February 12

Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the Telephone to the public. He sent a dispatch to the Boston Globe.

USS Macon, one of the two largest helium-filled airships ever created, crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and sinks.

Construction begins on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO

The first metric distance road signs were erected on Interstate 71 in Ohio.

Jonathan Rotenberg, age 13, establishes the Boston Computer Society (BCS), an organization for personal computer owners which will eventually grow into the largest such organization in the world. Four people attended the first meeting of this group, which, at its peak, will reach thirty thousand members representing all fifty states of the US and over forty other nations. Organizations such as Apple Computer, IBM , and Lotus Software will choose BCS meetings as platforms to make major announcements. By October 1996, the organization’s membership will have shrunk to eighteen thousand, and BCS will unanimously vote to disband.

The Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner feature a picture of Atari CEO Jack Tramiel with a flute of champagne and the headline, New Atari is lean, mean and has competitors nervous. The article reports that, His ruthless price-slashing when he was head of Commodore International which drove Texas Instruments, Inc., Mattel, Timex and later Coleco out of the low end of the home computer business- and contributed to the losses that put Atari on the block- have his new neighbors more than a little nervous…

Four men break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal the iconic painting – The Scream by Edvard Munch

Disgruntled ex-employee Phuoc Bui returns to Packard Bell’s Sacramento offices and fires forty shots. The incident ends with no other employees injured when a security guard shoots Bui in the shoulder. Bui had been fired the previous Friday for distributing literature encouraging co-workers to take up arms against management.

Netscape Communications announces an agreement to acquire Paper Software, a provider of distributed 3D graphics. Visit the official Netscape website

The Anna Kournikova virus is released by Jan de Wit, a twenty year old Dutch man using the handle OnTheFly. The virus spreads through email messages claiming to contain a picture of tennis player Anna Kournikova. It was written using a Visual Basic Worm Generator, written by [K]Alamar, and it will rapidly spread to tens of thousands of computers, prompting many organizations to temporarily shut down their email servers as a precautionary measure. De Wit will be arrested on February 14th and later be sentenced to 150 hours of community service.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals orders Napster to stop facilitating the unauthorized swapping of copyrighted material.

NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft was the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid. It took 69 pictures of 433 Eros.

Large portions of the source code of Microsoft Windows 2000 and nearly all of the source code of Windows NT 4.0 are illegally posted on the internet. Microsoft is unable to pinpoint the source of the leak of the closely guarded code, but, following an preliminary investigation, it will be determined that the leak isn’t the result of a breach in the the company’s corporate network, Shared Source Initiative or its Government Security Program, which enable business partners and governments to legally access the source code. Read Microsoft’s official statement on the matter.

YouTube removes a series of videos from Gawker Media claiming they are advertisements to their site.

Yahoo faces an email outage. It is their third in the last 9 months.

Yahoo Acquires Maven Networks for $160 Million, launches OneConnect and lays off 1,000 all in one day.

Charter Communications files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

After offending Superbowl viewers, Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason pulled the commercials starring Timothy Hutton and apologized.[1]

Yahoo acquires Alike, a location based app