This Day in Geek History: June 26
Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.
Karl Benz of Germany is granted the first U.S. patent for a gasoline-driven automobile.
The first movie theater in the U.S. opens. Admissions costs ten cents.
William Shockley files the original patent for his grown junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announces its plans to regulating the cable television industry. Most notable among the regulation is the ban on the three major broadcasting networks from entering the cable television market and a prohibition on the joint ownership of cable and broadcast television operations in the same community.
At 8:01am, a Universal Product Code (UPC) label is used to ring up purchases at a supermarket for the first time. The first UPC ever scanned is on a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum, which is purchased at the Marsh Supermarket and wrung up by Sharon Buchanon in Troy, Ohio. Developed by International Business Machines (IBM) and approved for use in 1973, the code is a twelve-digit bar code that numerically representing the manufacturer and and the product which can be read by a laser beam. One of the developers of the UPC, Norman Joseph Woodland, was inspired by Morse code.
The CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world, is opened.
The world’s first dedicated oceanographic satellite, SEASAT 1, is launched. The satellite carries the first synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and its mission is determine the feasibility of monitoring oceanographic phenomena from orbit. Visit the official NASA Seasat website.
Microsoft announces that it will no longer sell or support MS-DOS operating system. Following the announcement, programmer Jim Hall posts a manifesto that proposes the development of an open-source DOS replacement, which, on July 26, 1994, will be renamed to FreeDOS.
The United States Senate Science, Technology and Space subcommittee broadcasts a live audio feed of its proceedings over the Internet. This is the first time proceedings of the U.S. Congress are broadcast via internet. The topic of discussion is online commerce and encryption software.
Filming begins on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the fourth film in the Star Wars saga. The majority of the film will be shot at Leavesden Film Studios in England. Filming will end on September 30.
In the case of Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Supreme Court of the United States rules the Communications Decency Act, a part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, to be unconstitutional by a vote of 7-to-2. The act was an attempt by Congress to ban sexually explicit material, such as pornography, from the Internet. In his written opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens calls the act a violation of free speech.
Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Unwired Planet enter into a partnership to create a common Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP). The first version of WAP specifications will be published on April 30, 1998.
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