Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category
Today is an auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs. It’s the day he quit Apple and also the day he returned.
Jobs resigned as chairman of Apple Computer on September 16, 1985, after losing a boardroom battle for control of the company with then-CEO John Sculley.
Jobs had co-founded Apple about eight years earlier with his hacker friend Steve Wozniak.
A pair of teenagers, the two Steves had little idea how to grow the hot company at the dawn of the soon-to-be-giant PC industry.
Jobs helped recruit Sculley from Pepsi-Cola, where Sculley had shown a genius for lifestyle advertising. The pair ran Apple as co-CEOs but fell out and took their differences to the board. Though a visionary, the board decided Jobs was too volatile for the lead role. So he quit.
On the same day he resigned, Jobs submitted incorporation papers to the California secretary of state for the name of his new company, NeXT Computer.
NeXT was Jobs’ revenge. Jobs founded NeXT with the express purpose of running Apple into the ground. NeXT would develop computers that were far better than anything Apple could offer, and Apple would soon be out of business.
NeXT never did put Apple out of business, and for the next 10 years just barely survived itself. It did, however, produce a fantastic operating system, NeXTStep, which many praised as ahead of its time.
In December 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $400 million. It wanted NeXTStep to form the basis of a new, modern operating system, one that didn’t crash every time Netscape Navigator was launched.
Jobs came on board as an informal adviser to then-CEO Gil Amelio. But within months, the board fired Amelio after Apple suffered one of the biggest quarterly losses in Silicon Valley history.
Jobs was initially reluctant to take a role at Apple. His other company, Pixar, had just released its first movie, Toy Story, to great acclaim. But he soon found himself putting in more time at Apple, working hard to whip it into shape.
On September 16, 1997, Apple announced that Jobs had officially been named interim CEO, or — as the company cleverly put it — iCEO.
It’s been a long while since I updated my Unusual Trivia page, so today I added four new entries for your reading enjoyment:
- In Michigan, it is illegal to chain an alligator to a fire hydrant.
- It is against the law to whale hunt in Oklahoma.
- Jim Morrison (of the 60’s rock group The Doors) was the first rock star to be arrested on stage.
- Sir Thomas Crapper, attributed to inventing the flush toilet, was a nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
Of course you can view lots of other funny trivia and useless knowledge by visiting my Planet Sean unusual trivia page.
If you know any fun and unusual trivia not already listed on my site, let me know. I’m always looking for fun nuggets of sliced fried gold.
This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life… Just further proof that beauty pageants are as retarded as the contestants. Go South Carolina…
I have watched this a few times and it just gets funnier and funnier. I am running out to the store right now to buy maps in South Africa and in Iraq.
December 31, 1999: The world braces for chaos as midnight approaches. Will computer systems crash when the calendar switches over to 2000?
Although the answer turned out to be “no,” and the so-called Y2K crisis never materialized, the potential for disaster seemed real enough in the days and weeks leading up to the final day of the 1900s. Fears within the computer industry and the resulting media frenzy it produced certainly helped to fan the flames.
The problem, as some saw it, was that older computers still being used for critical functions might break down when the date switched from 99 to 00, since the numeric progression convention, programmed to store data using only the last two digits of any given year, wouldn’t recognize the logic of a century change.
As far as these computers were concerned, it would be 1900, not 2000. How much data might be lost as the result of this 100-year miscalculation was the great, unanswered question.
Y2K fears were real enough to make governments around the world take remedial action before the event, which had the unintended benefit of actually strengthening the existing computer infrastructure.
Systems were upgraded or, when they couldn’t be replaced, were given additional backup. Billions of dollars were spent fixing the original source code in older computers.
If the threat was real — and there are still plenty of people around who say it was — then the precautions paid off. If Y2K was a form of mass paranoia — and plenty of people believe that, too — then a lot of money was wasted.
As for the midnight switchover itself, 1999 passed into history with barely a whimper. A few glitches were reported here and there, but nothing catastrophic occurred.
The industry would be in crisis soon enough, but as January 1, 2000, dawned, nobody saw that one coming yet.
Before the word “hacker” was wrongly associated with vandalistic script kiddies and mischievous virus writers, it was used to describe an underground culture.
This underground culture was made up of professional engineers and basement tinkerers obsessed with improving computer technology through unconventional, simple, yet brilliant tricks.
Out of this early 1960s hacker culture grew an offshoot of technological anarchists, otherwise ordinary nerds with an irrepressible desire to provoke and prod the establishment. Their exploits made them hacker gods and in some cases unexpected inmates.
1878: Young male switchboard operators at Bell telephone purposefully misdirect phone calls and listen in on the hilarious results. Bell only hires female operators from henceforth.
1961: MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club receives its first PDP-1 computer, which it adopts as its toy of choice. The early members of the TMRC evolve a culture and slang all their own.
It’s at MIT that the term “hacker” is believed to have been born. TMRC understood hacking as inventing a quick, elegant fix for a complex problem without damaging or affecting the greater system.
1969: Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at Bell Labs create the crowning achievement of ’60s-style positive hacking: Unix.
The new operating system allows many different programmers to access a computer’s resources at the same time. Unix also works on different, competing computer platforms, which are plentiful in 1969.
The US Department of Defense develops ARPANET (now the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency), the first high-speed computer network connecting universities, research laboratories, and defense contractors.
For the first time, disparate hacker groups from MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and elsewhere can mingle and collaborate over a transcontinental network. The result is a deepening of hacker culture, lingo, and lifestyle.
- Read the Jargon File, the definitive hacker document from the ARPANET days.
1971: John Draper, aka Cap’n Crunch, discovers that the free whistle given away in Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes can be used to gain free access to phone networks.
The whistle produces a perfect 2,600-MHz tone, the exact audio wavelength needed to fool the phone company’s multifrequency system into giving him a free dial tone. The practice becomes known as “phone phreaking” or just “phreaking.”
- Read the original article on phreaking from Esquire Magazine, October 1971.
- Read Cap’n Crunch’s reaction to the article.
1971-1972: Berkeley engineering students Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Bill Klaxton contact Draper and ask to learn the ways of the blue box, the small, electronic tone device Draper invented to phreak phone networks.
Always the prankster, Wozniak’s first phreaked call is to the pope. Against Draper’s advice, Wozniak builds some blue boxes of his own and sells them for $150 a pop.
Some of the money earned from this illegal scheme is used to fund one of Wozniak’s side projects with Jobs, a personal computing venture that would become Apple Computer.
- Read Draper’s account of his first meeting with Woz.
May 1972: Draper is arrested for phone phreaking and sentenced to four months in California’s Lompoc prison, where he teaches fellow inmates the ins and outs of hacking Ma Bell.
- Read Draper’s account of his Lompoc hacking classes.
1980: Usenet is born, networking Unix machines over slow phone lines. Usenet eventually overruns ARPANET as the virtual bulletin board of choice for the emerging hacker nation.
1982: As hacker culture begins to erode, losing some of its brightest minds to commercial PC and software start-ups, Richard Stallman starts to develop a free clone of Unix, written in C, that he calls GNU (for “Gnu’s Not Unix”).
The purest strains of old-school hackerdom are believed to survive in Stallman’s free software movement.
- Author Steven Levy chronicles the evolution of “the hacker ethic” in his groundbreaking book, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.
1983: The movie WarGames launches a popular — if misconstrued — image of hackers headfirst into the mainstream media. Amateur interest in hacking explodes.
It’s around this same time that the term “hacking” begins to be widely applied to criminal computer behavior, confusing the original meaning of hacking forever.
Today is my birthday, so it’s going to be a mellow day.
I’ve been working many hours night and day including weekends, so today I’m taking a day for myself.
I share a birthday with a couple famous musicians:
- Elvis Presley – East Tupelo, Mississippi, USA
- David Bowie – Brixton, London, England, UK
I think it completely rocks that I share a birthday with “the king of rock and roll” and also David Bowie.
Speaking of David Bowie, what is he considered in the music world?
As an added bonus, there are also some World famous events that have taken place on this day in different years as well:
1790 – George Washington delivers the first “State of the Union Address” address in New York City.
1958 – Fourteen-year-old Bobby Fischer wins the United States Chess Championship.
1973 – Watergate scandal: The trial of seven men accused of placing bugs in Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins.
1977 – Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched.
1982 – AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions.
1987 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 8.30 to close at 2,002.25 which was The Dow’s first close above 2,000.
So there you go, my annual “happy birthday to me” post with some added value for my trivia friends and readers… and now off to eat cake!