October 20

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: October 20th

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Dr. Lee DeForest, announces his three-element electrical vacuum tube, or triode, to a meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). He had discovered that when a mesh of wire is placed between the filament and collector “plate” in a diode tube, a large voltage-amplifying effect could be produced. The ability of the tube to amplify weak signals makes long-distance communication possible for the first time.


Atari patented the first sit-down cockpit-style arcade cabinet. It was designed by Peter L. Takaichi. This horizontal scrolling driving game, called Hi-Way (US No. D243,624)[1], will bring a new twist to the gaming industry. The game was released in March of 1976 and required 16 square feet of floor space.


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants a patent for the 400/800 computer system to Atari. (US No. 4,296,476)[2] It was first filed on January 8 1979


With a 40 million dollar grant from David Packard of HP, The Monterey Bay Aquarium opens


The United States Justice Department asks a Federal judge to hold Microsoft in contempt of court for allegedly violating a July 1994 consent decree by continuing to force computer manufacturers to distribute Internet Explorer with Windows ‘95. The Justice department asks the court to hold Microsoft in contempt and to impose a one million dollar a day fine on the company until it stops bundling the browser into the operating system. Microsoft responds by stating they have the right to integrate products and the browser has become an integral part of the system.


Spacetec IMC, a three dimensional input device maker, merges with audio specialist Labtec.


The Encyclopaedia Britannica opens its website, which immediately crashes because of the enormous amount of traffic the site receives.


The first Ubuntu Linux distribution is released.

Infineon Technologies pleads guilty to charges of fixing the price of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), resulting in a US$160 million fine, the third largest antitrust fine in US history. Four executives from Infineon were each sentenced to four to six months in jail, and fined US$250,000 several days earlier. After the four were sentenced, Scott D. Hammond, the Director of Criminal Enforcement for the DoJ Antitrust Division, said, “These four executives are the first to plead guilty to a charge of fixing prices in what is still a very active and far-reaching investigation into antitrust violations in the DRAM industry. We will continue in our efforts to bring to justice other domestic and foreign-based executives who were involved with fixing DRAM prices.” Hynix Semiconductor, Samsung, and Elpida will later plead guilty to the same charge.


Microsoft Launches Listas – a Social Bookmarking Service to track content across the web.


Microsoft gets a patent for real-time censoring of words.

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