Voyager 2 Flies By Uranus

Voyager SpacecraftJanuary 24, 1986

The interplanetary probe Voyager 2 makes the first fly-by of the planet Uranus. During its study of Uranus, it finds 10 previously undiscovered moons.

Macintosh Launched

The Original Macintosh ComputerJanuary 24, 1984

Apple Computer, Inc. launches the Macintosh computer with a demonstration of the computer in front of 3,000 people. While the Apple Lisa was the first commercial computer with a graphical interface, the Macintosh would bring graphical computing, and computing in general, to “the rest of us”, as Apple’s early slogan for the Macintosh claimed. While not as commercially successful as Microsoft’s DOS and later Windows, there is no doubt that the innovations of the Macintosh pushed the entire computing industry ahead and continue to do so to this day.

Microwave Oven Patented

Microwave Oven Patent PictureJanuary 24, 1950

The original microwave oven patent was issued to Percy LeBaron Spencer under the title “Method of Treating Foodstuffs.” Five years earlier, Spencer accidentally discovered that microwave energy could heat food when a chocolate bar in his pocket melted while he was experimenting with a microwave tube. Microwave tubes were originally designed for RADAR systems.

Last Contact with Pioneer 10

Pioneer 10January 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.

Java Released; Coffee Drinkers Confused

Java LogoJanuary 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.

First Bridge Over the Mississippi River

Hennepin Avenue Bridge 1865January 23, 1855

The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.

1984 Commercial Introduces the Macintosh

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.

First Lunar Module Test Launch

Apollo 5 EmblemJanuary 22, 1968

Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first unmanned Lunar module into space.

First TV Station West of Mississippi

KTLAJanuary 22, 1947

KTLA, the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River, begins operation in Hollywood, California. Bob Hope emceed the inaugural broadcast. A total of 322 televisions are in the Los Angeles viewing area.

Twitter.com is Born

Twitter LogoJanuary 21, 2000

The domain name twitter.com was registered. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that the domain was purchased by Twitter, Inc. and took the form we know today.