January 15

The IBM Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces the IBM 1012 tape punch.

While not his first patent, this was the pre-cursor to the first gaming technology patent. Ralph Baer filed, but had to revise to what would eventually become “Television gaming apparatus and method”, the basis for the Magnavox Odyssey. The patent was published on April 25, 1972 [1]

Bill Gates and Steven Jobs sign an agreement to rescind their original Macintosh applications contract, allowing Microsoft to market it products in competition with Apple.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) opens the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, a national center for high-performance computing research. At the Center, Marc Andreesen will write the Mosaic browser as a student there.

The AT&T long-distance network suffers a nationwide cascade switching failure. A switch in New York crashes and reboots, causing its neighboring switches to crash, then their neighbors’ neighbors, and so on, until 114 switches are crashing and rebooting every six seconds, leaving an estimated sixty thousand people without long distance service for nine hours. A bug in the newest release of the software controlling AT&T’s 4ESS long distance switches causes the system’s computers to crash when they receive a message from a neighboring machines that the neighboring machine has recovered from the very same crash it is causing by transmitting a recovery signal. Engineers resolve the issue by reloading the software’s previous release. Rumors immediately begin to circulate that the system crash was triggered by hackers, and these rumors lead to a nation-wide crackdown on hackers that will begin three days later. The investigations and subsequent arrests that result from the crack down, which will be documented in the book The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling, will be referred to as Operation Sundevil.

Richard Page, co-founder and hardware chief of NeXT Computer, resigns from the company.

Kaleida Labs, Inc., a joint venture between Apple Computer and IBM for the purpose of developing the SCRIPTX multimedia programming language, is wholly absorbed by Apple Computer.

AOL suffers an outage through about half of its system from 3:45pm to 7:30pm EST. The crash is traced to an interface board in a router which manages the flow of data in the network. It is the second major outage experienced by AOL within six months.

Class action lawsuits are filed against AOL alleging that the company made fraudulent and malicious misrepresentations regarding their service. The first suit, seeking US$20 million, is filed at the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles. It alleges that AOL promised unlimited access to their service under newly offered pricing structures, but that the company was unable to provide unlimited service following a surge in demand from AOL members. In response to the suits, AOL announces that it will spend US$250 million over the coming months to expand its service capacity and increase its staff by twenty-five percent. Later in the day, two more suits are filed by New York law firms.

Texas Instruments (TI) announces that it will withdraw from the Intel-compatible processor market.

Over two hundred military sites (.gov and .mil) hosted on servers operated by the Pentagon are hacked by two teenagers, Makareli and TooShort, from the Cloverdale Highschool computer labs in California and their friend, an Israeli hacker named Analyzer. According to the Pentagon, the never damaged any files, but their exploits constitutes the most extensive attack ever uncovered. And all of it was done for the simple joy of the experience.

Former United States Court of Appeals Judge, Robert Bork, publicly voices the opinion that Microsoft should be divided into three autonomous operations at the concluding of the Microsoft antitrust trial.

The magazine Business Journal reportsd that the real estate firm Legacy Partners Commercial, Inc. has paid about US$106 million for the four-building campus which was built in the early eighties for Atari at 3200 Zanker Road in San Jose, California. Atari never occupied the campus, but it was sold to Warner Communications and then to Ford Motor Company. The transaction is called one of the largest valley investment deals of the year.

Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, announce that they have invented a device that reads brain waves through the skull to enable paralyzed people to write sentences on a computer screen.

An eighteen year old hacker from Wales named Raphael Gray, using the handle Curador, steals an estimated twenty-six thousand credit cards numbers from eight e-commerce websites, including Loxinfo’s e-commerce site (http://www.shoppingthailand.com). He will post the numbers on the Internet in February. After ex-hacker Chris Davis tracks him down, he will be arrested on March 23, 2000 and charged under the United Kingdom’s computer crime statute.

AMD releases the 600MHz Mobile Duron 600 and the 700MHz Mobile Duron 700 processors, featuring the 64KB level-2 caches and 200MHz front-side buses.

Intel announces plans to acquire Xircom, Inc., a manufacturer of mobile computing hardware, for US$748 million. Xircom has 1,900 employees worldwide, and the company reported revenue in excess of US$492 million over the past year.

Wikipedia, the open content Wiki encyclopedia, is launched. It will rapidly become one of the most popular references on the Internet.

Sony releases the Clié PEG-S360 handheld computer, the successor of the PEG-S320, featuring 16 MB RAM, Palm OS 4.1, a Memory Stick port. Price: US$199

Sony releases the Sony Clié PEG-T615C handheld computer, the successor to the PEG-N610C, featuring 16MB RAM, Palm OS 4.1, a Memory Stick expansion slot, a USB connection, and a universal remote control. Price: US$400 Weight: 6 ounces

The top-level domain (TLD) .name begins resolving.

MandrakeSoft Linux of France files for bankruptcy protection. Mandrakesoft will operate under bankruptcy protection from January 27, 2003 to March 30, 2004. However, despite its efforts to cut its losses and improve profits, Mandrakesoft will be forced to file for protection due to a series of quarterly losses.

Steve Jobs announced they will be pushing a movie rental service to compete with Netflix and Blockbuster. All video rentals would be over the Apple TV.

Apple also introduces the Ultra-thin portable notebook called Macbook Air.

With many people Microblogging the Stevenotes, CoverItLive gave companies the means to do it. Unfortunately, the server choked during the Keynote and many sites like CrunchGear and MacDailyNews did not get the coverage they expected. To counter, they told everyone to go to Twitter – which suffered an outage of it’s own. It wasn’t a good day for some sites…

Sun gives $1 Billion to MySQL, an open source Database software program

Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida posts the first photo of U.S. Airways flight 1549 on Twitter from his iPhone. Thirty-four minutes after Janis posted his photo, MSNBC interviewed him live on TV as a witness

YouTube is announced for the Wii and PS3.

Intel Posted a $8.2 million profit in Q4 due to it’s stake in Clearwire – a company dedicated to WiMax

Angie’s List sues rival Trustys.com for data theft. The claim stated that a bot was built to extract data from Angie’s List to be used on their website. Angie’s List is a site dedicated to the consumer for finding contractors, doctors and service companies.

A Judge agrees to have parts of the Joel Tenenbaum vs. RIAA trial footage streamed for non-commercial use. Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson and students from his CyberOne class put together the plan. Of course, streaming a court case is a very sensetive topic, therefore, the whole proceeding will not be streamed.

Facebook announced Graph Search, a tool that will organize the 1 billion users, 240 photos and 1 trillion connections. Graph search will be implemented on January 18

NSA reported they implanted malware on 100,000 computers outside the US to conduct surveillance maneuvers and spy to prevent cyber-attacks by other countries.