This Day in Geek History: November 6
A supernova is observed in the constellation known as Cassiopeia by Wolfgang Schüler. It appears as a new star, adjacent to the fainter star seen in the middle of the constellation. Although Schüler isn’t the first one to see it, he will later gain a measure of fame when he publishes Stella Nova (Latin: “New Star”). However, it will ultimately be dubbed “Tycho’s Nova” after the better known Tycho Brahe, though he didn’t notice the new star until November 11. For about two weeks, the supernova will be brighter than any other star in the sky and visible during the day, and it will remain faintly visible to the naked eye for about sixteen months, until March 1574.
A direct telegraphic link between New York and San Francisco is first established.
Edwin Armstrong presents his paper “A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation,” in which he first proposes FM radio to the New York chapter of the Institute of Radio Engineers,
The first commercial television station, WGY-TV in Schenectady, New York, goes into service.
The Hanford Atomic Facility first produces plutonium. The facility will eventually produce the plutonium used in construction of Fat Man, the atomic bomb that will be detonated over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.
A movie premieres on television with a coast-to-coast broadcast for the first time in history.
The first seventy-five minute comedy program airs.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) releases the IBM 1230 optical mark scoring reader, capable of reading and scoring 1,200 test answer sheets an hour of unattended operation.
The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) tests the largest U.S. underground hydrogen bomb, on Amchitka Island, one of the Aleutian Islands just 87 miles from the Petropavlovsk Russian naval base. The 5-megaton bomb registers as a magnitude-7 earthquake. Code-name: Cannikin
International Business Machines (IBM) and Microsoft sign a formal contract under which Microsoft will develop an alternative to Digital Research’s CP/M operating system along with a simple scripting language for IBM’s upcoming PC line of computers. Microsoft will receive US$200,000 to adapt 86-DOS into MS-DOS for the IBM PC and US$500,000 for BASIC and its compiler. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft will retain control over DOS (Disk Operating System), a stipulation that will eventually make Microsoft the leading software developer in the world. Initial versions of the software will be delivered in mid-January.
The science fiction film Steel Dawn, directed by Lance Hool and starring Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi, Anthony Zerbe, and Brion James, to 290 U.S. theaters. In it, a warrior wandering through a a post-apocalyptic world comes upon a group of settlers who are being menaced by a gang who want the settler’s water. The film will gross US$311,892 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: R) Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Enemy” first airs. (No. 307) In it, Geordi is trapped on a harsh planet with a hostile Romulan, and the pair are forced to work together to survive. Memory Alpha entry
The WordPerfect Corporation releases version 5.1 of the Word Perfect word processor for DOS. It is the first version to feature Macintosh-style pull-down menus in addition to the traditional F-key commands. It is also the first version of the software to include support for tables.
In California, about a fifth of the Universal Studios back lot is destroyed in an arson fire.
ViaCrypt publishes ViaCrypt PGP 2.4, a commercial version of the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) application.
Pages: 1 2