This Day in Geek History: February 1
Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patent the steamboat in Georgia.
The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, “A-Ant,” is published. The full title of the series is A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. Editor Herbert Coleridge first began work on the dictionary on May 12, 1860 and published the first sample pages in April 1861. Length: 352 pages Price: UK2s.6d (US$3.25)
Thomas Edison completes the construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.
Thomas Jennings is convicted of killing Clarence B. Hiller by the Criminal Court of Cook County using fingerprint evidence for the first time in the U.S. On December 21, the Illionis Supreme Court will uphold the admissibility of the evidence. On February 16, 1912 Jennings will be executed.
At a press conference, University of Pennsylvania announces the development of Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC), the first general-purpose electronic computer. The machine fills an entire room, weighs over thirty tons, and incorporates eighteen thousand vacuum tubes. It will be built at a cost of US$450,000, and it was designed by the U.S. army for the purpose of making artillery calculations.
Radio Corporation of America (RCA) releases the first single record ever (45 rpm). The release comes in response to the rising popularity of Columbia Record’s 33 1/3 long play records. The format will be successful for roughly twenty years, until the advent of the cassette tape. Its popularity will be considered a revolution by many, and its success will propel the rock and roll genre into popularity.
The two hundred inch (5.08m) Hale telescope is used for the first time.
The first X-ray moving picture process demonstrated.
Television station KTLA in Los Angeles, California broadcasts the first atomic explosion seen by the general public. The event was captured by an NBC camera from Mount Wilson, three hundred miles from the site of the test blast at Frenchman Flats, Nevada.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division releases the OS/VS2 Release 2, a control program that allows users to interconnect virtual storage systems, IBM System/370 Model 158 and Model 168 MP multiprocessors, five new versions of the System/370 Model 145, and the IBM 3704 communications controller. Visit the official IBM website.
Apple Computer President Mike Scott writes an internal memo, with an attached note reading, “The document describes the goal of a typewriter-less company. It also commands Ken to get rid of his DEC word processor ASAP! We believe the typewriter is obsolete. Let’s prove it inside before we try and convince our customers.” The memo outlines Apple’s new policy of being a typewriter-free company. The move comes as part of an overall marketing campaign against the typewriter, the single greatest obstacle to the Apple II.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) releases the Professional Office System (PROFS), IBM’s first office software, which includes desktop-to-desktop email.
Intel releases the Intel 80286 processor, featuring clock speeds of up to 20MHz, a new “protected mode” of operation, which allows access to 16MB of memory, a 16 bit bus, and 134,000 transistors.
Gordon H. Matthews, Thomas B. Tansil, and Michael L. Fannin of ECS Telecommunications are granted a patent for one of the first digital voice mail systems, which is described as an “Electronic audio communication system.” (US No. 4,371,752)
Lucasfilm Computer Division releases the Pixar II graphics designing computer featuring 12MB – 108MB of image memory and a maximum resolution of 1,280 by 1,2024 pixels. The systems will be primarily marketed to animation studios, such as Disney. Price: US$29,500
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “11001001” first airs. (No. 115) In it, members of the Bynar race come aboard to upgrade the Enterprise’s computers, while Riker and Picard try the newly enhanced holodeck. Memory Alpha entry
Atari files a lawsuit alleging violations of anti-trust laws against Nintendo for US$250 million. The charges are precipitated by Nintendo’s licensing agreements, which prevents licensees from releasing game titles for competing video game platforms within two years of releasing it for the Nintendo.
Craig Neidorf, known by the web handle “Knight Lightning”, is indicted by a grand jury on six counts, including computer fraud, transportation of stolen property valued at over $5,000, and wire fraud.
Game developer id Software is founded in Dallas, Texas by four former Softdisk employees. The company will rise to become one of the most influential developers in the industry. It’s titles will include Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. Visit the official id Software website.
James Gosling, Patrick Naughton, and Mike Sheridan, of Sun Microsystems begin developing the Java programming language. Gosling works on the programming concepts, Naughton on the graphics system, and Sheridan works the business end. Visit the official Java website.
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