This Day in Geek History: October 23
Nicolaus Otto, Francis Crossley, and William Crossley are granted a patent for the first internal-combustion engine to burn gasoline in a piston chamber. (US No. 194,047)
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Blanche S. Scott becomes the first woman to undertake a solo airplane flight, reaching an altitude of twelve feet.
Captain Carlo Piazza of the Italian military flies a Blériot XI monoplane on an hour-long reconnaissance mission of Turkish troop positions, becoming the first pilot to use an airplane for military purposes. Just more nine days later, Italian forces will carry out history’s first bombing raid based on the intelligence gathered by Piazza.
An episode of the The Jonathan Winters Show televised coast-to-coast in the U.S. becomes the first program to broadcast color video footage recorded on magnetic tape.
The first program written in Algol Extended for Design (AED) is compiled in a compatible time-sharing system using a bootstrap language compiler. AED was developed by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Electronic Systems Laboratory by a team led by Douglas T. Ross.
The BBC announces the development of world’s first teletext service, which will later be renamed Ceefax, and outlines a series of tests of the system. Ceefax is a news service for the deaf that is the forerunner of early Internet news services. The system uses spare lines in the vertical blanking interval of the television signal to carry information for display on television receivers via a decoder. The BBC will first launch the system on September 23, 1974.
CBS raises the cost of long playing vinyl albums to US$8.98.
According to Twin Galaxies, Dennis Hernandez scores a record-setting 30,100,000 points playing the Atari arcade game Asteroids Friday, October 23 through Sunday, October 25 for fifty hours and twelve minutes at the Space Odyssey arcade in Geneva, New York. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
A new service called TexNet that caters to the Texas Instrument TI-99/4a home computer users is offered through The Source online network. TexNet offers graphics animations, music, sound effects, synthesized speech, and exclusive software downloads to its members. Users are invited to sign up for just US$100 plus hourly fees of US$7.75 or US$5.75 on weekends. The service will be offer less than four years due to the high cost of maintaining it, the difficulty in keeping the service state-of-the-art without Xmodem protocols, and low access speeds.
The New York Times publishes an article entitled “When Computers Don’t Work,” in which Andrew Pollack writes that “The effects of a non-performing computer can go beyond frustrated expectations. A small business can become so critically dependent on a computer for its billing and accounting that, if the computer errs, the business can go bankrupt without even realizing it.”
The 1984 commercial is shown for the first time at the Apple Computer annual sales conference to 750 of the company’s sales representatives, who received the commercial with thunderous enthusiasm.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Bonding” first airs. (No. 305) In it, a mysterious entity seeks to comfort a boy who has lost his mother in an accident on its planet. Memory Alpha entry
The first court-ordered wiretap on a computer network is approved for use on the computer of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences during the last two months of 1995 as part of the prosecution of an Argentine man suspected of breaking into Harvard University computers in order to crack into numerous other computers at various U.S. military sites across the country. Victims of the man’s exploits included the Navy Research Laboratory, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center. Law enforcement agencies have frequently conducted electronic surveillance on computer systems in the past with the consent of the users, but this case marks the first time such a wiretap has been court-ordered. The authorization is deemed necessary because Harvard computer systems do not inform users logging onto the system that their communications may be monitored. On March 29, 1996, Julio Cesar Ardita, age 21, of Buenos Aires will be charged with unlawfully intercepting electronic communications over a military computer and damaging files on a military computer. In return for Ardita’s agreement to come voluntarily to the United States (without extradition proceedings), he will only be sentenced to three years probation and a fine of US$5,000.
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