Timehop is a smartphone application that generates throwbacks for the photos you have taken on your phone. Each day, you could see photos you had taken on a given day in previous years. I recall installing Timehop but at the time I didn't have too many photos that I could share with the application. With that said, the core idea has stayed in my mind: a system through which you receive reminders of what you were doing on this day in the past.
I explored this idea in my website "Time Machine" feature, a page that shows me all of the posts I published on a given day of the month. Only posts that were published more than six months ago display on the page. The more common setup -- and the one that I recall Timehop using -- was to show you content published on a given day in a year, but this wasn't practical for my use case. When I built the Time Machine feature, I thought that there would likely be many days on which no content could be surfaced. By using the day of the month to select blog posts to feature, I would have a greater chance of seeing a blog post when I perused the Time Machine page.
The Time Machine is interesting not just for displaying a post I wrote in a previous month, but for the aggregate trends. Time machine entires look like this:
2 years and 6 months ago: Checking My Webmentions Using RSS
2 years and 7 months ago: My First Homebrew Website Club Meeting
1 year and 2 months ago: Breakfast and Coffee: A wiki for sharing food and drink recommendations
From these three examples, taken from the Time Machine on the day I wrote this post, I can see that I attended my first Homebrew Website Club meeting over two and a half years ago. Time has indeed flown by. I can see that through the years I have written about technical topics. The trends I see are different each time I check back when the Time Machine is refreshed for a new day.
You may be wondering: where does Timehop fit in?
I have an idea for a progressive web application that takes a list of posts on your website -- that you provide -- and sends you a notification each day (or on a cadence you define) of one post you published on that day. The application would list all of the posts you published on that day.
I thought about this idea when building the Time Machine, but I didn't find the resources available on WebPush for iOS -- the web specification that enables sending native notifications to a device via the web -- intuitive enough. WebPush was also not generally available, requiring one to toggle the feature on in a menu deep in the Safari device settings. Now that WebPush support has been fully released, I can see this idea working.
The flow would be something like:
- A user creates an account;
- A user uploads a list of posts, with title, URL, date, and (optionally) image data that can be displayed in the application;
- Every day, a user gets a notification of a post they wrote in the past and;
- A user can see all of the posts they wrote on a given day in the past in the application.
There would be settings available to configure notification cadence and the time at which notifications are sent.
I haven't built this yet, but perhaps I will one day!
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