This Day in Computer History: September 13

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Christian Cawley
Published Sep 13, 2008
• Related Guides: Microsoft | IBM | Computer History

Today marks the anniversary of the first computer to use a hard drive. Read about it 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


IBM introduced the IBM 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control), which was the first commercial computer to feature a magnetic disk storage system (hard drive). The drive was introduced on September 4th. It featured a series of fifty separate two-sided twenty-four inch diameter disks or “platters” with 5 MB capacities, each operated by an arm and a read/write head capable of transferring data at a speed of 8,800 characters per second. Because of the disk system, the RAMAC marks a revolution in computing. It was the first business machine specifically designed to provide real time accounting capabilities.


Control Data introduced the Control Data 110 microcomputer, capable of serving as an online workstation for time-sharing systems. Price: US$4,995


Universal Pictures released Fast Times at Ridgemont High, directed by Amy Heckerling, to U.S. theaters. In the film, actor Sean Penn was cast as Jeff Spicoli, an avid teenage surfer who frequently used such slang as “awesome” and “radical." The terminology leaves an impression on American youth, but online, among the BBS and young Internet communities, the terms become overnight sensations, used by users of all ages. It's one of the earliest examples of a shift in culture being recorded on the web for academics to observe. It demonstrates not only the webs early capacity for disseminating culture, but also the early intertwining of technical and popular cultures. Shot on a budget of four and a half million dollars, the film will gross $2,545,674 domestically in its opening weekend. (Rating: R) Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins


After it proved unable to sell its ground-breaking Osborne I, the first portable computer, the Osborne Computer Corporation declared bankruptcy. The epic failure of the venture, especially in light of computers' popularity through the remainder of the decade, became legendary. The entire incident was dubbed "Osborneing." The Osborne I, a twenty-four pound, $1,795 system featuring extensive software, a five-inch display, 64KB of memory, a modem, and two 5¼-inch floppy disk drives, was an infamous flop, but the company will re-emerge from bankruptcy and even briefly rise to prominence in 1985 when the company released the Osborne Vixen.


Steve Jobs informed John Sculley that five of Apple's employees would resign their positions to assist Jobs in founding his new company.


A hacking group called "Hacking for Girlies” defaced the homepage of the The New York Times website, expressing anger over the arrest and imprisonment of Kevin Mitnick and the publicity surrounding Mitnick's arrest thanks to Times reporter John Markoff. Just a few weeks later, two of the groups members will create a media sensation by claiming during an interview with Forbes magazine that the group launched the attack just because they were bored and couldn’t agree on what video to watch. The incident perfectly embodies the stereotype that all hackers are bored kids, and the media will take the stereotype and run it into the ground.


3Com Corporation publicly revealed plans to spin Palm Computing into its own company.

Corel Paint Shop Pro 6.0 is released for Windows.

The infamous muck-racking news site The Drudge Report was defaced by the “United Loan Gunmen”.


Apple Computer released a public beta version of Mac OS X and projected that the final version, 1.0, will be released in early 2001. Rather than giving the beta version away for beta-testing, it's sold for thirty dollars a disk. Despite the hefty price tag, one hundred thousand copies of the software will be sold.


Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) released Fermi Linux 7.3.1. It's heavily based on Scientific Linux.


Adobe Systems released Dreamweaver 8 for personal computers.


Microsoft won what it claimed to be the largest single civil judgment against a spammer in Europe after Paul Fox was fined forty-five thousand pounds ($83,000) and ordered, on penalty of contempt, to no longer send spam through Hotmail. The case alleged that Fox breached Hotmail’s terms and conditions of service, rather than attempting to prosecute him under the 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, which was widely considered to be a weak piece of legislation. The terms of service read, in part, “You may not use any [Microsoft] Services to send Spam. You also may not deliver Spam or cause Spam to be delivered to any of Microsoft’s Services or customers.” Fox was promoting a pornographic website and reportedly messaged some addresses over two hundred and fifty times a day.

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