This Day in Geek History: October 27
The first underground New York City Subway line opens. The first line runs between the Brooklyn Bridge and Broadway, from City Hall to West 145th Street.
KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is granted the first public radio broadcast license.
The Audion, one of the first systems for synchronizing film with an audio recording, is demonstrated by Western Electric’s Bell Laboratories to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers at Yale University’s Woolsey Hall. The system requires a projectionist to hand-crank the film in time with the audio disk.
Fox Movie-tone news, the first newsreel to feature sound debuts.
Geographically Speaking, the first commercially-sponsored television program first airs, sponsored by Bristol-Myers.
The Star Trek episode “Miri” first airs. (No. 08) In it, the Enterprise discovers an exact duplicate of Earth, where the only survivors of a deadly plague are the planet’s prepubescent children. Memory Alpha entry
The Vidicord teleplayer is demonstrated in London. Using Super 8mm film stored in a cassette, it plays monochrome video back via the aerial socket of a conventional television receiver. Because a number of films are already available on Super 8 format for the amateur market, there is a ready-made supply of programming, including Charlie Chaplin shorts, travelogues, and cartoons. Price: £370.
The Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “The Magicks of Megas-tu” first airs. (No. 08) In it, while investigating the theory of creation, the Enterprise is caught inside an energy/matter tornado. After emerging from the storm, the crew encounter a world where magic works and science doesn’t. Memory Alpha entry
The ARPANET stops functioning altogether for approximately four hours when the routing processes in all of the Interface Message Processors (IMPs) crashes after one of them corrupts the network’s routing tables with an accidentally-propagated status-message virus. It is the first major network crash.
China announces that its population has exceeded one billion people.
Richard Stallman posts a message to the newsgroups net.unix-wizards and net.usoft announcing that, “Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu’s Not Unix), and give it away free to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipment are greatly needed.” Later, Stallman will expand this message into an entire hacker manifesto entitled, “The GNU Manifesto” (1985). The best known creation to result from the GNU project will be Emacs, an editor favored by many hackers, and GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), a C compiler that will be very important to the development of Linux. Read “The GNU Manifesto” online.
Microsoft ships Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1, which integrates networking and workgroup functionality.
Gliese 229B, a brown dwarf orbiting a red dwarf star in the constellation Lepus, is the first Substellar Mass Object to be unquestionably identified. The object was discovered by observations made using 60-inch and 200-inch telescopes at the Palomar Observatory and a confirmatory image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Read the official press release.
HotWired becomes the world’s first commercial web magazine. With fourteen advertisers signed up to sponsor its launch, the launch will be marked as the beginning of the internet advertising industry. In fact, the magazine’s initial sponsorship business model lead it to design the “ad banner” display areas that will later become ubiquitous among commercial websites. The banners or “graphical ad units,” as they’re initially called, are designed by ad executive Frank D’Angelo of Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer (MVBMS). The first banner displayed by the magazine (or anywhere on the internet), is a single panel display ad for AT&T. Zima, Volvo, MCI, Club Med, and 1-800-Collect will soon follow suit, running ad campaigns through the site. Though the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, is less than a year old, these first clickable banners are such a novelty that the first ad campaign (which featured only the text “click here”) will achieve a 78 percent click-through-rate! The following year, the use of the internet advertising will gain widespread acceptance as both Maytag and United Airlines make concerted efforts to promoted their websites with banner ads. By 1996, banner ads and pop-ups will be everywhere, and websites will be widely promoted through the use of traditional media. Read more at Advertising Age.
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