What Happened Today, January 30th

Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Engelbart
 
Douglas Engelbart Born

Doug Engelbart, best known for inventing the mouse, is born. Engelbart publically demonstrated the mouse at a computer conference in 1968, where he also showed off work his group had done in hypermedia and on-screen video teleconferencing. The founder of the Bootstrap Institute, Engelbart has 20 patents to his name. Engelbart died in 2013.

 
Two New Primes Found with SWAC

Using the Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC), researchers found two new prime numbers the first time they attempted a prime-searching program on the computer. Within the year, three other primes had been found. The National Bureau of Standards funded construction of the SWAC in Los Angeles in 1950 and it ran, in one form or another, until 1967.

What Happened This Week

Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System
Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System
 
Manufacturer Responds to Report of Poor Security in Electronic Voting Machines

Diebold Systems responds to a report submitted to the state of Maryland which revealed that their electronic voting machines had software security flaws that could potentially compromise election outcomes. The report, titled Response to: Department of Legislative Services Trusted Agent Report on Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System, recommended a number of corrective actions to fix security holes after an outside consulting firm successfully hacked into the voting systems under conditions similar to an election environment. Diebold allayed concerns over the flaws in their software and a spokesman stated that, "There is nothing that has not been or can't be mitigated" in “assuring the utmost security” for the upcoming March and future elections. In an ever more networked and computerized voting infrastructure, security, accuracy and transparency could play a key role in democratic elections.

Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Engelbart
 
Douglas Engelbart Born

Doug Engelbart, best known for inventing the mouse, is born. Engelbart publically demonstrated the mouse at a computer conference in 1968, where he also showed off work his group had done in hypermedia and on-screen video teleconferencing. The founder of the Bootstrap Institute, Engelbart has 20 patents to his name. Engelbart died in 2013.

 
Two New Primes Found with SWAC

Using the Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC), researchers found two new prime numbers the first time they attempted a prime-searching program on the computer. Within the year, three other primes had been found. The National Bureau of Standards funded construction of the SWAC in Los Angeles in 1950 and it ran, in one form or another, until 1967.

 
AT&T and VLSI Protect Against Eavesdropping

AT&T Bell Laboratories and VLSI Technology announce plans to develop strategies for protecting communications devices from eavesdroppers. The goal would be to prevent problems such as insecure cellular phone lines and Internet transmissions by including security chips in devices.

 
Sun Microsystems Starts Java Technology

Mike Sheridan, James Gosling, and Patrick Naughton of Sun Microsystems, Inc. start to develop Java technology. It grew out of a Sun project in embedded control called *7 (Star Seven). Naughton focused on Aspen graphics system, Gosling on programming language ideas, and Sheridan on business development.

 
Amelio Replaces Spindler as CEO of Apple

Gil Amelio is named CEO of Apple Computer, replacing Michael Spindler, whose management of the company in the previous three years had led to the layoff of 1,300 employees and severe financial losses. Amelio lasted about a year and a half in the position before leaving. Co-founder Steve Jobs replaced him and led Apple back into profitability with its iMac and G3 machines.

 
"Vaporware" Announced

Time magazine reports on frustrations with the slow development of software for use in the computer industry. Reporter Philip Elmer-DeWitt complained about delays in Microsoft Corporation's new Windows operating system, which had been delayed much longer than promised. Silicon Valley pundits had taken to calling such software "Vaporware," the magazine noted.

Ken Thompson (sitting) and Dennis Ritchie (standing) in front of a PDP-11 in 1972.
Ken Thompson (sitting) and Dennis Ritchie (standing) in front of a PDP-11 in 1972.
 
Ken Thompson Born

Kenneth Thompson, who with Dennis Ritchie developed UNIX at AT&T Bell Laboratories, is born. The UNIX operating system combined many of the timesharing and file management features offered by Multics, from which it took its name. (Multics, a projects of the mid - 1960s, represented the first effort at creating a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system.) The UNIX operating system quickly secured a wide following, particularly among engineers and scientists.