This Day in Geek History: November 10
Alexander Graham Bell is granted U.S. citizenship by the Supreme Court after his second application.
A trial run of long distance customer dialing is offered in Englewood, New Jersey. It’s the very first direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service in the United States. To inaugurate the service, Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood calls Mayor Frank Osborn in Alameda, California. They begin to talk just eighteen seconds after dialing. Before the service, coast-to-coast calls could only be placed by long-distance operators. To facilitate the change, three digits are added to phone numbers.
Neil Armstrong sets a new speed record speed in an X-15 rocket plane, at 6,587km/h. Visit the X-15′s official website.
The Star Trek episode “The Corbomite Maneuver” first airs. (No. 10) In it, the Enterprise is threatened by Balok, commander of a starship from the First Federation. Memory Alpha entry
The Star Trek episode “Metamorphosis” first airs. (Episode 38, Production 31) In it, Kirk finds Zefram Cochrane, inventor of the warp drive, who has been missing for 150 years and his mysterious alien companion. Memory Alpha entry
Columbia Pictures psychological thriller Marooned, directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck and Gene Hackman, to U.S. theaters. In it, three astronauts prepare to return to earth after several months aboard an orbiting lab only to find their rockets wont fire. After initially thinking they might have to abandon them in orbit, NASA decides to launch a daring rescue. The film’s release comes just four months after the Apollo 11 moon landing. Jim Lovell commander of the later Apollo 13 mission, will later write in his memoirs that he took his wife to see Marooned, and the movie added to her anxiety over his coming mission. It will win an Academy Award for Visual Effects. Produced on a budget of US$8 million, it will gross US$4,350,000 domestically. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: G) Running Time: 2 hrs 14 mins
The Soviet Lunar probe Lunokhod 1 launched.
The Canadian Anik-1 domestic geostationary communications satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral by Telesat Canada. Anik means “little brother” in Inuktitut. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) takes three of the transponders to carry one color video signal, two audio channels, and a cue and control circuit. The satellite broadcast is received from coast to coast between thirty-ninth parallel to eighty degrees north.
Two teams of American scientists announce the discovery of the “charmed quark” subatomic particle. The first group is from the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the other group is from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The newly discovered particle has a mass of 3095 MeV and a lifespan about one thousand times longer than that of other particles with a comparable mass. In 1976, the scientists leading the two groups, Samuel Ting and Burton Richter, are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.
Panasonic introduces The Link, a handheld computer about the size of a small book, with a keyboard but no screen. It features a video output that allows the device to be hooked up to a television or to a host computer via a telephone dial-up connection. Price: US$500 – US$600
Walter Day opens the Twin Galaxies video game arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa. Shortly thereafter, he will begin to keep records of video game high scores around the globe. Visit the official Twin Galaxies official website.
Activision lays off many of its staff, due to the decrease in demand for home video game machines and cartridges.
Fred Cohen, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California, presents the first documented computer virus, created as an experiment in computer security, to a security seminar held at Lehigh University. Others had written about the potential for creating malicious programs, but Cohen is the first to create a working example. In a paper he’ll publish approximately a year later, Computer Viruses – Theory and Experiments, Cohen will define a virus as “a program that can ‘infect’ other programs by modifying them to include a … version of itself.” In the same paper, Cohen will credit computer scientist Leonard Adleman with coining the term “virus.” Cohen added his virus to a graphics program called VD, written for a VAX11/750 mini-computer running on Unix. The virus hid inside VD and used the permissions users had to look at other parts of the Vax computer to spread around the system. Read Cohen’s Computer Viruses – Theory and Experiments online.
Microsoft formally announces that Microsoft Windows for the IBM PC is ready for market at the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City at what will be considered one of the most elaborate product introductions in industry history. The new operating system provides an extension to the popular MS-DOS operating system, featuring data transfer between applications, drop-down menus, mouse support, tiled windows, and the ability to run multiple unrelated applications simultaneously. Gates promises that the system will be released in April 1984 and predicts that, by the end of 1984, Windows will be used on over ninety percent of all IBM compatible computers; however, Windows 1.0 won’t actually be released until November 20, 1985. Price: US$100
WordPerfect Corporation releases WordPerfect 5.1. Price: US$500
The Codex Leicester, a manuscript of scientific notes written by Leonardo da Vinci, is sold at auction. It is the last of da Vinci’s thirty known journals still privately owned, and it is sold to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates for US$30.8 million.
At a worldwide “Apple Event,” Apple Computer introduces the Power Macintosh G3 lines of computers, featuring a 233 or 266MHz PowerPC 750 processor, a 66MHz system bus, a 4GB hard drive, 32MB SDRAM, a 512KB cache, and a 24X CD-ROM drive. At the same event, the company announces that it will establish a chain of retailers known as the Apple Store, and it unveils an agreement made with CompUSA to establish a “Apple store within the store” at CompUSA locations across the country, as well as The Apple Store, a website where customers can order customized Macs direct from Apple. Within twenty-four fours, Apple will report a half million dollars of sales through the Apple Store. Visit the Apple Store’s official website. Price: US$1,999
Hewlett-Packard (HP) releases the HP 360LX handheld computer, featuring a Hitachi 60 MHz SH-3 processor, 8MB RAM, 10MB ROM, a 640×240 pixel grayscale display, and the Windows CE 2.0 operating system. Price: US$699
International Business Machines (IBM) announces the world’s highest capacity desktop PC disk drive with new breakthrough technology called Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) heads. Pioneered by scientists at IBM Research, GMR heads will be used in a new 16.8GB hard drive for the IBM Deskstar 16GP. This new hard drive has more storage capacity than any other computer. No bigger than the head of a pin, the GMR head is a major advancement over the standard magnetoresistive head. Price: US$895
Telecommunications giants WorldCom and MCI Communications announce a US$37 billion merger, the largest merger in U.S. history. On September 15, 1998 the new company, MCI WorldCom, opened for business.
Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Travel.
Yahoo! surpasses twenty-five million registered U.S. users.
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