January 16

The United States government’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE), an automated air defense system, is disclosed to the public. The SAGE system connects hundreds of radar stations in Canada and the United States into the first large-scale computer communications network. With the increasing fear of a large-scale attack on the United States, it was evident that the nation’s defense capabilities required an improvement, and the Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was commissioned to develop an automated nationwide computer-based air defense system to provide the edge that the nation needed. SAGE was completed in the early sixties, and it revolutionized air defense and civilian air traffic control. In 1979, SAGE will be replaced by Regional Operations Control Centers (ROCC).

The Bell System proposes a new service called TELPAK (TELecommunications PAcKage) which would create electronic high-ways between specific points, over which many types of communications might be transmitted.

The USSR Lunakhod 2 lunar rover begins to survey the surface of the Moon via radio-control. The rover will make astronomical observations, measure magnetic fields, perform laser ranging experiments, and shoot video footage.

While snowed in during the Great Chicago Snowstorm of 1978, Ward Christensen begins preliminary work on what will eventually become Computer Bulletin Board System (CBBS), the first Bulletin Board System (BBS). Christensen will collaborate with his friend Randy Suess. The entire system is conceived, designed, programmed, debugged, and tested in thirty days. between January 16 and February 16 1978.

Leonard Nimoy, Spock, gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Apple Computer releases the Macintosh Plus, featuring a 8MHz Motorola 68000, 1MB (expandable to 4MB) RAM, Price: US$2,599

The science fiction series Star Trek: Voyager premieres with the two-hour episode, Caretaker. (No. 101 – 102) In it, the first female starship Captain to be featured as the central character of major science fiction series gets sucked into another quadrant, bangs up her ship, kills half her crew, gets hopelessly lost, and pisses off the locals … to the unending delight of male chauvinists everywhere. The series will run for seven seasons, for a total of 172 episodes. Memory Alpha entry TV.com entry

The United Parmount Network (UPN) begins telecasting, from it’s flagship, WWOR in New York City. The network will be dissolved on September 15, 2006.

In the case of Lotus v. Borland, the United States Supreme Court allows the Appeals Court’s ruling of March 9, 1995 stand by a tie vote of four-to-four, with Justice Stevens not participating. In the suit, Lotus claims that Borland has infringed upon its copyrights with Quattro Pro. The district court ruled in favor of Lotus, however, on appeal, the allegedly infringing features in Quattro Pro were ruled to be a method of operation and thus not subject to copyright.

Microsoft acquires the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Vermeer Technologies Inc., a developer of web publishing tools such as FrontPage for US$130 million.

Multimedia Wire publishes a report entitled, Atari Corp. Exits Video Game Business, To Liquidate Game Assets.

Microsoft releases the Microsoft Office 97 office suite for Windows. The suite includes Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Visit the official Microsoft Office website. Price: US$499 (Standard version) or US$209 for an upgrade, US$599 (Professional version) or US$309 for an upgrade

Iowa Community College is hacked by Eric Burns also known as Zyklon.

The Softex NCP website is hacked by insect!

The Tallahassee Freenet website hacked anonymously by somebody clearly intent on destroying all of the system’s files. The system is shut down as a protective measure, but not before thousands of users’ home directories and email is deleted along with numerous system files.

The Umeå Universitet website is hacked by ToxicEdge.

Patrick Spence passes the development and maintenance of Renegade bulletin board system (BBS) software, one of the most popular BBS systems of the mid-nineties, to Jeff Herrings, after Herrings offered his assistance in making the system Y2-compliant. Herrings will step down as the active developer in October 2001.

Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Industry Marketplaces.

Microsoft launches its Xbox Live online service in Japan. Xbox Live starter kit feature several games, a voice communicator, and a one-year online subscription. Price: US$58

NASA launches the Space Shuttle Columbia on its twenty-eighth and final mission. Sixteen days later, on February 1, the Columbia will disintegrates as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven of the shuttle’s crew members.

Sony announces that it has shipped over fifty million PlayStation 2 video game systems worldwide to date, including 21.5 million in North America, 16 million in Europe, and 12.5 million in Japan.

The Stardust capsule successfully returns to Earth with a cargo of dust collected from from a comet, ending its six-year mission. The capsule re-enters the atmosphere at a record speed of 28,860 mph, faster than any previous man-made object. Its speed is reduced to 14.8 feet per second by a parachute before landing in the United States, where it is retrieved by NASA scientists. The mission is the first to successfully collection cometary and interstellar material, along with rock samples in space since the Apollo missions, which ended in 1975.

After a lengthy battle and question of purchase from Blockbuster, Circuit City announces they will shut down the remaining stores and go out of business.

Germany puts out an order to the local ISPs to block websites contained on a blacklist they provided. The sites are known child pornographic download sites.

The EU sends notice to Microsoft on the on the grounds of the IE browser packaged with Windows

Burger King runs a promotion on Facebook saying they will give you a Whopper if you de-friend someone. However, after a couple days, Facebook takes down the promotion.

The Guardian reports that the National Security Agency collects data from hundreds of millions of text messages each day.