1 year ago   •   96 notes   •   VIA: teratocybernetics   •   SOURCE: 3liza
  • teratocybernetics:

    3liza:

    it’s troubling that skype is the new IM program of choice for a couple reasons, and those are the same reasons i don’t use skype unless forced.

    1. skype redid their interior architecture recently to give the feds better access.  they deny that that’s what prompted them to do so but regardless of why they did it, it’s done, and it will make things a lot smoother for the spooks.  i don’t like this.
       
    2. their API is locked up and useless to anyone but Official Skype App  and that means you can’t use skype with multiclients like Adium or Pidgin unless, heh, you have the skype app running at the same time.  this renders the entire exercise moot.

    there’s really not a lot anyone can do about trending services, of course.  you have to use what everyone else is using or you don’t talk to anyone, period.  we couldn’t do anything to “stop” Facebook, we just had to wait it out.  the only reason i mention it at all is that it’s a little troubling that the service with the worst API and grossest pig-pandering is the one getting preferential traffic. i imagine eventually i will have to have Skype running constantly all the time like everyone else does, but I certainly don’t relish the idea.

    I need to get around to setting up Pidgin or something similar; it’s probably not fair of me to stick entirely to using PChum when it seems to be so much of a pain in the crack to use on Mac and Windows.

    Don’t tell anyone but I actually love PesterChum because it’s built on a completely logical IRC backend. It’s also just delightfully nuanced despite (or because of) being a completely independent project.  I’m not a big homestuck, myself (I dig the comic but don’t partake in the fandom at all) so when I found out about it I was absolutely shocked to discover that the fucking homestuck fandom of all things had produced an almost completely functional and extremely amusing IM client.  I used it for several days on my PC but of course I don’t know anyone else who uses it as a regular IM client, so it was just a toy.

    It did spur the creation of a chumhandle, though:  I’m hoistedPetard. blehehehehe

    Pidgin is alright but is frankly a mess compared to Adium.  The file browser still looks like Linux and is near impossible to use.  I avoid it whenever possible.  Adium is pretty good and supports IRC out of the box, which I like.  It also has excellent Direct Message support on the AIM network, which i use a LOT because I send art and pictures to people.  And I don’t want to do it via a file transfer that they then have to go dig up and look at in a folder somewhere, I want it to appear in the actual IM window.  I’m not sure any other protocol supports this particular function

    Frankly I’d like to see a return to IRC, which would appeal to the walled garden motif of whatever iteration of the Internet we’re living right now (3.0? 2.5?).  I’ve started a very traditional members-only, locked-down clubhouse of an IRC room just recently and have been enjoying it a great deal.  It’s also become clear that Ustream uses IRC for all their chats, meaning I guess I just sort of idle in SWEATSHOP’s chatroom all the time now.

    edit: what would be REALLY PERFECT is if someone took PChum and turned it into a functional multiclient.  I mean that is blue sky bullshit right there but still.

    edit2: here i made us a chatroom: http://toxoplasm.org/chat

    2 years ago   •   45 notes
  • 2 years ago   •   82 notes   •   VIA: protowilson   •   SOURCE: portiareigns-deactivated2012052
  • In The Magical Realm

    protowilson:

    portiareigns:

    I have been reading books on philosophy and psychology and fanfiction on the web. I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading blogs on the internet, ranging far and wide. These things have become tangled and I think they are very much related.

    My son has a friend that lives three houses away. He will text my son and arrange internet game playing. He won’t walk down the street. He won’t even use his voice on the phone. A text is preferred. I have been trying to understand this behavior, by reading.

    Read More

    This essay, like many of the other considerations of “the internet” by people older than 30 (or people raised in the manner of people older than 30), fails to check its very premise: that the internet is “not real”.  That writing a text is somehow, magically, less authentic than, say, passing a note in class.  Or even whispering in someone’s ear.  That those of us raised online can’t decipher tone or feeling in even the most offhanded typing of our friends and loved ones.  That our refusal to “use our voices on the phone” makes us emotional, social, even experiential cripples. 

    I understand the urge to simplify the new social experience this way, and at a first or even second reading it appears sound, but I deplore the almost flippant conclusions reached by our loving, well-meaning, but ultimately uninformed elders.

    This assertion—that the Internet, text messages and so on aren’t “real”, that they somehow “don’t count”—doesn’t stand up to examination, except in the very biological, reductionist sense.  If you stand on the belief in a sort of “chemical communication” between adjacent physical bodies, pheromones that somehow sign off on every human exchange face-to-face, stamping a big rubber [AUTHENTIC SOCIALIZING] on every bit of small talk, then sure.  But what this steps over entirely is the fact that every mode of communication has its accompanying set of falsehoods, either in projection or perception of the message.

    If a friend walks up to me in the street and invites me to a party the next day, my perception of the message benefits (in clarity) from the data contained in their tone of voice, their posture, and their cadence (for example), but suffers from the distraction of being outside, of being in a hurry, of having to pee, of being bored (these are my failings) and also of their lying to me, of their having a cold that makes their voice strange, of their being distracted by their own simultaneous experience there on the street.  Each of these facets of the exchange are traded for ones of equal weight when the conversation is moved online.  My friend sends me a text, Facebook message, wall post, or Tumblr ask, inviting me to a party.  At once I am examining their message for clues—the lack of, or inclusion of capitalized letters, the use of specialized argots within our shared social group, the use of emoticons, injokes, or HTML formatting. 

    My ability to read—and misread—these clues is as robust, if not moreso, than when confronted with the same exchange in person.  The message remains the same.  My methods of reading it, of deciphering it, flow from medium to medium, but in no sense is the party invitation “less real” for having come via SMS.

    The other issue here, which benefits the digital alone, is the ability to master your own expenditure of time.  I just finished reading Ada again, so I’ve been considering Time for days.  While my friend approaching me physically on the street is intrusive, in that we both must compromise whatever we are doing in order to fit the exchange into a sort of tyrannical bit of gristle between our separate Timestreams (not that my friend is intruding on me, or even I on them, but more that we both must see the chance to have this exchange about the party invitation, and then both must take it simultaneously in order for the conversation to occur, like two world leaders turning two keys on a nuclear launch authorization, or even a shuttle crew waiting for the right orbital window) which, briefly, allows us to talk.  If my friend had sent the invitation via SMS, the message would remain perfectly preserved as it left their fingers, and crash on my shores intact, waiting for me there whenever I most wanted to read it, when I could devote the best eyes to it, when I could think about it most clearly.  Digital communication, if not freeing us from Time, certainly lets out our leashes a bit.

    To put it another way, digital communication allows my friend to communicate through time with me, which goes a long way towards making sure the meeting of minds occurs when both participants are at their best. 

    The original essay touches on this, but frames it as an “inferiority complex” issue, which leads inevitably  to bullying and trolling, and that children like the author’s son cannot “handle” that the friend that lives a mere three doors down is “too real” to interact with.  I think this is not giving the kid enough credit, when he’s clearly smart enough to take advantage of the flexibility in the new (and no less devoted) friendships of his generation. 

    And truly, the same things were said of the telegram, the telephone, the letter, the parchment, the clay tablet, the cave painting…

    2 years ago   •   14,977 notes   •   VIA: haveheartbeast-willtravel-deact   •   SOURCE: 3liza
  • haveheartbeast-willtravel:

This is very true!  They did their protesting online and got more support through the internet than they ever would have with any source outside of it.  Thank you for pointing that out.

Strawman argument.  The point is not that “online activism is ineffective”.  Quite the opposite.  Multi-million dollar corporations blacking out their sites is pretty effective.  4chan writing a script to sign a petition 40 times an hour isn’t.

    haveheartbeast-willtravel:

    This is very true!  They did their protesting online and got more support through the internet than they ever would have with any source outside of it.  Thank you for pointing that out.

    Strawman argument.  The point is not that “online activism is ineffective”.  Quite the opposite.  Multi-million dollar corporations blacking out their sites is pretty effective.  4chan writing a script to sign a petition 40 times an hour isn’t.

    2 years ago   •   14,977 notes   •   VIA: haveheartbeast-willtravel-deact   •   SOURCE: 3liza
  • haveheartbeast-willtravel:

3liza:

haveheartbeast-willtravel:

Okay, I like that Tor is being spread around, but this idea that online petitions do nothing and isn’t taken seriously needs to get out.
You are aware that without online petitions that SOPA would have been voted on and passed, aren’t you?  You’re also aware that with enough pressure with online petitions governments have backed down on other things.  Believe it or not politicians do pay attention to online petitions and emails sent to them, it’s just that you need the numbers behind them to have someone pay attention.  And if you’re telling people that their voice doesn’t matter in a petition then of course less people are going to sign it and of course there’s going to be less power behind it.  You are hurting your own cause by telling people that their petitioning doesn’t matter.  Stop telling people that that doesn’t matter.
In fact this entire thing saying that stuff online doesn’t matter is ridiculous.  When people sign petitions online they are still saying that if their representative is going to support something they will also pull their support from when they vote too and will vote for someone else.  They are still fully capable of boycotting things when they say they will online. 
Why are you acting like doing something on the internet is useless when we have evidence to the contrary?

I would LOVE to see some proof.  If online petitions actually work I’m going to have a much better day.
This is the only support I’ve seen for online petitions that cites any examples, and it’s on a blog run by an online petition company who stands to gain or lose substantial amounts of ad revenue from whether or not people use online petitions.  And all the examples there do not actually include data that cites the petitions as effective.  EG, no policy-makers specifically pointing at the petitions as effective, etc.
Slacktivism is poisonous because it’s placebo activism.
EDIT: And the SOPA shit “worked” because it was backed by giant corporations and organizations who threw the weight of their money against it.  Wikipedia leaving GoDaddy alone was insanely effective.  Google putting shit on their front page was effective.  Wikipedia and Tumblr blacking out was effective.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/09/21/slacktivism-defeats-lawful-access/
http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/2010/4/28/slacktivism-why-snopes-got-it-wrong-about-internet-petitions.html
Tell me if the second link is working or not, but if it’s the link I think it is it should have cited sources on why slacktivism and online petitions in general do work.
This is also a good article http://mashable.com/2011/10/24/slactivism-cause-engagement/ however it doesn’t deal with online petitions being effective by themselves.
I also sadly cannot get the page you linked to to load, any idea why that might be happening?  I ask because it doesn’t seem to be my internet, it might just be something wrong with the link.
Also, yes big organizations backed it up, but they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere as far as it did without the peoples’ support and most of the support was just online as far as I know.

Thanks for the links, I appreciate you going to the trouble to track them down and post them, but again, all of them rely on the “correlation = causation” argument to prove their points, an argument which just doesn’t hold up. 
That online petitions exist for contentious issues is undebatable.  They exist alongside the real forces, but I have never seen any proof that they affect the issue in the least, except maybe to “raise awareness”, which is a dubious claim in of itself.
As one forums poster put it, “is Veronica Mars still canceled?  Is Pete Rose allowed to be in the  Baseball Hall of Fame?  Did I ever get to purchase a copy of Mother 3?”

    haveheartbeast-willtravel:

    3liza:

    haveheartbeast-willtravel:

    Okay, I like that Tor is being spread around, but this idea that online petitions do nothing and isn’t taken seriously needs to get out.

    You are aware that without online petitions that SOPA would have been voted on and passed, aren’t you?  You’re also aware that with enough pressure with online petitions governments have backed down on other things.  Believe it or not politicians do pay attention to online petitions and emails sent to them, it’s just that you need the numbers behind them to have someone pay attention.  And if you’re telling people that their voice doesn’t matter in a petition then of course less people are going to sign it and of course there’s going to be less power behind it.  You are hurting your own cause by telling people that their petitioning doesn’t matter.  Stop telling people that that doesn’t matter.

    In fact this entire thing saying that stuff online doesn’t matter is ridiculous.  When people sign petitions online they are still saying that if their representative is going to support something they will also pull their support from when they vote too and will vote for someone else.  They are still fully capable of boycotting things when they say they will online. 

    Why are you acting like doing something on the internet is useless when we have evidence to the contrary?

    I would LOVE to see some proof.  If online petitions actually work I’m going to have a much better day.

    This is the only support I’ve seen for online petitions that cites any examples, and it’s on a blog run by an online petition company who stands to gain or lose substantial amounts of ad revenue from whether or not people use online petitions.  And all the examples there do not actually include data that cites the petitions as effective.  EG, no policy-makers specifically pointing at the petitions as effective, etc.

    Slacktivism is poisonous because it’s placebo activism.

    EDIT: And the SOPA shit “worked” because it was backed by giant corporations and organizations who threw the weight of their money against it.  Wikipedia leaving GoDaddy alone was insanely effective.  Google putting shit on their front page was effective.  Wikipedia and Tumblr blacking out was effective.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/09/21/slacktivism-defeats-lawful-access/

    http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/2010/4/28/slacktivism-why-snopes-got-it-wrong-about-internet-petitions.html

    Tell me if the second link is working or not, but if it’s the link I think it is it should have cited sources on why slacktivism and online petitions in general do work.

    This is also a good article http://mashable.com/2011/10/24/slactivism-cause-engagement/ however it doesn’t deal with online petitions being effective by themselves.

    I also sadly cannot get the page you linked to to load, any idea why that might be happening?  I ask because it doesn’t seem to be my internet, it might just be something wrong with the link.

    Also, yes big organizations backed it up, but they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere as far as it did without the peoples’ support and most of the support was just online as far as I know.

    Thanks for the links, I appreciate you going to the trouble to track them down and post them, but again, all of them rely on the “correlation = causation” argument to prove their points, an argument which just doesn’t hold up. 

    That online petitions exist for contentious issues is undebatable.  They exist alongside the real forces, but I have never seen any proof that they affect the issue in the least, except maybe to “raise awareness”, which is a dubious claim in of itself.

    As one forums poster put it, “is Veronica Mars still canceled?  Is Pete Rose allowed to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?  Did I ever get to purchase a copy of Mother 3?”

    2 years ago   •   14,977 notes   •   VIA: haveheartbeast-willtravel-deact   •   SOURCE: 3liza
  • haveheartbeast-willtravel:

Okay, I like that Tor is being spread around, but this idea that online petitions do nothing and isn’t taken seriously needs to get out.
You are aware that without online petitions that SOPA would have been voted on and passed, aren’t you?  You’re also aware that with enough pressure with online petitions governments have backed down on other things.  Believe it or not politicians do pay attention to online petitions and emails sent to them, it’s just that you need the numbers behind them to have someone pay attention.  And if you’re telling people that their voice doesn’t matter in a petition then of course less people are going to sign it and of course there’s going to be less power behind it.  You are hurting your own cause by telling people that their petitioning doesn’t matter.  Stop telling people that that doesn’t matter.
In fact this entire thing saying that stuff online doesn’t matter is ridiculous.  When people sign petitions online they are still saying that if their representative is going to support something they will also pull their support from when they vote too and will vote for someone else.  They are still fully capable of boycotting things when they say they will online. 
Why are you acting like doing something on the internet is useless when we have evidence to the contrary?

I would LOVE to see some proof.  If online petitions actually work I’m going to have a much better day.
This is the only support I’ve seen for online petitions that cites any examples, and it’s on a blog run by an online petition company who stands to gain or lose substantial amounts of ad revenue from whether or not people use online petitions.  And all the examples there do not actually include data that cites the petitions as effective.  EG, no policy-makers specifically pointing at the petitions as effective, etc.
Slacktivism is poisonous because it’s placebo activism.
EDIT: And the SOPA shit “worked” because it was backed by giant corporations and organizations who threw the weight of their money against it.  Wikipedia leaving GoDaddy alone was insanely effective.  Google putting shit on their front page was effective.  Wikipedia and Tumblr blacking out was effective.

    haveheartbeast-willtravel:

    Okay, I like that Tor is being spread around, but this idea that online petitions do nothing and isn’t taken seriously needs to get out.

    You are aware that without online petitions that SOPA would have been voted on and passed, aren’t you?  You’re also aware that with enough pressure with online petitions governments have backed down on other things.  Believe it or not politicians do pay attention to online petitions and emails sent to them, it’s just that you need the numbers behind them to have someone pay attention.  And if you’re telling people that their voice doesn’t matter in a petition then of course less people are going to sign it and of course there’s going to be less power behind it.  You are hurting your own cause by telling people that their petitioning doesn’t matter.  Stop telling people that that doesn’t matter.

    In fact this entire thing saying that stuff online doesn’t matter is ridiculous.  When people sign petitions online they are still saying that if their representative is going to support something they will also pull their support from when they vote too and will vote for someone else.  They are still fully capable of boycotting things when they say they will online. 

    Why are you acting like doing something on the internet is useless when we have evidence to the contrary?

    I would LOVE to see some proof.  If online petitions actually work I’m going to have a much better day.

    This is the only support I’ve seen for online petitions that cites any examples, and it’s on a blog run by an online petition company who stands to gain or lose substantial amounts of ad revenue from whether or not people use online petitions.  And all the examples there do not actually include data that cites the petitions as effective.  EG, no policy-makers specifically pointing at the petitions as effective, etc.

    Slacktivism is poisonous because it’s placebo activism.

    EDIT: And the SOPA shit “worked” because it was backed by giant corporations and organizations who threw the weight of their money against it.  Wikipedia leaving GoDaddy alone was insanely effective.  Google putting shit on their front page was effective.  Wikipedia and Tumblr blacking out was effective.

    2 years ago   •   6 notes   •   VIA: catbountry   •   SOURCE: nevvymonster
  • catbountry:

    nevvyweather:

    catbountry:

    nevvyweather:

    I put that TF2 creepypasta on TF2chan and most of the comments on it consist of BEN.wmv discussion and how I should have made it into a video instead of writing about it.

    You’re… welcome?

    Maybe if it gets popular enough somebody will make a video tribute.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with Suicide Mouse?

    No, I mean it seems to come off as a bit… rude.

    Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way, but talking about some unrelated video and saying that I should have made a video about this (nevermind that I suck at gmod) instead of writing about it, because the story isn’t as scary as creepypasta… it just seems pretty impolite.

    Yeah, it kind of is…

    They did get told off though, maybe they’ll apologize.

    I read that thread and the OP was really fucking good.  I don’t think they understand what ‘creepypasta’ is.  “um dude u should just maek the video” cool thanks for missing the point completely, guys.  “yeah your smiledog.jpg story is okay but like, have you ever thought about actually making smiledog.jpg?  whoaooOOoahhh”

    3 years ago   •   7 notes
  • [FetLife groups are amazing] Reasons For the Rejection of Your Solicitous Email

    Pavel: 1 day ago

    Ruska and I were actually talking about it in terms of claims adjustment. Example:

    Email Status: Rejected
    Modifiers: 12, 14, 18, P1NZ Applied

    Explanation of Claims Handling:
    10: Penis pictures
    11: References to riding the “love rocket”
    12: Looks like a albino hippo
    13: Clowns involved in profile picture
    14: Insufficient punctuation for word count (1 per 15)
    15: Insufficient line spacing for word count (1 per 30)
    16: Excessive spelling errors for word count (x>4 per 20)
    17: Use of the word slut/bitch/whore out of proper context
    18: Long creepy fantasy
    19: Long creepy fantasy involving livestock
    20: Typed using google translate
    PQIZ: Message forwarded to proper legal authorities.
    PUZT: Message forwarded to proper group for mockery
    P1NZ: Applicant put on “feed to sharks in Pavel’s secret volcano lair” waiting list
    Q2FP: Applicant’s address forwarded to CDC, to ensure stupidity from source is not contagious.
    ZZZZ: Orbital weapon ion projection cannon retasked and moving to strike position on email point of origin.
    666: WHERE WE ARE GOING WE WONT NEED EYES TO SEE

    3 years ago   •   402 notes   •   VIA: peterberkman   •   SOURCE: yrmomvsmymom
  • 3 years ago   •   63 notes   •   VIA: catbountry   •   SOURCE: for-the-ds
  • catbountry:

jennittles:


The creepypasta goes as follows:
“Smile.dog”
I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated buisness, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me. For half an hour I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife. The things Mary said made little sense but fit with the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams — her nightmares. Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.
Mary E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead. In 2005, when I was only in tenth grade, smile.jpg was first brought to my attention by my burgeoning interest in web-based phenomena; Mary was the most often cited victim of what is sometimes referred to as “Smile.dog,” the being smile.jpg is reputed to display. What caught my interest (other than the obvious macabre elements of the cyber-legend and my proclivity toward such things) was the sheer lack of information, usually to the point that people don’t believe it even exists other than as a rumor or hoax. It is unique because, though the entire phenomenon centers on a picture file, that file is nowhere to be found on the internet; certainly many photomanipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the imageboard 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal subboard. It is suspected these are fakes because they do not have the effect the true smile.jpg is believed to have, namely sudden onset temporal lobe epilepsy and acute anxiety. This purported reaction in the viewer is one of the reasons the phantom-like smile.jpg is regarded with such disdain, since it is patently absurd, though depending on whom you ask the reluctance to acknowledge smile.jpg’s existence might be just as much out of fear as it is out of disbelief.
Neither smile.jpg nor Smile.dog is mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia, though the website features articles on such other, perhaps more scandalous shocksites as ****** (hello.jpg) or 2girls1cup; any attempt to create a page pertaining to smile.jpg is summarily deleted by any of the encyclopedia’s many admins.
Encounters with smile.jpg are the stuff of internet legend. Mary E.’s story is not unique; there are unverified rumors of smile.jpg showing up in the early days of Usenet and even one persistent tale that in 2002 a hacker flooded the forums of humor and satire website Something Awful with a deluge of Smile.dog pictures, rendering almost half the forum’s users at the time epileptic. It is also said that in the mid-to-late 90s that smile.jpg circulated on usenet and as an attachment of a chain email with the subject line “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!” Yet despite the huge exposure these stunts would generate, there are very few people who admit to having experienced any of them and no trace of the file or any link has ever been discovered.
Those who claim to have seen smile.jpg often weakly joke that they were far too busy to save a copy of the picture to their hard drive. However, all alleged victims offer the same description of the photo: A dog-like creature (usually described as appearing similar to a Siberian husky), illuminated by the flash of the camera, sits in a dim room, the only background detail that is visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame. The hand is empty, but is usually described as “beckoning.” Of course, most attention is given to the dog (or dog-creature, as some victims are more certain than others about what they claim to have seen). The muzzle of the beast is reputedly split in a wide grin, revealing two rows of very white, very straight, very sharp, very human-looking teeth.

that picture creeps me out

    catbountry:

    jennittles:

    The creepypasta goes as follows:

    “Smile.dog”

    I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated buisness, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me. For half an hour I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife. The things Mary said made little sense but fit with the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams — her nightmares. Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.

    Mary E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead. In 2005, when I was only in tenth grade, smile.jpg was first brought to my attention by my burgeoning interest in web-based phenomena; Mary was the most often cited victim of what is sometimes referred to as “Smile.dog,” the being smile.jpg is reputed to display. What caught my interest (other than the obvious macabre elements of the cyber-legend and my proclivity toward such things) was the sheer lack of information, usually to the point that people don’t believe it even exists other than as a rumor or hoax. It is unique because, though the entire phenomenon centers on a picture file, that file is nowhere to be found on the internet; certainly many photomanipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the imageboard 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal subboard. It is suspected these are fakes because they do not have the effect the true smile.jpg is believed to have, namely sudden onset temporal lobe epilepsy and acute anxiety. This purported reaction in the viewer is one of the reasons the phantom-like smile.jpg is regarded with such disdain, since it is patently absurd, though depending on whom you ask the reluctance to acknowledge smile.jpg’s existence might be just as much out of fear as it is out of disbelief.

    Neither smile.jpg nor Smile.dog is mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia, though the website features articles on such other, perhaps more scandalous shocksites as ****** (hello.jpg) or 2girls1cup; any attempt to create a page pertaining to smile.jpg is summarily deleted by any of the encyclopedia’s many admins.

    Encounters with smile.jpg are the stuff of internet legend. Mary E.’s story is not unique; there are unverified rumors of smile.jpg showing up in the early days of Usenet and even one persistent tale that in 2002 a hacker flooded the forums of humor and satire website Something Awful with a deluge of Smile.dog pictures, rendering almost half the forum’s users at the time epileptic. It is also said that in the mid-to-late 90s that smile.jpg circulated on usenet and as an attachment of a chain email with the subject line “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!” Yet despite the huge exposure these stunts would generate, there are very few people who admit to having experienced any of them and no trace of the file or any link has ever been discovered.

    Those who claim to have seen smile.jpg often weakly joke that they were far too busy to save a copy of the picture to their hard drive. However, all alleged victims offer the same description of the photo: A dog-like creature (usually described as appearing similar to a Siberian husky), illuminated by the flash of the camera, sits in a dim room, the only background detail that is visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame. The hand is empty, but is usually described as “beckoning.” Of course, most attention is given to the dog (or dog-creature, as some victims are more certain than others about what they claim to have seen). The muzzle of the beast is reputedly split in a wide grin, revealing two rows of very white, very straight, very sharp, very human-looking teeth.

    that picture creeps me out

    4 years ago   •   1 note
  • Peak Internet achieved. It will be ebb tide from now on, gentlemen.

    Peak Internet achieved. It will be ebb tide from now on, gentlemen.