Notification email improvements
Mon 26 Dec 2016 20:37:00 -0800
Registered BBeM users can choose to receive notification emails when new items are added to the
galleries or new comments are posted. The webmaster sends "digest" emails out when several new items
have accumulated. But the code used to send all of the emails at once, causing some recipients'
ISPs to reject the emails as spam. The internal code has been tweaked to use the
which allows us to queue up a certain number of emails per hour. It then feeds them to the recipients,
being careful to adhere to the rules of the various ISPs. It's likely that some members who had
not been receiving our notifications will now begin to do so.
The internal code changes to support this approach to emails were fairly extensive,
and rely on an external (Linux server) hourly probe to send the next batch of emails
to Mailgun, if there are any to send.
Server update accommodations
Fri 18 Nov 2016 18:15:00 -0800
Moved to a new server, which runs newer versions of PHP, the SQL database extensions,
and the graphing library. This required some minor changes and revealed
some obscure bugs in the Admin code, which have been squashed.
Text editor upgrade
Thu 19 May 2016 23:50:00 -0800
comment text has been upgraded from version 3.5.7 to 4.3.12. Certain features no longer
worked properly in newer browsers; this appears to be fixed.
Fixed "Contact Us" form
Fri 30 Nov 2014 19:05:00 -0800
Fixed a typo and a "required" clause that were preventing the "Contact Us" form from working.
Searching This Day in Boomer History
Sat 09 Nov 2013 10:50:00 -0800
Extended the "Advanced Search" feature to permit searches of the
This Day in Boomer History database.
New trivia scoring and leader board ranking formula
Sun 22 Sep 2013 12:45:00 -0800
Until now, scoring of the trivia quiz, and rank on the Leader Board, have been based simply on the number of
correct answers a player has given. So a player who answered 100 questions and got them all right would have the same
score as one who played 200 questions and got half of them right.
It has become clear that the percentage correct needs to be considered as part of the score. Percentage alone
isn't the answer, however, since a player who gets 80% correct out of 100 has done more work than one who gets 90% correct out of 50.
The new scoring is based on the following formula:
Given N = number of questions answered
and C = number of correct answers
then SCORE = (C2 / N)
This is like applying the percent-correct to the number of correct answers. Using the example numbers from above,
the player who got 80% of 100 correct would score 64, while the player go got 90% of 50 correct would score 40.5.
Trivia Quiz time limits
Fri 20 Sep 2013 23:40:00 -0800
The BBeM's trivia quiz has undergone some changes, as follows:
- The "Clear my trivia history" option is now available ONLY when you have exhausted the supply of trivia questions.
- As before, clearing your trivia history will reset your cumulative score and cause the quiz to forget which questions you've already encountered,
so you can start the quiz over from scratch.
- It will now also drop you from the Leader Board and introduce a time limit for each question. (Hey, you now presumably know all the answers,
so let's make this challenging again!)
- The time limit for most questions is between 40 and 60 seconds, with longer times for drag-n-drop or long-winded questions and for those
involving media clips.
- If you clear your trivia history multiple times, the time limits will get shorter each time (up to a point).
Reverted to original method of recording wrong answers for drag-n-drop trivia questions
Sun 15 Sep 2013 00:20:00 -0800
Reverted to the original, indifivual method of recording wrong answers to drag-n-drop trivia questions.
The combined method, while providing additional context, produced long, confusing strings.
Changed wrong-answer history listing for drag-n-drop trivia questions
Sun 07 Jul 2013 14:15:00 -0800
For drag-n-drop trivia questions, each mismatched pair had been recorded as a separate
wrong answer. This has been changed so that each collection of mismatches is recorded
as a group, so users can see the swaps and patterns that occur.
Comment list sort order changed
Wed 03 Jul 2013 11:30:00 -0800
Added a field in the profile area to let users choose which
sort order (earliest first, or most recent first) they'd prefer
for comment listings. The default is now "most recent first".
Also added code to trim leading and trailing blank lines from comments before recording them.
New "Movies of the '70s" gallery
Thu 16 May 2013 10:40:00 -0800
Since some Baby Boomers weren't born until 1964, their childhood memories spill over into
the 1970s. We already had a few '70s-era films crammed into the "Movies of the '60s" gallery,
and there were more I considered iconic, so I decided to bite the bullet and
create a gallery for them.
Also, the "Item List" page had been a static .html file generated
manually on a periodic basis. Therefore, it was usually a bit out of date. The
page is now generated dynamically from the site's database, just like the regular
HTML5 form elements & "Item List" page revision
Sun 28 Apr 2013 15:42:00 -0800
Began making use of new HTML5 provisions for form elements. In particular,
the ability to signify that a text input field is required or accepts
Also, the "Item List" page had been a static .html file generated
manually on a periodic basis. Therefore, it was usually a bit out of date. The
page is now generated dynamically from the site's database, just like the regular
Item submission form changes
Sat 15 Dec 2012 02:30:00 -0800
Added a "personal comment" text field to the "Submit an Item" form. Users are
encouraged to stick to the facts in the item text itself, and save any editorial remarks
for the personal comment field.
Suggestions for This Day in History
Mon 19 Nov 2012 12:45:00 -0800
Registered users may now submit suggested events for the This Day in History feature.
WYSIWYG text editing
Mon 12 Nov 2012 02:20:00 -0800
Many of the site's text input fields (e.g., for posting comments) now
provide common word processing control buttons, for such attributes as Bold, Italic,
Underscore, and text background/foreground color, along with buttons for inserting
URL links, images, and emoticons, and for Undo/Redo. A spell checker would be
welcome as well; we'll look into that.
On This Day in Boomer History
Fri 26 Oct 2012 02:15:00 -0800
"On This Day in Boomer History" has been a staple of the BBeM home page for a very long time,
but it only worked for the current month/day. An "other date" link is now provided at the
bottom of the table; clicking it brings the visitor to a page that permits selection of
any month/day pair, and the ability to browse forward and backward from a given day.
Single-question trivia quiz
Wed 17 Oct 2012 02:45:00 -0800
When a trivia player posts a comment for a question or clicks the "Send to a friend" button, an
email is sent that includes a link to that trivia question. In the past, this has provided a
read-only view of the trivia question; the latest update permits the question to be played. If the
user is logged in, the answer counts toward her cumulative score if she hasn't encountered that
question before; otherwise, the new answer won't change her cumulative score.
Announcement capability added
Sun 24 Jun 2012 00:41:00 -0800
Added the ability for the wedmaster to post an announcement that will
appear near the bottom of every page on the site.
"Either/or" trivia questions
Fri 22 Jun 2012 01:43:00 -0800
Added a way for trivia questions to have more than one correct
answer, any one of which can be chosen for full credit.
New "Novelty Records" gallery
Mon 19 Mar 2012 02:30:00 -0800
Added a "Novelty Records" gallery. In the sidebar gallery
menu, it appears as a sub-gallery of Music.
User submission of proposed museum items
Sat 18 Feb 2012 03:10:00 -0800
Added a "Submit an item" button to the bottom of every gallery and item display page,
for logged-in users. Clicking this button brings you to the "Submit an item for the museum galleries"
page, where you can specify an item title, an approriate gallery, a description of the item, and an
image file to be uploaded for display as part of the entry. You can then preview the item as it would
appear in the selected gallery, edit it if necessary, and submit it for approval by the webmaster.
Media-rich trivia questions
Sat 17 Sep 2011 11:08:00 -0800
Special handling for trivia questions containing audio/video clips.
Added a "play" button on the quiz start page to allow players to test
whether such media clips will work in their browser, and a check-box to
let them omit such questions if the test doesn't work or if they'd
prefer not to see those questions (to reduce data download or whatever).
Email trivia question to a friend
Mon 22 Aug 2011 23:31:00 -0800
Added a "Send to a friend" button at the bottom of the page after a trivia question has
been answered. This brings up a page on which you can enter your name, the email addresses
of one or more friends, and a personal text message to precede the trivia question. The answer
won't be included, just the question text and any associated images.
Trivia Leader Board notifications
Tue 09 Aug 2011 02:27:00 -0800
Whenever the Trivia Leader board is displayed, we now check to see if
anyone who was previously on the leader board has just dropped off or
slipped in position. If so, we send them a notification email and
suggest that they return to play again. Check boxes were added to
the user profile to allow members to disabloe this feature.
Mon 01 Aug 2011 13:19:00 -0800
Since the early days of the BBeM site, users have been allowed to
register without supplying an email address. This has had two
- We have no way to contact such users, not even to send them a temporary
password should they forget their passwords, and
- They sometimes forget what they used as a username, and wind up
creating multiple usernames, whereas they tend to remember their
So we've begun a transition toward use of the email address as the
primary means of logging in to the site. Hopefully this will be
fairly painless; to this end, we will begin by accepting either the
registered name/nickname or the email address (along with the password,
of course). If you log in with your name/nickname and we find that
your profile doesn't include an email address, we'll go immediately to
the View/Edit Your Profile page and request that you add your email.
Likewise, when a new user registers, the email address will be required
Fri 28 May 2011 13:05:00 -0800
- Sound effects have been added to the trivia quiz.
Depending on the correctness of the player's answer, a sound is
chosen randomly from a set of "correct" sounds or a set of "wrong"
sounds. This feature uses the new HTML 5 standard <audio> tag,
and may not work in all browsers.
- In addition, all previous audio controls, which had depended on
a QuickTime plugin being present, have been converted to use the new
New External Links gallery
Mon 2 May 2011 09:54:00 -0800
The Links page, which had contained a text-only list of links to interesting external sites,
has been transformed into a new External Links gallery, with images of the sites included.
All the links were tested and updated, some defunct sites were removed,
and several newly-discovered sites were added.
Improved trivia quiz performance
Sun 15 August 2010 17:22:00 -0800
The sidebar navigation menu has been removed from the Trivia Quiz
pages in order to speed things up and avoid annoying flashes as the menu
and its background images load. Users can still return to the BBeM
proper by clicking on the title bar.
More new trivia features
Thu 12 August 2010 02:45:00 -0800
Trivia quiz enhancements:
- A leader board has been added.
- Added support for drag-and-drop questions with more drag-able
objects than slots to drag them to. For example, you may be
asked to find the four members of The Beatles from among a larger
group of names, and drag those four to the proper musical
- Added support for multiple-choice questions with more than
one correct choice. For example, you may be presented with a
list of people, and must select all those who were regulars on
Laugh-In. Such questions are displayed using checkboxes
rather than radio buttons.
Trivia quiz history for logged-in users
Mon 05 July 2010 02:14:00 -0800
For logged-in users, the trivia quiz now keeps track of the cumulative
score and the questions that have been encountered, so you can play again
and again and not see the same question twice. This will also enable
implementation of a "leader board" of high scorers (in an upcoming update).
Unfortunately, a database failure resulted in the loss of profile
data for users who registered between June 9, 2010 and July 4, 2010,
along with any item comments they may have posted.
My apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. More
frequent database backups are definitely in order.
Drag-and-drop for column-match trivia questions
Mon 31 May 2010 10:30:00 -0800
The drop-down menu approach to column-match trivia questions, added last week,
that's much more satisfying. With a bit of extra effort, I was able to get
it working on the iPad, but It may not work on all platforms, so I made it possible to fall back to the drop-down menu scheme. I
also fixed a bug that caused such drop-down menus to display only blanks in
The code to display the user's score at the end of a trivia quiz has been revised
to better cope with partially-correct answers, as from column-match questions.
Column-match trivia questions
Wed 26 May 2010 17:24:00 -0800
I've added code to support an additional type of trivia question,
where the user is asked to match the items in one column with those in another.
This is accomplished using drop-down menus in the second column.
I also corrected Item page formatting problems in browsers other than Internet Explorer.
Added thumbnails to "all items" page
Wed 15 February 2010 01:41:00 -0800
Item thumbnail images have been added to the "All items" page. It may take a while to load
all the images, but I really don't expect many people to actually view this page.
It exists mostly to present an easy target for Internet search engines.
Recent wrong trivia answers displayed
Mon 18 January 2010 11:53:00 -0800
I've been monitoring the wrong answers to the trivia questions, and find
this so entertaining
that I've decided to provide that information to everyone. After submitting your answer,
you now get to see the recent wrong-answer statistics.
Many new Trivia Quiz items added
Mon 11 January 2010 16:55:00 -0800
Expansion of the Trivia Quiz continues. In order to encourage users
who've tried it to come back for more, a new option has been added: you can
now choose to answer only the questions that have been added in the last 30
Cross-reference links added
Mon 23 November 2009 17:30:00 -0800
Cross-reference links have been added between items in the Actors and
Entertainers, Humor, Movies, Theater, and TV galleries. Code was also
installed to automatically generate such links as new items are added to
those galleries and when existing items are edited.
Galleries renamed and re-purposed
Wed 18 November 2009 00:10:00 -0800
The Musical Instruments gallery was relatively empty, whereas the Performing Artists gallery was
beginning to feel the strain of hundreds of actors, musicians, and other entertainers. So the musicians have
now joined their instruments in the newly renamed Music gallery, and the
Performing Artists gallery was renamed Actors and Entertainers.
Movies of the Fifties and Sixties now listed individually
Mon 16 November 2009 20:05:00 -0800
The Movies of the Fifties and Sixties had been grouped under the year each was released. This was deemed
unsatisfactory, since members weren't able to leave comments for an individual movie. The year-by-year
listings have been replaced by individual items as in the other galleries.
Work is also underway to flesh out the Art and Literature and
Performing Artists galleries.
New 'Issues & Events' gallery
Wed 11 November 2009 12:35:00 -0800
Several items have been moved from the
Life and Nations & Conflicts
galleries into a new Issues & Events
gallery, and 'Nations & Conflicts' is now simply 'Nations'.
New score graph for trivia quiz
Thu 05 November 2009 14:42:00 -0800
Upon completion of the Trivia Quiz, a graph is now displayed showing
how the user's score compares with those of other users who chose the
same type of quiz (hard/easy/random) and answered a similar number of questions.
In addition, a new Regional TV/Radio
gallery was created, as was a page listing all the
BBeM's items in alphabetical order. The Links page was updated, removing broken links and adding a few new
Added comment feature to trivia quiz
Tue 02 September 2009 23:55:00 -0800
Registered users may now post comments for individual
Trivia Quiz questions as well as for the quiz
as a whole.
Added email notification feature
Mon 10 August 2009 04:00:00 -0800
When registering, and when editing your profile, you may now set
checkboxes to enable notifications by email when
- a comment (reply)
is added to an item for which you have previously posted a comment,
- any new comment is posted, or
- a new item is added to a gallery.
Of course, these options only work if your profile includes a valid
email address. The initial setting for the "notify me when my
comments are replied to" checkbox is "on".
Added statistics to Trivia Quiz
Sun 09 August 2009 02:30:00 -0800
As each trivia question is displayed, the percentage of users who
have gotten the correct answer is now displayed.
Also, logging in now returns you to the page you were on rather than
always sending you to the Home page.
Mon 01 June 2009 18:05:00 -0800
A "New Items" entry has been added to the sidebar Gallery Menu (in
the "Other" section). This provides a handy way for returning
visitors to scan all the recently-added items.
Sun, 17 May 2009 12:32:00 -0800
The BBeM has undergone a major rewrite, making it database-driven
(with a long-sought search capability) and
adding the ability for visitors to (optionally) register, log in, and
post their personal
memories of the items on display in the various galleries. Member
comments may also be flagged as being suggestions or complaints.
The galleries now display one-line titles and thumbnail images for each
item, so they can load faster. You can click on any item to go to
its details page. Some items are now "featured" due to their perceived importance or
oddity, and newly-added items have a visual icon denoting that fact.
Even the Trivia Quiz has gone
interactive! In addition, the quirky cascading menus have been replaced with a
sidebar menu that seems to work better. If you encounter difficulty
with the new site, please use the "Contact Us"
link at the top-right of any page to send us a note.
Fri, 24 Apr 2009 15:00:00 -0800
The BBeM home page now displays 5 random events (from a database of
over 40,000 events) that occurred on today's date during the Boomer
Technology: Reddy Kilowatt promoted the use of electric power.
Transportation: Before ARCO, there were Atlantic and Richrield
Trivia Quiz: new questions added.
Workplace and School: disciplinary paddles ("Board of Ed").
Sun, 05 Apr 2009 13:40:00 -0800
The Baby Boome eMuseum has moved to its new official domain,
bbemuseum.com. References to the old mikanet.com/public/museum
area will be redirected to the new site.
Fri, 27 Mar 2009 22:35:00 -0800
At the Movies: Thanksgiving-time
showings of The Wizard of Oz on network TV
Baseball: No Designated Hitter
Companies and Agencies: Brooklyn Navy
Yard, Junior Sales Club of America, National Biscuit Company
Fashion: Yellow rubber raincoats
Food, Candy, Drinks: Bagels & lox were
Life before...: Lime-yellow fire
Sports: The American Football League
Transportation: VW Beetle and Microbus
Wed, 04 Mar 2009 13:20:00 -0800
Food, Candy, Drinks: Pre-nitrogen-stuffed
Humor: Stan Freberg
Life: Campaign buttons & slogans --
Kennedy/Johnson, LBJ, Nixon
Toys & Games: Cowboys and Indians
Thu, 05 Feb 2009 14:58:00 -0800
Work has begun on a new Baseball gallery
for the museum, focusing on the year 1957 (the last year the Dodgers and
Giants made New York their home).
Life before...: Zipper-sealable
Household items: Fuzzy toilet seat &
Musical Instruments: Electric bass
Sports and Recreation: Manual bowling
Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:32:00 -0800
Somehow, the Cartoons,
Instruments, Transportation, and
Sports & Recreation items got omitted
from the navigation menu during the recent overhaul. That's been fixed. Other
Art & Literature: Works by Pablo
Picasso, Salvador Dali, Peter Max, and R. Crumb
Transportation: Studded snow tires
Fashion & Fads: Tonsillectomies.
Life: Horn & Hardart Automats
Life before...: Jet lag
Sports and Recreation: Football helmets
without face masks
Sun, 25 Jan 2009 12:05:00 -0800
A slideshow has been added to the home page, featuring selected items
from the galleries. And the table of site links has been replaced
by a cascading-menu navigation bar, along with a
site map page for those users whose
new items have been added to the galleries...
Life before...: MPAA film ratings
Tue, 20 Jan 2009 23:39:00 -0800
Cartoons: QuickTime "play" buttons have been
added so you can hear audio clips for several cartoons. Plus...
Transportation: Steam locomotives and the Presidential railcar
(US Car #1 - Ferdinand Magellan)
Life before...: the birth-control pill
Fri, 16 Jan 2009 14:00:00 -0800
There are some items that, well, just fit neatly into any other gallery.
Perhaps they're not, strictly speaking, from the Fifties and Sixties.
Or maybe they're still around and are only now beginning to fade into
obscurity. And some are still going strong, but bring back memories of
our childhood. In any case, they seem to deserve Honorable Mention, so
this gallery has been created for them.
In addition to moving some items into the new "No Cigar" gallery,
several others have migrated to more hospitable climes. And, as
usual, a few items have been added to...
At the Movies: Uniformed ushers
TV/Radio: The Prisoner
Companies: Doggie Diners (San Francisco),
Technology/Communications: QuickTime "play" buttons
to hear pre-TouchTone dial tone and a real telephone ringer.
Tue, 13 Jan 2009 00:03:32 -0800
The BBeM home page now displays the "New at the Baby Boomer eMuseum" RSS
feed in a scrolling text area, with brief descriptions of significant changes. For further
details, you can click on the "New at..." title to go to this new Change Log
page, or you can click on an individual change-item title to go directly to
its associated Change Log entry.
Mon, 12 Jan 2009 - 16:37:32 -0800
The new BBeM exhibit "The Arts" replaces the
overcrowded "Music and Movies" area, with new
sub-pages; "Art and Literature," "At the Movies," "An Evening at the Theater," "Performing Artists," and
"Musical Instruments." "TV/Radio" remains a separate area, but can also be accessed via "The Arts." I suppose
that the "Humor" area could be included here as well, but I haven't taken that step.
At the Movies: I've created separate
movies-of-the-decade pages for selected films of the '50s and '60s, with poster images and
links to their entries at the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com).
Sat, 10 Jan 2009 16:52:08 -0800
TV/Radio: There's a new "Commercials" page, with links to
videos for some classic TV commercials. So far, these include ads for Ipana
toothpaste, Good and Plenty candy, Comet cleanser, Palmolive dish liquid,
Sun-Kist tuna, Alka-Seltzer, Oscar Mayer wieners, Maypo breakfast cereal, Green
Giant vegetables, and Hawaiian Punch. Also added Bozo the Clown and the Jackie
At the Movies: Disney animated features, and movie + popcorn + soda for under $1.00.
Art and Literature: New area; needs a good deal of work
Fashion/Fads: Flip and bouffant hairdos, Nehru jackets
Home Entertainment: 8-track tape cartridges, 78 rpm records
Life: Kinsey reports, Masters and Johnson research, Sen. Joseph McCarty, the House
Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
Life Before...: Audio tape cassette, blue M+Ms,
opening of Disneyland
Performing Artists: Eartha Kitt, Roy Orbison, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins,
Sports/Recreation: Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston
Technology/Communications: Princess phone
Toys: Mr. Potato Head
Transportation: "Woody" station wagons, hitchhikers, the $3,000 family car
Trivia Quiz: Several new questions added
Sat, 3 Jan 2009 09:09:59 -0800
This entry inaugurates the BBeM RSS feed. Also, a good deal of effort has gone into recoding the entire
BBeM site in almost-strict XHTML, so the look-and-feel will be more consistent and more readily updated.
Fashion and Fads: Shocking! Shoe-fitting
fluoroscopes (shoe store foot x-rays)
Other updates this week:
Companies and Agencies: European Common Market
Life Before...: the Helvetica typeface, bottled-water craze, graffiti
Links: The Land That Made Me, Me (poem)
Nations and Conflicts (renamed; had been
"Countries"): Cold War, Cuban missle crisis, Suez crisis, Korean war, Cuban revolution
Print Media: Playboy magazine