September 20

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Podcast Episode - Day in Technology History

Day in Tech History: September 20th

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Prev: September 19th - Next: September 21st


Genevieve Grotjan completes the decryption of the Japanese Purple code. Purple was a diplomatic cryptographic machine used by the Japanese Foreign Office just before and during World War II. The machine was an electromechanical stepping-switch device.


Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase publish a report confirming that DNA holds hereditary data.


The first program written in the FORTRAN programming language is run. FORTRAN, which is an acronym for “FORmula TRANslator,” was invented at IBM for technical and scientific applications by a group led by John Backus. The purpose of FORTRAN is to simplify the programming process by allowing programmers to use simple algebraic expressions in their code.


Data General introduces the Data General/One Personal System portable computer, featuring MS-DOS, CP/M-86, Unix, 128KB RAM, and one floppy drive. It is the first portable computer with a full-size LCD display. Price: US$2,895 Weight: 10 pounds


Apple Computer and Quantum Computer Services announce AppleLink, a graphical online service for Apple computer users.


  1. Apple Computer releases version 6.0.4 of the System 6 operating system for the Macintosh IIci and Macintosh Portable.
  2. Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh Portable, featuring a 16MHz Motorola 68000 CMOS processor, 1MB RAM, a 40MB hard drive, a 3.5-inch 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive, a keyboard, a trackball, and a 9.8-inch active matrix 640×400 monochrome LCD screen. The system runs for about 8 hours on a lead-acid gel battery pack. Price: US$6,500 Weight: 17 pounds


AT&T announces that it will be splitting into three companies over the next fifteen months. The three companies will be: AT&T, which will provide communication services, Lucent Technologies, a systems and technology company that will manufacture communications products, and the NCR Corporation, which will create financial and retail systems.

The Council's Committee on Computing, Information and Communications (CCIC) created the Federal Networking Council (FNC) to act as a forum for networking issues amongst multiple federal agencies. [1]. The FNC is the group that coins the term "Internet" on October 24, 1995

Version 2.0 of the Red Hat Linux operating system is released.


  1. Microsoft announces plans to discontinue the “Modem BBS” option within LiveUpdate Wednesday, December 1, 1999.
  2. Microsoft announces an alliance with a network of electronic commerce Internet Web Sites to create an auction site to compete with eBay, Inc. According to Scott Randall, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FairMarket, Inc., the firm that created the alliance, the new auction system will function like a virtual warehouse for almost one hundred sites that will link their own auctions.

Wal*Mart Stores, Inc. reveal plans to open computer-repair centers in ten of its stores under a lease agreement with Computer Doctor, a franchiser and owner of thirty-eight stores in the United States. The combined stores generate almost US$10 million in sales annually.


Microsoft buys the British game developer Rare for US$375 million.


The BBC reports that more than thirty thousand computers a day are being recruited into “bot nets” that spread spam and viruses.


With the release of Opera 8.5, Opera Software announces that all future version of the Opera browser will be available free of charge without advertisements, although the company still sells support contracts. Version 8.5 includes automatic client-side fixing of websites that don’t render correctly and a number of security fixes.


Version 2.9.0 of pHPMyAdmin, a tool written in PHP to administrate MySQL over the Internet, is released.


A Helium leak forces the Large Hadron Collider to shut down for 2 months 


A group of senators want a law to allow DOJ to shut down sites that are believed to contain blatent piracy issues (even outside the country).

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