January 23, 2003
The last successful contact was made with the spacecraft Pioneer 10, one of the most distant man-made objects in the universe. Pioneer 10 is heading in the direction of the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus at roughly 2.6 AU per year. If Aldebaran had zero relative velocity, it would take Pioneer 10 about 2 million years to reach it.
January 23, 1996
The first version of the Java programming language was released. The ability of Java to “write once, run anywhere” made it ideal for Internet-based applications. As the popularity of the Internet soared, so did the usage of Java.
January 22, 1984
Apple Computer broadcasts their now-famous “1984” commercial introducing the Macintosh, during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. It was the first and last time the ad was truly broadcast. However, it is a little-known piece of trivia that the ad was aired one other time at 1 AM on December 15, 1983 in Twin Falls, Idaho, but only so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year. A 30-second version also ran in theaters starting January 17, but it was the broadcast during the Super Bowl that people really took notice of.
I was 9 years old then and I vaguely remember seeing the commercial, but I also remember being more interested in watching the Raiders beat the Redskins at that time. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually recalled the commercial. Yet when I recalled it, it was as if I remembered that commercial all along. I guess even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I somehow knew that moment truly was changing the world.
January 21, 1976
Commercial service of the Concorde begins with the London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes. The only commercial supersonic jet, the Concorde could travel between New York and London in about 3.5 hours. The Concorde flew commercially for 27 years until being retired on November 26, 2003.
January 20, 1999
The Happy99 worm first appeared. It invisibly attached itself to emails, displayed fireworks to hide the changes being made, and wished the user a happy New Year. It was the first of a wave of malware that struck Microsoft Windows computers over the next several years, costing businesses and individuals untold amounts of money to resolve.