October 30, 1938
Orson Welles broadcasts his radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, which reportedly caused panic among listeners who believed the theatrical presentation was a real news broadcast. Regardless of the actual levels of panic caused, The War of the Worlds is one of the most famous radio broadcasts in history.
October 28, 1998
US President Bill Clinton signs into law the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). The law is intended to criminalize production and dissemination of technology designed to circumvent digital copyright protection (known as Digital Rights Management or DRM). However, the law has been very controversial, with accusations of abuse of the law to stifle innovation and competition.
The ARPANET in 1980
October 27, 1980
The ARPANET, the precursor to the modern Internet, stops functioning for about four hours after the network’s routing tables are corrupted by a malfunctioning Interface Message Processor (IMP).
October 26, 1861
Only two days after the Transcontinental Telegraph line opened, the Pony Express ceases operation. Prior to the opening of the cross-country telegraph line, the Pony Express was the fastest way to send communication between St. Jospeph, Missouri and San Franscisco, California.
October 25, 2001
Microsoft releases the operating system Windows XP, the successor to both Windows 2000 and Windows ME. Designed to unify the Windows NT line and Windows 95 line of operating systems, Windows XP was not replaced by Microsoft until January 2007 with Windows Vista. However, with a nearly six-year run and the public debacle surrounding the release of Windows Vista, Windows XP remained the world’s most popular operating system until August 2012.
October 24, 2003
The Concorde supersonic jet makes its last commercial flight. While being able to cross the Atlantic in about 3.5 hours, low passenger numbers and rising maintenance costs made operating the Concorde unprofitable for British Airways and Air France.
October 24, 1861
Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line across the United States, making nearly instantaneous cross-country communication possible for the first time. Previously, it took ten days for a letter to be sent from Missouri to California via the Pony Express. Not coincidentally, two days later the Pony Express shut down operations.
October 23, 2001
Using the slogan, “1000 Songs in Your Pocket,” Steve Jobs introduces the original iPod, featuring a 5 GB hard drive, Firewire connectivity, and synchronization to iTunes. By using a 1.8″ drive, the iPod was significantly smaller than competing MP3 players of the time. The Firewire port allowed simultaneous charging and high-speed music synchronization, innovative for its time. At the time, the original iPod only worked with Macintosh computers. However, the popularity of the iPod among Windows users – who had to hack together a solution to use it with their computers – prompted Apple to release a Windows compatible version in the second generation of iPods. With the introduction of the iTunes Music Store in June of 2003, the runaway success of the iPod completely changed the landscape of the music and computer industry.
October 22, 1938
In a makeshift lab on the second floor of a rental house, Chester Carlson and his assistant Otto Kornei successfully invent the process that would lead to the photocopier. Carlson had written “10.-22.-38 ASTORIA” on a piece of paper and these became the historic words that were the first photocopied. Ironically, Kornei had so little faith in the invention that within a year he quit working for Carlson and willingly gave up any claims he had on the process. However, Carlson would later gift Kornei 100 shares of the Xerox corporation that would eventually be worth $1 million.
October 21, 1991
At the COMDEX computer expo in Las Vegas, Apple introduces the first line of PowerBook notebook computers, the PowerBook 100, PowerBook 140, and PowerBook 170. The first truly portable Macintosh, the PowerBook line redefined portable computing and set the bar for future laptop designs. For example, the PowerBooks were the first laptop to have a trackball positioned in front of the keyboard. Most existing PC laptops of the time ran DOS and were therefore keyboard-oriented, requiring the use of external mice.