» Archive for December, 1999

19XX Milestones

Thursday, December 30th, 1999 by Jonathan Spira and David Goldes

With everyone else paying attention to Y2K, the analysts at The Basex Group have had time to reflect on the great changes which have taken place since 1900, when electricity and telegraphy were first entering the popular consciousness.

In tribute to those years beginning with “19″, we have researched what we decided to name «19XX Milestones» and present these herewith:

1907 – THE VACUUM TUBE. Lee De Forest patented the triode electron tube, and made possible the amplification and detection of radio waves.  He also originated radio news broadcasts in 1916.

1947 – THE TRANSISTOR. Physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William B. Shockley invented the transistor, a solid-state amplifier of electrical current which performed electronic functions similar to the vacuum tube in a radio or television, but which was far smaller and consumed much less energy.  The transistor became the foundation for all modern electronic devices, including today’s microchip technology.

1968 – THE CARTERPHONE DECISION. The FCC established the right of telephone company customers to connect their own equipment to the public phone network if the customer-provided equipment would do no harm to the network.  The Carterphone itself was a two-way radio transceiver attaching to a standard telephone via an acoustic coupler.  The Bell System had prohibited the use of this device, leading to the filing of a complaint and the Carterphone decision.

1969 – THE ARPANET. The Department of Defense had commissioned the Arpanet as research into networking.  The first packet over the ur-Internet was sent by Charley Kline at UCLA as he tried to log into a system at SRI.  [The first login attempt resulted in a system crash as the letter G of LOGIN was entered.]

1981 – THE IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER. IBM introduced its personal computer, based on off-the-shelf components, opening up the era for open systems, end-user computing and Microsoft, which supplied the machine’s first disk operating system.

1984 – THE DIVESTITURE OF AT&T. The court-mandated breakup of the Bell System led to a revitalization of the telecommunications industry, in services and equipment, setting the stage for a communications revolution.

Jonathan B. Spira is the CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.  David M. Goldes is president of Basex.