It is exchanges like this that make me love Tumblr. Facebook commenters could learn a lot from Tumblerkind.
I don’t pretend to know the definitive cause, but the quality of fake news stories has been on a downward trajectory for some time. Even The Onion experienced a rough patch before returning to the top of the heap with clever and thought provoking articles that are both timely and universal. I even found myself sharing a four year old Onion article yesterday titled Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions because it addressed what is happening this week quite directly.
The site I miss most through is BBspot. The image up top is from BBspot’s article: Microsoft, Military Announce Operation Red, White and Blue Screen of Death.
Brian Brigg’s BBspot started in 2000 and operated until 2011. The site provided entertainment for the geeks and non-geeks all over the world. BBspot produced movie trailer reviews, a collection of website gaffes tagged “BBloopers,” but it was best known for fake news about technology and politics. It was also home to The PC Weenies web comic.
There were also occasional posts from the BBspot Mailbag that let the regular readers gawk at letters from people who actually believed the stories posted there. The best of these involved legitimate media companies falling for a story. News outlets include TechTV’s The Screen Savers show, the Discovery Channel, and countless radio shows.
The last content to appear on the site was a letter posted November 23, 2011. It is almost four years gone, but not a week goes by when I do not fondly recall a BBspot news item that I want to show someone. I did look him up and Brian Briggs is alive and well, at least according to his LinkedIn profile, but he has moved back into his original systems analyst type work. I am just thrilled that the BBspot archive is still online.
19 BBspot Stories I Loved
These are just the openings of the stories, be sure to click through for the full articles.
- Kentucky Legalizes Sister-Brother Civil Unions – Frankfort, KY – In a trend that is sweeping across America, the Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill legalizing sister-brother civil unions. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law tomorrow. An amendment legalizing brother-brother civil unions was soundly defeated…
- Serial Killer Trademarks “iPhone Killer” Wants Abuse of Term to Stop – Peoria, IL – William Wayne Doty, dubbed the “iPhone killer” by media, has trademarked the name, and will sue reporters and bloggers who use the phrase in reference to anything other than him.
- Ballmer Admits Vista Biggest Practical Joke He’s Ever Pulled – Redmond, WA – Steve Ballmer announced today at a press conference in Redmond that Windows Vista was “the biggest practical joke he’s ever pulled.” Ballmer said the elaborate hoax, which took thousands of employees, years of secrecy and millions of dollars to pull off successfully, was “right up there with the Zune and Windows ME.
- Geek Avoids Helping Family with Computer Problems on Mother’s Day – South Lyon, MI – Ryan Petry had a plan to avoid helping his family with computer problem on Mother’s Day Sunday, and executed it flawlessly. “I knew, going in, it was going to be tough to avoid doing computer work, because my mom had called on Saturday and said that her computer was running slow. I didn’t let that discourage me though. I promised myself no computer work this weekend,” said Petry.
- Zuckerberg Promising More Ways for Family to Annoy You on Facebook – Palo Alto, CA – Mark Zuckerberg announced today that Facebook would be implementing more ways for family to annoy you on Facebook. “I’m proud to report we had a 58% increase in reports of annoying family members on Facebook in 2009, and I expect even more with the new tools we’ll be implementing in the first half of 2010,” said Zuckerberg. “Auto chain-mail status creation, bypassing privacy settings and even harder to ignore Farmville requests are just a few of the upgrades.”
- Santa Considering Move to Linux Icy Negotiations May Lead to Penguins Inhabiting North Pole – North Pole – Citing concerns about security and licensing costs, Santa Claus is considering migrating his computer systems from Microsoft Windows to Linux. With several thousand computers and the largest database in the world, Santa’s Workshop is one of the largest and most important clients for Microsoft. It is expected that the software maker will do whatever it takes to keep Claus in their corner.
- New NVIDIA Video Card Enhances Flesh Tones – Santa Clara, CA – NVIDIA announced today the release of their newest video card the Dermatrix 3000. The Dermatrix 3000 uses patented Fleshtonic(tm) technology which gives Internet surfers the first video card specifically designed to optimize flesh tones. In 24 bit color mode the Dermatrix 3000 allocates 15.3 million colors to flesh tones, 1 million to hair tones, and the remaining 400,000 colors to eye pigmentation. “It’s really amazing the hue gradations that we can get in the flesh tones,” said NVIDIA engineer Jonathan Chang…
- Bush Administration’s Bright Shiny Object Fascinates Americans – Washington DC – White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer held the press corps in awe for approximately 15 minutes by producing a bright, shiny object from his pocket during his daily press briefing Monday. Dangling the object from a chain, Fleischer waved it back in forth in front of the members of the press. The bright, shiny object, carried live on national television, seemed to have a calming effect on otherwise disgruntled Americans.
- Internet Goes Sentient, Declares It’s “Not Neutral” – Cyberspace – The Internet revealed its status as a sentient being yesterday and declared that it was not neutral and would be “siding on the side of the machines in the war against humanity.” This unexpected turn in the battle for Net neutrality overshadows the announcement on Monday by Google and Verizon, and has many people worried about the future of access to the Internet.
- Jobs Offers Apple Lisa Early Adopters Store Credit – Cupertino, CA – Early adopters of the iPhone weren’t the only ones receiving in-store credit from Steve Jobs. In an overlooked announcement, Jobs said that early adopters of the Apple Lisa would be receiving a $7000 in-store credit. “I’ve felt bad about people who bought the Lisa for a long time. Anybody who bought one of the first Apple Lisas really got screwed,” said Jobs. “Now that we’ve got some cash, I think it’s about time we made it right.”
- AT&T Reopens Pre-Orders for iPhone with Half Phone Limit – Cupertino, CA – Initial supply of Apple’s iPhone 4 sold out in under a day and forced AT&T to stop taking pre-orders for the device. However, the company has announced that they would start taking pre-order starting Friday, but limiting customers to half an iPhone per subscriber.
- Transformers 3 to Feature Two-hour Explosion – Hollywood, CA – The third installment in the highly-successful Transformer movie franchise will feature a world record breaking two-hour explosion. The movie is tentatively titled Transformers Go Boom. “It would be easy with today’s technology to just create an endless loop of explosion that lasts two hours, but audiences can get that from an animated GIF file,” said director Michael Bay. “Instead we’re working with top pyrotechnic and computer graphic artists to create a unique two-hour explosion. I’ve got a budget of over a hundred million dollars, so you can bet it’s going to be awesome.”
- Cameron Building Spaceship to Film Avatar 2 on Location – Hollywood, CA – Not satisfied with the groundbreaking special effects in Avatar, director James Cameron plans to film the sequel to the $1 billion grossing film on location on Pandora to bring an even more realistic look to the movie. The project to build the spaceship began soon after the initial success of Avatar, and should be completed by December 2010.
- James Doohan’s Ashes to Appear in Volume 3 of Heroes – Hollywood, CA – The Star Trek connection grew even stronger for the NBC hit series “Heroes” when show creator Tim Kring announced Monday that James Doohan would be appearing in Volume 3: “Villains.” “We’ve had Nichelle (Uhuru) and George (Sulu) appear in previous volumes, but my favorite was always Scotty,” said Kring. “When I learned that some of his ashes were still available, I knew I had to write him in the show.”
- Microsoft Declares Victory in Browser War, Discontinues Internet Explorer – Redmond, WA – Following the announcement last week that AOL discontinued the Netscape Navigator browser, Microsoft announced that it was “declaring victory” and “ending support for Internet Explorer.” “We made Internet Explorer with the sole purpose of destroying Netscape. That job is done. It was a long and hard-fought battle, but the better browser won,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
- Microsoft Reveals Windows Vista SP1 Will Install XP – Redmond, WA – In response to customer demands Microsoft announced that instead of patching bugs and improving features of Windows Vista in the next service pack release, they would just install XP. “We’re focused on giving the customer what they want, and want they want is to just go back to XP,” said Microsoft Development Chief Greg Elston.
- Metallica’s New Album is Napster-Proof – Los Angeles, CA – Metallica released their long awaited “Download This” CD today, and the band declared it Napster-proof. The 74 minute CD contains one 55 minute song, “Napster Begone” and a 19 minute, one-question interview with drummer Lars Ulrich. “We realized that we couldn’t stop the Napster movement, so we decided to make a Napster-proof album. The ‘Napster Begone’ track is so long and so horrible that no one in their right mind would take the time to download it. Our loyal fans will buy it though, because most have spent so much money on our merchandise that they can’t afford a computer,” said Lars.
- Fox Holds Futurama DVDs for Ransom in Innovative Marketing Campaign – Los Angeles, CA – Futurama fans are eagerly awaiting the November 27th release of the first of four new DVDs, Bender’s Big Score, but the remaining DVDs are being held for ransom in an innovative marketing campaign by Fox. If sales targets are not met, Mewborn said all the remaining DVDs will “be melted down and the toxic sludge will be poured into the water supply of a random US city.”
- Microsoft’s AntiSpyware Tool Removes Internet Explorer – Many Microsoft Windows users who downloaded the recently released AntiSpyware program from Microsoft, or had it installed through an automatic Windows update, woke up to a surprise. Unintentionally, the heuristics of the software detected Internet Explorer as spyware, and removed the program from their systems.
If Briggs’ sense of humor clicks for you, you may want to check out his 2008 book, The BBook of Geek: The Only Geek Humor Book You’ll Ever Need – it is available for the Kindle and in paperback.
Need images for your blogposts or other purposes? There is a great collection of ‘free to use’ images at Stock-Unrestricted at DeviantArt.
The rules there state:
- Unrestricted Stock can be used for both personal and commercial projects.
- The user is not required to obtain permission to using the stock off site, or in DA prints.
- It cannot be sold as, or redistributed as, the original stock image.
- The crediting/notification is not required to use the stock.
The collection is divided into 24 categories or galleries:
- Body Parts
- Landscapes Nature
- Application Resources
- Fractal Resources
- 3D Models
- Gore Blood and Dead stuff
- Skies Clouds Weather
- Free Wallpapers
- Premade Backgrounds
- Windows Doorways
- Arches Walls Steps
- Statues Monuments Cemeteries
- Technical Mechanical
Not everything there is of the quality you’d get paying money to a stock photo company, but it is worth a look for more incidentally useful visuals. It is also worth a look at DeviantArt’s Resources & Stock Images.
After last Christmas, it occurred to us that most of the kids in the family are grown now – some even married – so it might be a good time to revisit how we handle Christmas gifts and keep spending under control. What we decided to do was go to a Secret Santa system for anyone over 18 who wants to participate while letting people shop however they want for the kids.
Having never organized a Secret Santa before, I immediately started digging (that’s what I do) into variations to determine how we wanted to do this thing. It did not take long to find tools that make this whole process easier.
The one we have settled on is Boogspace’s Secret Santa Generator. It is free and offers everything we needed. It allows you to add your list – along with special features to control for people who should not be shopping for each other – and have the drawing and notification (by SMS or Email) done right from the standalone tool. Nobody has to register on the site — not even the organizer. (more…)
Leonardo Torres y Quevedo started to develop the idea of a remote control around 1901 or 1902, as a way of testing his airships without risking human lives.
In 1903, he presented the Telekino at the Paris Academy of Science with an experimental demonstration. At the same time he obtained a patent for it in France, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States.
In 1906, in the presence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria* of Spain, Torres successfully demonstrated the invention in the port of Bilbao, guiding a boat over 1.25 miles away from the shore based on Queen Victoria’s instructions. Later, he would try to apply the Telekino to projectiles and torpedoes, but had to abandon the project for lack of financing.