October 31

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: October 31st

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Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.


Magician Harry Houdini dies of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.


The first conference on Digital Computer Technique is held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The conference is sponsored by the National Research Council, Subcommittee Z on Calculating Machines and Computation.


Atari introduces the Ping Pong coin-operated arcade game.


Texas Instruments (TI) cancels the US$50 rebate program for the TI-99/4A home computer, but they extend the offer to give a free Speech Synthesizer to qualified purchases of six program modules through Tuesday, January 31, 1984.


IBM officially announces the release of Operating System/2 1.1 Standard Edition with Presentation Manager. Code-name: Trimaran


The Vatican formally admits its error in condemning Galileo Galilei for heresy for over 359 years for his geocentric view of the solar system. After thirteen years of inquiry, the Pope’s commission of historic, scientific, and theological scholars brought the pope a “not guilty” finding for Galileo. Pope John Paul II himself met with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to help set the record straight.


Quantum Link (Q-Link), an online service for e-mail, games, news, and shopping on Commodore 64 and 128 computers, announces that it will withdraw from the Commodore market. Past subscribers are offered memberships on the new AOL service.


Alternic founder Eugene KasHPureff is arrested in Toronto, Canada on wirefraud charges brought by the US for hijacking the URL of the InterNIC registry website and redirecting its traffic to his own Alternic website July 11 - 14, 1997 as a protest Network Solutions’ monopoly on the domain naming system. Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which runs the InterNIC, took KasHPureff to court in August, but the case was settled. KasHPureff apologized to the Internet community and tried to help inform it how to prevent someone else from perpetrating the same kind of domain name hijacking. NSI, however, was not satisfied with the court’s ruling and turned the case over the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The news of KasHPureff’s arrest shocks many. Richard Sexton, who worked with KasHPureff on the AlterNIC but disagreed with the actions he took, will later release a statement in which he says, “The most you could have lost is two seconds and one mouse-click. It is fraud, but the fiscal damage amounts to zero. He should be found guilty and fined a dollar.” Many will later characterize the protest as an act of civil disobedience. Visit the Wayback Machine archive of AlterNIC.net. Visit Eugene KasHPureff’s personal website.


The first public version of Sketch, version 0.5.0, is released. Sketch is a free vector graphics editor written almost completely in Python and released under the GNU Lesser General Public License. The application will later be renamed Skencil.

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (H.R. 4151) is signed into law in the US. The bill makes identity theft a federal crime, with penalties of up to three years imprisonment and a maximum fine of US$250,000. It also directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help victims deal with the consequences of identity theft.


The last of the Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) machines, a series of computers running an influential time-sharing operating system is shut down.

Napster announces a partnership with German recording company Bertelsmann AG (BMG) to develop a membership-based distribution system that guarantees payment to artists. Bertelsmann drops lawsuit against Napster in exchange for a stake in the business.


A bankruptcy court approves reorganization plans for telecommunication’s giant MCI, essentially removing the company from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. MCI’s bankruptcy was the largest in US history.


Microsoft releases a download update for the Xbox 360 in the US. The update adds support for 1080p High Definition resolution, HD DVD support, the ability to play WMV files, and resolves eighty-four other issues.

Version 3.0.8, “Feynman,” of the Scientific Linux operating system is released.


Acer Sues HP over 5 patent violations.


Google released Android v. 4.4 Kit Kat. This version refreshed the interface, added wireless printing, Bluetooth Message Access profile, added NFC host card emulation and more.

Google Released the Nexus 5 smartphone - a phone developed by LG Electronics. The Nexus 5 containes a Snapdragon 800 processor with 2 GB of pram and an 8 MP rear-face camera. The Nexus 5 will be able to connect to GSM and CDMA networks via SIM card. Price: $349 for 16 GB and $399 for 32 GB. Codename: Hammerhead

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