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The Industrial Era

2000 - 2001

Since you honestly can not speak of historic events for this period the editors had the idea to display the trends in computing that has drawn attention in previous five or ten years. As well as promising inventions and other developments that might be of future value.

This chapter will be changing constantly until events prove to be of historic importance. If you have an idea of what should be displayed on this and the next pages please write us.


pre history | antiquity | pre industrial era | industrial era

1947 1949 1950 1952 1955 1958 1961 1963 1965 1969 1970 1972 1974
1976 1978 1980 1981 1982 1984 1986 1989 1991 1993 1994 1996 2000
2002 2005 2007                    


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  Millennium bugs
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pre-industrial era
Industrial era


Serious Millennium bugs are not reported after the transition into the new millennium. Apart from those on stamps ;=)

millenium bug stamp indonesia
picture courtesy Larry Dodson digitally enhanced by thocp

Some date related displays were a hundred years off (see below).

At one of the first working days in 2000 you might have happened to see this:

A few satellites were off the air for some hours, and some other minor incidents with systems happened. Some errors still occurred a few years into the new millennium in some software installations but that was all. Thanks to the measures taken by major companies and most governments in industrialized countries, who invested billions of dollars into the millennium program, no serious incidents occurred. In general major disasters as foretold by some (news) pundits stayed out.

to read on millennium bug click here
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates resigned as CEO of his own company to dedicate himself to the development of software.

Calling himself Software Architect, a title which also can be found in books from the Science Fiction scene (e.g. Asimov's Foundation series).
One of his reasons were that he did not want to spent most of his time with political and legal issues and processes against his company. That he said drains almost all of his energy and creativeness. He will devote his time and energy towards the architecture of software.
His long time friend Steve Ballmer took over the helm.

Blue gene processor; picture courtesy IBM archives

IBM released a follow up of Deep Blue. Nicknamed Blue Gene it operated at 1 Quadrillion Ops per second (one peta flop) and was a thousand times faster than Deep Blue.

This computer was to be used for modeling human proteins. The search for the cause of the folding of human proteins (14) started. Unraveling the genetic code could help pharmaceutical laboratories to develop medicines.

The experimental architecture of the machine is called SMASH (Simple, Many And Self Healing) as it was designed to reduce the number of instructions for a particular processor to speed up processing. It also had what was called massive parallelism to handle about 8 million simultaneous threads of computing and possessed "self healing" abilities to prevent failures.


February 6. The web site of the History of Computing Foundation thocp.net is published.

A few months later a foundation will be established (May 11) to ensure the continuity of its existence.

playstationPlayStation2 en PS One (handheld PlayStation)


Games op GSM en WAP

On the sixth of February the 1000 Mega Herz(9) or Gigaherz barrier is broken by AMD's Athlon micro processor.

AMD Athlon internal view (14)

To be followed a few days (9th) later by Intel's Pentium III also running on 1000 Mega Herz. In tests they appeared to be each others equal, but the Intel chip is somewhat less tolerant towards higher temperatures.

March, Iridium Satellite LLC, the company that promised to revolutionize global communications with its satellite mobile phone system, files for bankruptcy protection.

Enigma, 1940(12)

At Bletchley Park museum the Enigma machine is stolen from the exhibition room.

The Enigma was a coding machine used by the Germans during W.W.II. Because of this machine's so called 'unbreakable' code the development of computers went into an overdrive. Hereto the Bombe and Colossus were developed and put to the job of cracking the codes.
After the Bletchley Museum agreed to pay over 45.000 EUR or 40.000 US$ the machine returned in October 18. But some of the coding wheels are still missing. This was the first time a computing device is stolen from a museum at a ransom.

May, the “I Love You” virus, a.k.a. the “Love Bug” and the “Love Letter” worm, attacks e-mail systems and multiplies across the Internet in only six hours. Like its predecessor “Melissa”.

Cyber attacks brought some major web sites down here attackers made use of tens of powerful computers in various American cities and bombarded sites of  e-Bay, Amazon, CNN and Buy.com with large amounts of data: requests for information.

This tactic(6) is called "Denial of Service" and proved to be fatal to Yahoo some weeks before. This caused Yahoo to down its servers for a few hours.
The first victim ://Buy.com an online cyber shop - that went through a successful IPO(5) this month - was unavailable for a few hours caused by this attack. Buy.com got 800 MBit per second to process about 8 times the maximum capacity of what the infrastructure(4) could handle. Usually the traffic is about 30 Mbit per second. According to Buy.com the attacks were retraced to powerful computers from Boston, New York en Chicago.
After this auction house e-Bay had to endure an attack. Servers from eBay in San Jose could not cope with the traffic and went down too: customers could not be served anymore. This means the company could not earn money during that time. A spokesperson of e-Bay said they were cooperating with other sites that were hit and the authorities to find out the identity of the so called "cyber terrorists" .
Two hours after the attack on E-Bay, Amazon.com got its share of the "Denial of Service" attacks. This very popular on-line shop went down for over an hour. About the same time CNN got under attack. Only after two hours the attack on CNN could be fended off. Possibly by just pulling the plug first and later to deny service (counter attack) to computers that were generating too many requests.
Spoke persons of all Internet companies stipulated that the hackers did not have access to data stored on the attacked servers. It is said that the FBI was involved in the investigation to catch the hackers.(8)

In Russia there were this year many "unemployed" scientists but with almost no money to realize their projects.

Promising and interesting developments did not reach the market because of that. One of the examples was a virtual world globe that just waited to be picked up by the entertainment market.


This globe represented a virtual world in which you could walk, run and fall down without you had to wear a data suit. It was developed by the brothers Latypov (www.virtusphere.com) (10)

June, a federal judge orders Microsoft to breakup, condemning Microsoft as a monopolist and orders the company to separate its MS Windows operating system product from their other software applications. Of course Microsoft appealed the ruling.

June, first survey of the entire human genome completed.

In a race against the clock between competitors: the Human Genome Project (HGP), and representatives of the biotechnology company Celera announced the completion of a first model DNA sequence of the human genome.

This project provides scientists worldwide with a map to an approximated 90 percent of the genes on every chromosome(16). Though this figure is contested by some scientists, they said that the map is just a crude cut through the entire genome and that it will take another few years to complete the entire genome. The debate that has risen is that commercial companies wanted to patent the information and scientists wanted to have it in the public domain. Ethically spoken scientists said nobody can claim copyright or patents on any material deriving form the human genome.

captcha 2000Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper (all of Carnegie Mellon University), and John Langford (of IBM). develop and publicize the notion of a CAPTCHA:

"Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart"

captcha 2000
picture courtesy of www.newfreedownloads.com

A user has to type the letters of a distorted image or digits that appears on the screen. Search bots can not read this at this time and so access control is established. The first CAPTCHAs are widely used at Yahoo!.


Later OCR features are added to the bots engines and the algorithm to generate CAPTCHA's needed to be changed:

captcha 2007(24)

making it extremely difficult to recognize the digits for spam- and searchbots, for now ;=)

internet details on captcha


thocpWikipedia is founded on January 15.

wikipedia logo
image courtesy Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that is setup by Jimmy Whales and Larry Sanger. The contents will grow at a fenominal rate to millions of pages. See the history of Wikipedia for more information.

wiki first page
wiki's first page courtesy Wikipedia.org

A dispute will grow between the two who was the originator of the idea and who founded Wikipedia. Read on this subject here.

This year brought us some virulent virus attacks, bomb letters and the first Linux virus is detected.

Official Launch of Windows 2000 - Microsoft's replacement for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT.

Microsoft claimed W2K to be faster and more reliable than previous versions of Windows.
But it actually was a descendant of the NT series - thus a UNIX based kernel - the tradeoff for increased reliability is that it won't run some old DOS-based games or programs anymore.
To keep the home market happy Microsoft also released Windows ME, the newest member of the 95/98 series.(Feb. 17) (3) This version proved to have too many bugs in its software and it will be replaced by the next generation by: Windows XP.

March, as Internet companies struggle to improve their financial situations, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) begins an investigation of a $12.2 million stock transaction by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.

The allegations come at a time when Internet companies are experiencing dramatic devaluation in their stock prices. Experts point to the plummeting stock prices as evidence that the Internet stock bubble has burst.(16)

timeflash 2001

Also this year there were many cases in court concerning patents and the ongoing case of Microsoft's monopolistic behavior.

(June 29) Judge reversed a lower court decision to split up Microsoft Corporation, but also stated that Microsoft did act illegally in its actions to maintain its dominant position in the area of PC Operating Systems.

British Telecom (BT) claimed the rights on hyperlinks on the basis of a US patent (#4873662) granted in 1989. Similar patents in the rest of the world have expired. Their claim is widely believed to be absurd since Ted Nelson wrote about hyperlinks in 1965, and this is where Tim Berners Lee said he got the ideas for the World Wide Web from. This is just another in the line of similar incredulous cases - for example amazon.com's claim to have patented '1-click ordering'. (June 20) (3)
BT even started to sue Prodigy, the oldest and largest public provider, to charge license fees. The claim is dismissed on the basis that BT's claim concerned server oriented technology and not client based documents which were not even invented when BT filed its patent.

In March a federal judge issues an injunction against MP3 music site Napster, requiring the company to begin blocking copyrighted music files. The ruling deals a blow to Napster, which continues to operate despite the ruling.
In an effort to continue operating without legal restrictions, MP3 music site Napster and its partner, Bertelsmann AG, offer to pay $1 billion in licensing fees over the next five years to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The industry association rejects the offer and legal wrangling continues.(16)

Personal Computers with CPU's in excess of 1.4 Gigahertz speed come on the market.

US Government announces restrictions on exporting cryptography technology to be relaxed (although not removed).

This allows many US companies to stop the long running, and rather ridiculous process of having to create US and International copies of their software. (Jan. 14)(3)

In concurrence with that announcement RSA Security Inc. released their RSA algorithm to the public domain, in advance of the US patent (#4,405,829) expiring on the 20th September following the relaxation of the US government restrictions earlier in this year. And by doing so the organization removed one of the last barriers to the worldwide distribution of much software based on cryptographic systems.
It should be noted that the IDEA algorithm is still under patent and also that US government restrictions still applied in some places. (Sept. 6) (3)

Microsoft releases Windows XP - the latest version of their Windows operating system.

Screenshot MSWindows XP

Based on the NT series kernel, it is meant to bring together both the NT/2000 series and the Windows 95/98/ME series into one product. Of course it was originally hoped that this would happen with Windows 2000 ... But only time will tell if Microsoft succeeds with Windows XP. (Oct. 25) (3)

Gordon Moore states (May 2nd) that his law should be changed from doubling of transistors on integrated circuitry every two years into every four or five years starting 2010 or 2020.

Gordon Moore

The fact that this law held for almost 36 years is a miracle when you take the speed of change in this field into account. See also 1964

Do we get a patron for the Internet?

The catholic church wants to propose Isodorus de Sevilla who lived between 560-636. Saint Isidore compiled the first true encyclopedia, Etymologia, comprising 20 volumes, more than 1.400 years ago. Some Spanish Catholics named him "protector" of the web in 1999.
As usual there are more candidates: Titus Brandsma (a Dutch priest- no picture), San Pedro de Regalado (Spain) and Santa Tecla (Bask - Spain)

Santa Tecla

isodore de sevilla

San Pedro

And the winner is: Isodorus de Sevilla day of celebration April 4th. Would be nice to have patrons from other religions too!

sega dreamcastSega stops producing Dreamcast and licences the software to other companies.

 sega dreamcast
 sega dreamcast

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves the AOL Time Warner merger.

The merger, announced in January 2000 as the largest corporate merger in US history, is subject to conditions outlined by the FCC. The takeover marks the first time a new corporate giant created by the Internet boom used the “new economy” value of its stock to acquire an older Fortune 500 company.(16)

According to a study from IDC about 460 million people are now connected to the Internet.

Forecasts want us to believe that there will be over 1 billion connections within the next 5 years, meaning a small twenty percent of the contemporary population of the world (?).

Apple released MacOS X. At it's heart is `Darwin', an Open Source kernel based on FreeBSD.

Using this MacOS X finally gives Mac users the stability benefits of a protected memory architecture along many other enhancements, such as preemptive multitasking. The BSD base also makes porting UNIX applications to MacOS easier and gives Mac users a fully featured command line interface alongside their GUI.(19)

Michael Robertson has come up with a solution for the death of desktop applications for the Linux operating system: Make Windows software run on top of Linux.

While Linux has made significant in-roads on the server side, particularly as a server operating system, it hasn't made a dent in the desktop. There have been a few Linux ports of applications -- Borland's Kylix is essentially Delphi for Linux -- and some games -- Quake III: Arena, Unreal -- but the Linux desktop market has not taken off.
Michael Robertson's solution is Lindows, a new Linux distribution that will, eventually, run all Windows applications as they would run on Windows 98, NT and XP. (20)

ipodOctober, Apple launches its iPod. A modern version of a walkman storing music in Mpeg3 format on a small 5Gb internal harddisk.

Apple's first iPod (portable music)

The iPod has "only" 5GB of storage — though unprecedented at the time. The price is a steep $399 and reception by the general public is therefore slow. It has a monochrome 160 x 128 LCD, 32MB of RAM and 32MB ROM, includes a 1.8-inch hard drive, and the mechanical scroll wheel. This first generation has FireWire-only, and sells 125,000 units in its first two months. (21)

Later generations unleashed a thru revolution (hype?) in portable music, (over 40Gb of storage, color screens etc.) and within a few years many manufacturers will more of less imitate this original iPod. Thus creating a new market for wearable computing: portable audio.

It leaves no room for speculation that this new iPod saved Apple from disappearing from the market.

simputer A Bangalore (India) based group of seven professors and engineers have developed what they call a "Simputer" -- short for "simple inexpensive mobile computer."

Copyright © 2000 The Simputer Trust

And it will cost only $200. The Simputer looks and feels like a bulkier Palm. It uses three AAA batteries and an Intel strong-arm chip. It has 32MB of RAM and 16MB of Flash memory and runs on the free Linux operating system. It also features a gif-image touch screen, e-mail and Net access when connected to a working telephone line. And most importantly, it has a smart card reader that enables the machine to be used on a shared basis. (22)



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Last Updated on May 29, 2007 For suggestions please mail the editors 

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