The IT used by today’s businesses is built upon past experiments and pivotal moments, such as the first wearable computer, the first email sent from space and critical junctures in the histories of computing pioneers Apple, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard:

August 6, 1997 – Apple and Microsoft announce five-year allianceI

Steve Jobs stands at a podium as Bill Gates appears on a video screen as he addresses the MacWorld convention praising the new alliance between Apple and Microsoft on Aug. 6, 1997 in Boston

Bill Gates appeared on screen at the Macworld Expo in Boston as Steve Jobs announced a five-year alliance between Apple and Microsoft. The rivals would work together in various ways during that period: they cross-licensed patents, and Microsoft pledged to develop Microsoft Office for Mac. Microsoft also bought $150 million worth of shares in Apple. Today, the two companies are transformed from 20 years ago, but still compete and cooperate, with each making hardware, software and services that work well together and are essential to modern businesses.

August 9, 1931 – Alfred Aho is born in Ontario, Canada

Canadian computer scientist Alfred Aho was born in Timmins and studied engineering at the University of Toronto, later joining Bell Labs. Aho’s influential research into algorithms and compilers has been cited 81,040 times. The textbook he co-authored with Jeffrey Ullman, Principles of Compiler Design, is glimpsed briefly in the 1995 film Hackers.

August 14, 1932 – Edward Oakley Thorp is born

Edward O. Thorp

Mathematician Edward Oakley Thorp invented what’s regarded as the first wearable computer, a device designed to beat roulette that he built with MIT professor and cryptographer Claude Shannon. The device was worn around the waist and controlled with the tap of a shoe, with a tone in an earpiece serving as output. Thorp wore it into Las Vegas casinos, and later described his success in predicting roulette in his 1966 book Beat the Dealer. Today, wearables are a thriving product category, with a growing list of uses – well beyond Thorp’s single-purpose roulette computer.

August 18, 1947 – Hewlett-Packard is incorporated

After being founded in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage in 1939, Hewlett-Packard was incorporated in 1947. One of the company’s early successes was its precision audio oscillator, which was used by Walt Disney Productions to certify surround sound systems installed in theatres for Fantasia. The company would go on to develop data storage, networking and computer products, eventually splitting into the consumer-focused HP Inc. and enterprise-focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in 2015.

August 28, 1991 – The first email is sent from space

On this day the first email was sent from space, from Space Shuttle Atlantis to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. It read: “Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!” The Macintosh Portable and AppleLink software used by the astronauts were modified to make the communication possible.


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