This Day in Computer History: September 8

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Christian Cawley
Published Sep 8, 2008
• Related Guides: Microsoft | Star Trek | Computer History

Today marks the anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek and the release of the first practical microcomputer. 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


The NBC network premieres the sci-fi series Star Trek beginning with the episode “The Man Trap.” The series will only run for eighty episodes and will be almost universally condemned by critics, but it will develop an infamously devoted cult following that will eventually create a demand for the series that will grow into a multi-billion dollar media franchise. Ironically, the series, which will be derided for its wild technical inaccuracies will become the driving force behind the development of dozens of technologies, including artificial intelligence, cell phones, handheld computers, and holography.


Micro Computer Machines introduces the MCM/70 personal computer, featuring an Intel 8008 processor, 8KB RAM, a plasma screen, one or two cassette drives, a keyboard, and 14KB ROM. It's one of the very first microcomputers available anywhere, one of the earliest systems to be shipped to consumers pre-assembled, the first portable (or, more accurately, "luggable") computer on the market, and arguably the first practical (that is to say non-hobbyist) microcomputer. However, despite its historical significance, it will be a commercial flop that will largely be overlooked by everyone but future historians. Price: CDN$4,500 Weight: 20 pounds.


Microsoft releases software on a CD-ROM for the first time. The release is Microsoft Bookshelf, a collection of ten popular reference publications: The collection includes: The American Heritage Dictionary, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, and Roget’s Thesaurus.


Microsoft officially changes the name its operating system, code-named “Chicago,” to “Windows 95.”

Richard D. Kenadek, age 46, of Millbury, Massachusetts, pleads not guilty to charges that he pirated some fifty pieces of computer software while acting as sysop of popular Davy Jones Locker BBS. The plea marks the beginning of one of the most significant piracy cases in U.S. history.


America Online (AOL) announces that it will sell ANS Communications to WorldCom in exchange for control of the Interactive Services Division of CompuServe, the oldest ISP in the U.S., and $175 million in cash. Bertlesmann AG will jointly operate CompuServe's European division and WorldCom will retain CompuServe's Network Services (CNS) global division. AOL also signs a five-year service contract with Worldcom, Inc. for capital in exchange for the development of new online content.


Franklin releases the Rex Pro, otherwise known as the “REX 5,″ a handheld computer featuring 512KB RAM, an LCD screen, six navigation buttons, a docking station, and a PC Card slot. Price: US$229.95.


Apple Computer announces that it has sold its ten millionth song through its iTunes Music Store.

Apple Computer expands the capacity of its third-generation iPods. The 15GB model's capacity is expanded to 20GB and the 30GB model's capacity is expanded to 40GB.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) files a suit against 261 individuals, including a twelve year old U.S. schoolgirl, for distributing music files over peer-to-peer networks.


The VeriSign Naming and Directory Service (VNDS), which is responsible for managing U.S. internet domains, begins updating its thirteen .com/.net name servers in real-time, rather than twice daily.


Corel releases Paint Shop Pro 10, a bitmap and vector graphics editor for Windows, branded as “Corel Paint Shop Pro X.”

Kurt M. Brink, age 25, of Portland, Maine, pleads guilty to charges of conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement in the first case of its kind prosecuted in Maine. The felony charge is punishable with up to five years in prison. December 12th, he will be sentenced to three years of probation, three hundred hours of community service, and six thousand dollars in fines. Brink was arrested during Operation Safehaven, a fifteen-month investigation by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (”ICE”) into those affiliated with the "warez scene."


Nathan Peterson, the former administrator of iBackups, is sentenced to a record-setting seven year prison sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement in December. The second longest sentence for software piracy was twenty-two months. Peterson is also ordered to pay restitution of US$5,402,448, roughly eight times the former average infringement penalty of US$659,000. iBackups allegedly sold an estimated twenty million dollars worth of pirated software as “backup software” for use in case of system crashes.

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