This Day in Geek History: October 23
Four game developers release the first arcade games based on Intel’s Pentium II platform and the Open Arcade Architecture. This system allows game changes by software only, without requiring a physical machine change.
In Japan, NEC Computer releases twenty-six models of the PC98-NX series, the first industry-standard Windows machines produced by the company. NEC also releases fifteen new models in its proprietary PC98 series.
Microsoft is forced to shut down a website offering Money 98 upgrades to qualified users after discovering that customers are gaining access to other users’ registration forms when mistyping their own. Microsoft states that the site host, Softbank Services Group, normally requires a secondary input for verification, but the step had been overlooked in this case.
Apple Computer releases Mac OS 9 for Macintosh computers, featuring AppleScript, automatic updating, encryption, and Sherlock 2, an Internet shopping application. Apple will market the system as “the Best Internet Operating System Ever.” Visit the system’s official website. Code-name: Gershwin and Sonata Price: US$99
Apple Computer introduces the iPod portable music player with the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket”. This first model features a 5GB capacity Toshiba hard drive, FireWire connectivity, and a mechanical scroll wheel. The device requires the Mac OS 9 or higher to sync with a computer. The device’s introduction come several months after the January 9th launch of iTunes. Among the iPod’s innovations were its small size, achieved using a 1.8″ hard drive, whereas its competitors were using 2.5″ hard drives at the time, and its easy-to-use navigation, which was controlled using a mechanical scroll wheel (unlike later iPods, which had touch-sensitive scroll wheels), a center select button, and 4 auxiliary buttons around the wheel. Over one hundred million units will be sold within six years. The iPod has a rated battery life of 10 hours. Visit the device’s official website. Code-name: Dulcimer Price: US$399
Apple Computer releases version 2.0 of iTunes featuring iPod support, support for CD burning, an equalizer, and cross fading. CEO Steve Jobs explains that “iTunes 2 seamlessly integrates with iPod to revolutionize the portable MP3 music experience.” Read the official press release.
The NASA space probe Mars Odyssey enters into Mars orbit. Its mission is to hunt for evidence of water or volcanic activity on the planet’s surface using its array of spectrometers and imagers. Visit the official Mars Odyssey website.
The pan-European Gigabit Research and Education Network (GÉANT) becomes operational, replacing the TEN-155 network.
Warner Bros. releases the horror film Thir13en Ghosts, directed by Steve Beck and starring Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, and F. Murray Abraham, to 2,781 U.S. theaters. In it, Arthur and his two children, Kathy and Bobby, inherit his Uncle Cyrus’s estate, a glass house “designed by the devil and powered by the dead” to open the Eye of Hell. When the family enters the house, they find themselves trapped inside with 12 ghosts, racing to get out alive. Produced on a budget of US$42 million, it will gross US$15,165,355 domestically in its opening weekend. Visit the film’s official website. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: R) Running Time: 1 hr 31 mins
Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Essentials.
Amazon.com launches the Search Inside the Book project. The project enables users to search the contents of over one hundred twenty thousand books. The move comes a month after the company launched the A9 search engine.
At the international conference for the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), China’s minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua, announces an open data mandate under which over eighty per cent of data relating to China’s research into pure science, such as theoretical mathematics, physics and chemistry, will be freely available on the Internet. Read more.
Larry Sanger launches the Citizendium wiki-based collaborative encyclopedia. The goal of the project is to improve upon the reliability of other popular wiki models by introducing a number by requiring its contributors to use their real names and more strictly regulating content through an article approval system and “gentle expert oversight.” Citizendium.org
Twenty-four year old Jason Michael Downey of Dry Ridge, Kentucky, known by the web handle “Nessun,” is sentenced to a year in prison, three years’ of supervised release, one hundred fifty hours of community service, and US$21,110 in restitution for operating a six thousand computer bot-net known as Yotta-byte.net to conduct a series of denial of service (DoS) attacks. Before his arrest, which was the result of Operation: Bot Roast, Downey was the founder aand operator of the Rizon Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network.
In Leeuwarden, Netherlands, a judge sentences a sixteen year old boy charged with stealing virtual goods (a virtual amulet and a virtual mask) during a course of a fight in the MMORPG RuneScape to 160 hours of unpaid work or 80 days in jail. It marks the first time a judge in the Netherlands – and possibly the world – has ruled that the theft of virtual property is illegal.
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