This Day in Geek History: January 19
Thomas Edison is issued a patent on a “Telegraph Apparatus.” (US No. 158,787)
The first trans-Atlantic radiotelegraphic message is sent from President Roosevelt to King Edward VII by way of the stations at Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Poldhu, England. It is not generally known whether the message was relayed by ships on the Atlantic or whether it was received directly from Cape Cod in its complete form. A station even larger than the one at Poldhu was begun in 1905, at Clifden, Ireland, and in 1907 this plant and a twin station at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, were opened for limited commercial trans-Atlantic radio service.
Thomas Edison is issued a patent for an “Electrical Automobile” designed with a driving motor that may be conveniently and effectively utilized for the purpose of charging the batteries. (US No. 750,102) The design uses a small turbine steam engine connected to the armature of an electric motor. By reversing the rotation of the motor-armature, the electric motor converts to a generator for charging the batteries. A clutch is used to disconnect the motor from the driving wheels while charging. Under usual operations, the motor runs off storage batteries.
71.7% percent of all United States television sets tune in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth in the episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital.” It is the single most-watched episode of television in history. To boost ratings, star Lucille Ball incorporated her real-life pregnancy into the series’ storyline, and the air date of the episode was scheduled for Ball’s actual caesarean section. The series would go on to portray the character who plays Lucy’s child to age in something approximating real-time, rather than accelerating than advancing the child’s age to better advance its storyline.
The first presidential news conference is filmed for TV by Eisenhower’s administration.
Apple Computer officially unveils the Lisa computer, the first personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). It features a 5MHz 68000 microprocessor, 1MB RAM, 2MB ROM, a 12-inch B/W monitor, 720×364 graphics, dual 5.25-inch 860kB floppy drives, a 5MB Profile hard drive, and six integrated programs. The Lisa’s hardware cost Apple Computer US$50 million to develop, and the software for the system cost another US$100 million to develop. “Lisa” is an acronym for Local Integrated Software Architecture. Price: US$9,995
Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIe. It features a 1MHz 6502 processor, 6kB RAM, Applesoft BASIC, a keyboard, seven expansion slots, up to 560×192 graphics, a 140kB 5.25-inch floppy drive, and the Apple DOS 3.3 operating system. Price: US$1,395
The first virus program for the IBM PC appears, called ©Brain. It infects the boot sector of 360kB floppy disks formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT). The virus slows down the floppy disk drive and makes seven kilobytes of memory unavailable to DOS. ©Brain was written by Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, two brothers from Pakistan, who later told Time magazine that they had written the virus as a copy protection for their medical software with no intention of it spreading beyond copyright infringers. The virus will later begin desplaying a message reading “Welcome to the Dungeon,” as the result of the brothers licensing a beta version of the code to the Dungeon BBS programming forum. Read more about the Brain virus at TextFiles.com.
International Business Machines (IBM) announces a US$4.97 billion loss for the 1992 fiscal year, the largest single-year corporate loss in U.S. history.
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