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December 9, 2014 AT 6:00 am

Time travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world

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The time you think you’re missing, misses you too. ~Ymber Delecto


1906 – Grace Hopper, American admiral and computer scientist, designed COBOL is born.

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Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer). Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.

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1965 – A Charlie Brown Christmas, first in a series of Peanuts television specials, debuts on CBS.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas is a musical animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the program made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965. In the special, lead character Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. Lucy suggests he direct a school Christmas play, but he is both ignored and mocked by his peers. The story touches on the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and serves to remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ).

Peanuts had become a phenomenon worldwide by the mid-1960s, and the special was commissioned and sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. It was written over a period of several weeks, and animated on a shoestring budget in only six months. In casting the characters, the producers went an unconventional route, hiring child actors. The program’s soundtrack was similarly unorthodox: it features a jazz score by pianist Vince Guaraldi. Its absence of a laugh track (a staple in television animation in this period), in addition to its tone, pacing, music, and animation, led both the producers and network to wrongly envision the project as a disaster preceding its broadcast.

A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. It became an annual broadcast in the United States, and has been aired during the Christmas season traditionally every year since its premiere. Its jazz soundtrack also achieved commercial success, going triple platinum in the US. Live theatrical versions of A Charlie Brown Christmas have been staged. ABC currently holds the rights to the special, and broadcasts it at least twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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1968 – Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as “The Mother of All Demos”, publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).

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“The Mother of All Demos” is a name given retrospectively to Douglas Engelbart’s December 9, 1968, computer demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. The live demonstration featured the introduction of a complete computer hardware and software system called the oN-Line System or more commonly, NLS. The 90-minute presentation essentially demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor (collaborative work). Engelbart’s presentation was the first to publicly demonstrate all these elements in a single system. The demonstration was highly influential and spawned similar projects at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s. The underlying technologies influenced both the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows graphical user interface operating systems in the 1980s and 1990s.

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1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.

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The global eradication of smallpox was certified, based on intense verification activities in countries, by a commission of eminent scientists on 9 December 1979 and subsequently endorsed by the World Health Assembly on 8 May 1980. The first two sentences of the resolution read:

Having considered the development and results of the global program on smallpox eradication initiated by WHO in 1958 and intensified since 1967 … Declares solemnly that the world and its peoples have won freedom from smallpox, which was a most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest time, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake and which only a decade ago was rampant in Africa, Asia and South America.

—World Health Organization, Resolution WHA33.3

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2013 – SMS Texting Pet Food Dish @ The Adafruit Learning System #IoT

Is checking and filling your pet food dish a constant daily chore? Have you ever wished you could be notified on your phone when the dish is empty? With this project you’ll learn how to build a pet food dish that does exactly that by sending an SMS text message when the dish is empty! This is way better than giving your pet a smartphone: our cat MOSFET ran up a huge texting bill and then refused to pay it.

This project is a great example of using an Arduino, CC3000 Wi-Fi module, and the Amazon Simple Notification Service to send notifications such as text messages. You can even use the knowledge and code from this project to add notification capabilities to your own Arduino projects.

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