January 17

Thomas Alva Edison is issued a patent for the carbon microphone for the telephone. (US No. 252,442) The microphone consists of a conducting material, such as carbon, held between metal cups or rings attached to the telephone mouthpiece’s diaphragm. Sound waves cause the diaphragm to change the pressure on the carbon button, which, in turn, causes variation in the electric current passing through the carbon button. The variations correspond to the amplitude and pitch of whatever sound is passing through the mouthpiece.

United States attorney general Ramsey Clark charges IBM with violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in the attempted monopolization of the electronic digital computer industry, on his last day in office. The suit will be withdrawn in 1982.

The thirty second version of the groundbreaking Apple commercial 1984 is included among theatrical previews in movie theaters across the country. The commercial is so popular, it will often be replayed for audience at no cost to Apple.

British Telecom announces the retirement of the United Kingdom’s famous red telephone boxes.

Apple Computer and NeXT Computer reach an out-of-court settlement in regard to the lawsuit Apple brought against NeXT, in which NeXT agrees not to use Apple technology.

Microsoft and Sega Enterprises enter into an agreement under which Microsoft will supply portions of operating system software for controlling the newest Sega video game system.

Apple Computer reveals a sixty-nine million dollar first quarter loss and lays off thirteen hundred employees.

Geoffrey Marcy and R. Paul Butler announce the discovery of two new planets through the use of computer analysis to the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The unconventional method analyzes the movement of stars using spectrographic images taken over the course of eight years to find shifts in light that indicate the presence of planet’s gravity.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, and Phillipine President Fidel Rhamos meet in a ten minute online chat session.

The website of KTBZ The Buzz 107.5 FM is hacked twice, the first time by – I-h4k4? and the second time by H4ck3Rs w1th 4tt1tud3?. View an archived version of the website after its first hack.

The AVD website in the Netherlands is hacked by critic.

The US Surgeon General’s office releases a report entitled, Youth and Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General. The report concludes that media influences play a minimal role in contributing to youth violence. The immediate impetus for the report was the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which fourteen students died.

Microsoft announces that it has sold eight million Xbox video game systems to date.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights both separately file lawsuits against the National Security Agency (NSA), challenging the legality of the warrantless spying program. The two suits, ACLU v. NSA and Center for Constitutional Rights v. Bush, include an a long list of plaintiffs, including defense lawyers, journalists, political activists, scholars, and a large assembly of organizations, including Greenpeace, all of which communicate regularly with the Middle East.

The Storm Worm is first discovered. Storm Worm creates a botnet by installing a Trojan Horse on computers running Windows. On August 22, it will set a record for the most emails sent by a botnet in one day.

The Vatican announces that all Texts and Video from Pope Benedict, including speeches and pontiff sermons, will be posted directly to their website channel.

Yahoo! Co-founder Jerry Yang resigns from his creation

In protest to SOPA, Wikipedia, Google, and other websites blackout their pages.