Events in Computing History – December

December 2nd


Year:
1991

Event: Apple QuickTime was first released

Interesting Facts:

  • The first ever release of QuickTime, which introduced a video codec, had the code name of “Road Pizza”.
  • QuickTime 2.0 was the only ever software which didn’t release a free version, it added support for music tracks, which contained the equivalent of MIDI data and which could drive a sound-synthesis engine built into QuickTime itself (using a limited set of instrument sounds licensed from Roland).
  • The latest version of QuickTime is 10.6, which includes visual chapters, conversion, sharing to YouTube, video editing, capture of video and audio streams, screen recording, GPU acceleration, and live streaming.

December 3rd


Year:
1924

Event: Happy birthday to John Backus – director behind the FORTRAN programming language team

Interesting Facts:

  • The programming language, FORTRAN, was created by John Backus in April 1957.
  • FORTRAN was made for the use of IBM computers from the 50s up until the early 80s.
  • FORTRAN is a syllabic abbreviation derived from, The IBM Mathematical Formula Translating System.

 

December 9th

Year: 1968

Event: The first NLS computer system was released

Interesting Facts:

  • NLS was designed by Douglas Engelbart and implemented by researchers at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).
  • NLS is an abbreviation of “oN-Line Systems, it was a revolutionary computer collaboration system from the 1960s.
  • The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.

 

Year: 1987

Event: Windows 2.0 was first released

Interesting Facts:

  • The first versions of Word and Excel ran on 2.0.
  • Paint, Clock, Calendar, Calculator & MSDOS were also introduced with the release of 2.0
  • Windows 2.0 preceded Windows 1.0 and was succeeded by Windows 2.1x

 

Year: 1991

Event: High Performance Computing & Communication Act of 1991 passed (The Gore Bill)

Interesting Facts:

  • The High Performance Computing Act of 1991 (HPCA) was often referred to as the Gore Bill.
  • The long term title of HPCA is An Act to provide for a coordinated Federal program to ensure continued United States leadership in high-performance computing.

 

December 12th


Year:
1927
Event: Happy birthday to Robert Noyce – Co-founder of Intel & Fairchild Semiconductor
Interesting Facts:

  • Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. was first founded in 1957, it was a pioneer in transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing. After it was bought by Schlumberger and sold to National Semiconductor, Fairchild was spun out as an independent company again in 1997.
  • Robert Norton Noyce was given the nickname “the Mayor of Silicon Valley” for his invention on the integrated circuit which fuelled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

 

December 13th

 

Year: 1816

Event: Happy birthday to Werner von Siemens – founder of Siemens

Interesting Facts:

  • Siemens was first founded on October 1st 1847, Based on the telegraph, his invention used a needle to point to the sequence of letters, instead of using Morse code.
  • Siemens was thought of as a good soldier, receiving various medals, and inventing electrically-charged sea mines, which were used to combat a Danish blockade of Kiel.
  • Apart from the pointer telegraph Siemens made several contributions to the development of electrical engineering and is therefore known as the founding father of the discipline in Germany. He built the world’s first electric elevator in 1880.

 

November 16th

 

Year: 1955

Event: Happy birthday to Burrell Smith – he designed the original motherboard for the Macintosh computer

Interesting Facts:

  • Smith was working at Apple Computer as the 282th employee hired by the company when he designed the motherboard which was then used in the original Macintosh.
  • He went on to co-found Radius Corp with Andy Hertzfeld, Alain Rossmann, Matt Carter and Mike Boich. Radius Corp is a computer hardware firm specialising in Macintosh equipment and peripherals, and is now called Digital Origin Inc.
  • Smith also designed the motherboard for the LaserWriter and in total 5 different motherboards in the time he was with Apple.

 

December 17th

 

Year: 1997

Event: The term “weblog” was first used by Jorn Barger

Interesting Facts:

  • Barger started his Robot Wisdom site in February 1995, publishing essays and resources on James Joyce, AI, history, Internet culture, hypertext design, and technology trends. Announcements of plans for a future “hardcopy edition” of Robot Wisdom for purchase began appearing at the foot of some of the site’s pages.
  • Barger has been an active Usenet participant since 1989, with “nearly ten thousand postings” to his credit.

 

December 18th

 

Year: 1944

Event: Happy birthday to Stan Shih – founder of Acer

Interesting Facts:

  • Shih was born in Taiwan and attended the National Chiao Tung University where he received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Electronics Engineering
  • He is currently the president and chairman of Acer, a position he was reinstated to in November 2013 after he retired in 2004
  • Shih was the Special Representative of President Chen Shui-bian to the APEC Australia 2007 series of political meetings.

 

Year: 1987

Event: Perl programming language v1 was released to the comp.sources.misc newsgroup

Interesting Facts:

  • “Perl” is reported to stand for “Practical Extraction and Reporting Language”, but this has never been confirmed and Perl is not officially an acronym for anything.
  • Larry Wall, who designed and developed Perl, has said the name refers to the “pearl of great price”, from Matthew 13:46
  • The latest stable release was in May 2013 and is named Perl 5.18

 

December 22nd

 

Year: 1905

Event: Happy birthday to Tommy Flowers – he designed the Colossus, the world’s first electronic, programmable computer

Interesting Facts:

  • Flowers was born in Poplar, London and undertook an apprenticeship at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich in mechanical engineering.
  • Flowers first became involved with the codebreaking in February 1941, at the age of 36
  • Flowers was the first winner of the Martlesham Medal in 1980.

 

December 24th

 

Year: 1930

Event: Happy birthday to Pier Giorgio Perotto – he designed the Programma 101

Interesting Facts:

  • The Programma 101 was the first commercial “desktop computer”.
  • It was launched at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, volume production started in 1965. A futuristic design for its time, the Programma 101 was priced at $3,200 ($23,000 if adjusted to 2011).
  • The Programma 101 was able to calculate the basic four arithmetic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), plus square root, absolute value, and fractional part. Also clear, transfer, exchange, and stop for input.

 

Year: 1990

Event: Initial release of the first ever web server, CERN httpd

Interesting Facts:

  • CERN httpd was presented initially in San Antonio at the Hypertext 91 conference and formed part of the CERN Program Library
  • The browser later became known as W3C httpd

 

December 25th

 

Year: 1990

Event: The first ever web browser, named the WorldWideWeb browser, was released

Interesting Facts:

  • The WorldWideWeb browser was later renamed Nexus, to avoid confusion with the Internet being referenced as the “world wide web”
  • It was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, who is best known as the inventor of the internet, the “world wide web”
  • The browser was discontinued in January 1994 and was in use for 3 years.

 

December 26th

 

Year: 1791

Event: Happy birthday to Charles Babbage, the “father of the computer”

Interesting Facts:

  • Charles Babbage invented the first mechanical computer, forming the basis of the modern systems we use today
  • There has been confusion around the year in which Babbage was born, as his obituary published in the Times stated 1792, but his baptism was actually recorded in January of 1972, which wouldn’t add up unless he was born a year earlier.
  • Half of Charles Babbage’s brain is on display at the Science Museum, London. The other half has been preserved and is held at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons.

 

December 27th

 

Year: 1943

Event: Happy birthday to Butler Lampson, the founding member of the Xerox PARC

Interesting Facts:

  • Lampson is also credited as being the first person to present a vision of a personal computing system
  • He currently works for Microsoft Research; his career to date also includes roles with MIT and Project GENIE at UC Berkley
  • Xerox PARC is a research and development company based in California. It is a divison of the Xerox Corporation, hence the name.

 

December 28th

 

Year: 1969

Event: Happy birthday to Linus Torvalds, the principal force behind the Linux Kernel

Interesting Facts:

  • Torvalds was born in Helsinki, Finland and was named after Linus Pauling
  • His first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 and from this he went on to modify a Sinclair QL and write a Pac-Man clone (Cool Man).
  • Torvalds holds many awards and accolades, including the EFF Pioneer Award, the Vollum Award and the C&C Prize by the NEC Corporation in 2010.

 

Also, in December 1992, the MacWWW (aka Samba) was released – the first web browser for the Mac OS platform. MacWWW was classed as a minimalist browser and was also the first for any non-Unix OS.

 

 

Image Credit:

http://images.apple.com/au/quicktime/download/images/icon_qt_big_20100406.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Xerox_Alto_mit_Rechner.JPG

http://toastytech.com/guis/win203logo.gif


One thought on “Events in Computing History – December”

  1. Dennis Patrick

    This series covers many of the major milestones in computer history (but not all of them) with a concentration on the history of personal home computers.

    Reply

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