Events in Computing History – January

January 1


Event: Hewlett Packard founded

Interesting Facts:

  • Hewlett Packard, also known as HP, was originally founded by Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and so named after their surnames
  • Often people confuse HP as being linked with similar industry company Packard Bell. This is not the case and both companies are completely separate.
  • The company was founded in a single garage in Palo Alto, California, where it’s HQ still resides, albeit in fancier surroundings.

January 16


Event: Apple launch the Macintosh Plus

Interesting Facts:

  • The Macintosh Plus was the third Macintosh model to be released, at an introductory price of $2599
  • It was the first Mac model to contain an SCSI port, meaning users could hook up external devices such as tape drives and hard disks to the computer
  • It was also the first Mac that could run the System 7 OS


January 19

Year: 1983

Event: Apple launch the Apple Lisa

Interesting Facts:

  • The Apple Lisa was an advanced version of the previous Macintosh projects, and the final revision of Lisa (Lisa 2/10) was actually modified, rebranded, and sold as the Macintosh XL
  • Steve Jobs originally worked on the Lisa project, but was forced out in 1982 due to internal disagreements and joined the Macintosh team instead (still at Apple)
  • Working Lisa machines are rare, and those that exist are classed as collectors’ items.


Year: 1989

Event: Apple launch the Macintosh SE/30

Interesting Facts:

  • The Macintosh SE/30 was sold for 2 years, between 1989-1991, and was the fastest and most expandable of the original black and white compact series
  • The SE/30 made it into the TV series Seinfeld; main character Jerry had one sitting on his desk in the first couple of seasons
  • The code names for the SE/30 included Fafair, Roadrunner and Green Jade, whilst it was still in production

January 19

Year: 1984

Event: Apple launch the Macintosh 128K

Interesting Facts:

  • The Macintosh 128K was the first and original Macintosh computer and it was initially released as simply the “Apple Macintosh”.
  • It was succeeded by the Macintosh 512K and was then renamed the Macintosh 128K, to differentiate between the two.
  • It was introduced at $2495 and discontinued October 1985


January 26


Year: 1983
Event: Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program launched
Interesting Facts:

  • Lotus Software is now part of IBM and the 1-2-3 program was known as the IBM PC’s first “killer application”
  • “1-2-3” comes from the three core capabilities of the program as a spreadsheet, as well as offering basic database operations and integral graphing/charting
  • It was extremely fast, user friendly, and could also be used as a basic word processor (by justifying text ranges into paragraphs)


January 29

Year: 1980

Event: Sinclair ZX80 launched by Sinclair Research Ltd

Interesting Facts:

  • The Sinclair ZX80 was the first computer widely available in the UK that retailed at less than £100 in both kit and ready-made form; kit-form went on sale at £79.95, and ready-built at £99.95
  • The “X” in the name stands for the “mystery ingredient” that enhances its Z80 processor
  • The ZX80 ran on OS Sinclair Basic and was discontinued in 1981


January 30

Year: 1925

Event: Happy birthday Douglas Engelbart – inventor of the computer mouse

Interesting Facts:

  • Douglas Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon and died in Atherton, California, in July 2013 aged 88
  • The original computer mouse as designed by Engelbart was patented in 1970
  • The mouse was made from a wooden shell and had 2 metal wheels


Also in December…


Year: 2007

Event: Windows release Windows Vista and Office 2007

Interesting Facts:

  • Vista preceded Windows XP and was succeeded by Windows 7
  • Office 2007 was built into the Vista package and was met to generally positive reviews, unlike Vista itself, which was found to contain bugs that many felt should have been ironed out in the development process
  • Vista sales were ceased by Microsoft in 2010, and as of 2013 Vista holds a market share of approx. 5.24%


Year: 1985

Event: Commodore 128 released

Interesting Facts:

  • The Commodore 128 was the last machine Commodore Business Machines (CBM) released commercially. Due partially to strong competition in the personal computing market by IBM and Apple, the company went bankrupt in 1994
  • An “Easter Egg” was coded into the ROM on the Commodore 128 – typing “SYS 32800,123,45,6” in native mode made a list of the developers come up with the message, “”Link arms,don’t make them.”
  • The 128 preceded the Commodore 64 and was discontinued in 1989.


Year: 1994

Event: Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web launched, better known as Yahoo!

Interesting Facts:

  • The name “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web” refers to founders Jerry Yang, who resigned from the company in 2012, and David Filo.
  • The name was changed just 3 months after launch to Yahoo!, and the domain was created in January 1995
  • Yahoo! as a name has also been likened to the acronym “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” by founders Jerry Yang and David Filo

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