May 24

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8:45 AM, Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph. The original message “What hath God wrought?”.

IBM unveils a vacuum tube “electronic” brain that can perform ten million operations an hour.

MIDAS II (Missile Detection Alarm System), the first American surveillance satellite to successfully reach orbit, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Although it is intended to be part of an early missile warning system, circling the earth every ninety-four minutes, its telemetry system will fail two days later, and it will never go into service. On February 26, 1960, the first MIDAS satellite launch failed when its Atlas Agena-A booster malfunctioned, never reaching orbit.

The Laboratory Instrument Computer (LINC)Wes Clark begins work on the Laboratory Instrument Computer (LINC), at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. His plan is to create a computer for biomedical research, that is easy to program and maintain, that can be communicated with while it operates, and that can process biotechnical signals directly. Building on his previous experience in developing the Whirlwind, the TX-0, and other early computers, Clark set to work on this earliest example of a “user friendly” machine, setting the standard for personal computer design in the decades to follow.

The PAL color television system is launched in the UK.

Walt Disney also receives the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the distinguished public service and the outstanding contributions of Walt Disney to the United States and to the world. Read the official Congressional Resolution.

Nolan Bushnell is sent by his employer to attend a public demonstration of the Magnavox Odyssey 100 in Burlingame, California. After Atari begins marketing Pong in 1973, Magnavox will file a lawsuit against Atari claiming that Pong violates several of Magnavox Odyssey patents. In an out-of-court settlement in June of 1976, Atari will became a prepaid licensee of the pertinent patents for US$700,000.

CeeFaxThe BBC begins transmitting Ceefax service in the new unified UK teletext standard. Ceefax is the first teletext system in the world. Teletext is a television-based information retrieval service developed in the United Kingdom in the early seventies to offers a range of text-based information, including national, international, and sporting news, weather and television schedules.

The Unix Users group is renamed UseNix, so not to conflict with any of the trademarks held by Bell Laboratories. Founded in 1975, the group primarily focuses on the study and development of Unix and similar systems.

A pan-European experimental public service satellite television channel, Eurikon, is launched by members of the European Broadcasting Union. Five countries take turns organizing programming for a week at a time, beginning with UK Independent Broadcasting Authority. The first week includes the Queen visiting Coronation Street, a mass from Brussels Cathedral, an Irish documentary on James Joyce, and the Italian version of “It’s a Knockout.”

Quantum Computer Services, which will later be renamed AOL, is incorporated.

An executive staff meeting is held at Apple Computer. John Sculley confronts Steve Jobs over rumors that there will be a takeover while Sculley is in China. Jobs says Sculley should leave the company, but a majority of the senior staff support Sculley.

J. Fred Bucy retires as president of Texas Instruments (TI) and Jerry R. Junkins is named as president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Law for Regulation of Video Salons, Video Bars, and Video Rentals is passed in Turkmenistan, giving the State Film Committee (Goskino) control over all video communications in the country, which is interpreted as including cable television. As a consequence of the law, all cable operations must be sanctioned by local Goskino administration, then formed into a subsidiary of Goskino.

Hayes Microcomputer Products announces a new Sysop Program, where qualified sysops are able to purchase Hayes Modems at greatly discounted rates. It is similar to an earlier Sysop Program offered by US Robotics.

Sega of America announces that it will introduce, a rating system for its video games in August. The system will bear a resemblance to the one already used by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The ratings are as follows: GA for “General audience”, MA-13 for Mature (Ages 13 and Up), and MA-17 for Mature (Ages 17 and Up). Visit the official Sega of America website.

The Spring Comdex and Windows World Conference are held in Atlanta, Georgia, over four days. At the event, Microsoft formally launches the Windows NT operating system. The Initial version is 3.1. The system is comprised of over four million lines of code. Price: US$495 Upgrade: US$295

AMD releases the Mobile AMD K6 III P processor, at clock speeds of 350, 366, and 380MHz. Price: US$249, US$316, and US$349 respectively,

Microsoft releases version 4.5 of the BackOffice Small Business Server for personal computers. PC Data, an independent research firm, releases the results of a survey of 6,305 individuals.

Intel releases the 933MHz Pentium III processor, featuring 256KB of Level-2 on-chip cache. Price: US$794

PhD candidate Nelson Robert Holcomb, age 36, is arrested on the campus of Colorado State University at Fort Collins for trying to extort a new car and other items from Wayne, New Jersey online publisher Audible Inc. which sells downloadable audio content online and is backed by a number of big-name investors, including Microsoft and Compaq Computer. Holcomb allegedly sent the publisher a series of threatening emails, revealing that he had found a way to download the publisher’s books without payment and threatening to alert the media about the vulnerability unless Audible met his demands. In one email sent on April 29th, Holcomb, calling himself “Tupelo”, demanded cash equal to the value of the Audible site’s content, a new Volvo station wagon, two Diamond Rio digital audio players, and unlimited, free downloads of Audible content. The company agreed by email on May 2 to all but the cash demand. The next day, a person using an account at Colorado State University emailed Audible, identifying himself as Rob Holcomb and offering to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The sender gave a mailing address and work phone number at the university’s chemistry department in Fort Collins, Colorado for delivery of the ransom merchandise. Holcomb also allegedly sent a fax to Audible from a machine in the CSU chemistry department. Thursday, May 25, he will be charged with interstate commercial extortion.

Mac OS X Server 10.0 is released. Visit the official Mac OS X server website.

Mediamark Research, Inc. releases data from a semi-annual report indicating that about forty-three percent of adults aged 55 to 64 use the Internet. According to Mediamark, 133 million (about two-thirds) of all adults in the United States have access to the Internet at home or work.

Officials of Sequoia Hospital in Northern California announces a new program whereby some newborn babies will be assigned an e-mail address within minutes of their birth. The new program is a partnership with

Kim Schmitz, also known as “Kimble”, is convicted of insider trading. Schmitz made a profit by buying US$375,000 worth of shares of the nearly bankrupt company and falsely announcing his intention to investing €50 Million, creating the largest single-day rise of a share price in the history of the German stock market. Schmitz then quickly sold all of his shares. When later convicted, he becomes the first and only person to have ever been convicted for insider trading in Germany.

Version 5 of the Fetch FTP client is released. Fetch is a full-featured GUI-based FTP client for the Mac.

Samsung Electronics releases the world’s first computers to feature solid-state flash memory, the Q1-SSD and Q30-SSD, both of which have 32GB solid state drives (SSD). Visit the official Q1 website.