December 19

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: Dec 19th

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Prev: December 18 - Next: December 20 - Full Catalog list at Day in Technology History Project


Samuel Clemens, better known as the author Mark Twain, receives a patent for An Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Garment Straps, later known as suspenders. (US No.121,992)


The Altair 8800 microcomputer kit goes on sale in the US as a do-it-yourself computer kit. The kit is sold by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), which was founded by Ed Roberts. The Altair uses switches for input and indicator lights as a display. It’s powered by a 2 MHz Intel 8080A microprocessor. It’s first sold through Popular Electronics magazine, where the designers intended to sell only a few hundred kits to hobbyists; however, demand for the machine ultimately exceeded the manufacturer’s wildest expectations when ten times that many were sold in the first month. The Altair kit will later be widely recognized as the spark that led to the personal computer revolution. Price: US$397

Bloggers Note:The first programming language for the Altair will be Microsoft’s first product, Altair BASIC.


Mary Lund becomes the first woman to receive a Jarvik VII artificial heart. She will receive a human heart transplant forty-five days later, and she will survive with the heart until October 1986.


The Videogame Music Archive ( is launched on the Internet by Michael Newman, a chemical engineer. The website archives MIDI sequences of video game theme music. The archive will grow to include tens of thousands of pieces from a wide variety of games spanning many systems, including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Wii, and the Xbox 360. Visit the website.


Generic Extension programming language is released.


In the journal Nature, a team of scientists at IBM and Stanford University graduate students report the first demonstration of Shor’s Algorithm, a quantum algorithm developed in 1994 by AT&T>AT&T scientist Peter Shor for using quantum computers to calculate a number’s factors.

The Zacker (or Maldal) worm is first discovered.


Microsoft releases DirectX 9. DirectX is a collection of programming interfaces for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming, and video, on Microsoft platforms.


Version 2.3.3 of the Python programming language is released.

A message is posted to the front page of the torrent site stating that the site has officially been shut down.

Version 1.0 of the RSSOwl news aggregator is released.


Hewlett-Packard HP completes the acquisition of Peregrine, Inc, based in San Diego, California. The acquisition adds asset management and enhanced IT service management capabilities to the HP OpenView range of system management products.

Microsoft announces that it will no longer support Internet Explorer for the Macintosh and recommends using other Macintosh browsers such as Safari.

Red Hat is was added to the NASDAQ-100, an index of the one hundred largest non-financial companies on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


Scott McCausland, administrator of the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker site, is sentenced to five months of prison, five months of home arrest, and a US$3,000 fine at the conclusion of Operation D-Elite. Operation D-Elite was a joint operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement against leading members of EliteTorrents precipitated by the tracker’s release of the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith workprint approximately six hours prior to the movie’s theatrical release.

Viacom and Microsoft set up a $500 million dollar deal to push Viacom programming on Xbox and MSN, while Microsoft creates ad placement on Viacom resources


The RIAA stops suing people and starts trying for ISP.

Linux Foundation names Ted Ts'o as the CTO

Panasonic announces they will be acquiring Sanyo for $8.9 billion


Orders for the new Mac Pro begin. Quickly selling out, orders push back to February for new machines.

Millions of credit cards were stolen from Target computers from Nov 27th to now.

IBM buys Aspera, a Saas File transfer company with a proprietary transfer service

MyGlass for iOS is re-released

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