by Daniel J. Horgan

Memories of Black Monday, Gutenberg

Feb 01, 20033 mins


In 1988, the SEC openly blames computer trading as a major cause for Black Monday, the colossal 22.6 percent stock market crash on Oct. 19, 1987. Analysts point the finger at automated computer systems programmed to order large stock trades triggered by market trends. Two days later, the New York Stock Exchange drafts stringent rules for electronic trades.


IBM loosens its tie in 1995. Newly installed Chairman Lou Gerstner, the former chief at R.J.R. Nabisco, undoes decades of IBM policy by announcing that workers no longer have to wear the long-standing company uniform (white shirt, black tie) to work.

Johannes Gutenberg, the father of modern-day book publishing, dies in 1468. Almost 20 years earlier, Gutenberg turned the world upside down by creating the movable type printing press. Books were then produced at a more rapid pace, and texts once stored solely in libraries or universities could now be found in the home of the common man.


After a two-year FBI manhunt, hacker extraordinaire Kevin Mitnick is arrested in Raleigh, N.C., in 1995. Mitnick faces a 23-count federal indictment before a plea bargain drops all but one of the charges against him. He ends up serving eight months in jail for illegally using access numbers to break into several computers. It’s his third trip to prison.


Go humans! After losing the first game just a week earlier, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov comes back to defeat Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing supercomputer, and end the six-game match in 1996. Kasparov won three games, Deep Blue won one, and there were two draws. IBM’s king-capturing Kasparov-killer failed this time but was tinkered with and wheeled in one year later when it officially beat the chess wiz. This marked the first time a machine checkmated a human player of such caliber in a match setting.


President Ronald Reagan awards the first National Medal of Technology to the two Steves?Wozniak and Jobs?in 1985 for their work developing the personal computer. Steve and Steve had founded Apple in 1976, which grew out of Wozniak’s garage, and by 1979 it had sprouted into a billion-dollar company.


Heinrich Hertz is born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1857. Hertz, a German physics professor at Karlsruhe Polytechnic, used brass knobs and an induction coil to send and receive radio waves in 1887, which laid the groundwork for the development of the wireless telegraph, radio and television. The unit of frequency of a radio wave is called a hertz in his honor.

Sources: The History Channel, University of Melbourne, Webster University, Technology Administration, Adventures in CyberSound,, IBM