March 27, 1976
Bill Gates gives the opening address at the First Annual World Altair Computer Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gates was still a student at Harvard but along with Paul Allen helped develop the version of the BASIC language sold with the Altair computer.
March 26, 1999
The first e-mail virus to cause widespread damage and one of the fastest spreading viruses in history, Melissa was released into the wild on an early Friday morning and within three days would infect between 100,000 and 250,000 computers around the world. While the virus did not directly cause any damage, the sheer volume of e-mail that it generated crashed many corporate *cough* Microsoft *cough* e-mail servers.
March 24, 2001
Mac OS X 10.0, the first public version of Mac OS X, is released. The code name for this release was Cheetah, although Apple did not start using the code names for marketing purposes until Mac OS X 10.3, Jaguar.
March 23, 2001
The Russian space station Mir burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere after fifteen years in orbit. The debris that isn’t burned up falls safely into the Pacific ocean between Chile and New Zealand, in a region from which governments had routed planes and ships away. The station, which was launched in 1986, far exceeded its intended lifespan of five years.
March 22, 1960
The first patent on a laser is issued to Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes, who assign it to Bell Telephone Laboratories. Still, no one has figured out how to attach these “lasers” to the heads of sharks. Throw me a frickin’ bone here!
March 21, 2006
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first (non-automated) tweet:
A note to future entrepreneurs: when doing the “first” of anything, it may be for posterity so try to be interesting. Kthnx.
March 20, 2005
Yahoo acquires the company Ludicorp along with its popular photo-sharing site Flickr. It is reported that Flickr currently hosts more than 5 billion photos.
March 19, 1986
The domains ibm.com and sun.com come online. These domains are considered the 11th and 12th oldest domains in history.
March 18, 1974
Atari Introduces Gran Trak 10. It is the first arcade game to use solid state read-only memory (ROM) to store sprites for each car, the game timer, the race track, and the score. As such, it’s the the first game to have defined characters rather than mathematically manipulated dots. The game’s controls, which include a four-position gear shifter, a steering wheel, and two foot pedals, are also all firsts for arcade games.