This Day in History: Communication Methods & Technology

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This Day in History: Communication Methods & Technology

Published: January 28, 2017 | By: Tatianna | Views: 1715
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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

This week’s history lesson is about communication methods. Let’s start with something that practically everyone uses, the telephone. Invented and patented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone has since become a part of our daily lives. I’m almost certain that Mr. Bell never imagined that his invention would revolutionize human communication like it has, but without it our lives would be very different.

Now, onto what makes today, January 28th, such a special day in history.

1878 – The first telephone switchboard was introduced and used in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

If you don’t know what a switchboard is, then the above fact is a bit pointless, so here’s a brief explanation.  You may have heard of a person called an “operator”. Well, these operators originally used this physical switchboard to connect and transfer calls. Here’s the Wikipedia definition for a telephone switchboard. Today, operators don’t perform these same tasks, nor do they do them in the same way, but they are still available for assistance to look up numbers for companies, etc.  If you dial “411” or the information line, you can speak to someone who can help connect you to a company or service.

1936 – Alan Alda (Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo), aka. “Hawkeye Pierce” from M*A*S*H, was born.  A talented actor who’s work spans from hilarious good guy to sarcastic and pretentious bad guy.

1981 – Elijah Wood (famous for his role as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) was born.  The movies were great, but don’t be lazy, read the books. They are a million times better.

1960 – The first lunar photograph bounced off the moon.

What? Yeah… let me explain this one.

In the 1950’s through the mid/late 1960’s the United States Navy used Lunar Communication called “Moon Relay” or “Operation Moon Bounce.” This Telecommunications project was meant to establish a reliable and secure way of wireless communication by using natural satellites (i.e. the Moon). This makes sense since the moon is a satellite, and it naturally reflects the Sun’s light. Though only effective for radio transmission during certain times of the year (because of the moon’s position, etc.), it broke ground into research on studying the Moon’s surface as well as modern American military satellite systems.

1986 – A tragic incident occurred in 1986. The US Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart after liftoff. All the astronauts on board perished in the accident only 73 seconds after liftoff. The cause of the accident was due to a joint failure in the rocket motor which destroyed the seals that were meant to prevent hot gasses from leaking out of the joint and into the motor.

1998 – Radio Shack (yeah, the place that’s fallen by the wayside) partnered with Compaq instead of IBM to sell PCs. Compaq was the exclusive PC sold at Radio Shack for many years.

1999 – Yahoo! bought GeoCities, which grew to 38 million pages, and shut it down in 2009. It is currently still available exclusively in Japan.

The Moral of the Story – 

Communication, since the dawn of man, has been a vital part of our survival and growth as individuals and as a species.  Without the continual addition and evolution of knowledge, the inventions, the brilliant minds, and the need for “more, better, faster,” we might not have what we do today. Let’s not lose sight of our goals, whether individual or collective. Learn as much as possible and do something.  The only sure way to fail is to never try.


For more interesting facts about today, here’s a tech specific article from The Geek Manual.

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