Today in Geek History for April

April 1

1930: Grace Lee Whitney who played Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek was born.
1976: The Apple Computer company was formed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Ronald sold his shares and left the company 11 days later because he had the most to lose if the company crashed. He went back to Atari and never looked back.

2004: Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta service. It's invitation-only status in the beginning gave it a mystique of coolness.

April 2

1914: Sir Alec Guinness AKA Obi-Wan Kenobi was born. May the Force be with you!
1978: The patent for Velcro expired and soon the world was covered in it. Heck, ZZ Top sang a song about it!  
1987: IBM releases the PS/2. This 386 system had a 3.5 floppy. The Model 80 had a 20 MHz 386 processor (blazing speed) and you could get a 115MB hard drive! The cost ranged between $7,000 and $10,000...that takes some of the sting out of today's prices!

April 3

1973: The first cell phone call was made from a handheld device on a New York City street. Don't you miss those old "brick" phones?
1981: The Osborne 1 was unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire as the first portable computer. It weighed 24 pounds, had a 5 inch display and 2 floppy disc drives. It's cost was $1,795.
1982: Atari released Pac-Man for the VCS and promoted the day as Atari National Pac-Man Day.

April 6

1955: Michael Rooker was born. Darn it! He made me actually like Merle in The Walking Dead.
1965: COMSAT launched the first communications satellite. It was named Early Bird and built by Hughes Aircraft. Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey) was the first to dream up satellites. In 1945 he wrote a short article describing the use of manned satellites to distribute television programs.
1968: The major theatrical release of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This film taught me to fear my computer.

April 7

1927: The first long-distance television transmission of Herbert Hoover was sent to a Manhattan auditorium.

1964: IBM unveiled the System/360 line of mainframe computers. It was called the 360 because it was meant to serve all sizes and types of customers with one unified software-compatible architecture.

1969: The first Request For Comment (a memo describing the construction of what was to become the internet) was distributed on the newly operational ARPANET.

April 8

1953: “Man in the Dark” was the first 3D motion picture released by a major studio. “House of Wax” was soon to follow.

1959: The Department of Defense called a meeting to define the objectives for a new Common Business Language now known as COBOL. By 1997 there were approximately 200 billion lines of COBOL in existence which ran 80% of all business programs. Most programming in COBOL is now purely to maintain existing applications.

1991: Sun Microsystems began Project “Green” using its “Oak” programming language. Later, this grew into Java. Wow, I feel old….I consider Java a new school language and COBOL an old school language even though Java is 24 years old.

April 9

1959: NASA publicly announced the first seven astronauts who became known as the “Mercury Seven.”

1954:  Dennis Quaid was born. He played the part of Gordon Cooper in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff. This movie was about the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base and the seven military pilots who were selected to be the “Mercury Seven.” Did you see how I tied that together?

April 10

1929: Ming the Merciless was born. Ok, his real name is Max von Sydow and he scared the living daylights out of me as kid in many of the parts he played. And yes, I am a Flash Gordon fan.

1943: Work began on the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). Its main purpose was to compute “firing tables” for artillery shells in WWII; however, the machine wasn’t complete until 1946. Before ENIAC, women called “computers” worked in large groups at mechanical desktop calculators (not TI scientific calculators) doing the same job.

April 14

1912: The sinking of the Titanic brought about the Radio Act of 1912. This was sort of the early 20th century’s version of texting while driving. Because the radio man on board the Titanic was busy relaying passengers’ personal messages and retrieving stock market information, the iceberg warnings were delayed.

1958: Peter Capaldi was born. He is the 12th and current Dr. Who.

April 15

1977: The first West Coast Computer Faire begins. This began the era of the personal computer. Showcased at the event was the Apple II, the Commodore PET, and the Radio Shack TRS-80.

Geeky/SciFi birthdays of mention:

1926: Cloris Leachman - I loved her as Frau Blucher (did you hear those horses?) in Young Frankenstine and she was quite entertaining in Lake Placid II.

1975: Johnny Galecki of Big Bang Theory

1981: Kunal Nayyar of Big Bang Theory

April 18

1983 - The Osborne Executive killed the Osborne 1 star. Okay, it's not as catchy as the Buggles' hit song that launched MTV, but it's early and my Earl Grey green tea hasn't kicked in yet. This is the computer that sunk the Osborne Computer Corp. and created the so-called Osborne Effect. Because rumors of this computer were leaked earlier in the year, dealers all cancelled their orders for the Osborne 1. With their cashflow destroyed, they were forced into bankruptcy. They clearly weren't poker players.

1986 - IBM becomes the first computer manufacturer to use a processor capable of storing a million bits (1 MB) of information. This chip is released in the IBM 3090. We've come a long way, baby!

April 21

1988: Rise of the Clones: the Tandy Corporation (of RadioShack fame) announced it would be marketing IBM PS/2 clones.

1989: Nintendo released the original GameBoy in Japan. I wasted a lot of time in college playing my GameBoy. I bet you did, too. Ah, youth

April 29

1978: Tyler Labine was born. He is one of our favorite actors. If you haven't already seen Tucker & Dale VS. Evil then that is your assignment for this weekend. He also has some series on Hulu Plus (Deadbeat, Reaper & Sons of Tuscon) that are all pretty funny.

2004: The Sasser worm is released into the wild. It ended up infecting over 1 million Windows computers. IT people worldwide pulled their hair out everytime they got the call: "Yeah, Umm, my computer says it's shutting down in 55 seconds and everything is going to be lost."

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