What Happened Today, February 18th

 
First ComputerLand Franchise Store Opens

Following the success of IMS Associates, Inc. at selling the IMSAI 8080 by mail-order and through independent dealers, IMSAI founder Bill Millard made the decision to launch a franchise operation of computer retail stores. Initially called Computer Shack, the first ComputerLand franchise store opened on South Street in Morristown, New Jersey, on February 18, 1977. The chain changed its name to ComputerLand shortly thereafter following a threatened lawsuit over similarities of the name to Radio Shack. ComputerLand became the largest computer retailer by the mid-1980s, peaking at approximately 800 stores in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Bill Millard sold his stake in ComputerLand following a management struggle in 1986 to retire to the island of Saipan. After a twenty year-long unsuccessful pursuit by tax authorities, Millard was located again in the Cayman Islands in 2011.

What Happened This Week

Eckert and Mauchly with the ENIAC
Eckert and Mauchly with the ENIAC
 
The ENIAC is Dedicated.

The formal dedication ceremony served to demonstrate the Moore School’s leadership in the field of electronic digital computers and the Army’s foresight in funding the project.

Six weeks after the dedication ceremony, Eckert and Mauchly resigned from the Moore School. Since they were unwilling to relinquish their patent rights to the EDVAC, the Moore School felt that their association with the University had to be severed.

 
Thomas J. Watson Sr. Is born

Thomas J. Watson Sr. is born. A shrewd businessman, Watson started his career as a cash register salesman, eventually taking the helm of IBM and directing it to world leadership in punch card equipment sales. Watson died in 1956 and control of IBM passed on to his son, Thomas Watson, Jr. who brought IBM into the electronic age and, after several bold financial risks, to dominance in the computer industry.

 
First ComputerLand Franchise Store Opens

Following the success of IMS Associates, Inc. at selling the IMSAI 8080 by mail-order and through independent dealers, IMSAI founder Bill Millard made the decision to launch a franchise operation of computer retail stores. Initially called Computer Shack, the first ComputerLand franchise store opened on South Street in Morristown, New Jersey, on February 18, 1977. The chain changed its name to ComputerLand shortly thereafter following a threatened lawsuit over similarities of the name to Radio Shack. ComputerLand became the largest computer retailer by the mid-1980s, peaking at approximately 800 stores in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Bill Millard sold his stake in ComputerLand following a management struggle in 1986 to retire to the island of Saipan. After a twenty year-long unsuccessful pursuit by tax authorities, Millard was located again in the Cayman Islands in 2011.

Alan Turing
Alan Turing
 
Alan Turing Presents the "Proposal for the Development in the Mathematics Division of an Automatic Computing Engine (ACE)"

This research proposal was presented to a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington, England, and approved at a second meeting held a month later.

Turing based this research on von Neumann’s "First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC." He had studied it in summer 1945 when he was recruited by J.R. Womersley to join the staff of the NPL.

 
The First Warrant Is Issued to Search a Computer Storage Device

The first warrant is issued to search a computer storage device. Although the requirements for obtaining such a warrant were similar to those for searching a home, they ushered in a new era that would lead to increasingly sophisticated methods of encryption to hide computer files from law enforcement agents.

Alan Turing
Alan Turing
 
Alan Turing Suggests Testing Artificial Intelligence with the Game of Chess

Computer pioneer Alan Turing suggests testing artificial intelligence with the game of chess in a lecture to the London Mathematical Society. Computers, he argued, must like humans be given training before their IQ is tested. A human mathematician has always undergone an extensive training. This training may be regarded as not unlike putting instruction tables into a machine, he said. One must therefore not expect a machine to do a very great deal of building up of instruction tables on its own.

 
Cox Enterprises Buys into Digital Domain

Cox Enterprises announces it was buying a one-third interest in Digital Domain, a computer-generated special effects company, in order to heighten the use of special effects in media. The deal reflected "another step in the rapid convergence of various computer, software, entertainment and media companies," The New York Times wrote.

 
BASIC Co-Inventor Thomas Kurtz Born

BASIC co-inventor Thomas Kurtz is born. With John Kemeny, Kurtz developed the easy-to-learn programming language for his students at Dartmouth College in the early 1960s. He said: "If Fortran is the lingua franca ... BASIC is the lingua playpen."