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This Day in Computer History
Inventor Lee de Forest ordered the first triode built to his specifications by the automobile lamp maker H.W. Candless. The triode, later known as the “audion tube," was a glass bulb with a wire “grid" pressed between an electrode plate and a traditional filament. The grid could regulate the flow of electrons between the filament and the anode plate, while the third element could amplify variations in whatever signal voltage was applied to the grid. The invention, which represented a major improvement on the the then-standard diode, would revolutionize electronics and pave the way to more sophisticated radios and early calculating devices.
Playboy brought a lawsuit against the administrators of the popular Rusty n Edie’s BBS, Russ Hardenburgh and Edwina Hardenburgh, in an Ohio District Court, alleging that the BBS hosted 412 images that infringed on the company's copyright. Hardenburgh would later be ordered to pay one of the steepest fines ever handed down in an Internet copyright infringement case, $310,000.
Toshiba announced that it would discontinue the Infinia line of desktop computers and withdraw from the consumer desktop market in the face of fierce market competition.
Microsoft Corporation chairman Bill Gates and his wife Melinda announced their intention to donate a record-setting twenty million dollars to the Seattle Public Library. It would be single largest contribution made to a public library in United States history.
The United States Department of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), recognizing the organization as “a new, not-for-profit corporation formed by private sector Internet stakeholders to administer policy for the Internet name and address system."
Novell released version 6.3 of the SUSE Linux operating system, one of the major retail distributions of Linux.
Intel released version 7.0 of its C++ Compiler.
Software developer Roxio acquired the assets and brand name of the once-infamous Napster network. The company would be re-branded to Napster 2.0 but would retain its well-recognized logo, and its service would be entirely rebuilt.
Famed hacked Jon Lech Johansen, who is known online by the handle “DVD Jon" for reverse engineering various data formats and their DRM technologies, publicly released a proof of concept application that would enable systems operating on Linux to play videos encoded with Microsoft’s proprietary WMV9 codec using VLC, one of the most popular free media players on the market. The hack is both a humiliation and financial blow to Microsoft, which had been marketing the codec to Hollywood distributors as a candidate for the industry's next DVD standard.