Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. ~Laertius Diogenes
1307 – William Tell shoots an apple off his son’s head.
The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) goes as follows: William Tell, who originally came from Bürglen, was known as a strong man, mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht (or Hermann) Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village’s central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.
On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and so was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell’s famed marksmanship, yet resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment: Tell and his son would be executed, but he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son, Walter, in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.
1787 – Louis Daguerre, French physicist and photographer, developed the daguerreotype is born.
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was a French artist and photographer, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. He became known as one of the fathers of photography. Though he is most famous for his contributions to photography, he was also an accomplished painter and a developer of the diorama theatre.
1923 – Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut is born.
Alan Bartlett “Al” Shepard, Jr. was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, flag officer, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts, and businessman, who in 1961 became the second person and the first American to travel into space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit. Ten years later, at age 47 and the oldest astronaut in the program, Shepard commanded the Apollo 14 mission, piloting the lander to the most accurate landing of the Apollo missions. He became the fifth and oldest person to walk on the Moon, and the only astronaut of the Mercury Seven to walk on the Moon. During the mission, he hit two golf balls on the lunar surface.
1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey’s birthday.
Steamboat Willie is a 1928 American animated short film directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was produced in black-and-white by Walt Disney Studios and was released by Celebrity Productions. The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, despite both the characters appearing several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy. Steamboat Willie was the third of Mickey’s films to be produced, but was the first to be distributed.
The film is also notable for being the first cartoon with synchronized sound. It was the first cartoon to feature a fully post-produced soundtrack which distinguished it from earlier sound cartoons such as Inkwell Studios’ Song Car-Tunes (1924–1927) and Van Beuren Studios’ Dinner Time (1928). Also distinguishing Steamboat Willie from earlier sound cartoons was the level of popularity.
1963 – The first push-button telephone goes into service.
As direct distance dialling expanded to a growing number of communities, local numbers (often four, five or six digits) were extended to standardised seven-digit named exchanges. A toll call to another area code was eleven digits, including the leading 1. In the 1950s, AT&T conducted extensive studies of product engineering and efficiency and concluded that push-button dialing was preferable to rotary dialing. On November 18, 1963, the first electronic push-button system with Touch-Tone dialing was offered by Bell Telephone to customers in Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
This phone, the Western Electric 1500, had only ten buttons. In 1968 it was replaced by the twelve-button model 2500, adding the asterisk or star (*) and pound or hash (#) keys. The use of tones instead of dial pulses relied heavily on technology already developed for the long line network, although the 1963 Touch-Tone deployment adopted a different frequency set for its dual-tone multi-frequency signaling.
Check out this interview that Limor did last year on slashdot!
With her signature pink hair, MIT engineer Limor Fried has become a force in the maker movement. Last year she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine, and her company, Adafruit Industries, did $10 million in sales. Limor has agreed to take some time away from soldering and running a new company to answer your questions about hardware, electronics, and Adafruit. As usual, ask as many as you’d like, but please, one question per post.