Tech Time Warp: Long Live the Computerized Bulletin Board System

Posted by Kate Johanns on Feb 17, 2017 12:00:00 PM

What did you do on your last snow day? Watch Netflix in your pajamas? Next time the weather is bad, remember Ward Christensen and Randy Suess, who spent the Great Blizzard of 1978 developing plans for the first Computerized Bulletin Board System (known as a CBBS, or, more commonly, as a BBS). Christensen and Suess launched their creation on Feb. 16, 1978, using a computer, a modem, and a phone line.

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Tech Time Warp: Hooray for Hollywood—and the Cinématographe

Posted by Kate Johanns on Feb 10, 2017 10:30:00 AM

With the 89th Academy Awards just two weeks away, it’s only fitting to recognize brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière, who patented the name “Cinématographe” in France on Feb. 13, 1895. The Cinématographe improved upon Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, a motion picture viewer; the Lumière brothers’ three-in-one invention could not only record film but also develop and project it.

The lucrative Lumière family business was the production of photographic plates—Louis had invented a dry plate process for developing film—so it was only natural that father Antoine would attend an exhibition of the Kinetoscope in Paris. Fascinated by what he saw, Antoine issued his sons a challenge: Develop an alternative to the Kinetoscope, which could only be viewed by one person at a time.

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Tech Time Warp: The Truth About the Polygraph

Posted by Kate Johanns on Feb 3, 2017 11:00:00 AM

We cannot tell a lie: The polygraph has a fascinating history.

On Feb. 2, 1935, Leonarde Keeler had his first opportunity to use a polygraph in a criminal trial. Keeler had devoted nearly a decade to perfecting the machine—first invented by his mentor John Larson—before putting it to the test before a jury.

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Tech Time Warp: Steve Jobs Lets the Macintosh Out of the Bag

Posted by Kate Johanns on Jan 27, 2017 10:00:00 AM

You might not immediately think of January 1984 as a period of sweeping change, but since that’s when we were introduced to both modern computing as we know it and blockbuster Super Bowl commercials, you probably should. We have one man to thank: Steve Jobs, of course.

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Tech Time Warp: Wikipedia Celebrates Sweet Sixteen

Posted by Kate Johanns on Jan 20, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Internet juggernaut Wikipedia turns 16 this week, and it’s a website that’s truly come of age. Launched Jan. 15, 2001, Wikipedia is the fifth-most visited site worldwide and the sixth most-popular website in the United States, according to Alexa. (Page one search results on Google can’t hurt.)

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Tech Time Warp: Patent Issued for Spalding Adding Machine – 1874

Posted by Kate Johanns on Jan 13, 2017 11:20:00 AM

Despite our teachers’ valiant efforts, most of us rely on calculators for even basic computations—and we can thank inventors such as Cyrus G. Spalding for preventing us from many math-induced headaches. On Jan. 13, 1874, Spalding received his first patent for the Spalding Adding Machine, also known as the “Surprise Adder.”

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Tech Time Warp: Happy 20th birthday, flip phone!

Posted by Kate Johanns on Jan 6, 2017 11:00:00 AM

There was life before the smart phone, remember? Hard to believe it today, but once upon a time, we all flipped for the flip phone, which turns 20 this week. The Motorola StarTAC attracted consumers with its lightweight clamshell design—perfect for slipping into pockets and closing with dramatic flair.

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Tech Time Warp: Y2K hysteria

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 30, 2016 9:37:00 AM

Making New Year’s resolutions might be easy, but keeping them can be pretty difficult. In fact, out of the 45 percent of Americans who make resolutions, only 8 percent successfully achieve them. Ready or not, the countdown to the New Year has begun.

As this year wraps up, we thought it would be interesting to look at some technical bugs that have popped up around New Year’s Eve. Yep, you guessed it, this Tech Time Warp looks at the Y2K bug — and what bugs the future might bring.

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Tech Time Warp: The GIF that keeps on giving

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 23, 2016 12:37:00 PM

It’s the season of GIFs! Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, this is the GIF that keeps on giving—and no, we don’t mean that Yankee Swap gift that seems to show up every year. This Tech Time Warp offers a brief history of GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format), as well as a few of our favorite GIFs in the office.

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Tech Time Warp: Spam Act was signed

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Dec 16, 2016 11:51:00 AM

Opening your inbox every day might feel like a chore as  you sift through the very long list of newsletters and coupons and can’t-miss deals sitting there waiting for you—or it might scare you as you try to dodge the latest cyber threat or phishing attack. With hundreds of emails flooding our inboxes every week, it’s safe to say the situation has gotten out of control.

Whether you can relate to this email nightmare or are delighted to see new emails arrive in your inbox—one thing that we can all be grateful for is the SPAM Act. December 16 marks the 13th anniversary of this act being signed. The law, which was put into effect a few weeks later in January 2004, limited businesses and organizations from sending unsolicited emails to people who have opted out.

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