This Day in Geek History: July 29
Transcontinental telephone service s inaugurated with a telephone conversation between Thomas A. Watson in San Francisco and Alexander Graham Bell in New York City in which they repeat their historic conversation from 1876.
James C. Hagerty, press secretary to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that the United States intends to launch “small Earth circling satellites” between July 1, 1957 and December 31, 1958 as part of the United State’s contribution to the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Many will mark this as the beginning of the Space Race that will eventually lead the U.S. to put a man on the Moon.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is established to promote peaceful uses for nuclear energy.
U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s space exploration. The act was introduced very soon after the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1. Visit the official NASA website.
Bill Gates of Microsoft sends John Sculley of Apple Computer a second memo suggesting that Apple license its Mac OS, this time naming three prospective companies that might wish to create Mac clones.
A federal court jury in San Francisco decides Atari Games infringed a Nintendo patent for the security system in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Atari Games immediately announces that it will appeal the decision.
The Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), which represents most leading video game publishers, presents a proposal for a new, voluntary, industry-wide video game rating system to Congress. The system that eventually will be established will be governed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
Prodigy Services Company is renamed after being formally taken over by the investor group led by Greg Carr. Paul DeLacey is named Chief Executive Officer of Prodigy, Inc. Former Prodigy president, Ed Bennett, becomes the chairman of the new firm, known as Prodigy Ventures, Inc.
Yahoo! announces its first stock split, a 3-for-2 common stock split.
Two Cloverdale, California boys, both sixteen, plead guilty to charges that they hacked into government and military computers to extract unauthorized passwords and other information. Bill Zane, owner of Netdex, the Santa Rosa Internet Service that the boys used to launch their attacks, expressed the opinion that the punishment to ban unsupervised access to the Internet until the age 21 is not strong enough.
A United States Federal Judge orders Microsoft to hand over the source code for Windows 95 and other operating systems related to a pending lawsuit filed by Caldera, a small software company based in Utah.
Ideallab! announces plans to ship an additional twenty thousand free personal computers to qualified applicants. Founder Bill Gross, attributes the overwhelming response from previous recipients and the initial feedback from advertisers for the decision to expand their base. Recipients also agree to use FreePCNet for Internet access which forces them to be exposed to offers and advertising.
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