This Day in Geek History: January 18
The first electrical journal in the US, the Electro-Magnetic Intelligencer, is first published.
Guglielmo Marconi’s third North American wireless station in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts, transmits a two thousand word signal, including a message from President Theodore Roosevelt, to the station at Glace Bay, Canada to be forwarded to Poldhu, England, but due to the signal’s strength, it is received directly by England, becoming the first transatlantic radio signal to be transmitted eastward.
J.W. Bryce writes a memorandum outlining the development of the Harvard Mark I, which, upon completing 1944, will be the first fully automatic computer. It will be capable of computing three additions or subtractions a second and storing seventy-two numbers in its memory.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes AT&T to conduct experimental radio stations for Project Telstar, an Earth-satellite communications study. Telstar is the first active communications satellite as well as the first privately owned satellite. It transmits telephone and high-speed data communications.
The science fiction television series The Six Million Dollar Man, starring Lee Majors, premieres on the ABC network with the episode “The Moon and the Desert.” The series, based on the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, follows the adventures of a test pilot equipped with bionic components that make him a super man after being critically injured in a plane crash. The series will run for one hundred episodes over the course of five seasons and become a cultural icon of the seventies. TV.com entry
Early in the morning, the 2.4 acre roof of the Hartford Coliseum in Hartford, Connecticut collapses under the weight of ice and snow deposited by a winter storm. The roof is notable for being among the first large-span roofs made possible by computer design. The stadium is empty at the time of the collapse, but it had been full only hours before.
According to Walter Day of Twin Galaxies, this day in history marks the beginning of the “Golden Age of Video Arcade Games“, which he says ends January 5, 1986. Opinions vary, many putting the start of the age at a much earlier date, somewhere in the seventies. However, Day’s prominence in the video game community lends a great deal of weight to his opinion. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) is held January 18 – 21 at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham, England. At the event, Atari operates an independent booth for the first time. The booth’s main feature is the game Tempest.
Time magazine acknowledges the success of the video game industry with a cover title that reads, “Video Games Are Blitzing the World.” Inside, Steve Juraszek, a Mount Prospect, Illinois high school student, is profiled as the Defender world champion. The issues features an article covering Juraszek’s sixteen hour, sixteen million point, single quarter championship game. The same issue also discusses the popularity of video games, revealing that, to date, 96,600 PAC-MAN, 70,000 Asteroids, and 60,000 Space Invaders arcade machines have been produced in the United States alone.
The CP/M ’83 Show is held in San Francisco, California.
At the CP/M Show, Franklin Computer demonstrates the Franklin Ace 1200 at the CP/M Show, featuring an 8-bit processor, 128KB RAM, a color display, a keyboard, a 143KB floppy drive, a built-in speaker, a CP/M card, and a 80-column text card. Price: US$2,200
For the first time in its history, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was seen by over 100 million viewers in the past week. The audience was measured during the week of January 12-18.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Datalore” first airs. (No. 113) In it, the Enterprise discovers a disassembled android identical to Data at the abandoned Omicron Theta colony. After reassembling the android, Lore, put the Enterprise in danger. Memory Alpha entry
Four Secret Service from the Chicage Task Force and a representative of Bellsouth agents visit Craig Neidorf in St. Louis, who publishes the hacker magazine PHRACK under the handle “Knight Lightning”, regarding an article published in PHRACK Issue 24, entitled “Control Office Administration Of Enhanced 911 Service by The Eavesdropper.” The article included information obtained from stolen E911 documents. Neidorf cooperates fully, and the next day the agents will return with a search warrant. They won’t seize his computer because it’s hard drive is missing. He will be indicted on February 6, and his trial will be held July 24-27. Read more in The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling.
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