This Day in Geek History: October 6
Michael Vatis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tells the United States Congress that a series of raids launched against Defense Department computers have allegedly originated from Russia. Vatis is the director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and leading an ongoing investigation code-named Moonlight Maze that involves pertinent U.S. agencies and international counterparts.
Jon Lech Johansen, age 15, of Norway releases DeCSS, a program that decodes the content-scrambling system used to protect the copyright of DVD content in order to allow users to copy DVDs onto their computer hard drives. Read a technical overview of the CSS decryption algorithm. Visit Jon Johansen’s blog.
The United States Justice Department reveals that it has spent a total of US$12.6 million in litigation expenses in its antitrust case against the Microsoft Corporation since 1989.
Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Mexico.
Andrew Garcia, age 38, a former employee of Viewsonic, guilty to one count of accessing a protected computer and recklessly causing damage. Garcia accessed Viewsonic’s computer system on April 14, 2002 and deleted critical files on one of the servers that he had maintained while he was employed by the company. The loss of these files rendered the server inoperative, and Viewsonic’s Taiwan office was unable to access important data for several days. He is sentenced to one year in prison.
Charter Communications becomes the first cable internet provider to challenge the RIAA use of provision 512(h) of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA), which deals with identify infringers, when it files for a motion to quash the subpoenas filed by the RIAA to identify one hundred fifty of its customers. Although Charter Communications will initially lose this motion and turn over the identities of the requested customers, a later appeal will rule that the motion to quash should have been upheld.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Paul C Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield for their discoveries concerning “magnetic resonance imaging.” Read the press release at The Nobel Prize website.
At the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco, California, the World Cyber Games 2004 Grand Final championship games are held, over five days. Thirty thousand spectators watch about seven hundred gamers in teams from fifty-nine countries compete. The Netherlands team wins the most points. The Korean team wins the most medals.
Google launches Google Book Search, a service that searches the full text of books that Google scans, converts to text using optical character recognition, and stores in its digital database. Visit the official Google Book Search website.
Microsoft releases version 7 of the Virtual PC suite for Macintosh computers. The virtualization application emulates a Pentium processor environment to allow Windows applications and operating systems to run on Macs. Visit the official Virtual PC website. Price: US$249 bundled with Windows XP Professional
The High Court of Australia rules that it is legal to install modification chips in a PlayStation 2 that allows the console to play imported and copied games. Sony Computer Entertainment originally filed a lawsuit against Sydney retailer Eddy Stevens in 2001 for selling unauthorized copies of games, and selling and installing modification chips for the PlayStation 2.
In Japan, a small Internet firm is ordered to pay 237,700 yen (2,000 dollars) in fines to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper for using its news headlines without permission, in the first ruling of its kind in the country.
Symantec releases a security notice on the first virus known to target Sony’s PlayStation Portable, the “Trojan.PSPBrick”. The virus is disguised as a PSP-hacking tool, but in actuality, it delete key system files on the device, rendering it in operable.
Google officially launched Google Print, which eventually split into the Google Publisher program, which will scan books with the consent of publishers, and the Google Library program, which scans books with the consent of libraries but not necessarily the consent of publishers. The beta was publicly introduced in December 2003. Visit the official Google Print website.
Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe, having traveled 46,505 miles (74,842km).
Complete Genomics announces that it will offer complete human gene sequencing for five thousand dollars in the coming spring, about one twentieth the current price. The company predicts that the sharp reduction in the price of its services will revolutionize genetic research. Read more at ABC News.
The MESSENGER spacecraft makes its second pass of the planet Mercury. View the photos taken by MESSENGER at The New York Times.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announces that the Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the largest undiscovered ring around the planet Saturn. The diffuse ring doesn’t reflect much light, but it is so large that it would take an estimated one billion Earths to fill it.
Kraken, a supercomputer at The University of Tennessee, becomes the world’s first academic supercomputer to break the petascale barrier, performing more than one thousand trillion operations per second. The Cray XT5 is composed of nearly one hundred thousand computing cores. It feautres 129 terabytes of memory and can store the equivalent of over ten million phonebooks.
Google announces that Google Earth has been downloaded one billion times. To celebrate, Google launches OneWorldManyStories, a website devoted to collecting stories from people worldwide about how they have used Google Earth “to follow their dreams, discover new and distant places, or make the world a better place.” Read the official announcement at Google’s LatLog.