This Day in Geek History: February 26
Kinemacolor films are shown to a paying audience for the first time at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, England. The show features twenty-one short films altogether.
Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates the feasibility of radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) to Air Ministry officials in Daventry, England. Watson-Watt had discovered the possibility of using radio waves to detect aircraft while experimenting with methods of using radio waves to locate thunderstorms. During the demonstration, a bomber flying through the main beam of a BBC short-wave radio transmitter reflects signals to the ground as it passes overhead. Read more about the early history of radar.
The first Saturn 1B rocket is launched from Cape Canaveral,on an unmanned suborbital test flight, as part of the Apollo program. The AS-201 mission demonstrates the structural integrity of the Saturn 1B rocket, which combines five F-1 rocket engines, and its ability as a launch vehicle to carry future Apollo loads with its 7.5 million pounds of thrust. Despite several malfunctions, the rocket flies for thirty-seven minutes over 5,264 miles (8,472km), reaching a peak altitude of 303 miles (488km).
Warrants are issued for the arrest of seven local users of the The Phoenix Fortress BBS in Fremont, California. The Sysop turns out to be a local law enforcement agent and the board turns out to be a sting operation created to catch hackers and pirates. Three of the arrested users are fifteen years old, two are sixteen, one is seventeen, and one is nineteen. Their computers and some additional equipment is confiscated.
The science fiction film Alien from L.A., directed by Albert Pyun and starring Kathy Ireland, William R. Moses, Richard Haines, Don Michael Paul, and Thom Mathews, is released to US theaters. In it, a nerdy teen girl discovers strange underground civilization while looking for her missing father. (MPAA Rating: PG) Running time: 1 hr 27 mins
The Law & Order episode “Mushrooms” first airs. (No. 117) The title of the episode refers to the 1980 Atari arcade shooter Centipede, in which players move a ship across the bottom of the screen with a trackball, firing a laser at a centipede advancing from the top of the screen down through a field of mushrooms. In the episode, an eleven month old infant and his twelve year-old are referred to as “mushrooms” by a police officer after inadvertently being shot during a during a drug hit.
Tim Berners-Lee introduces WorldWideWeb, the first web browser and WYSIWYG HTML editor. See a screenshot at the World Wide Web Consortium’s website.
Silicon Graphics Inc. acquires Cray Research for US$767 million, becoming the leading supplier of high-speed computing machines in the US. Read more about the history of Cray super computers.
Anthony Zboralski, age 21, signs a deal with a major French publisher to write a book on battling computer piracy. Three days earlier, Zboralski was fined US$8,850 and given an eighteen month suspended sentence for making a quarter of million dollars in phone calls at the expense of theFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Frenchman accomplished the theft through social engineering by befriending a contact at the local embassy who unwittingly gave him enough information to tap into the FBI’s computer system.
The University of Montreal Biomedical homepage is anonymously hacked.
Version 3.0 of the BSD/OS (BSDI) is released.
What will later be characterized by US Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre as “the most organized and systematic attack to date” on Pentagon computers is carried out. The incident is initially thought to be a sophisticated coordinated campaign of “information warfare” launched by Iraq, but the attacks will eventually be traced back to three teenage hackers: “Mac” and “Stimpy” from California and “The Analyzer”, an Israeli named Ehud Tenenbaum. Following an enormous inter-agency investigation that will be code-named “Solar Sunrise,” the incident will lead to an around-the-clock online guard post being established at major military computer facilities across the country. The incident marks a major turning point in government awareness of the dangers of cyber warfare.
Sony releases PlayStation memory cards in black, candy orange, cherry red, crystal, emerald, gray, island blue, and lemon yellow.
Intel introduces the Pentium III processor, which operates at 450 or 500MHz and features 9.5 million transistors, a 100MHz bus, and a 64-bit bus. The processor is based on a 0.25 micron process, and it introduces seventy new Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE).
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