The world's first personal computer, the Commodore PET, was demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. Its price was $795; its RAM, 4K; built-in 9" screen; storage, built-in cassette; and its operating system, BASIC in ROM. A couple of months later, during April, Apple II arrived in the market. It was a little more pricey, $1298, it had a RAM of 4K, or if one put out $2638, 48K RAM. Then out came from Radio Shack (Tandy Corp.), the TRS-80 (as pictured to the right). It was released in August of that year at a price of $599.95. It carried only 4k of RAM. It had a 12-inch monochrome monitor. For the input (in addition to the keyboard) and output there was a port that was to be connected to a cassette which looked very much like a typical audio cassette. It's OS was TRS DOS with BASIC installed in the ROM. [The other two OSs were AppleDos and PCDOS -- we were a few years away from WINDOWS, a graphical user interface (GUI).] The TRS-80 proved to be popular in the home computer market -- 200,000 were sold between 1977 and 1981. Though a couple years passed before doing so, I was one of the many who bought a TRS-80.
Sticking to computers for a bit longer: On June 16th, 1977, the Oracle Corporation was incorporated in Redwood Shores, California. Its business was to be in the software development Laboratories. The operation was organized by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates. The software became known for its ability to manage large databases. These days, 2011, the company employs approximately 108,000 people worldwide. By 2007 Oracle had the third-largest software revenue, after Microsoft and IBM. (wikipedia) As for Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation, he has served as Oracle's CEO throughout its history. On August 22, 2008, the Associated Press ranked Ellison as the top-paid chief executive in the world.
On March 27, 1977, the Tenerife disaster unfolded. A collision between two 747s (KLM and Pan Am) at Tenerife, Canary Islands, killed 583 people. While it was the worst aviation disaster, there were two planes involved. The worst single plane accident on record was that of the Japan Airlines Flight 123 in 1985; 520 people were killed.
That June, women were integrated into the regular Marine Corps, there were to be no separate women's divisions. That October 26, 1977, the last natural smallpox case was discovered in Somalia. The WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox and an example of the success that can be achieved by vaccination.
During August: The Voyager 2 spacecraft was launched carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in every language. Its primary mission was to explore the large planets located in the outer part of the solar system. It encountered the Jovian system in 1979, Saturnian system in 1980, Uranian system in 1986, and the Neptunian system in 1989. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the outer gas giants. Voyager 2 has turned into an interstellar probe increasing its distance from the sun more and more. It is expected to keep transmitting weak radio messages until at least 2025, over 48 years since it was launched.
On November 22, 1977, British Airways inaugurated regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service. In Portugal, the traditional naming conventions for children's names were changed; surnames could, as of 1977, come from either the mother or the father.
And finally in notable world events: I read where on February 11th, 1977, a 45-lb lobster was caught off Nova Scotia (the heaviest known crustacean).
In 1977, we moved into our new house which we had built on Wilson Drive, overlooking Lake Thomas (see picture to the right). It will be remembered that we built our first house in 1972, on other side of Lake Thomas, Lake Thomas Drive (see picture to the left). As for the Wilson Drive property, we had purchased the lot two years back, in 1975. We started building in May of 1977, and, by year's end, we had sold our home on Lake Thomas Drive and moved into our new, large and bright house on Wilson Drive. Darrel Oulton, a local carpenter with the help of his deaf son, built the new house, all, from framing to the interior finish work (mostly oak, stained dark). I acted as my own general contractor and arranged for the excavation, the concrete basement, the plumbing, the electrical work, etc. The entire place was painted out by myself.
In the entertainment world: On August 16th, 1977, the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, died at age 42. It is said that 75,000 fans lined the streets of Memphis for his funeral. On February 4th, Fleetwood Mac's Grammy-winning album Rumours was released. On November 10th, the Bee Gees released the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever; it went on to become the then best selling album of all time. On May 25th, Star Wars came to the cinema; it became the then highest grossing film of all time.
Movies of 1977:
Annie Hall, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars.
Songs of 1977:
Hotel California, Eagles; Don't Stop, Fleetwood Mac and Fly Like An Eagle, Steve Miller Band.
NEXT: [Chapter Twenty-Nine, Horses, Pines & Europe, 1978]