Archive for November 2017

Toy Story Changes the Movies

Toy Story (1995)November 22, 1995

Walt Disney Pictures releases the Pixar Animation Studios production Toy Story, the first major motion picture that is created completely by computer-generated animation. A breakthrough film, Toy Story set the standard for all future computer animated films to follow and catapulted Pixar into a household name.

The Birth of the Internet

c-Arpanet_610x405November 21, 1969

A little less than a month after the first test message was sent, the first permanent link on the ARPANet is established between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute. As the ARPANet was the foundation of the modern Internet, this connection can now be considered the very first link of what we now know as the Internet.

Windows 1.0 Ships

Windows 1.0 AdNovember 20, 1985

Two years after initially being announced, Microsoft finally ships the first version of Windows. Originally slated to be shipped in April of 1984, the long delay caused skeptics to began to accuse Windows of being “vaporware”. Due to the relatively high demands of then-current PC technology, Windows 1.0 was generally considered too slow to be usable. It wasn’t until Windows 3 that the operating system began to generate significant sales.

Amazon Ignites the Kindle

original-amazon-kindleNovember 19, 2007

Amazon introduces their Kindle e-book reader. Where other companies had released e-book readers in previous years with limited success, the Kindle’s integration with Amazon’s industry leading book distribution system helped catapult the e-reader into the the mainstream consciousness. The Kindle sold out within five hours of its debut.

Nintendo Releases Wii

600px-Wii-ConsoleNovember 19, 2006

Nintendo releases the Wii game console to compete with the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. By forgoing raw computing power for increased player interaction utilizing the innovative motion-sensitive “Wiimote” controller, the Wii defied expectations and became the best-selling seventh-generation game console.

Telephones Get a Push

A push-button TouchTone phone from 1963. Note the * and # keys are not included, as they were not introduced until 1968.

A push-button TouchTone phone from 1963. Note the missing * and # keys. They were not introduced until 1968.

November 18, 1963

Bell Telephone offers the first electronic push-button telephones to customers in Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) technology (Touch-Tone) was also introduced on the same day in order to accommodate the new push-button telephones.

Computer Mouse Patented

computer_mouse_patentNovember 17, 1970

Douglas Engelbart receives US patent 3,541,541 for his “X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System”, more commonly known as the computer mouse. Engelbart called his device a “mouse” because the cord looked like a tail. The mouse was first prototyped in 1964, but wasn’t demoed until 1968, and was not included with a commercial computer until the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1981. Apple first brought the mouse to a personal computer with the Lisa in 1983. However the mouse did not become ubiquitous until after 1984, when Apple’s Macintosh popularized the device.

Prototype of the first mouse

The prototype of the first mouse

Steve Jobs Writes a Letter

Macintosh-vs-McIntosh

A Macintosh by any other name …

November 16, 1982

Steve Jobs writes a letter to McIntosh Labs asking for rights to use “Macintosh” as the brand name of Apple’s still-in-development computer. McIntosh Labs makes high-end stereo equipment, and while Jef Raskin, creator of the Macintosh project, intentionally spelled the name with a letter “a” to differentiate Apple’s computer from McIntosh’s audio products, Apple was denied a trademark because the name was phonetically identical. Since the Macintosh team had become attached to the name, Steve Jobs wrote the letter hoping to get permission or a licensing arrangement. Gordon Gow, president of McIntosh Labs visited Apple headquarters for a product demonstration after receiving the letter. However, McIntosh lawyers advised Gow to rejected the request. It wasn’t until March of 1983 that Apple secured a license for the name Macintosh. In 1986 Apple wholly acquired the trademark for an undisclosed “substantial” amount of money.

Vacuum Tube Invented

Fleming_valvesNovember 16, 1904

John Ambrose Fleming applies for a US patent on what he called the “oscillation valve“, the first example of the vacuum tube. Vacuum tubes would form the basis of electronic technology for nearly 50 years until the development of the transistor. Fleming’s invention has been described as one of the most important developments in the history of electronics.

The Dawn of the Microprocessor

1971_4004_AD_Electronics_News_MagazineNovember 15, 1971

An advertisement in the magazine Electronic News announces the Intel 4004, the first commercially available microprocessor. The 4004 was primarily used in calculators, the first being the Busicom 141-PF. In fact, it was Busicom that actually developed the design of what would become the Intel 4004. Busicom approached Intel to help them finalize the design and manufacture their “calculator engine”. Intel’s engineers reduced the 12 integrated circuit design Busicom had come up with to 4 ICs and delivered the finished product in January 1971. Busicom had exclusive rights to that design until later in that year, when Busicom and Intel renegotiated their contract with Intel lowering their prices to Busicom in exchange for rights to the design of the microprocessor.

By offering the first general-purpose programmable processor to the general market, Intel spurred the rapid development of electronic devices in the 1970s, culminating in the development of personal computers during that decade. However, Intel wasn’t the clear leader in the microprocessor market until the IBM PC and clones helped catapult Intel to that title in the 1980’s.