July 21

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: July 21st

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A Tennessee jury finds high school teacher John Scopes guilty of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee’s Butler Act, and he is fined US$100. The judgment will later be overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court on the technicality that the judge had set the fine rather than the jury.


The University of Manchester's Small-Scale Experimental MachineSmall-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), also known as “Baby,” runs its first program. Also known as “Baby,” it is the first ever stored-program computer. It was built at the University of Manchester and is based on ideas conceived by John von Neumann. It is also the first computer to store data in RAM, as modern computers will. I


Ian Donald makes his first investigation of the use of ultrasound in medical diagnosis when he uses an industrial ultrasonic metal flaw detector to image tumors on human organs. Along with other engineers, he will develop the idea for practical applications in the hospital where he worked.


The Electronic Video Recording (EVR) home video system is first demonstrated to the public at the International Audio-Visual Exhibition (Internavex) at the Olympia in London. The system was developed by Dr. Peter C Goldmark, president and director of research at CBS Laboratories


Xerox withdraws from the computer market after having lost US$264 million in five years. The company’s Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC) has been on the forefront of computer development, developing the initial plans for Ethernet network connectors and the Xerox Alto, a graphical user interface whose attributes found popularity in Apple’s computers.


Jack Sams of IBM’s personal computer team first contacts Microsoft asking to talk about personal computers.


Digital Research’s Gary Kildall tells IBM that its PC-DOS software infringes on the copyright filed for his CP/M operating system. He says he will not sue if IBM sells CP/M on the IBM PC in addition to PC-DOS.

Bill Gates purchases all rights of 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products for $50,000. On July 27 1981 it would be renamed to MS-DOS.


In Jackson, Michigan, a factory robot crushes a worker against a safety bar in the first ever robot-related death in the United States.


In the case of Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, US Federal District Judge William Schwarzer tentatively rules that most visual features of Windows 2.03 are covered by the 1985 license agreement between Microsoft and Apple computer. Of the two hundred sixty similarities claimed by Apple, only ten remain to be decided.

Zenith Data Systems introduces the Zenith Minisport portable computer, featuring a 720KB 2-inch disk drive, 1MB RAM, and a backlit LCD display. Price: is US$1999. Price: US$2799 with 2 MB RAM An optional external 3.5-inch disk drive is an additional US$299. An optional internal 1200bps modem is US$199.


The Federal Trade Commission votes a second time on whether to charge Microsoft with unfair trade practices. Again, the vote is a tie, two to two. A vote on whether to abandon the investigation is also deadlocked at two votes each.


The Pentagon reveals that, for the past seven months, hackers have been entering classified systems that control critical functions such as nuclear weapons and the movement of troops and ships to steal, alter, and erase records. Betsy McDonald, spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency, said the compromised systems include those used for ballistic weapons research, aircraft and ship design, military payroll, personnel records, procurement, electronic mail, supercomputer modeling of battlefield environments and computer security research.


Motorola Computer Group begins shipping the Motorola StarMax 5000 series of Macintosh-compatible computers. Price: US$1999 to US$3399


Next Generation Online reports that UK game developer GameTek “has shuttered its west coast office and closed operations”. Robotech: Crystal Dreams, the company’s new title for the Nintendo 64 is left unfinished.


Apple introduces the iBook notebook computer, featuring a 12.1-inch active matrix screen, a 300-megahertz PowerPC G3 processor, a built-in CD-ROM, a 3.2-gigabyte hard drive, and a 56K modem. The six-pound computer will be available in blueberry or Tangerine in September. Price: US$1,599

Apple introduces the QuickTime TV (QTV) service geared toward providing a high-resolution audio/video programming experience over the Internet.


An international collaboration of scientists at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago announces the first direct evidence of the subatomic particle called the tau neutrino, the third type of neutrino discover by particle physicists. They report four instances of a neutrino interacting with an atomic nucleus to produce a charged particle called a tau lepton, the signature of a tau neutrino. The tau neutrino is the third neutrino of the Standard Model of elementary particles, a theoretical description that groups all particles into three generations. Scientists identify them by recording neutrino interactions. The first generation electron neutrinos were created in 1956, and the second generation muon neutrinos in 1962. Read more about Neutrinos and their history.


Telecommunications giant WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the largest such filing in US history. WorldCom will change its name to MCI, and move its corporate headquarters from Clinton, Mississippi to Dulles, Virginia, on April 14, 2003.


Yahoo!Small Business services introduces Yahoo!SiteBuilder.


The United Kingdom’s high court rules that the modified PlayStation 2 chips, called 1500 Messiah 2 mod chips, that circumvent copy protection violate Sony’s intellectual property rights. The court rules that the individual selling the chips violated the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD), and that the sale, advertisement, possession for commercial purposes and use of PlayStation 2 modification chips is illegal in the country. The Messiah chips were offered as a way to allow UK PS2s not only to play legitimate US and Japanese games, but pirated titles and back-up copies made by users, which Sony forbids in the UK.

Version 5.8.5 of the Perl programming language is released.


At the Microsoft Global Business Conference (MGB) in Atlanta, Georgia, Microsoft announces that the name of their upcoming operating system, which has been codenamed “Longhorn,” will be Vista.


Yahoo expands their board to 11 members, one of which is Carl Icahn.

Facebook launches it’s new design

Microsoft releases Power Pack 1 for Home Server edition 


Apple confirmed that a worker at a 3rd party manufacturing plant Foxconn committed suicide because of a missing iPhone 4G prototype. Because of Sun Danyong’s death, questions arise on how these plants treat their employees.

Microsoft announces it will close Soapbox: a YouTube rival. The site will slowly close down until Aug 31st, when it goes offline.

Trent Reznor quits Twitter

Facebook developer blog announces that the Facebook Connect system is now multilingual


Netflix hits 50 million users.

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