The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

(Continued from front page)

• In 1966 he took a prototype to Decca Records, who were so impressed they bought his entire production run for the next six months. By the early 1970s, Ray had adapted the technology for the broadcast and motion picture industries. “Star Wars” was the first movie to use his noise-reduction system.

• His company now has 650 employees. Nearly 30,000 movie theaters use his sound system, and his equipment is used to record every radio and TV performance in the world, as well as in car stereos, cassette players, and DVD players. The technology was dubbed with Ray’s last name: Dolby.


• Harald was born in Denmark around the year 935 A.D., the son of King Gorm the Old. He grew up to become the ruler of Denmark, just like his dad. For a brief period he united Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under a single ruler: himself. He ruled until his son deposed him, and died around 986 A.D.

• A thousand years later, a Swedish telecom corporation called Ericsson Mobile Communications decided that the world needed a new wireless networking standard to unite computers, cell phones, printers, and PDAs with cable-free communications capabilities. In 1998 Ericsson invited Nokia, Toshiba, IBM, and Intel to strategy meetings. They worked to develop a new low-power low-cost radio interface between computer accessories. Ericsson’s idea was to integrate them all in order to drive a single wireless standard into the industry.

• The project was given a code-name of the English translation of Harald’s Danish last name, because it was uniting technologies just as Harald united countries. The logo is composed of the intertwined ancient runes for Harald’s initials, HB: Harald Bluetooth.


• A Japanese businessman founded a playing card company in 1889 and named it after the Japanese words meaning “leave luck to heaven.” He handed the company down to his son-in-law, who handed it down to his son-in-law, who was named Hiroshi Yamauchi.

• Hiroshi paid a visit to the largest playing card manufacturer in the U.S. He was shocked to find them operating in a tiny office. This convinced him he needed to expand his business beyond cards, because he wanted a big factory, not a small office. Hiroshi hired a man named Yokoi to oversee the assembly line. One day he saw Yokoi playing with an automatic hand-extender contraption, which he had manufactured in his spare time for fun. Hiroshi seized the opportunity, and the ‘Ultra Hand’ sold over a million units. Yokoi was put into product development.

• In 1977 the firm hired Shigeru Miyamoto, whose talent was electronic games. Yokoi and Shigeru worked together to develop a ‘Color TV Game Machine’ which was one of the first video games on the market. In 1981 they had a hit with a game starring an ape, and that was followed by a game starring an Italian plumber who battles creatures in sewers. The firm grew and eventually became Japan’s third most valuable company, still named after the Japanese words for ‘leave luck to heaven’: Nintendo with the popular games called Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers.