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Intro and links to the other years in the timeline


  • The Sun Microsystems company is founded and their Sun I workstation is introduced. The workstation connects to other networked computers with software based on UNIX.
  • "Striking It Rich: A new breed of risk takers is betting on the high-technology future." Time Magazine, February 15, 1982.
  • An electronic spreadsheet for the IBM PC, called Lotus 1-2-3, is released.
  • Various computer manufacturers, such as Compaq, begin selling IBM clones.
  • Database management software dBase II is introduced by the Ashton Tate company.
  • The Adobe Systems software company is founded.
  • "Living With a Computer." By James Fallows, Atlantic, July 1982.
  • An early personal computer virus called Elk Cloner is spread by Apple II computer floppy disks. (Hear also: "25 Years of Computer Viruses." NPR, July 13, 2007.)
  • The Commodore 64 computer is introduced in August 1982. It comes with 64K of memory and a 5 1/2" disk drive or cassette tape. (See also: "Commodore 64 TV commercial." Posted on YouTube.)
  • Although compact disc (CD) technology had been around for a number of years, the Sony and Philips companies make the mass production of CDs possible during the 1980s.
    (See also: "Compact disc hits 25th birthday." BBC, August 17, 2007.)
  • The Osborne Computer Company announces the successor to its popular 1981 Osborne 1 model. Osborne computers were among the first portable PC computers.
  • Sept. 19, 1982 -- Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman is perhaps the first to use a sideways smiley face emoticon. As personal computers become more popular, emoticons such as the smiley face will be commonly used with newsgroup posts, e-mail messages and text messaging.
  • There are more than 5.5 million personal computers in offices and homes.
    (Source: InfoCulture: The Smithsonian Book)


  • The Times Mirror company begins testing its Gateway videotex service.
  • Newsweek is one of the content providers for the British Prestel videotex system.
  • Field Enterprises, which owns WFLD-TV and the Chicago Sun-Times, produces a videotex magazine called Keyfax. (The project ends in 1985.)
  • Examples of U.S. companies testing videotex and teletext systems in 1982:

    • Bonneville International / KSL-TV
    • Field Electronic Publishing /WFLD-TV / Keyfax
    • CBS / KNXT /
    • PBS / KCET / Now
    • NYU Alternative Media Center / WETA-TV
    • NBC / KNBC /
      Tempo NBC
    • Taft Broadcasting / WKRC / Taftext
    • Westinghouse / KPIX / DirectVision
    • PBS / WGBH-TV
    • Time Video Services
    • Louisville Courier-Journal & Times
    • Springfield Television / WWLP-TV