This Day in Geek History: November 20
Electrical engineer Greenleaf Whittier Pickard receives a patent for the crystal detector, one of the first devices widely used for receiving radio broadcasts, until the later development of the later triode vacuum tube. His patent describes the device as “a means for receiving intelligence communicated by electric waves.”
KDKA becomes the first radio station credited with broadcasting regularly scheduled professional programming.
The NTSC color television system comes into effect as a standard in the U.S.
William A. Higinbotham and Boyce B. McDaniel are issued a U.S. patent for a Counter Chronograph, one of the first digital timing systems. (US No. 2,575,759) The invention was invented in Los Alamos in 1945.
Production of color television receivers for sale to the public is banned in the U.S. under Order M-90 issued by the National Production Authority.
The earliest known use of the term “hacking” appears in an issue of “The Tech“, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology student newspaper. In the article, the paper reports, “Many telephone services have been curtailed because of so-called hackers, according to Prof. Carlton Tucker, administrator of the Institute phone system. [...] The hackers have accomplished such things as tying up all the tie-lines between Harvard and MIT, or making long-distance calls by charging them to a local radar installation. One method involved connecting the PDP-1 computer to the phone system to search the lines until a dial tone, indicating an outside line, was found. [...] Because of the ‘hacking,’ the majority of the MIT phones are ‘trapped.’” Read the original article.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) announces the IBM System/360 Model 20. The Model 20 is the least expensive of the six computers in the IBM System/360 family.
The first artificial blood transfusion ever performed in the U.S. occurs at the University of Minnesota Hospital. The first recipient is a Jehovah’s Witness whose beliefs barred him from receiving a transfusion of real blood.
Steve Ptacek pilots the Solar Challenger on it’s first solar-powered flight. The aircraft was designed and built by AeroVironment, Inc..
Microsoft begins shipping the 16-bit graphical operating environment Windows 1.0 in four versions: 1.01, 1.02, 1.03 and 1.04. Version 1.02 was the first multi-lingual version and has editions in several European languages. Version 1.03 is, unlike 1.02, only released in a U.S. version, however, it includes drivers for European keyboards and additional screen and printer drivers. Version 1.04 introduces support for the new VGA graphics standard. The system offers limited multitasking for MS-DOS programs, and it is widely regarded as a front-end to the MS-DOS operating system. It will be adopted very slowly, largely due to a lack of a “killer ap.” This release comes two years after the initial announcement of the product. Price: US$99.99
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Vengeance Factor” first airs. (No. 309) In it, The Enterprise tries to negotiate an end to raids between two warring factions, but a murder aboard the Enterprise threatens to prevent peace. When Riker begins to suspect that his love interest is involved, he launches an investigation that reveals she isn’t what she seems to be. Memory Alpha entry
America Online (AOL) Studios acquires Extreme Fans, Inc.
The role-playing game publishing house Issaries, Inc. is officially incorporated, however, it turns out that the company’s plan to raise money is complicated by the difference in legal regulations in different states. The company’s place to find five hundred investors to finance the start-up is also complicated by the fact that the number would force the company to report its finances publicly. Issaries’ legal issues won’t be sorted out until 1999. The company’s flagship game, Hero Wars, will be released in 2000 and its second edition, HeroQuest, will be released in 2003. Visit the company’s official website.
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