Digital History


Computing's First 'Killer App'

In 1978, as Dan Bricklin watched his accounting lecturer filling in rows and columns on the blackboard, he wondered: Why do it by hand if you could do it on a computer instead? So, he wrote a program for the new Apple II personal computer: an electronic spreadsheet. As Tim Harford, the Financial Times's Undercover Economist columnist, writes on, this became the first “killer app.” But, he notes, there’s a cautionary side to the tale: In delegating a routine job to a computer, we’ve “acquired a lever with which to magnify human error to a dramatic scale.”


How to Sharpen Your Facebook Video Marketing

Many marketers believe that among content types, video is the one that performs best on social media. But not all types of video work equally well, Social Media Today reports. It details some of the best Facebook video marketing tips shared by expert contributors on the Zest Content Stream.


10 Key Instagram Photo-Editing Trends


Instagram users post over 95 million photos each day, and spend an average of 32 minutes scrolling through posts and Stories. With so much content, users’ tastes evolve fast. You may still favor the classic Instagram aesthetic, but your followers are over it, Hootsuite says. Here’s a round-up of what looks fresh on the platform these days, and how to incorporate it into your content strategy.


What Designers Often Neglect


One of the most critical parts of the design process is seldom discussed at conferences and meetups: synthesizing user research. When done right, UX Planet says, synthesis takes place right after you have been tasked with solving a problem and you have conducted interviews with key stakeholders and customers.


A Home Server to Keep Emails Truly Private


If you want an email account that’s actually private, one solution is to run your own email server from your house. But this hasn’t been a viable option for most people—until now, with the release of Helm. A triangle-shaped personal server, Helm can host your email, contacts, calendar, and a file server, and is about as easy to set up as a new smartphone, The Intercept reports.


Is the Death of Passwords Nigh?

Passwords are a hassle, and not very secure. But soon, Fast Company predicts, new technologies will eliminate the need for them.


15 Years After Changing the Internet, YTMND Is Gone


One of the earliest and most influential meme culture websites, You’re The Man Now Dog, went dark recently, The Verge reports. In the beginning site was a place to share gifs—which, at the time, were uncommon and difficult to make—paired with looping sound files. It became one of the first mainstream internet communities.


Your Internet Data Is Not Immortal

The internet currently accesses about 15 zettabytes of data, and is growing at a rate of 70 terabytes per second. It is an admittedly leaky vessel, Paul Royster writes on The Conversation, and content is constantly going offline to wind up lost forever. The internet is neither secure nor permanent. It never promised to be, and users should not assume that it will become so.


Ranking the Most Disruptive Office Distractions

Of all the distractions that come with working in an office, the biggest is not phone rings or alerts, the room temperature or the traffic sounds from outside, Quartz reports. It's co-workers. In a survey commissioned by office-equipment maker Poly and conducted by research firm Future Workplace, the top two distractions are a co-worker talking loudly on the phone and co-workers talking nearby.


Party App


The Chinese Communist Party's indoctrination app is absolutely crushing it, Mashable reports. Described by the New York Times as "a kind of high-tech equivalent of Mao’s Little Red Book," Study the Great Nation had more App Store downloads than Gmail in the first quarter of 2019.