by Daniel J. Horgan

This Date in IT History Oct

Oct 01, 20023 mins

1 ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names, assumes responsibility for coordinating the domain naming system in 1998. ICANN registers top-level domains such as .com, .org, .net and varieties of other dots.

2 The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), one of the first digital computers, shuts down in 1955. Commissioned in 1943 by the Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory to produce firing and bombing tables during World War II, ENIAC was finally ready for operation in 1946?months after the war ended.

4 The Soviets launch the satellite Sputnik from Kazakhstan in 1957, making it the first man-made object to enter space. Sputnik orbited 500 miles above the earth for about three months and initiated the space race.

6 Seymour Cray, who introduced the first supercomputer in 1976, dies in a car accident in 1996. The Cray 1 could calculate 240 million arithmetic operations per second.

9 Alexander Graham Bell, in 1876, conducted the first telephone conversation over outdoor telegraph lines. Bell, in Boston, was talking to his assistant Thomas Watson, who was two miles away in Cambridge, Mass.

13 Spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 is unveiled in 1982 and quickly becomes the leading spreadsheet. Roughly 1-2-3 years later, in 1985, Microsoft introduced its rival Excel spreadsheet.

15 The first radio paging service starts in 1950. Twenty-five miles outside New York City, a doctor on a golf course receives the first page via a six-ounce receiver in his pocket, thus paving the way for beepers of the future.

18 Thomas Edison dies in 1931 at the age of 84 in West Orange, N.J. Edison invented the electric lightbulb, universal stock ticker, phonograph, electrical vote recorder, automatic telegraph system, electric safety miner’s lamp, motion picture camera, nickel-iron-alkaline storage battery and the carbon telephone transmitter.

19 In 1998, the Justice Department’s antitrust trial against Microsoft begins. The government accuses Microsoft of pressuring PC makers to use its Explorer browser instead of Netscape’s Navigator.

20 The first fully automated post office system is put into use in Providence, R.I., in 1960. The experimental project cost $20 million and sorted mail at a rate of 18,000 pieces per hour.

22 Chester Floyd Carlson makes the first Xerox copy in Queens, N.Y., in 1938 by pressing wax paper against an electrostatically charged plate covered in dark powder. The copy read “10-22-38, Astoria.” In 1947, Carlson licensed his process to the Haloid Co., which later became Xerox.

28 William Henry Gates III is born in 1955 in Seattle. Gates became the wealthiest American by age 35. Gates dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 to market the Basic computer language compiler with childhood friend Paul Allen. They founded Microsoft in 1977. By 1981, IBM was running Microsoft DOS on the IBM PC. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sources:, Internet Archive, Tesla Memorial Society of New York, The Antique Advertiser, Free Online Dictionary of Computing (FOLDOC), History of Computing Foundation, Edison Birthplace Association, O’Melveny & Myers, Bato Balani Interactive