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The First Annual World Altair Computer Convention is held at the Airport Marina Hotel near Albuquerque, New Mexico, over three days. It is the first such convention for the microcomputer industry. Bill Gates will explain his position on software piracy in his opening address on March 27. Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the developer of the Altair 8800, was established in the southwestern city to develop its kit computer, which became a runaway hit among hobbyists after it was featured by Popular Mechanic magazine. In the hotel’s penthouse suite, the Processor Technology Corporation holds establishes a booth to promote their 4KB memory boards for the Altair.
The CERT Coordination Center receives initial reports of a fast-spreading new Microsoft Word macro virus known as Melissa. Once loaded, the worm uses its victim’s MAPI-standard email address book, mostly Microsoft Outlook, in order to send copies of itself to the first fifty people in the address book. The virus attaches an infected document to each of its email message with the subject line, Important Message From , with the being that pre-set in the victim’s computer. The body of the message reads, Here is that document you asked for … don’t show anyone else ;-) and includes an infected Microsoft Word file named List.DOC as an attachment, which contains a passwords for eighty pornography websites. While Melissa was not, according to its creator, intended to be malicious, it will eventually infect between a hundred thousand and a quarter of a million computers globally in the course of three days, causing an estimated eighty million dollars in damage as it crashes servers by flooding them with email. It is the first virus capable of jumping from computer to computer entirely unassisted. The virus was written by David L. Smith, a twenty-nine year old New Jersey computer programmer, who named the virus after a lap dancer he met in Florida. Smith, who will be considered to be one of the first people ever prosecuted for spreading a computer virus, will later be sentenced to twenty months in jail and a fine of five thousand dollars. Melissa will also be knowns as, Kwyjibo, Kwejeebo, Mailissa, and Simpsons. Read the F-Secure profile of the Melissa virus.
Renown hacker Kevin Mitnick, age 35, pleads guilty to computer and wire fraud charges. Partially disclosed terms of the plea agreement include provisions that Mitnick must not touch a computer for four years nor may he profit from the sale of his story. For more information on Kevin Mitnick, visit The Free Information Society.
At the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, in Anaheim, California, Bill Gates introduces the Tablet PC initiative, featuring a Transmeta Crusoe processor, a touch-screen interface, MS Notebook handwriting recognition software, and the Windows XP operating system. Price: US$2,000-3,500 Size: 8.5 x 11 inches, one inch thick Weight: Under 3 pounds
Caldera Systems announces it will change its name to Caldera International when it has completed the acquisition of the Unix products and services of the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO).
LSI Logic Corporation announces its intentions to acquire C-Cube Microsystems, a pioneer in video compression and MPEG digital video standards, for US$878 million in stock.
Version 4.3.5 of the PHP programming language is released. Visit the official PHP website.
Following a sixteen year hiatus, the popular British science fiction series, Dr. Who premieres, featuring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor. Read more about the history of the Dr. Who series at the BBC.
In the quarter ending on this day, Apple Computer will later report earning US$290 million, or approximately 34¢ a share, on revenue of US$3.24 billion. In the same quarter of the previous year, the company only earned US$46 million, or approximately 6¢ a share, on revenue of US$1.91 billion. The company attributes the stagger gains to iPod sales. Visit the official website of Apple Computer.
Motorola split into two publicly traded companies, one handling handsets and accessories and the other taking on wireless broadband networks and enterprise-level communications services.
John Mellencamp announces the record business has ultimately died. He talked about how thee recent efforts of the record companies ultimately making people walk away from corporate music companies
Paul Baran, who was instrumental for developing the internet, passes away.
Google sends out invites to Glass explorer program
Amazon launches CloudHSM for hardware security