August 24

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: August 24th


The printing of the Gutenberg Bible is completed. Although it is not the first book to be printed by Gutenberg’s new movable type system, it will be the work for which Gutenberg will be remembered, it will mark the advent of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the “Age of the Printed Book”.


Charles Darwin is asked to travel on HMS Beagle.


The first potato chips are prepared by Chef George Crum, an American Indian, at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York. According to later accounts, railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was dining at the resteraunt, but he sent his fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were “too thick.” The chef, George Crum retaliated by slicing paper thin strips of potatoes and frying them to a crisp. Vanderbilt loved these “Saratoga Chips” and they became an instant success.


National Semiconductor announces that it is withdrawing from the magnetic bubble memory business.


Sierra On-Line releases the roleplaying game (rpg) Ultima II for the Atari and personal computers. The game is notable for not following the normal conventions of the fantasy genre. The game’s world map is identical to real-life Earth. During the course of the game, the player must visit such mundane locations as San Antonio, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. Modern-day and futuristic weaponry is used; and completely incongruous pop-culture references and in-jokes abound, such as an NPC cleric named “Sister Sledge” who only says “We are family!”


Atari releases the first production batch of Jaguar compatible CD-ROM units to a select number of distributors and retail buying offices. Large quantities are withheld as production ramps up to quantities that will meet preorder demand.

IBMisn’t granted OEM rights for Windows 95 until fifteen minutes prior to the release of Windows 95. Because of the uncertainty created by the delay, IBM machines are sold without Windows 95, while Compaq, HP, and other major PC manufacturers sell their machines with Windows 95 from day one. Not only is IBM the last company allowed to license the operating system prior to the product launch, it is also charged the most, at US$45.90 per copy. Later, in his finding of facts in the case of United States v. Microsoft, Judge Jackson will determined that Microsoft punished IBM for marketing the Lotus SmartSuite and other alternatives to Microsoft products “with higher prices, a late license for Windows 95, and the withholding of technical and marketing support.”

Microsoft launches a major online service, MSN (Microsoft Network), as a direct competitor to AOL. MSN became an umbrella service for Microsoft’s online services.

Microsoft launches Microsoft Windows 95, a new version of the company’s flagship operating system with a completely new user interface which centers around an innovative start button. New Features: TCP/IP stack, dial-up networking, and long filenames. Windows 95 consists of more than eleven million lines of code. Microsoft launches the Windows 95 operating system with an unprecedented worldwide marketing campaign. The publicity campaign costs US$250 million, including US$12 million for the rights to the Rolling Stones song “Start Me Up.” A ceremony is held in a circus tent on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington and hosted by William Henry Gates, III and Tonight Show host Jay Leno. In New York City, the Empire State Building glows in Microsoft colors by arrangement of Microsoft, and in Toronto, Canada, a thirty story banner is draped across the 1,800 foot high Canadian National Tower. Three hundred thousand copies are sold on the first day for approximately US$30 million in retail sales, and more than a million copies will be sold within the first four days of its release. Code-name: Chicago


Microsoft releases Windows NT 4.0, an operating system designed as a small-scale business server systems with graphical user interface nearly identical to that of Windows 95. The “NT” designation in the product’s title stands for “New Technology,” according to Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. The system was released to manufacturing on July 29, 1996. The software is comprised of 16.5 million lines of code. Code-name: Cairo


Gordon Spence discovers the largest known prime number, 2^2976221 - 1, the 36th known Mersenne prime number. It took his 100-MHz Pentium PC fifteen days to prove that it was a prime number. At 895,932 digits in length, if printed out, the number would stretch for 1.4 miles, or if spoken eight hours a day, it would take approximately twenty-eight days to complete.


Adobe Systems announces version 8.0 of Adobe Illustrator. Price: US$375, US$129 upgrade

Intel introduces the 300MHz and 333MHz Celeron processors with 128kB Level 2 cache. The 153.9 mm2 die incorporates 19 million transistors in a 0.25-micron process. Code-name: Mendocino Prices: US$149 and US$192

Internet Alaska is hacked by the “Smurf attack”.


A 9th Circuit Federal Court decision allows BLEEM!, a PlayStation emulation package, to continue being sold by its maker, Bleem, LLC. This is Sony’s fourth failed attempt to block sales before the case goes to trial Monday, April 24, 2000.


In Japan, Nintendo unveils the Gamecube video game system, featuring a 405 MHz 0.18-micron IBM PowerPC “Gekko” processor with 32-bit integer and 64-bit floating-point processing, a 202.5 MHz System LSI “Flipper” graphics processor, 24-bit color, 101.25 MHz 16-bit sound processor, and a 24MB main memory. The system will be released in Japan July 2001 In Japan, Nintendo unveils the Gameboy Advance“>Game Boy Advance handheld video game system, featuring a reflective 240×160 pixel 1.6- by 2.4-inch 32,000-color TFT LCD screen, 32-bit RISC and 8-bit CISC processors, 32kB WRAM, and 96kB VRAM. The system will be released on March 21. Two AA batteries power the unit for about fifteen hours. Code-name: Project Atlantis


The PlayStation Portable (PSP) web browser is released for free with the 2.00 firmware upgrade in North America.

Sony releases the PlayStation Portable (PSP) firmware 2.0 upgrade in North America, available online wirelessly or via a USB connection to a PC. The upgrade features Wi-Fi security, tools for photo sharing, enhanced video and audio playback with support for MP4 and WAV (LPCM) formats, and Internet browsing from hotspots using the device’s built-in Wi-Fi functions.


Apple Computer recalls 1.8 million Sony built batteries after receiving nine reports of batteries overheating, including two customers who suffered minor burns, and additional reports of property damage. The recall comes ten days after Sony and Dell admitted to major flaws in several Sony batteries that could result in the battery overheating and catching fire, recalling 4.1 million laptop batteries in the largest computer-related recall to that point in history.

Dell announced that they also discontinued the DJ Ditty in the face of competition from Apple, manufacturer of the iPod, and other MP3 player manufacturers. The announcement comes after Dell’s February 6th announcement that the company would no longer produce players with hard drives in favor of the DJ Ditty, which is a flash memory based player. Following a vote at their ten day General Assembly in Prague, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” so that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. It is redesignated as a “dwarf planet,” on account of its small size. However, only 424 of 2,700 astronomers who remained in Prague for the last day of the meeting take part in the vote. Those who vote represent only about four percent of the world’s ten thousand astronomers. The decision will later be widely criticized.

Release Candidate 1 (RC1) of Internet Explorer 7 (Build 7.0.5700.6) is released for Windows XP SP2, Windows XP x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 SP1. This was the last pre-release version of IE7 before the final release. 7.0 RC 1 Improvements in performance, stability, security, application compatibility and final CSS adjustments


Roz Savage who aimed to be first woman to row solo across the Pacific abandons her boat after rough seas capsized more than once.

The VWRN - Virtual World Radio Network was launched. It was a radio station in second life.


Yahoo adds social networking widgets to mail and messenger.


Online Job search Monster completes the purchase of Yahoo Hotjobs

Yahoo also completes the switch to bing search

Twitter announces they are building a sales team after Adam Bain (who was previously CTO at News corp) was hired on as president of global revenue.

Former Apple exec Paul Shin Devine's home was searched and $150,000 was found. Devine was arrested for taking kickbacks from overseas suppliers.


Steve Jobs sends a letter of resignation to the CEO position to the board of Apple. He asks that the executive order be made and COO Tim Cook be made CEO. Jobs states that he could no longer physically do this position. He was reassigned to Chairman of the board.

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