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From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 01:34:04 -0700

Interesting "On This Day, Oct 8 ..." concerning "First VisiCalc
prototype (1978)". VisiCalc was conceived in 1977 by a Harvard MBA
student named Dan Bricklin. At 26, Bricklin encountered the many
business simulations used by the school to teach management theory-at
that time, calculated by hand. Bricklin, with an undergraduate degree
in programming, promptly wrote programs on the PDP-10, in BASIC, that
would do the simulations in seconds, and realized that the concept
could be generalized. He talked to Dan Fylstra, of Personal Software,
a publisher of software for home use. Fylstra appreciated the
opportunity, and lent Bricklin an Apple 2E for development. The
following weekend, Bricklin invented the spreadsheet. Bob Frankston, a
friend of Bricklin, coded the first implementation, and Bricklin and
Frankston formed a company, Software Arts, as a company to develop
products that were to be marketed by Personal Software.

What's the significance of all this? With the advent of VisiCalc, the
personal computer was no longer a toy. (The Altair failed because all
it had was a basic compiler written by Microsoft. You didn't have to
be a programmer to operate VisiCalc on the 2E.) It made the Apple 2E a
business computer, and it put Apple on the map.

Interestingly, after VisiCalc's release in October of 1979, it was
presented to the folks at Apple, who had no interest in promoting
it. It was, also, announced at the West Coast Computer Faire, and
generated little interest. None other than Ben Rosen recognized the
program's potential, and pushed it in his news letter. A year later,
it was the first best-seller in personal computer software, and ended
up creating the market for the personal computer.

History was to repeat itself several years later with the IBM PC-Lotus
was to put the IBM PC on the map, with the respectability of a
business computer.


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Subject: Reminders for Thursday, October  8, 1998
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 00:05:07 -0700

Reminders for Thursday, 8th October, 1998 (today):

              Sunrise 07:08, Sunset 18:42, Moon 0.82 (Decreasing)

________________________ On This Day, Oct  8 ... ________________________

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" made its debut on CBS radio. (1944)
1st Hawaiian constitution proclaimed. (1840)
Battle of Agamos (Peru)
Battle of Agamos in Peru
Chevy Chase, comedian-actor (1940)
Coit Tower dedicated. (1933)
Constitution Day (U.S.S.R.)
Constitution Day in U.S.S.R
David Carradine, actor (1940)
Discoverer's Day (HI)
Dow Jones starts reporting an average of industrial stocks. (1896)
Earthquake. (1865)
Ejnar Hertzsprung born (1873)
Fiji Day (Fiji)
Fiji Day in Fiji
First 'Mickey and the Harbeats' show, The Matrix, SF (1968)
First VisiCalc prototype (1978)
First VisiCalc prototype, 1978
First movie in the air; a newsreel and two cartoons at 5000 feet (1929)
Great Chicago Fire (1871)
Great Chicago Fire, 1871
J. Frank Duryea, with his brother, invented 1st auto built & operated in the US (1869)
Johnny Ramone, rock singer (1951)
Mohammed, the prophet of Islam makes public entrance to Medina marking the beginning of the Moslem era (622)
Reverend Jesse Jackson (1941)
Rona Barrett, Entertainment reporter (1936)
Stephanie Zimbalist, actress (1956)
Telegraph line between Los Angeles and San Francisco opens. (1860)
Thanksgiving Day in Canada
The Equal Rights Amendment ratification deadline is extended (1978)
The Great Fire destroys over 4 square miles of Chicago. (1871)
------- end -------

John Conover,,

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