The online social network Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University. Originally it was a student-only site that provided “hot or not” type interaction based on student photos originally called “Facemash”. The site as the world really knows it today launched on Feb. 4th as thefacebook.com. It was expanded in scope later to other colleges and eventually high schools, and went on to become the social giant that it is today.
The site and Zuckerberg has faced much controversy, including charges against Zuckerberg by Harvard for hacking and a lawsuit filed by three other students for allegedly misleading them about a similar project. The case was eventually settled for shares of Facebook stock. Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, became president after advising Zuckerberg for a time and Facebook moved to Palo Alto, California. The site then became facebook.com after purchasing the domain for $200,000. Finally, in September of 2006 the site was made available to anyone over the age of 13.
Today, Facebook is the world’s largest social media app, reaching over 1.3 billion users in June, 2014. The company later went public in a popular IPO in Feburary, 2012. The company has also become innovators in data center and web application technology, building custom infrastructure to handle the massive load of users on systems.
Blue Gene/L, IBM’s newest supercomputer based off the original Blue Gene project, took the title of world’s fastest supercomputer from the Earth Simulator System in Nov of 2004. With a sustained performance of 70.72 teraflops it will be used for numerous applications and high performance computing. It has also spawned a commercial version capable of 5.72 teraflops, the eServer Blue Gene Solution. Currently IBM is building a full Blue Gene/L system for the Department of Energy’s NNSA/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Blue Gene/L’s most remarkable feature is it’s size. The completed system will take up space equivalent to half a tennis court, much smaller than most. It will also consume significantly less power, at 1.6 megawatts. The prototype of 32,000 processors knocked the ESS off the list, but when delivered to Lawrence Livermore it will be twice that. It is valued at about $100 million.
In 2004, the first official version of the popular Firefox browser was released. Finally out of beta, it began slowly taking away market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which development of had been stagnant for four years.
Born from the Mozilla Project launched by Netscape in 1998, Firefox took the world by storm because of it’s security and features, breaking IE’s stranglehold on the browser market as it’s share slipped below 95 percent for the first time in years.
This was the first cell phone virus and it appeared in June of 2k4. A network worm dubbed Cabir, it was a proof of concept. It spawned several later variants and spread between mobile phones by using a Symbian operating system distribution file that was modified to masquerade as security software. Users who ran the file saw the word “Caribe” on their screens and the worm set itself to run whenever the phone was on. Once a phone was infected it scanned for other Bluetooth phones to spread to.
In January 2k4 the MyDoom.A virus appeared, spreading quickly and setting records for the number of infections. A potent worm that also left behind a trojan, it is estimated it was found in one of every 12 emails. Millions of infected messages were discovered at the peak of it’s spread, and it is considered one of the worst viruses ever released into the wild. The trojan it left behind launched a denial of service attack against the SCO Group’s website. An estimated 25-50k infected computers took part in the massive attack. MyDoom also launched the era of criminal virus enterprise, as the zombie machine networks created by such worms offered profit to those who controlled them. A war between the writer of MyDoom and the Beagle virus began later when Beagle was finding and removing MyDoom from machines it infected.