Tech BackSpace: Pop Culture Consumer Tech & Internet History
Fascinating Facts & News For The Week Of August 8
Dateline 1962 – High Tech – Stanford University scientists announced the transmission of microwave signals on a beam of light. They say a single coherent (laser) light beam could carry 100 million television programs at once. Modulating the laser with a microwave radio signal made sense, but the problem up until now, was at the receiving or demodulating end.
Dateline 1964 – Some trends in high-fidelity equipment recently seen at an electronic parts show in Chicago . More transistors are being used instead of tubes in pre-amps and amplifiers…More modular equipment – separate AM/FM receiver, turntable. Also, walnut seems to be a big favorite for speakers and components. Also seen – miniature tape recorders. The Norelco Carry Corder 150 is an example. It’s an all-transistor unit about the size of a small cigar box. It uses a new type of cartridge with two tiny reels or spools of tape (later to be named cassette cartridge or just plain cassette ). The cartridge plays for 30 minutes on each side at 1 7/8 inches per second. Priced at $150.00 with carrying case, remote-control microphone and four cartridges.
Dateline 1992 – The FCC votes to expand the radio station ownership rules from 12 AM and 12 FM stations to 18 AM and 18 FM stations – increasing to 20 on each band in two years..
Dateline 2001 – After a complaint from Kodak – Microsoft says it will make it easier for users of its upcoming Windows XP operating system to work with digital photography software from Kodak and others
Dateline 2007 – Facebook has doubled its users from a year ago – some 132.1 million worldwide.
Dateline 2011 – After eight years in business, the Walmart Music Downloads Store located at mp3walmartdotcom will close on August 28, 2011. All content in the Store will be disabled and no longer available for download from the store.
Six Months Ago – Kodak is exiting the digital camera business and it will instead license its brand name to other camera manufacturers.
Tech BackSpace: Pop Culture Consumer Tech & Internet History
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Dateline August 1, 1957
For home movies – Bell & Howell’s new 8mm electric eye movie camera! – Uses the energy of light to set its own lens – you get perfect exposures without even thinking…
August 1, 1971…
The FCC sends Congress a 57-page explanation on the expansion of Cable-TV (CATV) in urban areas. CATV (Community Antenna or Cable Television) has been a province mainly in rural areas, but it can potentially give viewers far more programs then they can receive on regular “over-the-air” TV. Under the rules, any cable system must carry all the local stations being broadcast. The heart of the cable-controversy is the number of additional television signals a cable system can broadcast from out of town – usually received by microwave. The FCC specifically prohibits a cable station from circumventing local sports “blackouts” by broadcasting a local pro game on an out of town station. Clearly the industry needs out of town programs to be able to attracted new subscribers.
August 1977 -
Radio Shack announces it will be offering a microcomputer called the TRS-80. It was the first of its kind – and the most popular computer for years to come. And, it would have an amazing influence on folks such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
August 1, 1982 -
1982 – News –RCA’s videodisc player – discs are 12 inches and there about 270titles now – including – Jane fonda’s workout…
August 1, 1983 -
AT&T Will Breakup – The American telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) agrees to relinquish its familiar “Bell” name as part of its divestiture plan. The reorganization of AT&T ends lengthy and costly proceedings that began in November 1974 when the Justice Department filed its initial antitrust suit against the company. The divestiture plan requires AT&T to give up ownership if its 22 local operating telephone companies which will combine into seven new regional phone companies. AT&T gets to keep its long distance service, Bell Telephone Labs and Western Electric Co. The seven companies will get to use the Bell name and the seal, which dates back to 1889.
August 1, 1994 – The FCC unveils a plan to stem the abuses after receiving 2,000 complaints in the first six months of this year involving 800 number charges – mostly for adult- oriented served carried on 800 numbers. Virtually all 800 numbers are toll-free – unless the company, taking advantage of an exception in a 1992 law, somehow got the caller’s permission for the charge. Unlike 900 numbers which are toll numbers – 800 numbers cannot be blocked by the head of a household.
August 2005 – Yahoo says it plans to launch a program that automatically places relevant advertising on blogs and other Web pages. Google is doing the same thing, so Yahoo is sort of catching up here…
Six Months Ago In Tech History – Facebook announces it is going public –and will begin selling its stock sometime in the Spring. It should be the most anticpated IPO in a long time.
The Apple IIc, the fourth model in the Apple II series of personal computers, was Apple Computer’s first endeavor to produce a portable computer. The result was a 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) notebook-sized version of the Apple II that could be transported from place to place. The c in the name stood for compact, referring to the fact it was essentially a complete Apple II computer setup (minus display and power supply) squeezed into a small notebook-sized housing. While sporting a built-in floppy drive and new rear peripheral expansion ports integrated onto the main logic board, it lacked the internal expansion slots and direct motherboard access of earlier Apple IIs, making it a closed system like the Macintosh. However, that was the intended direction for this model — a more appliance-like machine, ready to use out of the box, requiring no technical know-how or experience to hook up and therefore attractive to first-time users.
Yahoo! Inc. was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 1, 1995. On January 13, 2009, Yahoo! appointed Carol Bartz, former executive chairman of Autodesk, as its new chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors. On September 6, 2011, Bartz was removed from her position at Yahoo! by chairman Roy Bostock and CFO Tim Morse was named as Interim CEO of the company. On January 4, 2012, Scott Thompson, former President of PayPal, was named the new chief executive officer. On May 13, 2012, Scott Thompson was replaced by Ross Levinsohn as the company’s interim CEO. On July 16 2012, former Google executive Marissa Mayer was named as Yahoo! CEO and President, effective July 17. Yahoo has averaged one CEO a year for the last five years.
StarTAC was unveiled in North America on January 3, 1996. Then the smallest cell phone available, this AMPS phone was an immediate success. Successor TDMA and CDMA StarTACs were equally popular. GSM models were available in North America through Powertel, VoiceStream and other early GSM carriers. StarTACs remained popular until the early 2000s, appearing in many Hollywood movies of the period such as 8mm starring Nicolas Cage. Many MicroTAC owners switched to this particular model due to its compact size and light weight. During its initial launch, magazine ads for the phone would include an actual size cardboard rendition that could be pulled from the page to demonstrate the diminutive nature of the device.
The Motorola StarTac mobile phone was introduced at the price of $1000.
Atari 2600 four-switch “wood veneer” version, dating from 1980-1982
The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. The first game console to use this format was the Fairchild Channel F; however, the Atari 2600 receives credit for making the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public.
The console was originally sold as the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System. Following the release of the Atari 5200, in 1982, the VCS was renamed “Atari 2600″, after the unit’s Atari part number, CX2600. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game—initially Combat and later Pac-Man.
The Atari 2600 was wildly successful, and during much of the 1980s, “Atari” was a synonym for this model in mainstream media and, by extension, for video games in general.
The Atari 2600 was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York in 2007. In 2009, the Atari 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN, who cited its remarkable role as the console behind both the first video game boom and the video game crash of 1983, and called it “the console that our entire industry is built upon.”