This Day in History (20-Nov-1985) – Microsoft ships Windows 1.0

In 1975, two young computer enthusiasts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft began small, but had a huge vision—a computer on every desktop and in every home. In June 1980, they hired Gates’ former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to help run the company. The next month, IBM approached Microsoft about a project code-named “Chess.” In response, Microsoft focused on a new operating system—the software that manages, or runs, the computer hardware and also serves to bridge the gap between the computer hardware and programs, such as a word processor. They named their new operating system “MS‑DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System).” When the IBM PC running MS‑DOS shiped in 1981, it introduced a whole new language to the general public. Typing “C:” and various cryptic commands gradually became part of daily work. People discovered the backslash (\) key.

MS‑DOS was effective, but also proved difficult to understand for many people. Microsoft worked on the first version of a new operating system. Interface Manager was the code name and was considered as the final name, but Windows prevailed because it best described the boxes or computing “windows” that were fundamental to the new system. Windows was announced in 1983, but it took a while to develop. On November 20, 1985, two years after the initial announcement, Microsoft shiped Windows 1.0. Now, rather than typing MS‑DOS commands, one just moved a mouse to point and clicked your way through screens, or “windows.” Bill Gates said, “It is unique software designed for the serious PC user.” There were drop-down menus, scroll bars, icons, and dialog boxes that made programs easier to learn and use. One was able to switch among several programs without having to quit and restart each one. Windows 1.0 shiped with several programs, including MS‑DOS file management, Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, and a calendar, card file, and clock to  manage day-to-day activities. There was even a game—Reversi.

Windows 1.0 was a flop comapred to Macintosh, as described by many critics. But it also was the embodiment of a technology vision which created a tech empire.

Reference:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows/history#T1=era0

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows/history#T1=era1

http://www.cnet.com/news/windows-1-0-the-flop-that-created-an-empire/

This Day in History (14-Jul-1995) – A revolutionary new technology is christened “MP3”

The importance of MP3 is made clear by some straightforward arithmetic. The music on a compact disc is encoded in such a way that a single second corresponds to approximately 176 KB of data, and a single three-minute song to approximately 32MB. In the mid-1990s, when it was not uncommon for a personal computer to have a total hard-drive capacity of only 500MB, it was therefore impossible to store even one album’s worth of music on the average home computer. And given the actual connection speed of a then-standard 56K dial-up modem, even a single album’s worth of music would have taken literally all day to transfer over the Internet.

Over the course of the early 1990s, several teams of audio engineers worked to develop, test and perfect the standard that would eventually gain the blessing of Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), a working group of the International Standardisation Organisation ISO. Their approach took advantage of certain physical and cognitive characteristics of human hearing, such as our inability to detect the quieter of two sounds played simultaneously. Using a “perceptual” compression method, engineers were able to eliminate more than 90 percent of the data in a standard CD audio file without compromising sound quality as perceived by the average listener using standard audio equipment.

Known formally as “MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3,” the technology in question was an efficient new format for the encoding of high-quality digital audio using a highly efficient data-compression algorithm. The brand-new MP3 format was given its name and its familiar “.mp3” file extension on this day in 1995. The very next year Worldspace Radio chose mp3 for audio coding. Suddenly, that digital copy of your favorite pop song took up only 2-3 MB on your hard-drive rather than 32MB, which in combination with the growth in average drive capacity and the increase in average Internet connection speed created the conditions for both the rampant, Winamp- and Napster-enabled copyright infringement of 1999-2000 and for the legal commercial distribution of digital music via the Internet.

 

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-revolutionary-new-technology-is-christened-quotmp3quot

http://www.mp3-history.com/