This Day in Geek History: March 6
A number of Apple Computer software developers stage a peaceful gathering to protests Apple’s recent decision to abandon the Newton platform. A press release issued by the Newton Developers Association called for the gathering at the Apple Computer Store in Cupertino, California at noon Pacific time.
The second annual Webby Awards are held at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Theater. The event recognizes “the best, brightest and boldest” sites on the Internet. Winners are announced in nineteen different categories by a select panel of ninety-five judges, including Chicago Bulls player Dennis Rodman, former California Governor Jerry Brown, Dilbert creator Scott Adams, film director Kevin Smith, and musician Thomas Dolby (She Blinded Me With Science). Winners include: Best Film Site – Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com), Best Print/Zine Site – Salon Magazine (http://www.salonmag.com), and Best TV Site – PBS Online (http://www.pbs.org). Read a list of all the winner in the official press release. Visit the official Webby Awards website.
The NetDex website is hacked by “Analyzer”, an Israeli alleged to have been responsible for attacks on the Pentagon and several university networks. The previous month, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre characterized Analyzer’s intrusions as the most organized and systematic attack the Pentagon has seen to date.”
The servers of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) are hacked by “Zyklon”, also known as Eric Burns, who will be sentenced in November to fifteen months imprisonment and three years of supervised release for hacking USIA and NATO websites.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) releases 900MHz, 950MHz, and 1GHz Athlon processors. Each processor features 512KB of Level-2 off-chip cache. Price: US$899, US$999, and US$1299 respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announces the initial shipment of 1GHz Athlon processors, an industry milestone. The first commercially available systems with a 1GHz AMD Athlon processor will sold by Compaq Computer and Gateway. Compaq’s system with 128MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, and a 17-inch color monitor, will sell for US$2,499.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announces that it has sold over 980,000 PlayStation 2 game consoles since its Saturday release. Allegedly, more could have been sold if the pack-in Memory Card was in more ample supply.
ATI announces three new graphics chips, the Radeon 9200, Radeon 9600, and Radeon 9800.
In Utah, Caldera Systems (SCO Group) files a lawsuit against IBM seeking one billion dollars in damages, claiming that IBM illegally used licensed Unix technology in its Linux software, devaluing Caldera’s Unix systems. SCO also threatens to revoke IBM’s Unix license, disrupting shipments of AIX if they don’t meet SCO’s demands within one hundred days.
NASA publishes its predictions for the next sunspot cycle for the first time history. The predictions estimate that the next cycle will start between late 2007 and early 2008 and that the cycle will be thirty to fifty percent stronger than the previous cycle, which peaked in 2001.
DefectiveByDesign, a Free Software Foundation initiative founded to lobby against digital rights management (DRM) technologies, publicly challenges Apple CEO Steve Jobs to prove his self-attest commitment to ending to digital rights management. Specifically, the organization posts a petition online calling for Jobs to remove DRM from the songs sold by independent artists on iTunes, remove DRM on Disney videos sold on iTunes, and fund a campaign to repeal the prohibition imposed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on bypassing digital rights management. The challenge comes in response to the open letter issued by Jobs on February 6, “Thoughts on Music,” in which he wrote, “Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.” Read the petition at the DefectiveByDesign website.
Apple releases a software development kit to enable third party programmers to create new programs for the iPhone. The kit features Exchange ActiveSync which will permit the iPhone to compete with BlackBerry for business customers.
Astronomers at the at the Mount Graham International Observatory release the first images to be captured using both mirrors of the Large Binocular Telescope, the world’s new most powerful optical telescope. The telescope has ten times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. Visit the official Large Binocular Telescope website.
The Pentagon issues orders to all U.S. Defense Department bases and installations throughout the U.S. banning Google teams from making detailed street-level video maps of U.S. military bases following an incident in which panoramic street-level images of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas were posted to Google Maps. Google responds with a statement explaining that taking such pictures is already against its company policies and that the prior incident was a mistake.
The weekly Dutch magazine Automatiserings Gids features an articles in which it describes how InHolland University in the Netherlands announces that it has begun using the bittorrent protocol to distribute software and OS updates across its 6,500 workstations to save time and money. While many American universities are moving to ban or block bittorrent traffic for fear of becoming the target of lawsuits, InHolland has successfully used bittorrent to reduce the time it would have taken to distribute the 25.6TB of data across its sixteen locations around the Netherlands from four days to four hours, striking a blow for the legitimacy of the protocol in the process. Read more at TorrentFreak.
Warner Bros. Pictures releases the action film Watchmen , directed by Zack Snyder, to 3,611 U.S. theaters. The film is an adaptation of the legendary graphic novel series Watchmen by Alan Moore. The series has long been considered “unfilmable” because of its length and the large number of fantastic elements. However, breakthroughs in computer graphics technology and the recent success of other series previously considered to have been “unfilmable,” such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, have paved the way to the film’s production. Produced on a budget of US$130 million, it will gross US$107,509,799 domestically in its opening weekend. Visit this film’s official website. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: R) Running Time: 2 hrs 43 mins