May 5

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Special Dates
Cinco De Mayo

Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), maker of the Altair 8800, files for a restraining order against Microsoft, to prevent Microsoft from licensing 8080 BASIC until the dispute with MITS is resolved.

XCOR Aerospace sells 20% of its holdings in Williams, an electronic gaming and amusement company based in Chicago, Illinois that will later make its mark in the coin-operated arcade video game market.

At the National Computer Conference in Chicago, on May 5, 1981, Atari announces that the 8K Atari 400 is being discontinued and that the price on the 16K version is being reduced to US$399.

WordPerfect ships WordPerfect 5.0 for the PC. Price: US$500

Id Software Inc. releases the original Wolfenstein 3D, the first-ever first person shooter computer game for DOS computers. The game follows an American soldier named BJ Blazkowicz who is attempting to escape from a Nazi stronghold. There are many armed guards, as well as attack dogs. The building has a number of hidden rooms containing various treasures, food supplies, and medical kits, as well as three different guns and ammunition.

Nintendo releases the Mario Paint for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the US.

British film producer Ray Santilli unveils his “alien autopsy” footage to a group of UFO researchers. The film is widely regarded as a hoax, albeit an elaborate one.

Chris Lamprecht, age 24, also known as “Minor Threat” becomes the first person banned from the Internet. After being sentenced to seventy months in prison for laundering US$153,000 from the sale of stolen Southwestern Bell circuit boards, Lamprecht is also given the unusual punishment of being allowed no access to the Internet until 2003 by order of Judge Sam Sparks of the US District Court. While he is a known computer hacker, Lamprechtnor is not nor ever will be proven guilty of a computer related crime, making the sentence even more unusual. In the early nineties, Lamprecht is known to have wrote a wardialing program for MS-DOS called ToneLoc (an amalgam of the words Tone Locator). The program is modeled on the program Matthew Broderick uses in the movie WarGames. It scans for dial tones in order to find open modem lines in a telephone exchange. Read more at Wired News. View an interview with Minor Threat.

Caldera ships OpenLinux Standard 1.1, the second offering in Caldera’s OpenLinux product line.

THQ completes the acquisition of GameFX, a 3D game developer.

Bill Gates tells reporters that an injunction to delay the release of Windows ‘98 “would hurt the American economy and cost American jobs.” Due to claims that Microsoft engages in monopolistic practices, Microsoft may be subject to injunctions sought by thirteen state attorney generals to stall the release of Windows ‘98, which is otherwise scheduled for June 25. Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems have been aggressively lobbying for antitrust action taken against Microsoft.

Hewlett-Packard Company announced they will acquire Dazel Corporation, an electronic information delivery software company based in Austin, Texas.

IBM unveils the IBM WorkPad z50 handheld computer, featuring the Windows CE operating system, a 64,000-color 8.2-inch LCD screen, an NEC MIPS 133 MHz processor, 20 MB ROM, 16 MB RAM, a keyboard, a 33kbps modem, and eight hours of battery life. Price: US$999 Weight: 2.6 pounds

John Hardie of Atari Gaming Headquarters ( forwards news that Mark Goodreau of Hasbro Interactive expects to soon declare the Atari Jaguar 64-bit video game system is an “open system”.

Microsoft releases the Windows 98SE (Second Edition) operating system. It includes fixes for many minor issues, improved USB support, and the replacement of Internet Explorer 4.0 with the significantly faster Internet Explorer 5.

National Semiconductor reveals its intentions to exit the competitive Personal Computer market with the sale of its Cyrix processor division. Instead, it will refocus on chips designed specifically for “smart devices”. Although the details of such chips are not revealed, National Semiconductor’s wholly owned Mediamatics has placed a three-quarter page recruitment advertisement on page three of the Monday, April 19, 1999 issue of Silicon Valley TechWeek magazine. The ad calls for a number of engineers to work on a “DVD-on-a-chip”. National Semiconductor blames price wars between rival companies such as Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. AMD and Intel Corporation for its decision.

A conjunction of the five bright planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – forms a rough line across the sky with the Sun and Moon. It is not visible from Earth, because the the line of planets is behind the Sun and hidden in its luminance. Such a conjunction last occurred on February 1962 and will not happen again until April 2438. The “Love Bug” virus continues to spread, crippling computers throughout the world. Variants of the worm are discovered damaging computer systems under new names.

RemoteAccess BBS 2.60 is released.

US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rules that Napster is not entitled to “safe harbor” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Tesla Motors opens up and announces an electric car for $109 thousand

T-Mobile launches it’s own 3G network starting in New York.

Microsoft adds the Zune Video Store