This Day in Geek History: January 23
According to Twin Galaxies, Ed O’Neil scores a record-setting 252,114,350 points playing the Williams Electronics arcade game Robotron at the Outer Limits arcade in Durham, North Carolina. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The action television series The A-Team premieres on the NBC network with the episode “Mexican Slayride.” The series will become a cultural icon of the eighties, garnering a significant cult following. The series will run for ninety-eight episodes over five seasons. TV.com entry
Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Office, which included the first AppleTalk network and the LaserWriter laser printer. A US$50 kit will be available for connecting a Macintosh to the 230kbps Appletalk network. The LaserWriter is priced at US$6,995.
Herbert Zinn Jr., better known by the webhandle “Shadow Hawk”, becomes the first juvenile to be convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 at the age of eighteen. Zinn, a high school dropout from Roger Park, Chicago, was sixteen years-old when he hacked into AT&T, Bell Labs, and Robins Air Force Base computer systems, where he destroyed an estimated US$174,000 worth of files and copied fifty-five programs worth millions of dollars. Zinn was only caught after employees of AT&T and Illinois Bell read messages in which Zinn bragged about his exploits and published passwords to the systems that he had compromised on a bulletin board system (BBS) notorious for its phreak community. In his comments, Shadow Hawk repeatedly boasted that he would “shut down AT&T’s public switched network.” Zinn will be sentenced to nine months in prison, two and a half years of federal probation, and a fine of ten thousand dollars on February 14th. Had he been an adult (age 18), he could have been sentenced to thirteen years in prison and a fine of up to US$800,000. One year later (January 22, 1990), Robert Tappan Morris will become the first person to be convicted as an adult under the law. Read more at Phrack magazine.
Sega Enterprises and the Bandai Company announce that plans to merge effective Wednesday, October 1, 1997 have been approved by the boards of both companies. The two companies will be named Sega Bandai, Ltd. The merger will involve a US$1.08 billion stock swap.
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) introduces the PocketStation handheld video game system in Japan. Games are downloaded from the PlayStation in a new format. Price: US$25
Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settle their Java lawsuit. Microsoft will pay Sun US$20 million, and is permanently prohibited from using the “Java compatible” trademark on its products. The Sun-Microsoft licensing agreement will be terminated, but Microsoft is permitted to use a version of Java in its products for the next seven years.
Transvirtual Technologies releases the PocketLinux operating system for handheld computers.
NASA receives the last signal from the Pioneer 10 spacecraft from a distance of roughly 7.5 billion miles (12 billion kilometers) from Earth. However, the signal is too weak to carry data. The last successful reception of telemetry was on April 27, 2002. Visit an archived copy of the official Pioneer Project website.
NEC introduces the VersaPro Tablet PC in Japan. It features a 10.4-inch screen, the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system, a 933MHz Intel Pentium III processor, 256 MN RAM, a 20GB hard drive, and 802.11b wireless communications. Weight: 2.2lbs Price: 296,000 yen (about US$2500)
A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania man is convicted of hacking a judge’s personal e-mail account.
Japan’s space agency (JAXA) launches the world’s first greenhouse-gas monitoring satellite, Ibuki (“vitality” in Japanese), from the Tanegashima Space Center. The satellite will allow scientists to measure the density of carbon dioxide and methane at fifty-six thousand locations within the Earth’s atmosphere.
Marketing research firm comScore releases a report revealing that the number of unique internet users reached one billion in December 2008. 41.3 percent of users resided in the Asia-Pacific region, 28 percent resided in Europe, 18.4 percent resided in the United States, and 7.4 percent resided in Latin America. Read more at CNet.com.
Screen Gems releases the action film Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, directed by Patrick Tatopoulos and starring Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, and Rhona Mitra, to 2,942 U.S. theaters. Produced on a budget of US$35 million, the film will gross US$20,828,511 in its opening weekend. IMDB entry (MPAA Rating: R) Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins