I have been asked to appear on a new show on BBC Radio Manchester, looking at years in history. Despite my (sometimes disturbing) pop knowledge, they have asked me to comment on the gadgets and technology of the day. I’ll be posting some links for more information to go alongside each show. Here’s the links for last week’s years — 1973 and 2001.
- The Jetski was launched by Kawasaki.
- The barcode was invented in the US. It was brought to the UK four years later. The first item scanned was a box of teabags in a supermarket in Spalding.
- The Post-It note was invented by Art Fry for 3M and obsessive organisers everywhere rejoiced.
- Ethernet, one of the building blocks of the internet was invented by Robert Metcalfe when he laid out the idea in a message to his employers, Xerox. Metcalfe worked at the same place (Xerox PARC) where many of the concepts of the modern PC were invented. Ethernet also forms the basis of the WiFi networks that everyone has in their home now.
- NASA launched Skylab, the first American space station and the predecessor to the international space station.
- The iPod was launched. It was designed by a Brit, at least on the outside.
- Windows XP was launched making it much easier to connect new devices like digital cameras and iPods to the PC. It played a major part in the coming boom in such devices but it also got Microsoft in to a lot of trouble with the European union for abusing its dominant position in the marketplace. It was fined £381 million, the largest ever fine of its type.
- Sky Plus was launched, bringing personal video recorders to the UK on a large scale for the first time. People stop watching adverts.