February 17, 2000
Microsoft introduces the latest version of the Windows NT line of operating systems, Windows 2000. While Windows 2000 did bring plug and play to the Windows NT line, it was targeted to the business market and not the consumer. It was not until Windows XP that Microsoft merged the NT line with the Windows 95/98 line. Unfortunately, Microsoft unleashed Windows ME upon unsuspecting consumers in the meantime. Sigh.
February 16, 1984
IBM introduces the IBM Portable Personal Computer, an early portable computer. It featured a 4.77MHz Intel 8088 processor, 256KB RAM, a 9 inch amber monitor, a 5.25″ floppy drive, and the DOS 2.1 operating system. It weighed 30 pounds and cost $2,795. Try setting that on your lap.
February 16, 1978
The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois). BBS systems were where a lot of us were first introduced to the concept of e-mail, years before the Internet went mainstream. OK, maybe not “a lot” of us. Just the geeky ones. In the time before computers were cool. Computers are cool now, aren’t they?
February 15, 1946
ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer, was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania. It was one thousand times faster than electro-mechanical computing machines of the time, an increase in computing power that no machine has since matched.
February 14, 1946
The much-anticipated ENIAC is unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania. Considered the first fully electronic computer (as compared to electro-mechanical designs) ENIAC calculated 5,000 operations per second — 1,000 times faster than its contemporaries. ENIAC occupied over 1,500 square feet of space, weighed 30 tons, and used 18,000 vacuum tubes. However, it couldn’t get YouTube.
February 13, 2009
Unix time passed 1,234,567,890 seconds at exactly 23:31:30 (UTC). Hey, geeks gotta have a reason to party too!
February 13, 1980
Apollo Computer is incorporated in Chelmsford, MA. From 1980 to 1987, Apollo was the largest manufacturer of network workstations. In 1989, Hewlett-Packard Company acquired Apollo in a $476 million deal.
February 12, 2001
Jan de Wit sends out an email stating that it is a picture of the famous tennis player Anna Kournikova. Rather than being a picture of the Russian known more for her looks than her play (although she was ranked as high as #8 in the world in singles and #1 in doubles), it was a malicious script that tried to send itself to every address in a user’s address book and e-mail inbox (Windows users only, of course). The malware was so efficient, it was known to be spreading twice as fast as the “Love Bug” virus that devastated corporate networks a year earlier. The moral of the story is that men are easily manipulated.
February 10, 1996
World chess champion Garry Kasparov loses a game to the computer Deep Blue during a match set up using standard championship rules. This was the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion using these rules (although chess computers had been kicking my butt since the 1980’s). Kasparov went on to defeat Deep Blue 4-2 during this match. However, he lost to Deep Blue a year later, marking the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion in a match.