December 15

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Dec 15th

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Prev: December 14 - Next: December 16 - Full Catalog list at Day in Technology History Project


Simon Marius becomes the first person to observe the Andromeda galaxy through a telescope. He will describe his discovery in the preface to his Mundus Jovialis as, like the flame of a candle seen through horn.


Dudley Allen Buck entered in the basic idea for Cryotron - a switch that operates using superconductivity.


The Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 becomes the first craft to land on another planet when it sets down on the surface Venus. It is equipped with an external cooling device which allows it transmit twenty-three minutes worth of data.


Philips and MCA launches the LaserVision video disc system is launched on the US market in three stores in Atlanta, Georgia. Price: $695

Warner Bros. releases Superman, directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, and Margot Kidder to 508 US theaters in a limited release. It is the first major motion picture to feature the popular DC Comics character Superman. Produced on a budget of US$55 million, it will gross US domestically in its opening weekend. MPAA Rating: PG Running Time: 2 hrs 23 mins


The Apple advertisement '1984'The Chiat/Day advertising agency first airs 1984, a television commercial for Apple Computer in the 1:00am sign-off slot of KMVT Channel 11, in Twin Falls, Idaho. The ad features a heroine running through a drab Orwellian world to hurl a sledgehammer into an image of Big Brother. The imagery is followed by an on-screen message and accompanying voice-over announcing, On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984. The advertisement won’t officially premiere until January 22, 1984, during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, however, the company customarily runs commercials slated for release early in the following year once under the radar in order to be eligible for advertising awards the following year. The commercial will go on to be nominated Commercial of the Decade by Advertising Age, and it will widely be considered on of the most influential marketing campaigns of all time. View the commercial.


Business Week features an article written by Katherine M. Hafner in the People/Rejuvenators section. The headline is Father knows best — Just ask the Tramiel boys; Jack Tramiel has turned a half-dead Atari into a $240 million family business. Sigmund Hartmann, a friend of the Tramiel’s is quoted as saying, Jack really wants to go down in history as the guy who offered computers at affordable prices to the masses.


ISO C (C90) is released.


Netscape releases Netscape Navigator 1.0, the first commercial web browser. Because Netscape has significantly more resources than the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and the popularity of Netscape will rapidly outstrip that of the Mosaic web browser, the first popular graphical Web browser.

Richard D. Kenadek, the sysop of the Davy Jones Locker BBS in Millbury, Massachusetts, pleads guilty to criminal copyright infringement. The 43-year-old Millbury man admitted that he had illegally distributed a variety of copyrighted software programs to subscribers in 36 states and 11 foreign countries who paid paying a $99 annual fee. In March 1995, Kenadek will be sentenced to six months home detention and two years of probation.


Researchers at Digital Equipment Corporation launched Alta Vista. An early web search engine (and one of the more popular ones), the web portal was the dominant until Google came around. Alta Vista ultimately was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003


Fortran 95 ISO is released. The website of the Huntington Nation Bank is hacked and defaced by k3rm1t. View an archived version of the defaced webpage.


Adrenlin Interactive, Inc. announces a deal to develop games and game demos for forthcoming Nuon-enhanced DVD systems.

A twenty-four year old Tokyo woman takes her own life using cyanide capsules that were acquired from an Internet service offering them for the purposes of suicide. Later the same day, the twenty-seven year old man who operated the service takes his own life after learning about woman’s earlier death.

Yahoo!launches Yahoo Address Book.


Microsoft releases Windows 2000 to computer manufacturers.


The website of Seattle-based is hacked. Their 3.7 million customer credit card database is left exposed on the Internet.


Brian Salcedo, age 21, of Michigan man is sentenced to nine years in prison for his involvement in hacking into the corporate systems of Lowe’s Home Improvement and attempting to steal customer credit card information. The sentence is the longest ever given to a hacker, far exceeding the 5½ years that hacker Kevin Mitnick spent behind bars. Two others await sentencing, including one of the first people to ever be convicted of wardriving. The three men allegedly tapped into the wireless network of a Lowe’s store in Southfield, Michigan, using the connection to enter the chain’s central computer systems in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina and installed a program to capture credit card information. However, no data was actually collected. Visit Salcedo’s website.

Versions 4.3.10 and 5.0.3 of the PHP programming language are released.

The Zafi Merry Christmas worm is released. The worm modifies the system registry of Microsoft Windows, automatically self-executing when the computer is rebooted. Zafi also seeks out antivirus and firewall applications to overwriting them. Then, the worm creates a backdoor, turning the system into a zombie for sending spam or launching a distributed denial of service attack.


The forty-third known Mersenne prime is discovered by Dr. Curtis Cooper and Dr. Steven Boone, participants in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) distributed computing project. The number has more than nine million digits.


As mentioned from Dec 1st, the Twitter – rival Pownce closed it’s doors

Apple releases Mac OS 10.5.6

Hasbro drops the lawsuit for the controversial Facebook game Scrabulous


Google Chrome - just months after release - surpassed Safari in browser usage

Bing Search app debuted on the iPhone


Apple released OS4.2.1 for AppleTV to fix HD display problems.

Google announced that Chrome was officially "Business Ready". They offered control to IT Administrators to configure and deploy chrome in corporate situations

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