January 10

The first photograph taken from an airplane in the US is taken by Major H.A. “Jimmie” Erickson over San Diego, California from the Curtiss biplane, piloted by Charles Hamilton.

Thomas Alva Edison is issued a patent for a storage-battery electrode and its production. (US No. 1402751) Fritz Lang’s famous science fiction film Metropolis premieres in theaters. The film took two years to shoot, and it cost more to produce that any other silent film to date. The film’s spectacular special effects, many of which were achieved using the groundbreaking “Schufftan Process“, will earn it a place in history. The Schufftan Process involves shooting an actor through a hole in the silvered back of a mirror which is reflecting a matte painting.

The United States Army Signal Corps successfully bounces radar waves off the surface of the Moon for the first time in an operation code-named “Project Diana.” A 180-cycle wave pulse with a 1/4 second duration is beamed from the Evans Signal Laboratories in Belmar, New Jersey. The echo of the beam was received 2.4 seconds later. The event proves that radio waves can penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. The experiment was supervised by Lieutenant Colonel John H. De Witt, a broadcasting pioneer and amateur astronomer who first conceived the idea in 1940. His own earlier, amateur attempts were unsuccessful.

Radio Corporation of America (RCA) introduces the “single,” a 45 rpm seven inches in diameter, in the US. A single plays up to eight minutes of sound per side. The format, along with the long-playing records introduced just a year earlier, will soon replace the popular 78 rpm records.

The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) releases an operational version of COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language).

Sir Clive Sinclair, a pioneer of handheld computer technology, demonstrates his latest invention, the Sinclair C5 electric car. Despite it’s marketable price, it will fail so badly that it will soon become the object of industry ridicule, selling only about seventeen thousand units. Price: £399 (£ for delivery) The Macintosh Plus1986 Apple Computer releases the Macintosh Plus, featuring an 8MHz Motorola 68000, 1MB of RAM (expandable to 4MB), a 3.5-inch 800KB floppy drive, and a SCSI parallel interface for up to seven peripherals. The Mac Plus was the first Macintosh to feature the ground-breaking SCSI port, which gives rise to the popular use of external SCSI device. It is also the first Macintosh to use single in-line memory modules (SIMMs) as its memory. Price: US$2599

Time Inc. acquires Warner Communications Inc for US$14.1 billion to form Time Warner, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. Visit the official Time Warner website.

Robert and Carleen Thomas, the sysops of the Amateur Action BBS in Milipitas, California, are arrested by federal agents acting on behalf of the US Postal Service on six counts of transporting obscene material and one count of receiving child pornography. The arrests are the beginning of the “Amateur Action Case,” in which the Thomases are prosecuted under the community standards in Tennessee, despite living and operating in California. The Thomases will eventually end up sentenced to spend several years in prison.

TI-83 CalculatorTexas Instruments (TI) introduces the TI-83 graphing calculator with financial functions at the Mathematical Association of America Conference. The calculator will become one of the most popularly used by students in middle schools and high schools. Price: US$125 [1]

Sega of America formally announces that it will release a “super console” in North America in 1999. Sega claims that the new console will position Sega as the new leader in the game console industry, however, the company also confirms that they laid off thirty percent of their work force earlier in the week. The ValuJet homepage is hacked. The website of Carney Plastics, Incorporated, Computer Tutor Training & Service Inc., East Liverpool High School Alumni Assoc., Easy Software & Systems, Mega-Bytes of Ohio, The Review, and Youngstown Electric Supply are hacked by “OptikLenz”. View an archived version of the defaced websites.

Internet service provider AOL announces that it will acquire Time Warner, Inc. for US$165 billion in stock. Steve Case, chairman and chief executive of AOL will preside as chairman over the merged companies, while Gerald Levin, chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, will serve as the new company’s chief executive. Microsoft settles the four-year legal anti-trust lawsuit brought against them by Caldera. While the exact terms of the agreement aren’t made public, Microsoft does admit making a substantial payment to Caldera. The came about after Caldera acquired DR-DOS, an MS-DOS alternative, from Novell at a cost of US$400,000 in 1996. When users beta testing Microsoft’s Windows operating system attempted to use DR-DOS, an error message would pop up, and it was later discovered by Geof Chappell of England that the error messages were false, the result of a segment of encrypted code designed to discourage the use of alternative DOS systems. Caldera’s efforts to market DR-DOS spurred Microsoft to resume the development of MS-DOS, which it had previously ceased dues to a near-complete lack of competition in the market, and to market the new version of MS-DOS with a campaign specifically designed to convince DR-DOS users to switch to MS-DOS. In addition, Caldera alleges in its action that Microsoft combined MS-DOS 7.0 with Windows for the purpose of deterring users from also purchasing DR-DOS. The case’s settle comes following Microsoft’s failure to have the case dismissed or moved from the US District Court in Salt Lake City. Visit Caldera’s official website.

Vasily Gorshkov is convicted of twenty counts of fraud and computer crimes for stealing credit card numbers and defrauding PayPal.

Royal Consumer Information Products releases the Royal [email protected] handheld computer, featuring a 206MHz Intel StrongARM processor, the Linux operating system, a built-in MP3 player, a color screen, a CompactFlash Type II slot, a serial port, and a USB port. Price: US$299

Apple Computer announces that its iTunes Music Store has sold 850 million songs and eight million videos. Visit the official iTunes Music Store website. At Macworld Conference & Expo, the first Apple Computer systems to feature Intel processors, the iMac and MacBook Pro, are released. The systems are based on the Intel Core Duo platform. Apple also announces that all of its lines will complete the transition to Intel processors on all hardware by the end of 2006, a year ahead of the company’s previously announced target date. The company claims that the MacBook Pro will perform up to four times faster than the its predecessor, the PowerBook line, while the new iMac will perform anywhere from two to three times faster than earlier iMacs.

Jeff Raikes announces he’s leaving Microsoft after 26 years. Jeff was the head of MS’ Business Division

A court rules against Rambus on a suit that said Micron infringed on 12 patent technologies. However, Rambus shredded documents, which would cit “Spoliation” which is defined as destruction or alteration of documents.

Microsoft server and tools – Business president, Bob Muglia steps down from his role. He would leave Microsoft later in the year.

AMD CEO Dirk Meyer resigned. On August 25, Rory Read took over as AMD CEO.

President Barack Obama signs an amendment to the video privacy law that allows rental companies to obtain customer consent to share information on viewing preferences

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