January 12

The first commercially successful long distance line, running forty-five miles between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, opens for business.

The television series Batman debuts on the ABC network with the episode Hi Diddle Riddle. The series will run two half-hour episodes a week for two and a half seasons, for a total of 120 episodes. The series is a lighthearted comedy based on the DC comic book character Batman, created by Bob Kane.

IBM introduces the Personal Computer Interactive Executive operating system, a UNIX system licensed from AT&T and developed to IBM specifications by Interactive Systems Corp. The software will be available in April. Price: US$900

Sinclair Research announces the Sinclair 16/32-bit QL (Quantum Leap) microcomputer, featuring a 7.5MHz Motorola 68008 microprocessor, 128KB RAM, two tape drives, and the Sinclair QDOS ROM-based operating system. It is notable for being the first home computer based on a 32 bits CPU, preceding Apple Computer’s release of the Apple Macintosh by mere days. Price: US$500 Weight: 3 pounds

Mattel Electronics sells its worldwide marketing rights of the Aquarius home computer to Radofin Electronics, the company that manufactures the computer.

Ben S. Gilmer, president of AT&T, announces the Bell System’s adoption of the 911? as a nationwide emergency services telephone number. Huntington, Indiana will become the first city to activate the number on March 1.

Version 1.1, the second release of the Line Mode Browser is released via FTP. The first version of the line-mode browser was written in 1990 by Nicola Pellow, who was working as an intern at CERN when Tim Berners-Lee recruited Pellow to write a cross-platform browser.

Apple Computer announces that it will post a US$68 million first quarter loss. It also announces a restructuring plan that reduce the company by 1,000 employees. Later reports will increase this estimate to somewhere between 1,300 to 3,000 people, or approximately a quarter of the company’s workforce.

Scott Morris, sysop of the Assassin’s Guide BBS, agrees to a settlement with Microsoft and Novel following an April 19th raid and the companies’ subsequent civil suit.

A little bit of Geek Fiction – In the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, this date marks the activation of the HAL 9000 computer. I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997. In the 1968 film based on the novel, the year of the computer’s activation is changed to 1992.

Stephen Luczo becomes CEO at Seagate – He was CEO once before.

A 13 Year old teen got a bill stating that he texted 14,528 messages in the last month

First lady Michelle Obama joins Twitter.

ICANN opens up registration for new generic top-level domains. Registration fee: $185,000

Aaron Swartz, the co-writer of the RSS feed committed suicide in CA. He was 26

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