IETF Meets For the First Time

Internet Engineering Task ForceJanuary 15, 1986

This day is the first meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force. According to the IETF’s web site, “The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.” I’m sure this sounds boring to you, but if it wasn’t for them you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now!

The Birth of Video Games

Ralph BaerJanuary 15, 1968

Ralph Baer, generally considered the father of the video game industry, applies for a patent on a TV game system he designed. This patent eventually leads to the Magnavox Odssey, the first home video game machine. Ralph Baer is also well-known for many other products such as the electronic game SIMON.

Steve Jobs Goes on Hiatus

Steve Jobs - 2008January 14, 2009

An internal Apple memo from Steve Jobs announced that he would be taking a six-month leave of absence, until the end of June 2009, to allow him to better focus on his health and to allow the company to better focus on its products without having the rampant media speculating about his health. It was later revealed that he required a liver transplant.

Probe Lands on Titan

Huygens ProbeJanuary 14, 2005

The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe lands on Saturn‘s moon Titan. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.

First Car Built on Assembly Line

Model-T FordJanuary 14, 1914

The first car to be built on an assembly line was completed today, a Model-T Ford.

Bill Gates Steps Aside

January 13, 2000

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates steps aside as chief executive and promotes company president Steve Ballmer to the position. Gates would stay on as “chief software architect” until June of 2008 before finally giving up day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft. Gates is still Microsoft’s chairman of the board.

Friday the 13th Virus Gets Brits

January 13, 1989

The “Friday the 13th” virus strikes hundreds of IBM computers in Britain. This is one of the most famous early examples of a computer virus making headlines. Over twenty years later, while other companies have systems that are practically immune to virues, Microsoft still hasn’t been able to develop a solution to prevent viruses from infecting their systems.

First Public Radio Performance

January 13, 1910

The first public radio broadcast takes place; a live performance of the opera Cavalleria rusticana is sent out over the airwaves from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Adding Machine Patented

January 13, 1874

The U.S. Patent Office issues a patent for the Spalding Adding Machine. The precursor of calculators and computers, mechanical adding machines could do simple arithmetic and were popular in businesses until supplanted by computers in the 1960s.

Apple Posts Major Loss

January 12, 1996

Apple Computer announces that it will post a US$68 million first quarter loss. It also announces a restructuring plan to reduce the company by a thousand employees. This event leads to the resignation of Apple CEO Michael Spindler, who is replaced by Gil Amelio. Gil Amelio eventually purchases Steve Jobs’ company, NeXT, which leads to the development of Mac OS X as well as the return of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO.