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Would you believe we are coming up on the 30th anniversary of the internet? A lot has changed in that time. And its growth ties in closely with how computers and other geeky technology have developed. Let’s take a quick look at what came before and how things have evolved.
History is only as interesting as the person who teaches it. Without a good narrator, it quickly becomes boring. Such good storytelling is the hallmark of these quick and entertaining reads on the history of technology.
1. Hardbound’s History of the Emoji in a Comic Strip
Emojis are now an essential part of how we type on our screens. They became mass hits only in the past few years, but the history and inner workings of the emoji process are fascinating.
Hardbound is known for making educational but entertaining comics. In this one, a father emoji tells his child emoji the story of their species. You’ll find out how emojis came to be, the consortium that controls them, and the complex process of how a new emoji is added.
With wonderful illustrations and simple language, it’s the quickest and best history lesson. And once you know this, you can tackle turning emojis into English without a fuss.
The true test of good design is when we stop noticing it and take it for granted. Icons are everywhere, from the apps on your screen to tiny representations on your resume. But have you given a thought to how and why they came to be?
Broken down by decade, The History Of Icons is a gorgeous visual dive into how these pixels came together. It’s presented as an infographic that you scroll almost endlessly. The site includes examples of early icons and how they evolved over the years.
It starts from how mathematician David Smith and artist Norm Cox invented the first of these. From those days, go forward to today when you can customize the icons on your Android phone, or even use special icon fonts on your site. Fascinating stuff!
3. Illustrated: History of macOS and History of iOS
Love it or hate it, you can’t dispute that Apple and Steve Jobs revolutionized graphical interfaces. Both macOS on computers and iOS on Apple took giant leaps and defined the future. These two short guides trace the evolution of the two operating systems.
Both history lessons are gorgeous, much like what they are celebrating. Each has cartoons and illustrations to show the history and accompanying small paragraphs to explain it. They’re short and quick reads, and you’ll come out knowing everything on why Apple is essential for how we use computers today.
In case you want more than just the design of operating systems, read the full history of Apple and Steve Jobs.
When programmer Jay Hoffman started digging into the history of the World Wide Web, he was astonished by the stories in it. Not simple things like who created the internet or other such tales. But the little things that don’t get talked about. So he talks about them in his newsletter and site.
Every week, Hoffman writes a new story about an oddity in the history of the Web. You’ll find topics like the importance of being on Usenet in the 90s. And even on well-covered subjects like the original browser wars between Microsoft and Netscape, Hoffman finds tidbits you didn’t know about before.
The internet is replete with “This day, that year” sites to learn about history. This Day In Tech History focuses only on happenings in the tech industry.
The site is a simple way to learn about history without being overwhelmed. Updated daily, you will find a cute little tidbit of information. The history lessons aren’t chronological, which adds to the fun. One day, you’ll go back to the 9180s, while the next you might find a story from 2010.
The site only has a tiny writeup on each event, which is part of why it’s appealing. In case you don’t want to visit the site daily, subscribe on Facebook or Twitter to get the updates there.
What’s Your Favorite Geek History?
Geek history is such a wide topic that everyone has their favorite incidents from it. And learning new ones is always entertaining too. For example, I loved reading about the greatest mistakes in the history of programming, which I didn’t know before.
What’s your favorite story in the annals of geek history?