July 12

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: July 12th

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Thomas J. Watson Jr. of IBM predicts that all of the moving parts in machines will be replaced by electronics within just ten years during a sales meeting.


The first Etch-A-Sketch goes on sale. Within twenty-five years, over fifty million of the devices will be sold.

NASA launches the Echo I communication satellite, the first passive satellite, aboard a Delta rocket. The satellite will be used to redirect radio, telephone, and television signals across continents.

The USSR launches the Sputnik 5 spacecraft with two dogs, Belka (”Squirrel”) and Strelka (”Little Arrow”), forty mice, two rats, and a variety of plants.


The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) announces the IBM 3663 Models 1P and 3P programmable terminals, the IBM 3651 Model 25 and Model 75 store controllers, and three new supermarket programs designed to customize checkout operations and in-store reports.


E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial breaks box-office records by as it surpasses US$100 million in box office sales within the first thirty-one days of opening. The film was produced on a budget of US$10.5 million. Hewlett-Packard HP introduces the HP-86 microcomputer. Price: US$1,795

Hewlett-Packard HP introduces an upgraded HP-87 microcomputer, featuring increased memory.


Private Sector BBS, the official bulletin board system (BBS) of 2600 Magazine, is seized by police in a raid for alleged “complicity in computer theft” under a new but untested New Jersey statute (2C:20-25). Police seize the server, along those of at least six of boards, after Middlesex County police uncovered a credit card ring on another, completely unrelated BBS. Following the seizure, the board’s operators alerted the media and bombarded the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office with requests for information until the prosecutor’s office scheduled a press conference for July 16


The Phobos 2 space probe is launched by the Soviet Union on a mission to study Mars and its moons Deimos and Phobos. It will return thirty-eight photos with resolutions of up to forty meters before suffering a critical failure in March 1989. View a collection of the photos returned.


The Star Tours attraction opens at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.


Mike Feibus calls the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star initiative “a marketing gimmick with about as much meaning as a ‘Lite’ label on a package of bacon” in an article in Microprocessor Report.


Tatu Ylonen of Helsinki University of Technology in Finland releases the first version of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol for establishing a secure connections between two computers over an encrypted channel as freeware. Ylonen developed the protocols after the university network fell victim to a password-sniffing attack. By the end of the year, the protocol’s user base will have exploded to twenty thousand users in some fifty countries.


Atari receives the approval necessary to merge with Jugi Tandon Storage, Inc. (JTS) from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), pending a shareholder’s vote. JTS is a manufacturer of storage hardware.

Netscape achieves its ten billionth hit when one of the company’s thirty-eight million users logs on to use the Netscape Navigator to browse the internet. Visit the official Netscape website.


Packard Bell NEC introduces a line of inexpensive personal computers, ranging from a US$499 Celeron system to a US$999 Pentium III system.


The Brazilian website of Universidade de Sorocaba is hacked by the hacking group “cyb3r fuck3rs”. The website is hosted on a server running Windows NT.

EBay announces that the company has asked for a United States federal judge to bar Braxton Anderson, age 33, of Chicago, Illinois from using its auction service. Anderson allegedly disrupted the “normal course of conduct” with repeated use of foul language.

Microsoft acquires NetGames.

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 5.5 for Windows, featuring improved support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Dynamic HTML (DHTML), and Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. Raymond Torricelli, age 20, of New Rochelle, New York is arrested for allegedly hacking into two NASA computers and using one of them to host a chat room on the topic of computer hacking.


Apple’s iTunes Store sells its one hundred millionth song at approximately 1:25am EST, becoming the first legal music download service to reach the milestone. Due to a contest which offered a seventeen-inch PowerBook laptop computer, a 40GB iPod, and a gift certificate for ten thousand songs with a total estimated value of US$13,200 to the person who happened to purchased the record-setting song, approximately forty thousand songs (with a total estimated value of US$39,600) are sold in just the ten minutes before the purchase. Visit the official iTunes website.

The Twelfth World Computer Chess Championship comes to an end, leaving Deep Junior the victor. Deep Junior was programmed by Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky.


Apple Computer releases the Mac OS X 10.4.2 operating system. Visit the official Apple OS X website.

Investigators with the European Commission raid the offices of Intel and computer manufacturers in several countries as part of an antitrust investigation.


Microsoft launches the “Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays” program, under which a new Xbox Live Arcade game will be released every Wednesday for the remainder of the summer. At the conclusion of the program, Microsoft will continue to release new games on Wednesdays. Visit the official Xbox Live Arcade website.


Hewlett-Packard HP announces the release of the HP 35s scientific calculator, featuring a “retro” design to commemorate the original HP-35, the world’s first scientific calculator, which was released in 1972. Visit the official HP 35s website.

Netscape Communications releases version 9.0b2 (Beta 2) of the Netscape Navigator web browser


Yahoo! announced their was a major password leak as hacker D33Ds posted 450,000 log-ins obtained from the Yahoo! contributor network

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