This Day in Geek History: March 10
The value of Sony Corporation stock drops 2.67 percent to 27,350 yen by midday following an announcement is made by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) revealing that the company has received numerous complaints in regard to the performance of its PlayStation 2 video game console. According to the complaints, the system’s video disk player doesn’t work properly. The company announces that it will investigating whether the issue is technical or a misunderstanding on the part of consumers. Reuters news service speculates that the system may need to be recalled, but a Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) spokesperson denies that there is any problem whatsoever.
Touchstone Pictures releases the science fiction film Mission to Mars, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, and Jerry O’Connell, to 3,054 U.S. theaters. In it, the first manned mission to Mars meets with a catastrophic and mysterious disaster, and a rescue mission is launched to investigate the tragedy and bring back any survivors. Produced on a budget of US$100 million, it will gross US$22,855,247 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: PG) Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins
Version 2.3.51 of the Linux operating system is released.
Computers at Georgia Tech are hacked, and an undisclosed number of employee financial records and university credit card numbers are potentially exposed. Georgia Tech’s webmaster will discover the break-in on March 11 after noticing that the logs for the server had been erased sometime early on March 10. Research conducted by the institutes’s IT department will show that the system was used as an unauthorized FTP server over the weekend. It was used by someone off campus to download and then upload a large number of files. Officials believe that the hacker may have parked a movie or some other large file on the server and then let others know where they could download the data. The hacker then removed the files and erased logs.
In Japan, Sony announces the Clié PEG-NR70 and PEG-NR70V handheld computers, featuring a 66MHz Motorola Dragonball SuperVZ processor, 16MB RAM, a 3.8-inch 320×480 pixel 16-bit color screen, a digital audio player, a keyboard, the Palm OS, a Memory Stick slot, rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries, and a remote control software and infrared port. The PEG-NR70 will go on sale March 23. The PEG-NR70V will also include a built-in digital camera, and it will go on sale April 13. Weight: 7oz
Sony announces the Sony Clié PEG-TG50 handheld computer, featuring a 320×320 backlit color screen, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a built-in keyboard, the Palm OS 5 operating system, and a voice recorder. The device will be available for sale in the U.S. later in March. Price: US$400 Weight: 6.2oz
Sony announces the Sony Clié PEG-SJ22 handheld computer, as a replacement for the SJ30. Price: US$200
Sony announces the Sony Clié PEG-SJ33 Limited Edition handheld computer, available with an orange or blue case. Price: US$300.
Vector Capital announces that it has reached an agreement with Microsoft under which Vector Capital will acquire Microsoft’s twenty-three million shares of Corel stock for approximately US$13 million.
Working in concert, America Online (AOL), Earthlink, Microsoft, and Yahoo, four of the United States largest internet service providers each file separate lawsuits in federal courts in their home states against the nation’s most prolific spammers. AOL files suit against Davis Wolfgang Hawke, who sells penis enlargement pills. Microsoft files suit against JDO Media of Ocala, Florida, a multilevel marketing firm that encourages users to recruits new members by e-mail. Yahoo files suit against Golddisk.net of Kitchener, Ontario, which is accused of sending almost 94 million e-mail messages to its e-mail users selling financial and travel services. The suits are the first to be filed under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 that went into effect at the first of the year, and they come just days after the independent e-mail filtering firm Brightmail reported that as much as sixty-two percent of all e-mail was spam. Read more at the New York Times.
At the Game Developers Conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata demonstrates the games ElectroPlankton and Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS handheld video game system. Iwata also reveals some details the video game system code-named “Revolution,” which will later be named Wii. He reveals that ATI Technologies will supply the system’s graphics processor under the code-named “Hollywood,” International Business Machines (IBM) will supply the system’s processor under the code-named “Broadway”, and the system will include built-in support for wireless networking. Visit the official Wii website.
The NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) enters orbit around Mars. Visit the official Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter website.
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim supplants Microsoft chairman Bill Gates as the world’s wealthiest person on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people. Slim’s net worth is valued at US$53.5 billion, just edging out Gates’ US$53 billion net worth. Bill Gates held the title of world’s richest person for fourteen of the past fifteen years. Read more Forbes.