This Day in Computer History: September 11

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Christian Cawley
Published Sep 11, 2008
• Related Guides: Motorola | Apple | Computer History

Today marks the anniversary of the first successful remote computing project and the original suggestion to use emoticons. Read about these events and more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

This Day in Computer History


Dr. George R. Stibitz demonstrated the first example of “remote computing” in history. Having created the “Model 1 Complex Number Calculator” a year earlier, while at Bell Laboratories, he leaves the system in New York and travels to New Hampshire to install a teleprinter. From the teleprinter, attendees of the American Mathematical Society of Dartmouth College enter equations over the phone lines which are calculated remotely before their solutions are returned to the astounded audience. Transfer of data took about one minute.


The United States Secret Service conducted a sting operation code-named “Operation Cybersnare,” which results in the arrest of six people and the seizure of at least 20 systems across several states. The evidence behind the sting was collected through the dummy bulletin board system (BBS) “Celco 51,” which was set up and operated by the United States Secret Service to identity brokers.

Twenty-two year old Golle Cushing, better known by the webhandle “Alpha Bits,” is arrested for brokering stolen cell phone data and credit card numbers.


Motorola announced that it would abandon the Macintosh market, due to an ability to negotiate licensing with Apple Computer for the Mac OS. Motorola also announced that it would not ship its expected StarMax 6000 systems.


Mindspring Enterprises enters into an agreement to acquire Sprynet's customer base and assets from America Online for thirty-five million dollars. AOL acquired Sprynet with CompuServe Interactive Services in February 1998.


The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the report ”Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: A Review of Self Regulation and Industry Practices in the Motion Picture, Music Recording and Electronic Gaming Industries.” The study concludes that children are a target of the entertainment industry for advertising campaigns promoting violent games and movies. The topic of the report was picked up and examined by national media and will be a presidential campaign issue.


Following an extensive search, the original post in which Scott Fahlman first suggests the use of emoticons in online forums on the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science message board is retrieved by Jeff Baird from an October 1982 backup tape. The original post read: 19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman : - ) From: Scott E Fahlman I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers: : - ) Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use : - (


The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City receives its one millionth visitor, Elizabeth Rodriguez. She receives a prize to commemorate the milestone. It included an Apple ProCare membership, iPod, iPod Hi-Fi, and a MacBook.

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