This Day in Geek History: March 20
The short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, which will later come to be widely considered the first detective story in history, is published in Graham’s Magazine. The story establishes many literary devices and motifs later seen in the mystery genre.
Nikola Tesla receives a patent for the wireless transmission of electric power. (US No. 645,576) View the patent online.
Albert Einstein publishes an academic paper on his Theory of General Relativity entitled “Die Grundlagen der allgemeinen Relativitästheorie” in the journal Annalen der Physik. Einstein’s theory accounts for the slow rotation of the elliptical orbit of Mercury, which Newtonian gravitational theory failed to explain.
The first practical radar system is tested by Rudolf Kuhnold, Chief of the German Navy Signals Research Department, in Kiel Harbour, Germany. The systems uses a 700-watt transmitter on a frequency of 600 megacycles. During the test, the system successfully receives echoes off the battleship Hesse, 600 yards away. Read more about the history of the Radar.
The European Space Research Organization (ESRO), the forerunner of the European Space Agency, is established by ten European nations for the purpose of joint scientific research per a June 14, 1962 agreement.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Contagion” first airs. (No. 211) In it, the Enterprise and a Romulan vessel are infected by a virus that destory another Federation ship. Memory Alpha entry
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Profit and Loss” first airs. (No. 218) In it, Quark’s old flame returns to the station, but he discovers that she no long harbors any feelings for him. Memory Alpha entry
Infogear files for a U.S. trademark “IPhone”, which will be granted in 1999. The trademark covers “computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks.” In 1998, Infogear will release a telephone with an integrated web browser under the brand name iPhone. Shortly after Steve Jobs announces the Apple iPhone in June 2007, Cisco will issue a statement explaining that it had been negotiating trademark licensing with Apple. Then, on January 10, 2007, Cisco will announce a lawsuit charging Apple over the infringement of the trademark, seeking an injunction in federal court to prohibit Apple from using the name.
Apple Computer releases the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh computer (TAM) to commemorate the company’s twentieth anniversary. The system features a 250MHz PowerPC 603e, a 256KB Level-2 Cache, 32MB – 128MB RAM, 2MB VRAM, a 2GB hard drive, a 1.4MB floppy drive, a 4x CD-ROM drive, an FM radio and television tuner, a special sound system with a subwoofer, and the Mac OS 9.1 operating system. The system is the first Apple desktop to feature a track pad, the first Apple desktop with a flat screen (a 12.1-inch active-matrix display), the first Apple PowerPC desktop to diverge from the beige tower design, and the first Apple to feature a vertical CD drive. Production will be limited to twelve thousand units, in five countries: France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. Though the system will be widely derided for being all style and no substance, it marks a turning point for the company, after which Apple will rise to gain a reputation for producing some of the most trendy and stylish computers on the market. Browse a gallery of photos of the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Price: US$7,499
Network Associates, Inc. (NAI), which acquired PGP, Inc. in December 1997, announces the sale of a version of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) outside U.S. boarders through both a Dutch and Swiss subsidiary company, after having legally exported the source code behind PGP as a printed document to circumvent laws restricting the export of cryptographic software.
Two teenagers hack T-Online, the online service run by Germany’s national telephone company and steal the details of hundreds of bank accounts. The two sixteen year old hackers brag about their exploits, calling Deutsche Telekom‘s security for the online service “absolutely primitive.” Visit the official T-Online website.
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