January 31

The United States Social Security Board issues its first check to Ida May Fuller, age 65, of Vermont. The check, number 00-000-001, is for US$22.54. The US Social Security, which is characterized as the largest bookkeeping operation in the history of the world is made possible by a series of computers custom built for the purpose by IBM which track of the twenty-six million people participating in the government program with hundreds of millions of punch cards. The paper punch cards were so numerous that, there is no building in Washington had floors sturdy enough to hold them all. Another problem will soon presented itself. Individual paper punch cards have a very limited capacity for storing data. However, in 1955, just as the punch cards will approach their capacity for the first generations of social security recipients, they will be replaced by IBM’s first general-purpose computer. Read a history of the Social Security Administration’s use of punch cards and IBM machines.

Atari announces that Marcian Hoff, inventor of the microprocessor, is joining the company as vice president of research and development.

Texas Instruments (TI) introduces the TI Professional Computer, featuring an Intel 8088 processor, 64KB RAM, dual 320KB floppy drives, and 720×300 graphics with optional 8-color mode. Price: US$2,195

Apple Computer is reorganized into three divisions: Accessory Products, Apple II, and Apple 32. Visit the official website of Apple Computer.

Commodore International announces that it will delay shipping its Commodore 264 and 364 computers, due to a persistent and steady for the Commodore 64. Read more about the history of the Commodore 64.

AT&T Bell Laboratories and VLSI Technology announce plans to jointly develop strategies for protecting communications devices from eavesdroppers with the goal of securing cellular phone lines and Internet transmissions by means of a security chip.

Corel acquires the WordPerfect Office office suite along with Quattro Pro and WordPerfect from Novell for US$180 million in cash and stocks. Visit the official Corel website.

Netscape Communications announces an agreement to acquire InSoft, Inc., a developer of network communications and collaboration applications. Visit the official Netscape website.

Apple Computer reveals that they intend to make further cuts in the company’s workforce in its continuing struggle to turn a profit. Visit the official website of Apple Computer.

The digitally enhanced Star Wars Special Edition opens in 2,104 theaters. In its opening weekend, the film will domestically gross over US$36.2 million dollars.

France officially abandons the use of Morse code for maritime radio communications with one final sign off. Calling all. This is our last cry before our eternal silence.

Hewlett-Packard HP announces the HP 200LX handheld computer, featuring 4MB RAM. Price: US$599

Sun Microsystems releases the Solaris 10 operating system, featuring support for AMD64 and EM64T processors. Visit the official Solaris website.

Microsoft releases a public preview build of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2. Visit the official Internet Explorer website.

Cingular Wireless, Priceline.com, and Travelocity.com agree to pay fines between US$30,000 and US$35,000 each to settle a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for advertising through DirectRevenue, a company which targets consumers with illegal adware. The groundbreaking settlement sets a legal precedent for holding companies liable when their ads end up on consumers’ computers without full notice and consent, according to Cuomo.

RealNetworks failed to accurately and completely disclose the fact that it installs advertising software on the user’s computer. By Stopbadware.org. The software Realnetworks installed was the Rhapsody player by Real. The software also didn’t uninstall Rhapsody when Real software was uninstalled.

Acer purchased 75 percent of Packard Bell parent company PB Holdings for $48.5 million. Acer had been working on this acquisition for a while. It ultimately gave Acer the advantage over Lenovo in the European market.

Yahoo purchases Maven Networks for $150 Million

Terry Semel – former CEO of Yahoo – cuts all ties with the company the day before the Big news of 2008

the Defense Department sets up Forge.mil – a repository where Defense Department employees can collaborate on open source software.

DARPA awards IBM a $3.4 million dollar contract to develop VAPR – Vanishing Programmable Resources.

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