks involved will later have to notify their customers of the breach and cancel all Visa debit cards.


The independently produced documentary Steal This Film is released online through The Pirate Bay bittorrent tracker. The film introduces prominent Swedish pirates, explores pirate culture, and presents a critical analysis of regulatory actions brought against pirate organizations. The film is thirty-two minutes in length and is the first of two installments. Download the film via Bittorrent.

Jon “NEVERDIE” Jacobs, the gamer who bought a Virtual Asteroid inside the Entropia Universe in late 2005, reports that “Club NEVERDIE,” his virtual Resort, has grossed US$100,000 in its first eight months of operation. The Resort opened on December 19, 2005. “It’s a tremendous vindication to reach the break-even mark so fast; very few people really believed a turnkey virtual business inside an MMORPG could do these kind of numbers, but the dynamic real cash economy in Entropia Universe is extremely conducive for operating a business or developing a trade; however, once you have the tools or skills it’s really up to the individual to serve the community and develop the business.


Facebook developers got an added functionality as they can program in code to ask for age verification on certain apps not intended for young adults.

Yahoo launches iPhone search. This includes auto-complete and SearchMonkey compatibility.

Regarding the YouTube “Prince” baby – a 25 second clip of a baby dancing to the artisits’ song – A federal Judge rules that the case will not be thrown out – Universal music will have to go to court in how they abused the DMCA in ordering a takedown notice.

Microsoft announces they have chosen Des Moines Iowa for their fourth data center.

Amazon announces they will be releasing “Persistent Storage”. Called “Elastic Block Service”, it is basically a hard drive in the Cloud.

The Blackberry 9000, otherwise known as Blackberry Bold – debuted in the US. $400 with a 3 year voice – data plan.


Microsoft Bing reached a deal with information search engine Wolfram Alpha. Details were not released, but bing will now be able to display Wolfram results in their search.

Corporate Blackberry devices get Google Apps so users can sync to their mobile devices.


Leo Laporte officially opened the TWiT brick house. The unveiling and first show was July 24

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