Pin Me

This Day in Computer History: October 29

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/31/2008

Today marks the anniversary of the development of the first 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.

  • slide 1 of 1

    This Day in Computer History


    Willigot T. Odhner patented one of the earliest calculating machines capable of performing multiplication by means of repeated additions. The device was a modified version of Gottfried von Leibniz's earlier, ground-breaking stepped wheel.


    A team at IBM developed the world's first hard drive under the leadership of Reynold B. Johnson. The first hard drive is a component of the IBM 305 or "RAMAC" (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control). It had a 5 MB capacity and was composed of 50 twenty-four inch disks which spun at a speed of 1,200 rpm. The cost of the device equated to roughly ten thousand dollars per megabyte, and IBM leased the system to customers for $3,200 per month.


    Maxtor Corporation released its DiamondMax line of hard drives, which featured 5.1 GB capacities.

    Microsoft Chairman William Henry Gates III and CEO Steven Ballmer donated twenty million dollars to their former college, Harvard University, for the construction of a new computer science center. Twenty years earlier, Gates dropped out of the college to found the software giant, Microsoft, and went on to become the richest man in the world. Ballmer graduated from Harvard in 1977 before becoming the twenty-fourth employee at Microsoft. The facility that would be built with their donation was the “Maxwell Dworkin” center. The name of the center was derived from the maiden names of the two donors' mothers, Beatrice Dworkin Ballmer and Mary Maxwell Gates.

    Sun Microsystems launched its Java Enterprise platform and announced the release of its JavaStation network computers.


    IBM released the first computer in its Aptiva line. The first computer featured an IBM 300 Performance MMX CPU, a 3.2 GB hard drive, 32 MB RAM, a CD-ROM drive, and a modem. The system also came bundled with the Lotus SmartSuite. With the system's release, IBM became the first major U.S. computer manufacturer to offer a full computer system for under six hundred dollars. Price: US $599.


    Brad Silverberg, one of Microsoft's senior vice presidents and product managers, resigns his position after nine years with the company. He had managed the development of the company's Windows 3.1 operating system and the company's Internet client group through its rise to global prominence as the world's most successful software developer.


    Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Microsoft officially released the Media Center PC, a line of computer that featured HP computer equipped with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, infrared ports for remote controls, DVD drives, and digital video recorders. The systems are designed for video-intensive users.