October 8

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Podcast Episode

Day in Tech History: October 8th

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Julius Edgar Lilienfeld of New York, files for a patent for a “Method and Apparatus for Controlling Electric Currents.” The application describes an NPN junction transistor and its use as an amplifier.


Dr. Ake Senning implants the first internal heart pacemaker.


Apple Computer settles the second lawsuit brought against it by Apple Corps, the record label of the famous band, The Beatles. The first suit was brought against the computer manufacturer for using the Apple brand name. It was settled in 1981 when Apple Computer agreed to remain out of the music business. This second suit was filed in February 1989, seeking unspecified damages after Apple Computer released Apple IIGS, Mac Plus, Mac SE, and Mac II systems with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) synthesizers, an act which Apple Corps felt violated the 1981 settlement. The Beatles’ legal representation famously suggested during the suit that Apple change its name to Banana or Peach if it wished to continue producing music products. Although Apple Computer didn’t feel that it had broken the 1981 agreement, it decided to settle this second suit with a payment of US$26.5 million to Apple Corp. The same issue will result in a third lawsuit after Apple Computer announces iTunes.

At the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Multimedia Marketing Council launches the Multimedia PC (MPC), featuring a 80286 processor, 2MB RAM, a 40MB hard drive, VGA graphics, two-channel 16-bit audio record/playback, a CD-ROM, and Microsoft Windows with Multimedia extensions. Keynote speakers at the event include James Burke and Bill Gates.


Computer Technology StampIn a news release, the US Postal Service introduces a special “Computer Technology” stamp to mark the fiftieth anniversary of ENIAC, the first large-scale, electronic, digital computer. In a ceremony at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, speakers will pay tribute to computer pioneers with the image of a brain partially covered by small blocs that contain parts of circuit boards and binary code. The stamp itself was designed entirely on a computer.

Version 4.0, “Colgate” of the Red Hat Linux operating system is released.


Nortel and Norweb Communications of Great Britain announce a new technology which allows data to be transferred over power lines to residential customers at speeds of more than one megabit per second.

Yahoo!acquires Four11, and Four11’s Rocketmail service becomes Yahoo!Mail, a free webmail service that will grow to become the largest on the Internet.


Intel announces that they expect to have a GigaHertz-speed processor (code-named Foster) as a successor to its current Pentium II line by the year 2001. Such a speed will be twice as fast as a 450 megahertz Pentium II.

Next Generation Online reports that Nintendo confirmsd the launch date of the Gameboy Color as Wednesday, October 21 in Japan, Monday, November 23 in the United States, and December in Europe. Nintendo also reveals plans to produce up to one million units each month beginning in November.

The United States Senate approves, by a 96-2 margin, a bill to bar any new state and local taxes on the Internet for three years. The moratorium includes “bit” taxes and multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

Ziff-Davis, an American publisher, announces that they have a company-wide restructuring plan that includes a ten percent workforce reduction. Simultaneously, they intend to file with United States securities regulators to issue a new class of common stock and selling off twenty percent of those shares.


International Business Machines Corporation IBM announces that it plans to trim between 500 and 1,000 jobs from its personal computer operation. Much of the plan addresses problems with retail sales of personal computers and focuses on developing online sales. The morning edition of the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Konami plans to target the children’s market with portable game machines that display text and images that have been broadcast to them from Tokyo FM Broadcasting Company. The new handheld systems will be launched in the Spring of 2000.

Webvan Group, Inc., an online grocery start-up, withdraws its plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) until after an unspecified “cooling-off period.” The company’s original plans to offer twenty-five million shares are postponed due to revelations that the company omitted pertinent operating financial information from its published portfolio. These facts include an anticipated loss of US$300 million in 2001 and projected online order averages of US$103 each.


A Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) advisory is released detailing the discovery of a back door (trojan horse) found in the source code files of Sendmail 8.12.6.


Apple Computer releases an updated line of Power Mac G4 computers, featuring a single or dual 1.25 GHz G4 processors and 80GB hard drives.


During the second presidential debate, George W. Bush states, “I hear there’s rumors on the internets that we’re going to have a draft. We’re not going to have a draft, period.” His use of the term “internets” becomes the subject of ridicule and countless references overnight. Read the full transcript of the debate.


Stanley“Stanley,” an autonomous robotic Volkswagen Touareg R5 created by the Stanford Racing Team, wins the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s 2005 Grand Challenge by successfully navigating a 212.4km off-road desert driving course southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in just under seven hours. Of twenty-three vehicles entered into the competition, only four others completed the course under the prescribed ten hour time lmit.


Nielsen Entertainment releases its third annual Active Gamer Benchmark Study, surprising the world with results that reveal that 64% of the United States’ estimated 117 million online gamers are female. Far more predictably, the study also reveals that teenagers dominate the market, though approximately fifteen million gamers are forty-five years old or older. The study sampled 2,220 “active gamers” who played online at least once a week.


Vonage agrees to pay Sprint Nextel a total of $80 million to use its voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, patents

Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee has stepped down as chairman and CEO. It was later reported he was actually forced out.

Gateway – a company still in the middle of acquisition by Acer – announces they will take ownership of 75 percent of shares in Packard Bell – another computer company that fell in the early 2000. This is an ongoing battle between Gateway and Lenovo over this older computer giant. Acers’ acquisition of Gateway would become complete on Oct 16th, 2007. Acer agreed to fund the Packard Bell purchase.

Google purchases Jaiku.


Yahoo relaunches IndexTools as Yahoo Web Analytics.


Microsoft sets up a new lab under Ray Ozzie called the Social computing sandbox. Lili Cheng will head the lab with the Future Social Experiences (FUSE) group.

The BREIN foundation uncovers documents in the Pirate Bay case about their mysterious founding company "Reservella". BREIN produces documentation, including a credit report that shows Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij is listed as the CEO of Reservella. The founders maintain their statement that Reservella is not related to them and is a company in the Seychelles - off the coast of Africa.


Google announces they will be discontinuing their GOOG-411 service due to the smartphone revolution.

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