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On May 5th, 2012, the Day in Tech History podcast hit it’s 1000th episode. It was a milestone I thought was going to hit on June 15th, but made a mis-calculation. Still, after 1000 episodes, Day in Tech History is still going strong!
I started the Day in Tech History as the Week in Tech History on Geekazine as part of the Geekazine Quickcast. I made the conscious decision to move the show to it’s own podcast in August. On 8-10-2009, the Day in Tech History officially began.
Recording 365 episodes was a real beast. However, I put my head down and plowed through the content. Some episodes were made in the wee hours of the night. I calculated over a month’s worth of work hours were put into the first year’s recordings alone.
After the first 365 days, the job got easier. I cataloged the information on Wikazine.com, and some recordings were pristine to be able and revise. Still, writing posts and getting photo content does bring a good deal of work to this job.
I officially moved Dayintechhistory.com to it’s own website on October 1st, 2011. Since then, I’ve expanded the site to include birthdays of tech history and recaps of the year. I plan to bring a couple people on to help contribute, along with history video.
With somewhere around 8,000 -10,000 hours spent, I have put out an episode a day for over one thousand days. It’s a feat only a couple people can say they did.
So here is to the first thousand episodes. Episode 2,000 will hit on January 30th, 2015. That way, I’m prepared…
Remember the Lemmings commercial? How about when Windows ME came out? Do you remember Steve Jackson games was raided, and their BBS taken down?
These are all part of our history. The bad part of history. We want to remember the good times, like when the iPod was introduced, when we got Pi to the one millionth decimal place. When IBM Watson went toe to toe with Jeopardy champions.
Still, the old saying does ring true –
“Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. ” – George Santayana
Today, we look at those moments in Tech History that were immortally the worst parts of our timeline. These are events where technology was directly responsible for the event. I have put them in a reverse order.
When you thought your files were safe, along comes a company that can ruin your trust. MegaUpload was a file hosting service, where you would pay for your own personal cloud. MegaVideo, MegaPix, MegaLive, MegaBox, and MegaPorn were all child sites to MegaUpload.
With over 180 thousands members, and 82 million unique viewers, MegaUpload had 25 petabytes to hold music, video, pictures and more. MegaUpload also had three pieces of software – Mega Manager, Megakey, and Filebox.
The US Department of Justice seized, then shut down MegaUpload on January 19, 2012. The next day, MegaUpload’s company’s assets were frozen ($300 million Hong Kong dollars). The indictment pointed to the site’s illegal activities.
One would think that nobody gave the OK to send a SPAM message. Alas, it was true. On May 1, 1978, Carl Gartley sent out the first ever message to almost 200 people on the ARPANet. DEC Marketing manager Gary Thuerk gave the OK to this message, so he is also credited for this event. The message read:
DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T. THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE DECSYSTEM-10 COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE. BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM. THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.
WE INVITE YOU TO COME SEE THE 2020 AND HEAR ABOUT THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AT THE TWO PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS WE WILL BE GIVING IN CALIFORNIA THIS MONTH. THE LOCATIONS WILL BE:
TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1978 – 2 PM
HYATT HOUSE (NEAR THE L.A. AIRPORT) LOS ANGELES, CA
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1978 – 2 PM
DUNFEY’S ROYAL COACH
SAN MATEO, CA
(4 MILES SOUTH OF S.F. AIRPORT AT BAYSHORE, RT 101 AND RT 92)
A 2020 WILL BE THERE FOR YOU TO VIEW. ALSO TERMINALS ON-LINE TO OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 SYSTEMS THROUGH THE ARPANET. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NEAREST DEC OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXCITING DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY.
Technically, this e-mail spam was not the first. This was called Newsgroup spam. Nonetheless, it would start a lucrative business for some, as senders of spam, and as defenders of spam.
Moments later, Major Raymond Czahor posted a reply to the message saying it was a “Flagrant Violation” of use to the ARPAnet.
Of course, that moment was bound to happen. If not in 1978, then down the road.
Nowadays, Spam averages for 78% of all messages sent. Using Botnets, and other automated efforts to collect addresses, then send in bulk, we can see everything ranging from emails of jibberish (to the script kiddies out there), to phishing schemes of pharmaceutics, and banking needs.
8. Retirement and Passing of Steve Jobs
Whether you liked him or hated him, Steve Jobs was probably the most influential technology figure of our time. He knew his time was short back in 1999, when he came back to Apple. Instead of waiting for death to knock on his door, he did his best work; putting out the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He steered Apple into a new direction, and vaulted the company to what it is today. So we acknowledge his passing as a very important, and 8th worst event in Tech History.
Luckily, we did not have any major problems with this event. We caught this issue well in advance to put out a full compliance plan. But it was a time of uncertainty. The mainstream public knew about Y2k, and even though they didn’t have a full grasp on it, they knew it could shut their lights off at midnight on 2000.
One concern was the nuclear weapons would get confused enough that they would either lock up and we would be defenseless, or they would go off on their own. A lot of the “End of the World” prophecies were made. None of them came true, for we just set that problem back until 2024. Then again, this Decemnber – it won’t matter anymore…
6. Failed Microsoft – Yahoo Deal
Believe it or not, this event cost a lot of money, a lot of jobs, and – for some that had their ideas bought out by Yahoo – their lives seen sitting on a shelf. It was the talk of 2008: Steve Ballmer was adamant about taking over this company, Jerry Yang was not going to sell, and Karl iCahn was the fly in Yahoo’s proverbial ointment. The Yahoo bid started on February 5th, 2008, and technically ended on June 12 (although the official date was August 1, when the Yahoo board met).
Interesting note: This was not Microsoft’s first bid of Yahoo. They tried to buy the company a few years prior. That instance did not have the mainstream impact that this bid did. In looking at tech history, there is a noticeable timeline of Microsoft actually gearing up to this bid the year before.
5. Melissa Virus
Out of all the virus out there, this one caused mass panic, as corporations went down for the day. Some from the virus, others from the fear of the bug hitting their systems.
I remember the day this hit – I was working for the Dept. of Revenue. We shut off our internet connection to the outside world to keep the virus out. March 26, 1999, what started on a usenet group moved to email, using Microsoft Word 97, and 2000. It had a property to email itself from Outlook to everyone in the contact list. It was called the “Fastest spreading macro-virus”.
David Smith wrote the code that took corporations down, and was sentenced to 20 months in jail, and a $5000 fine.
4. The Atomic Bomb was first tested
July 15, 1945 – The first nuclear bomb was tested. Codenamed “Mike”, this bomb was detonated at the Trinity site, and was as powerful as a 20 Kiloton bomb. Of course, we only used a nuclear bomb once, that being the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A big opponent of nuclear weapons – Albert Einstein – warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons. His letters to President Eisenhower outline a large concern, due to testing from 1939 of uranium. In fact, Einstein said this famous quote to enstill fear and concern in the population:
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
3. Telegram Leads to WWI
In 1917, Arthur Zimmerman (Germany’s Foreign Secretary) sent a telegram to Mexico, encouraging them to join the Germans in war. They would, in return, finance the Mexican entry into war so they could recover Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The British intercepted the telegram, which they promptly sent to the US. Up until this point, President Woodrow Wilson pursued a policy of non-intervention. However, with this news, the US had no choice but to enter into World War I.
The Zimmerman Telegram was the invitation to Mexico in the German fight. Of course, this telegram was coded. The British decoding unit – known as “Room 40” – decoded the message. Of course, on April 6th, 1917, the US declared war on Germany.
2. Challenger explodes
Do you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded? Interestingly enough, I was sitting in the wood shop. It was the only other place where there was an Apple II computer, and I was playing Ultima IV. January 28th, 1986 – the Challenger, who’s most noted astronaut and school teacher of the trip – Christa McAuliffe – took off from Cape Canaveral on mission STS-51-L.
Then, disaster struck.
An O-ring in the rocket booster failed, causing the booster to ignite. The shuttle then disintegrated over the Atlantic ocean. Seven astronauts were killed on that mission, and grounded the US space race for 32 months.
The rocket booster was re-designed at that point to make sure an O-ring failure didn’t happen again. However, it set the US space race back 2 1/2 years, and took the lives of seven heroes.
1. Dot – com bubble burst
The internet was booming. Just like a gold rush, people were putting together business models on the electronic superhighway. From 1995 to 2000, this bubble was fueling many – looking to be the next multi-million dollar idea. However, the “Dot-Coms” that had inflated stock prices suddenly ran out of their capital, and stocks came crashing down. By 2001, companies like Pets.com filed for bankruptcy. 371 publicly traded companies (valued at 1.3 trillion) lost their momentum, and most of them came crashing down.
There were some survivors – Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, and Travelocity, among few others. But it was a minority to the sites like eToys.com, Kozmo.com, Webvan.com, Flooz.com, and more.
One company – Sun Microsystems – was hit hard in another way. They supplied a lot of the businesses with the servers to control their dot-coms. When the companies went bankrupt, Sun found themselves with too much returned inventory. After 2001, Sun would struggle to make it back in, ultimately being sold to Oracle in 2009.
Other Notable Events in Tech History
There are many events that turned tech history. Recent news, such as Anonymous and the take down of the Playstation network for almost 2 months. Long-lasting tech kurfuffles, like the SCO Group, and their lawsuit over UNIX System V source code.
Hacking incidents, such as the Legion of Doom, and Kevin Mitnick – who was arrested in 1995 for gaining access to interstation computer network. We also saw bank height in 1995, when Vladimir Levin hacked into Citibank and transfered $10 million from customer accounts. Not to mention the big TJX credit card theft in 2008.
Another notable event was when AT&T was deemed a monopoly, and Ma Bell was split up. It changed the telecommunications market, and saw the right of passage for MCI/Worldcom from this (now a part of Verizon).
We cannot forget about Wang Computers – if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had magnetic core memory. Their bankruptcy of 1992 ended a major PC clone in the business market. This caused several businesses to scramble for a computer company replacement. Ultimately, Wang was bought by Gentronics – a company that operates in the UK.
Political madness in Tech failures as the Florida Chad issue might have determined the wrong person as president. The punch machine did not fully punch the card, and the “hanging chad” caused issue for thousands of votes.
Another space technology issue was Apollo 13. Of course, noted in the movie, complications from an oxygen tank caused the mission to abort landing on the moon. It was the hard thinking of the astronauts and ground crew that brought the ship back to Earth.
There are many other events in Tech History that could be considered some of the worst. What would your top ten be? Let me know! Twitter DayInTechHistory
It’s been an interesting year, this 2011. But as we are only days from the end, it’s time to look back at what happened and reflect. So I went through all of 2011, and found those dates that shaped tech history for the year. A review in Tech history for 2011.
Of course, this is a list that will be completed in the next couple weeks. If you see something missing, please let me know. I’ll compare and get it corrected.
January 10 – AMD‘s CEO Dirk Meyer resigns
January 11 – Google announced they will be dropping H.264
January 11 – Apple announces that iPhone will be coming to Verizon
The rumor mill was running wild, but on January 11th, Apple finally announced that Verizon will be getting the iPhone4. It had little issues, like you couldn’t talk and surf at the same time. Nonetheless, this broke the long-standing AT&T domination of the iPhone market. Verizon has taken 1/3 of the iPhone market.
January 13 – IBM Watson to take on Jeopardy
January 15 – Wikipedia hits 15 years old
January 19 – Johnny Chung Lee – Kinect researcher – jumps from Microsoft to Google
January 20 – Google CEO Eric Schmidt steps down, Larry Page takes his place
February 2 – Google shows off Honeycomb
Android shows the world version 3.0 – a.k.a. Honeycomb. This enabled tablet support and holographic user interface
February 6 – Ken Olsen, founder of DEC, passes away
February 9 – HP announced Palm Pre3
February 11 – Microsoft and Nokia announce partnership
February 21 – Alibaba.com CEO and COO resigned due to fraud probe
February 23 – Honeycomb SDK released
February 24 – Google rolled out algorithm change, which hurt sites re-aggregating content.
March 1 – Paul Devine admits he took part in a Money laundering scheme while at Apple.
March 2 – Apple Launched iPad2
Second generation iPad, using the new Apple A5 chip. The iPad2 also increased the screen resolution and added a front-facing camera.
March 1 – Bank of America online banking goes down
March 11 – DOJ wins access to WikiLeaks Twitter accounts.
March 11 – Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
March 20 – AT&T announced intention to purchase T-Mobile for $39 billion
AT&T announced it would being going after T-Mobile. Unfortunately, it came with a lot of retaliation. Ultimately, AT&T will back out of the acquisition.
March 22 – New York court rejects the Google Books settlement
March 26 – Paul Baran, who was instrumental for developing the Internet, passed away
March 28 – James Gosling (Java founder) joins Google
March 28 – Robert Kimball steps down as CEO of RealNetworks
March 30 – Google settles with FCC over Google Buzz privacy issues
March 30 – Google launches the +1 Button
March 31 – GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons is chastised for an online video of him killing an elephant
April 5 – Mozilla absorbs Thunderbird group
April 6 – Sony websites go down from Anonymous attack
To protest the PS3 hacker lawsuit, Anonymous initiated “Operation Payback” – taking down the Playstation network for weeks. It also caused a lot of negative feedback from the customers.
April 8 – Commodore 64 comes back from the dead.
April 8 – Google signs deal with DOJ on ITA (Travel) acquisition
April 12 – Cisco discontinues the Flip camera
April 21 – Google launches “Google Offers”
April 22 – Apple signs cloud deal with Warner Music Group
April 23 – Norio Ohga, former president of Sony, passed away
April 28 – Google Chrome 11 launches with speech to text option
May 1 – Twitter breaks the news to the US that Osama Bin Laden was killed
The Twitterverse was in full mode when it broke the news that Osama Bin Laden’s bunker was infiltrated and Alkida’s leader was shot to death. While it’s not on the top trending topics of 2011 for Twitter, it was the 3rd highest trending topic in Social Media.
May 10 – Microsoft announced it will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion
May 11 – Google launches Chromebook, ChromeOS
Eric Schmidt announced the ChromeOS and a new notebook called “Chromebook”. Samsung Chromebooks went on sale at $399 for a WiFi model. 3G models would be coming out soon. The Chrome store would also be available to install apps and several web-based software programs will also become available.
May 14 – After being offline for weeks, Sony begins to relaunch Playstation Network
May 20 – Google scraps their newspaper scanning program.
May 23 – Twitter purchases TweekDeck for $40 million
May 26 – Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is named to presidential advisory panel
May 31 – Intel announces they will be developing the Ultrabook
June 1 – Google +1 button is made available for websites
June 1 – Apple purchased iCloud.com for $4.5 million
June 6 – Microsoft announced Live TV will come to XBox360
June 6 – Apple unveils Lion, iOS5 and iCloud
June 16 – Gartner announced mobile ad sales will generate $3.3 billion in 2011
June 16 – Comcast debuts 1Gbps connection and cloud based channel surfing
June 21 – Apple released Final Cut Pro X
June 22 – Comscore announced Google hit 1 billion site visitors in May 2011
June 24 – Google closes Google Health, PowerMeter
June 28 – Microsoft debuts Office 365
June 28 – Google launches a beta of Google+
Touted to be a “Facebook Killa”, Google launched a beta of Google+ – Their new social network. It was an invite-only beta, and introduced the “Hangout”, which was the ability to have up to 10 people on video chat.
July 1 – HP launched TouchPad tablet
July 4 – Microsoft signs search pact with Baidu
July 6 – Facebook launched Facebook Video Chat
July 13 – Netflix announced price change for DVD and streaming video
July 13 – Microsoft announced it will open 75 new stores
July 14 – Spotify launched in the US
Famous in the UK, Spotify brought their music service to the US. You could stream music from your PC to other devices, or pay a subscription fee to listen to music on Spotify’s network.
July 19 – FBI raids homes suspected to be part of Anonymous
July 19 – Apple released OS X Lion, new Mac Mini, Macbook Air, Thunderbolt display
July 20 – A Fake Apple store was spotted in China
July 20 – Roku 2 is launched
July 24 – The first episode of TWit broadcasts from the TWiT brickhouse
July 27 – UK announced they arrested LulzSec and Anonymous spokesperson
July 28 – Twitter injects paid tweets into streams
July 29 – Google acquires over 1,000 of IBM’s patents
August 15 – Google announced it would buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion
Since Motorola had strong ties with Google Android already, it was considered a good idea to bring Motorola Mobility into the fold. Motorola Mobility makes smartphones, tablets, bluetooth devices and more.
August 15 – SF Bart subway closes during Anonymous protest
August 16 – A Prototype Macbook with 3G shows up on eBay. It is pulled
August 18 – HP announced it is considering selling their PC division. CEO Leo Apatheker also announced that all WebOS production be halted
This caused an uproar of the $99 Tablet. Later, HP backed down on the announcements and CEO Leo Apatheker would be fired. HP has now made WebOS open source.
August 23 – Yale and Purdue Universities report exposure to over 43,000 social security numbers
August 26 – Steve Jobs resigns from Apple due to health reasons.
September 1 – The men who sold the iPhone prototype plead not guilty to theft charges
September 1 – Michael Arrington announced he is working with AOL to create the CrunchFund
September 2 – Another Apple iPhone prototype goes missing
September 2 – Google closes Fast Flip, Google Desktop, Aardvark, and Google Web Security
September 6 – Carol Bartz sends an email to employees saying she was fired from Yahoo!
September 7 – Michael Arrington is fired from TechCrunch
Founder of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington was fired due to his new venture – CrunchFund. AOL felt he would not be objective in reporting the news.
September 8 – Google buys Zagat
September 8 – Michael Hart, creator of the e-book, passed away
September 9 – Script kiddies hack NBC News and report of a fake attack on ground zero.
September 11 – 10 year anniversary of 9-11
September 15 – Heidi Klum announced the most dangerous search celeb on the net
September 16 – 450 GoDaddy hosted sites were compromised
September 17 – Julius Blank, who founded Fairchild Semiconductor, passes away
September 19 – CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix was spinning off their DVD division to Qwikster
In probably one of the biggest blunders of 2011, Netflix announced the DVD home-delivery service was to be spun off and put up for sale. The result of this action: Netflix shares dropped 2/3rds over a 2 month period, as Netflix lost 800,000 customers. Reed Hastings put out a public apology later and rescinded the spin-off.
September 19 – Google launched Wallet
September 22 – HP CEO Leo Apotheker gets fired, replaced by Meg Whitman
September 25 – At F8, Mark Zuckerberg launches timeline and open graph
September 27 – Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7.5 – Mango
September 28 – Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch
September 30 – Google opens Chromezone store
October 4 – Apple announced iPhone iOS5, 4S, Siri
October 5 – Steve Jobs passed away
One day after the launch of 4S, Steven Jobs passes away.
October 6 – Nuance purchased Swype for $100 million
October 11 – Robert Galvin, former CEO of Motorola, passes away
October 12 – Dennis Ritchie, designer of C programming language, passes away
October 14 – iPhone 4S launches
October 14 – Google announced plans to end Google Buzz
October 14 – RIM service goes down
October 17 – Yahoo CTO Raymie Stat resigns
October 19 – Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) was released
October 23 – Steve Jobs Biography is released
October 24 – Siri co-founder Kittlaus leaves Apple
October 28 – Google TV gets Honeycomb update
November 3 – IBM’s CEO John Open passed away
November 6 – YouTube and Disney cut a deal that brings original videos to YouTube
November 6 – Charles Walton, inventor of RFID, passed away
November 7 – Google launches brand pages in Google +
November 8 – Mozilla launch Firefox 8, Thunderbird 8
November 11 – Logitech discontinues all production of Google TV appliances. States they lost over $100 million in the revue
November 12 – 22 year old Ilya Zhitomirskiy, founder of Diaspora, passed away
November 14 – AMD launches Opteron 6200 server chips with 16-cores
November 15 – Apple iMatch goes live
November 15 – Amazon released Kindle Fire
In effort to compete with iPad, Jeff Bezos released the next version of the Kindle, the Kindle Fire. This $199 Android tablet would be available at Amazon.com
November 16 – Google Music debuts
November 19 – Barnes & Noble release the Nook Color for $249
November 21 – Apple announced they will have a Black Friday sale
November 22 – Google ends Wave, Knol
November 30 – Spotify adds app platform
December 4 – HP chair Patricia Dunn passes away
December 6 – .xxx goes live
After years of debate, the .xxx top level domain finally goes live.
December 7 – After delay, Microsoft released XBox360 update with Live TV, gesture and voice commands
December 8 – Twitter redesigns their homepage
December 16 – Zynga files IPO
This evening, Steve Jobs lost his battle with cancer. Apple posted a statement:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
Steve Paul Jobs: 1955 – 2011.
It is also my sad duty to complete the infographic I put together 2 months ago. It is a full rundown of Job’s life and career at Apple.
A high-def PDF of this infographic is available upon request.