December 11

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Dec 11th

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Frederic Calland (F.C.) Williams patents a way to “memorize” or store digital data on the cathode ray screen of specially designed television sets. The Williams Tube memory is another approach experimented with by early computer engineers, which made use of a cathode ray tube (CRT), the type commonly used for oscilloscope, radar, and television view screens, to store binary data.


Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers a lecture at the University of Oslo the day after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. He argues that progress in science and technology is not equaled by “moral progress”; instead, mankind suffers from a “moral and spiritual lag.”"

This evening I would like to use this lofty and historic platform to discuss what appears to me to be the most pressing problem confronting mankind today. Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress. Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.


The Concorde, a joint British-French venture and the world’s first supersonic airliner, was unveiled in Toulouse, France.


Apollo 17 is the sixth and final mission to set down on the surface of the Moon. The astronauts remain on the surface for seventy-five hours.


Fidonet achieves 336 nodes, ranging from Fido’s Board, run by network founder Tom Jennings, to Berkshire BBS, run by Harry Lee."


General Electric Company agrees to buy Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and its subsidiary, NBC for US$6.3 billion, making it the most expensive non-oil acquisition in US history. "


Version 4 of the Eiffel programming language is released.


The FOX network website is hacked and traffic is redirected to the NBC network. Visit an archived version of the website.

The NetAdv Com website is hacked by “The Bookie”. Visit an archived version of the website.

The Rj Trading website is hacked and defaced by “CyberToast” of the group “cArPaRtS nInJa TaSk FOrc3?. Visit an archived version of the website.

US District Judge Thomas Jackson issues a preliminary injunction against Microsoft for having violated a July 1994 consent decree. The injunctions requires Microsoft to allow Windows 95 licensees the option of not including Internet Explorer on factory installed machines. The request for the imposition of a US$1 million per day fine is denied.

Version 1.0.7 of the Caml programming language is released.

"The website of the United States Air Force headquarters (USAF) is hacked, and files are renamed at random."


JT Storage files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection and, later, Chapter 7, ten months after selling its Atari division to Hasbro Interactive for just US$5 million.

The Market for Home Computing and Videogames magazine (MCV) publishes their first issue in North America. The forty-six page issue features two cover stories related to the PlayStation.

The Mars Climate Orbiter is successfully launched on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral. On September 23, 1999, the probe will fail due to a notorious software malfunction that fails to convert imperial units measures to metric values. The orbiter’s instruments were intended to monitor the Martian atmosphere and image the planet’s surface on a daily basis for one Martian year (1.8 Earth years)." "Scientists announce in the journal Science that they have deciphered the entire genetic blueprint of a tiny nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. This is the first time the genetic code of an animal with a nervous system that digests food and reproduces sexually has been mapped. The genetic code is comprised of ninety-seven million genetic letters corresponding to twenty thousand genes.


Gabon issues a postage stamp depicting a sledgehammer about to strike a personal computer to eradicate the Y2K bug.

Los Angeles-based is hacked and fifty-five thousand credit card numbers are left exposed on the Internet after an extortion scheme perpetrated by an anonymous hacker failed. is a privately-held business-to-business service that enables ecommerce merchants to accept credit card payments. Laurent Jean, a spokesman for the company characterizes the attack as “an act of retribution.” “He was angry with us and this was the way he took out his anger… After (he asked) us for money, we did everything we could to prevent him from entering our system.” The numbers won’t be removed until early the following day.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) enacts several related undercover operations to combat software piracy, resulting in raids covering twenty-seven US cities, as well as several foreign countries. Called, in various forms, “Operation Bandwidth,” “Operation Buccaneer,” and “Operation Digital Piratez,” the operations result is the seizure of over one hundred thirty computers, several terabytes of data, but no immediate arrests. The central target is the “leadership” of the pirating group “Drink or Die”.

Yahoo!Enterprise Solutions launches Strategy Services.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) teams up with Terra-Lycos to disseminate virtual wanted posters in the form of flash banner ads for fugitive crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger across the Internet portal’s properties, such as the Lycos network,, and Wired News, in hopes of generating tips on Bulger’s whereabouts. The ad features three photos of the man and an offer of a one million dollar reward. The collaborative effort is the first of its kind. Bulger is wanted in connection with twenty-one murders in Massachusetts, and Terra-Lycos properties feature websites in nineteen languages with a presence in forty-two countries.


The ten millionth copy of the Firefox web browser is downloaded.


The Netherlands switches off its analogue terrestrial television transmitters which have served an increasingly small proportion of the nation’s population. Projections estimate that approximately ninety-two per cent of households are already connected to cable television service.


Google Chrome exits it's Beta status.

Taiwanese government gives chipmakers a chance during this downfall by offering loans to those companies that need help.


Finnish Game developer Rovio first publishes "Angry Birds" app for iOS


Facebook introduces auto-play video

Bloomberg brings 24 hour live news to Apple TV

Dell launches their first Chromebook 11

Spotify launches freemium model for iOS and Android mobile devices

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