This Day in Computer History: September 19

Written by:  Pipedreamergrey • Edited by: Rebecca Scudder
Updated Sep 20, 2008
• Related Guides: Apple Computer | Computer History | Operating System

Today marks the anniversary of the first use of Emoticons. Read 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 :-)


Research Professor Scott E. Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University posted the landmark suggestion that users on the local bulletin board use symbols, which would later become known as emoticons, to express emotions during discussion threads. The idea would spread like wildfire, but its origin would be lost for the better part of two decades, until the original post was retrieved by Jeff Baird from the October 1982 server backup tape. The now-famous 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 : - (


Apple Computer released the Macintosh IIx. The system featured a 16MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, a 16MHz Motorola 68882 FPU, either 1MB or 4MB of RAM (upgradeable to 128MB), a 1.4MB SuperDrive, and an 800KB floppy drive. It was the first system to feature the DOS-compatible SuperDrive, which will become one of the line’s key features, as it increasing the system's ability to inter operate with PC systems. The IIx also features the premiere of the System 6.0.1 operating system. Code-name: Spock and Stratos Price: $7,769 or $9,300 (40MB hard drive)


AT&T acquired NCR, a technology manufacturer specializing in retail systems, for $7.4 billion.


The thirty-five thousand-word anti-technology manifesto written by the much-publicized Unabomber was published in the The New York Times and the Washington Post, under threat of the bomber.


Apple Computer released the System 7.5.5 Macintosh operating system.

Microsoft released Windows NT version 3.51.1057 SP5, an update to the Windows NT 3.51 operating system, the last version of Windows able to operate on an Intel 80386 CPU.


The website of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is deface by the hacking group “The United Loan Gunman”.


The programming language Ruby 1.6.5 was released.


Microsoft acquired Alacris, a relatively unknown developer of identity and access management applications, and adopted its primary software product as Microsoft’s Active Directory.


Apple released an updated version of its fifth generation iPod. The update features a brighter screen, gapless playback, redesigned earphones, a search feature, and support for iPod games. The 60GB capacity models were upgraded to an 80GB capacity, and the price of both models were reduced by fifty dollars, to $249 (30GB) and $349 (80 GB), respectively.

Microsoft began testing its new video-sharing service, Soapbox, which the company hopes will compete with the popular YouTube website.

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