Change Log

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 <Mailgun service, 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

The TinMCE JavaScript library that provides WYSIWYG editing for 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 gallery pages.

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 only numbers.

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 gallery pages.

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.

Registration/Login Changes

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 detrimental effects:

  • 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 email addresses.

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 info.

Audio Enhancements

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 <audio> tag.

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 instruments.
  • 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, proved a bit clunky, so I've implemented a Javascript-based drag-and-drop mechanism 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 Mozilla Firefox.

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 days.

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 Boomer-related sites.

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.

Added "New Items" gallery

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.

New Look, New Interactive Features!

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.

On This Day in Boomer History

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 Years.

Technology: Reddy Kilowatt promoted the use of electric power.

Transportation: Before ARCO, there were Atlantic and Richrield stations.

Trivia Quiz: new questions added.

Workplace and School: disciplinary paddles ("Board of Ed").

New bbemuseum.com domain

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.

Assorted additions

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 ethnic food

Life before...: Lime-yellow fire trucks

Sports: The American Football League

Transportation: VW Beetle and Microbus

Assorted additions

Wed, 04 Mar 2009 13:20:00 -0800

Food, Candy, Drinks: Pre-nitrogen-stuffed snack packaging

Humor: Stan Freberg

Life: Campaign buttons & slogans -- Kennedy/Johnson, LBJ, Nixon

Toys & Games: Cowboys and Indians

Baseball gallery

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 plastic bags

Household items: Fuzzy toilet seat & tank covers

Musical Instruments: Electric bass

Sports and Recreation: Manual bowling scores

Fixed missing menu items

Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:32:00 -0800

Somehow, the Cartoons, Humor, Musical Instruments, Transportation, and Sports & Recreation items got omitted from the navigation menu during the recent overhaul.  That's been fixed.  Other assorted additions:

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

Whiz-bang

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 browsers don't support the necessary JavaScript.  As usual, a few new items have been added to the galleries...

Life before...: MPAA film ratings

Cartoon audio clips

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

New "Close, but No Cigar" gallery

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), Sav-on Drugs

Technology/Communications: QuickTime "play" buttons to hear pre-TouchTone dial tone and a real telephone ringer.

Added change log and summary listing

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.

"Music/Movies" morphs into "The Arts"

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).

New TV/Radio Commercials page

Sat, 10 Jan 2009 16:52:08 -0800

TV/Radio: There's a new "Commercials" page, with links to YouTube 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 Gleason Show.

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, John Wayne

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

Shoe-fitting foot X-rays

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




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