Posts tagged history

Would You Like Some History With Your News?

A San Francisco startup wants to inject a little history into your news. 

The startup is Timeline, which has launched an iPhone app that features short articles about current events—and bite-sized history lessons to go with them. 

Reading Timeline stories can be mind-expanding, if a little exhausting. One article on the minimum wage, for instance, notes that it rose in 20 states at the beginning of 2015 and expands on that for a few paragraphs before segueing into another article about the first minimum wage law passed in 1912. After that come another few paragraphs about a 1935 Supreme Court decision.

In all, that one “timeline” featured eight different sections, each illustrated with a picture, video, or some other visual element. Timeline considers each section a “card.”

“It’s a difficult process,” said Jonathan Kalan, editor in chief of the new venture. “We try to keep entries to about 100 words a card, that’s tough to do.” 

Timelines pegged to news events take Timeline’s editorial team approximately a day to research and produce, while features can take between three and five days. Short articles have about five “cards,” while longer ones have as many as 15. The startup doesn’t try to put every news story into historical context, Kalan said; instead, it limits itself to events that will most benefit from the long view.

“It’s impossible to cover everything in history, right?” Kalan said. “For us, the real key is finding a tight thread, one that allows us to … focus on some sort of evolution, some sort of change (in a topic).”

The Timeline app is designed specifically to take advantage of larger screens on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. The user interface is based on scrolling between cards, and works smoothly. One button lets you bookmark an article to read later (accessible via a page of stored bookmarks), and another lets you pop out of the text view and into a timeline view, with the dates and headings presented in chronological order. From there you can tap on a date and pop back in to the text view at that card entry. 

“Timeline was born out of personal frustration with the lack of historic and geographic context in current affairs: so much sensationalism couple with almost no depth,” CEO Tamer Hassanein said in a press release.

The team plans another release in February with “more robust” features like better algorithms (i.e. better personalized news stories), an iPad-specific design, and “exploration modes.” The current app is free and doesn’t have any ads. A spokesperson for the company said Timeline has no plans for making money in the near or mid-term, and is instead focused on boosting consumer adoption first.

Photo by John Overholt

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Google History Added A Section For Your Google Now Cards

Check your Google Now Card history in your Google Web History section.

The post Google History Added A Section For Your Google Now Cards appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The Web In The World: A Brief History

This post is presented by Toyota Prius. Since the first hybrid-electric Prius rolled onto US driveways 14 years ago, Toyota’s led the way to greener transportation. In the 11 years since ReadWrite launched on the Web, we’ve been tracking the technologies that led the way to the Internet-connected world today. We’re joining together to share these advances with you.

In the past decade, we’ve seen dramatic advances in technology—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, cloud computing, smartphones—as well as the applications that make use of them. We now live with the reality that you can view, create, and share information whenever and wherever you want.

The biggest change in that time has been the transformation of the Internet from something you log onto from a computer to something we expect to be a component of every daily experience, from the moment we wake to our daily commute to shopping and entertainment. 

Kevin Ashton, the executive director of the Auto-ID Center, coined the term “the Internet of Things” to describe this growing interconnection. While ReadWrite was one of the first sites to talk about the Internet of Things, we now prefer to describe this phenomenon more simply: It’s the Web in the world.

How did the Web go from a window on our computer screen to a ubiquitous network of devices and services? We’ve compiled a list of key developments along the way.


Radio frequency ID or RFID tags had been on the market for a few years before Walmart and the Department of Defense put their weight behind this technology for tracking objects. Now seen as a critical piece of the Internet of Things technology, RFID tags have shrunk down to nearly microscopic size and negligible cost, greatly expanding their use.

GoPro sells its first camera. While webcams had been available for years, those were meant to sit on top of a computer monitor. This rugged device allowed people to mount it in homes, offices and on their heads. They’re a staple for cars driving in Russia, where they’re used for evidence in traffic incidents. And if you’ve never seen video from one attached to a motorcycle helmet or the back of a dog, you’re missing out.


Doug Cutting and Mike Cafarella create Hadoop. Bypassing the standard, structured approach to database software, this open source project fueled its success with a new way to handle Big Data from various sources. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to do anything with all the data generated by connected devices. 

Arduino launches, putting the Internet of Things in reach of the DIY crowd. It sparked garage-bound inventors’ creativity, allowing them to connect sensors and controllers to everyday objects in cars, homes and offices. 


GPS  shrinks down. Though the satellite-location service had been around for decades, it took an advance in chip technology to put it in smartphones. Companies like Broadcom helped shrink the radio chip to sizes that allowed them to be installed in smartphones, automobile dashboards and other handheld devices. Subsequent upgrades refined the location data that apps could obtain from the signal. Without it, your Internet-enabled device would have a hard time giving you driving directions.

Nike+ iPod shows the potential of wearable devices. This early wearable device presages the growth of fitness trackers, smart clothing, and other gadgets that help wire our body into the Web.


Apple launches the App Store. Before this marketplace existed, buying a mobile application was a fruitless struggle for consumers. By giving developers an avenue for distributing their wares, Apple and its imitators made it easy to deliver an app. That, in turn, let us turn smartphones into remote controls for the Internet of Things.


Tony Fadell, the father of the iPad, founds Nest Labs. Who knew that a thermostat could be sexy and geeky at the same time? By saving energy and sparing people headaches, Nest became the poster child for the connected home. No wonder Google bought it for $3.2 billion.


Apple introduces the iPhone 4S. While little noted at the time, this model was the first Apple smartphone to include Bluetooth Low Energy, a key technology for connecting devices together. Google followed in a subsequent release of its Android operating system, paving the way for ubiquitous support of Bluetooth. 

IPv6—the latest version of the Internet Protocol—launches. The Internet Engineering Task Force created IPv6 to accommodate the explosion of things connected to the Internet. The new protocol uses a 128-bit address, allowing for 340 undecillion addresses. That meant that more than your computer and your phone could be online—so could your watch, your thermostat, and your car.


Raspberry Pi goes on sale. These tiny, all-in-one computers, now selling for $35, have sold more than 2.5 million units. Hobbyists and developers are using them to create all sorts of awesome projects, from Christmas lights to digital picture frames.


Apple unveils HealthKit and HomeKit, two software libraries for building apps that connect with devices on our bodies and in our homes. While HealthKit had a troubled debut, it promises to get even more interesting when Apple introduces its Watch wearable in 2015, making it a wrist-based hub for all kinds of devices around us.

Reflecting On The Future

Devices and technologies released today are leading the way for even more advances. The decades to come promise to be just as inventive. Did we miss a development that you view as key? ReadWrite and Toyota Prius invite you to add to the timeline in the comments.

Lead image via Shutterstock

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Bing Ads Enhances “Change History” Page

Bing Ads has enhanced its Change History page to boost usability and reporting and Bing says more enhancements for the page will be coming soon.

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Bing Ads Refreshes The Change History Report

Bing Ads has rolled out a new look for its Change History reporting. The new format groups changes made by a user at one time, rather than itemizing every change separately as it did previously. Also new is faster data processing and more data availability, which Bing Ads has been addressing…

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SearchCap: Google Manual Info Box, Bing Ads History Report & Where Is Our Penguin Refresh?

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Bing Ads Refreshes The Change History Report Bing Ads has rolled out a new look for its Change History reporting. The new format groups changes made by a user at…

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Amazon’s Cloud Is The Fastest Growing Software Business In History

No one doubts anymore that Amazon Web Services is a big deal. But few appreciate just how unprecedented its growth has been. In fact, no other software business in history has grown as fast past the billion-dollar mark as AWS, as Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance points out

See also: Amazon’s Cloud Spends Less Than Its Rivals But Outpaces Them In Adoption

Such growth is particularly astounding given the doubts Amazon has had to overcome relative to security, performance and more. Today those concerns seem puny compared to the overarching convenience AWS provides developers.

Just How Big Is Amazon Web Services?

Rumors have swirled for years about AWS growth. Pacific Crest Securities now believes AWS will approach $5 billion in revenue in 2014, and top $6.7 billion in 2015.

That’s big, obviously, but the growth is even more impressive: Pacific Crest expects AWS revenue to increase 58% this year to nearly $5 billion from $3.1 billion in 2013, up from just $1.9 billion in 2012. For those doing the math at home, this means AWS revenue is doubling every two years.

That’s huge.

It’s also much faster than other explosive software businesses have managed. (I tend to discount the Google line below since its primary business is advertising, not software; your mileage may vary.)

As Gartner has pointed out, this translates into 5X the utilized compute capacity of its next 15 largest competitors. While that multiple may have changed a bit since Gartner analyst Lydia Leong calculated it in 2013, what with Microsoft’s Azure growth and Google’s technical and pricing challenges

But AWS remains the pillar of cloud size and growth.

What Makes AWS Tick?

We’ve rehearsed the reasons before. While competitors like Microsoft try to paint AWS as a complex beast that is unwieldy and difficult to use, the reality is that AWS remains the developer’s preferred option for “getting stuff done.” Companies worry this results in them having less control.

They’re right. But that’s the point.

As Forrester has outlined, getting things done fast – regardless of enterprise concerns over control – is the top reason developers and their businesses turn to the cloud in the first place:

While this originally meant that developers turned to AWS mostly for dev and test workloads, Pacific Crest analyst Brent Bracelin notes that “2014 is shaping up to be a turning point for cloud adoption in the enterprise, moving beyond new application test and development to more critical workloads.”

For those who think this only applies to small companies—sorry, the facts say otherwise. As just one example among many, I recently heard a senior IT executive at a Fortune 50 bank talk about how its traditional systems—while great for running the bank as is—were failing to help the bank innovate. He has therefore embraced cloud as a way to drive a closer alignment between development and operations and to accelerate the speed of application development.

We’re going to see this happen again and again and again, especially given the complexity of running applications at serious scale, as Box has discovered.

AWS isn’t exploding because of some fluke. It’s booming to the tune of $5 billion precisely because it delivers superior convenience to developers and the organizations smart enough to support them.

Image by Flickr user Hammerin Man, CC 2.0

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Google Search for Android: “OK, Google” and Audio History

Google Search 3.5.14 has added a number of enhancements. Among them are the voice search feature “OK,Google” and Audio History.

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Park Seo Joon talks about his dating history and skinship skills on … – allkpop

Park Seo Joon talks about his dating history and skinship skills on
During the lie detector game, when asked the 'yes or no' question, "I'm on top [these days]," Park Seo Joon answered 'no', but even the lie detector determined that was a lie. When asked if he was good at skinship, this time, he honestly answered 'yes

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Before Beats: A Walk Through Apple’s Digital Music History, 1977 to 2014

With the deal confirmed at last, it’s easy to balk at the $3 billion handshake between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. After all, it’s far from clear just what Apple has in mind for the maker of headphones and its digital music-streaming service.

But Apple, widely credited with accelerating the first digital music revolution, could be poised for another industry shake-up—this one well overdue. After all, music has coursed through the company’s veins for longer than we often remember. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see.

1977: Apple II

Beyond its role in popularizing the personal computer as we know it, the Apple II line foreshadowed Apple’s sonic future. It wasn’t initally promising, though; while third party peripherals expanded its musical repertoire, 1977’s 8-bit Apple II began with only the most rudimentary audio features.

By 1986, however, the Apple II had evolved into the 16-bit Apple IIgs (the “gs” stands for “graphics and sound”), a precociously audio-savvy machine featuring a wavetable music synthesizer—a first for personal computing at the time. The Apple IIgs commanded a loyal following all the way through 1992, when the Macintosh line took the Apple II’s baton.

Want to rock out to Apple II era MIDIs with a little help from a more modern synthesizer? Well, it’s your lucky day.

1991: QuickTime

Originally introduced in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime Player broke new ground for multimedia computing, which barely existed at the time. In 1994, QuickTime added support for music track playback that transcended existing computer audio quality and only necessitated small (now infinitesimally teensy) data files, like MIDIs, with its own native sound synthesis engine.

Over time, QuickTime grew into Apple’s default video playback program, which lives on today. (For instance, you’ll need it to watch Cook’s keynote speech next week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.)

2001: iPod

The Power CD, a 1993 Apple digital-music flop, may not make this list, but the iPod certainly earned its place. Released in the relative dark age of 2001, the first iPod offered “1,000 songs in your pocket” and a nascent iTunes, then just a “digital jukebox”.

The iPod embodied the kind of gestalt we’ve come to expect from Apple: an exciting, refined device that consumers didn’t even know they needed yet. 

Apple iPod sales over time

Apple iPod sales over time

As it began to capture the market’s attention in 2005, the iPod snowballed into the world’s premier digital-music gadget, cementing Apple’s image as flagbearer of the digital music revolution. With the later introduction of the entry-priced iPod Shuffle, Apple effectively made personal digital-music players available to everyone and anyone. 


2003: iTunes Store

Apple introduced its first version of iTunes, built from its acquisition of early MP3 player SoundJam MP, in 2001. Two years later, with iPod hardware and iTunes as a software framework, Apple could finally introduce its biggest game-changer yet: a digital storefront stocked with 99 cent songs that upended the music industry as we knew it.

2004: GarageBand

As the iPod picked up steam into 2004, Apple rolled out GarageBand, a platform for digital-music creation that grew increasingly robust over the years. Now available for iOS as well as OS X, GarageBand was a key step in transforming a growing base of music consumers into creators as well, while also buying some goodwill with existing musicians who wanted to explore digital tools.

2007: iPhone

When Apple remixed its hit MP3 player into a smartphone, everything changed. It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPhone in any realm of consumer technology, and digital music is no exception. The advent of the iPhone meant that we no longer needed to carry around two separate devices, one for calls and one for music and media.

By blending the utility of a phone, a digital music player, a pocket-sized computer and later an app platform, the iPhone took the market by storm and expanded its already massive digital music footprint.

2010: iPad

The iTunes Store had already steeped the mobile world in apps by the time the first iPad hit, and as the most iconic tablet ever created picked up steam, it gained traction among creative developers and musicians alike. Suddenly major artists like Gorillaz and Bjork were making inventive albums on yet another Apple device we didn’t know we needed.

With its larger screen and touch interface, and growing pool of music creation apps, the iPad made a huge impact on casual/indie digital-music creation and even the DJ scene

2014: Beats

Apple’s decision to purchase the hardware and digital music brand Beats struck plenty of folks as out of the blue, but it may have been crazy-like-a-fox from the start. The deal brings both Beats Music (the digital streaming app) and Beats Electronics (the hit line of headphones and speakers) into Apple’s fold.

Perhaps more important, it brings on board Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, music industry insiders who could shake digital music up once again—this time from the inside out.

Header image via anamanzarphotography, other images via Wikimedia Commons

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