This Day in Geek History: January 15
The first telephone line between Berlin and New York is inaugurated.
In Toledo, Ohio, construction of the first building covered completely in glass is completed for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
The world’s largest office building, The Pentagon, is dedicated at a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia.
The Bell System proposes a new service called TELPAK (TELecommunications PAcKage) which would create “electronic high-ways” between specific points, over which many types of communications might be transmitted.
The USSR Lunakhod 2 lunar rover begins to survey the surface of the Moon via radio-control. The rover will make astronomical observations, measure magnetic fields, perform laser ranging experiments, and shoot video footage.
While snowed in during the Great Chicago Snowstorm of 1978, Ward Christensen begins preliminary work on what will eventually become Computer Bulletin Board System (CBBS), the first Bulletin Board System (BBS). Christensen will collaborate with his friend Randy Suess. The entire system is conceived, designed, programmed, debugged, and tested in thirty days. between January 16 and February 16 1978.
According to Twin Galaxies, Bill Camden scores a record-setting 1,666,604 points playing the Taito arcade game Qix at the Galaxy 1 arcade in Lynchburg, Virgina. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) opens the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the purpose of performing research into high-performance computing. Marc Andreesen will later develop the Mosaic browser as a student at the Center. Visit the official NCSA website.
This date marks the first time an entertainment program is televised live simultaneously on ten basic cables nets.
The AT&T long distance telephone network suffers a cascade switching failure which disrupts service for about nine hours due to a computer error. Specifically, the error arises from a bug in the latest release of the software that controls AT&T’s #4ESS long distance switches. The bug causes the computers to crash when they receive the message a neighboring computer that indicates that the neighboring computer is recovering from a crash. When a switch in New York crashes and reboots, it causes its neighboring switches to crash, then their neighbors’ neighbors, and so on. The result is that 114 switches begin crashing and rebooting every six seconds, leaving approximately sixty thousand people without long distance service. Engineers load the previous software release to correct the issue.
The science fiction series Star Trek: Voyager premieres with the two-hour episode, “Caretaker.” (No. 101 – 102) In it, the first female starship Captain to be featured as the central character of major science fiction series gets sucked into another quadrant, bangs up her ship, gets half her crew killed, winds up hopelessly lost, and pisses off the locals… to the unending delight of male chauvinists everywhere. The series will run for seven seasons, for a total of 172 episodes. Visit the series’ official website. Memory Alpha entry TV.com entry
In the case of Lotus v. Borland, the United States Supreme Court allows the Appeals Court’s ruling of March 9, 1995 stand by a tie vote of four-to-four, with Justice Stevens not participating. In the suit, Lotus claims that Borland infringed on its copyrights with Quattro Pro. The district court ruled in favor of Lotus, however, on appeal, the allegedly infringing features in Quattro Pro were ruled to be a “method of operation” and thus not subject to copyright.
Multimedia Wire publishes a report entitled, “Atari Corp. Exits Video Game Business, To Liquidate Game Assets”.
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