Today in Geek History for May

May 3

1978- Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) sent a message to 600 west coast ARPANET users informing them of DEC's their new DECsystem-2020 which was "the world's lowest cost mainframe computer system." Could this have been our first instance of spam?

1984 - Michael Dell founds Dell Computer Corporation. Initially, he ran the PC company from his dorm room at the University of Texas. For many years. Dell, Inc. was the largest manufacturer of PCs in the world.

May 5

1940: Lance Hendrikson was born. This man can scare the daylights out of me. Because of him, I never want an android (not talking about the phone….have one of those). He also had a great series on FOX called Millenium in the late 1990’s. It was a spinoff of The X-Files.

1943: Michael Palin was, you may think, ‘What, he’s not sci-fi!’ Oh but he is, young Padawan. Three great movies of his: Brazil, Time Bandits, and Jabberwocky, all sci-fi.

1944: John Rhys-Davies was born. I loved him in Raiders of the Lost Ark and he had a great show called Sliders.

1961: NASA astronaut Alan Shepard is the first American in space when he makes a fifteen minute suborbital flight aboard the Mercury capsule Freedom 7. 

May 6

1937 - At 7:25pm at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, The German airship Hindenburg explodes as it is trying to dock with a mooring mast. The Zeppelin was destroyed in 34 seconds and 36 people lost their lives. This was the end of Zeppelins being used for travel.

2003 – Eve Online launched. The MMO space adventure was launched by CCP Games out of Reykjavik, Iceland. The difference of this game compared to others at the time was its use of player choice and decision to direct the motion of the game. It is still going strong and just celebrated another year of EVE Fanfest at the end of April.

AND, for those of you who love numbers:

1978 - On this day in '78, at 12:34, the numbers 12345678 represented the time and day: 12:34 5/6/78 on computer screens everywhere. This type of numerical event won't happen again until the year 2078.

May 7

1954: IBM announces the IBM 704 Data Processing System. This system brought with it the advent of FORTRAN and MUSIC. This is also the first mainframe to synthesize speech.

1967: Ralph Baer plays the first two player game. Fox & Hounds was a game consisting of a red dot (the fox) controlled by player one and three white dots (the hounds) controlled by player two. This led to the Odyssey and Ping Pong and Pong and Atari and….

May 14

1973: The US launched SkyLab One, the first manned space station. It was damaged on launch so the first 3 man crew to visit the station was also involved in the first "in-space" major repair. Several crews worked on board SkyLab before its failure and re-entry in to earth's atmosphere in 1979.

May 31

1985 - Apple Computer announced its corporate restructuring plan that flushed the Apple II and Macintosh divisions in favor of new marketing and manufacturing departments. Steve Jobs was also removed from his duties and was sent off to his new remote office that the insiders named "Siberia." His new title: "global thinker."

1991 - Sega released Zero Wing for the Sega Mega Drive. The game was never released in North America. It's claim to fame was its poorly translated scripting. "All your base are belong to us." is now widely known on the Internet as a popular meme. My personal favorites from the game: "Somebody set up us the bomb" "You have no chance to survive make your time"

1996 - Id Software released the PC game Quake. It was one of the first games to be played over the Internet. Quakecon is held every year in Dallas and sees thousands of gamers from all over the world attending the "Woodstock of gaming."

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