TIME Diversions

One of the Web’s Best Cartoons Finally Gets an Update

Homestar Runner has been dormant since late 2010, but it’s back. Hopefully “back” means more than this lone update, but we’ll see.

Aside from the various sites I’ve worked at over the years, I can safely say that HomestarRunner.com is the site I’ve sunk the most time into. That it hasn’t been updated in three and a half years is sad, but there’s just so much there already. I’m baffled that the Chapman brothers were able to keep it going for as long as they did.

As far as the most recent update goes, everyone’s favorite walking speech impediment plays host to a slew of additions to various blasts from the past – the payoff at the end is a pair of downloadable Homestar and Strong Bad themes for Windows 98. Yes, Windows 98 – complete with desktop backgrounds, icons, startup and shutdown sounds, and more.

We’ll see if this is a sign of more to come. I hope it is, but I’ll understand if it isn’t. If it’s an issue of funding, sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo didn’t exist back in Homestar’s heyday, and the Chapman boys could probably raise a small fortune nowadays if they wanted to resurrect the site for good.

Here’s a fun TIME-themed diversion, too: At the end of Strong Bad Email #202, click on the words “duct tape him to the ceiling” to get a peek at Strong Sad and his imaginary friend playing TIME Magazine: The Game. “Spiro Agnew’s favorite slacks! That’s right!”

Homestar Runner [HomestarRunner.com via The Verge]

TIME Computers

The 5 Best Apple MacBook Laptops on the Market Right Now

Here are the five best MacBooks you can buy right now, based on data from our friends at FindTheBest. Each ranking is based on FindTheBest’s Smart Rating, which aggregates scores from gadget review sites along with specifications and benchmarks for each laptop.

Watch the video above and then click on any of the laptops in the below graph to learn more about each model:

Related:

TIME Smartphones

Well-Lit Selfies: Fancy Phone Features Front-Facing Flash

T2-Lumigon
The Lumigon T2 HD Android phone features a front-facing flash and is water-resistant. Lumigon

Why should the world only get to see your drop-dead gorgeous selfies when you have adequate light?

Do you have at least $1,000 to spend on a smartphone? Are you good-looking? If so, congrats, for starters.

Second, this fancy Android smartphone features a front-facing flash for its front-facing camera.

Why should the world only get to see your drop-dead gorgeous selfies when you have adequate light? You spend a lot of time in exclusive, sexily-lit clubs, yes? They’re too dark for selfies! Until now, that is.

On paper, it could be – could be – argued that the Lumigon T2 HD is slightly underpowered, with a dual-core processor and a 720p screen bobbing around in a sea of quad-core, 1080p competitors. That all-important front-facing camera is only a 2.4-megapixel jobber, too, although as every savvy shopper knows, megapixels aren’t everything.

Those qualms aside, the phone has a few tricks up its immaculately-pressed sleeve. It’s water resistant, which comes in handy considering all those exclusive, sexy, oops-I-spilled-my-drink clubs you frequent. And it’s ensconced in stainless steel and damage-resistant glass, which comes in handy if you drop the phone while showing it off to all the lesser people in the already-exclusive club. Oh, and it’s dust resistant. Let’s get real, though: You have people to handle your dust.

The phone also comes with a dock that can be programmed to turn off the phone’s visual and audible notifications when it’s docked, so you can make sure to sleep in without being bothered.

Pricing will start at around $1,000 (unlocked, off contract), and you’ll need to order it from Denmark when it’s available sometime in the second quarter.

If you’re looking for another phone with a front-facing flash, check out the Acer Liquid E3. Note, too, that there are so-so workarounds for the iPhone and other Android phones that basically entail blasting you with the white light of your phone’s screen as a photo’s being taken.

(Side note: I just had to add “selfies” to my blogging software’s dictionary. The end is near, friends.)

Lumigon T2 HD [Product Page via Digital Trends]

TIME Gadgets

Danger! Computer Simulates 1,500 People Walking and Texting at a Busy Intersection

So here’s what would apparently happen if 1,500 people all started crossing the street at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing while they were looking down at their phones.

You’ll notice a handful of things:

  • A total disregard for crosswalks! These mouth-breathers are just walking right out into the middle of everything.
  • Two of them just walk in place when they run into each other. The last time I did that, mall security Segwayed me out by my shirt collar.
  • One of the guys gets run into and then bows as though it’s his fault! Sack up, man!
  • Only one guy drops his phone, which seems really low for 15,000 hoopleheads all running into each other.
  • Two fall down and get right back up, all while still looking at their phones (probably accurate).
  • It takes an eternity for the street to clear when it’s the cars’ turn to go again (probably accurate), yet only a couple horns honk (maybe accurate in Japan; absolutely not accurate just about anywhere else).
  • The guy at the very end appears to fall down at the top of a subway entrance and, instead of getting back up, he’s does the Worm for a bit. I’d grab a simulated beer with that guy any day.

According to Kotaku, the video is a joint effort between one of Japan’s major wireless companies – NTT Docomo – and Aichi University of Technology, which cobbled the simulation together. The message? I can’t read Japanese, but I’ll bet it’s three-fold: Don’t text and walk, watch where you’re going, and remember that the Worm will never, ever, ever go out of style.

Computer Simulation of 1,500 People Looking at Smartphones and Walking [Kotaku]

TIME Video Games

‘My Girl’ Movie Turned into a Game Where You Try to Avoid Being Stung by Bees

mygirl
MyGirltheGame.com

If you remember watching My Girl back in the early ’90s and thinking how much you’d love to play a video game based on the movie, you’re apparently not alone: Someone has gone to the trouble of creating a version you can play in your browser right now. (In case you’re wondering, this wonderfully weird game is clearly not sanctioned or otherwise licensed by the people behind the actual movie.)

You play as Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin’s character). You’ll recall he was allergic to bee stings, yes? Well, the game entails little more than walking around a hastily-built side-scrolling level that loosely resembles the small town from the movie.

The object of the game is to avoid being stung by bees. Each time you’re stung, your mood ring turns darker and darker until you’re eventually stung to death. At that point, you’ll see a faux-digitized image of Vada (Anna Chlumsky’s character) and hear her sobbing as she peers bleary-eyed through the banister rails of the funeral home, trying to coax Thomas J. back to life while her father (Dan Aykroyd’s character) consoles her.

That’s the game – sorry for the spoiler. If you haven’t seen the movie, go ahead and do so this weekend. I assume you like crying? If not, maybe don’t see it.

MyGirl [MyGirltheGame.com via BuzzFeed]

TIME How-To

30-Second Tech Trick: Get Facebook Hack Notifications for Your Account

Here's how to sign up to receive an email or a text message if a stranger logs into your Facebook account.

TIME social

Twitter Now Lets You Tag People in Photos – You Can Add 4 Photos to Each Tweet, Too

twitter photos
Twitter

The social network has added a new feature to let users tag up to 10 friends in photos. It's also launched a feature to let iPhone users upload multiple photos - up to four - in a Tweet and plans to bring the capability to the Android app and to Twitter.com

Twitter is getting a little more photo-happy, adding the ability to tag up to 10 Twitter users in an image.

If you’re not keen on the idea of being tagged in OPTs (other people’s tweets – feel free to use it in casual conversation), you’re able to toggle your tagability under your account settings. Tagging someone in an image doesn’t count against your 140-character message limit, either.

And finally, you can now add multiple images to a tweet – up to four at a time. The feature is only available on the iPhone right now, but it’ll roll out to the Android app and to Twitter.com in the not too distant future. Twitter points out that you’ll be able to view multiple-image tweets on any platform, though.

Photos just got more social [Twitter]

TIME video

30-Second Tech Trick: End Calls with the Power Button on Your Android Phone

It's hard to angrily end a call when you have to tap a touchscreen. Here's a slightly better way.

TIME Social Media

W Hotel’s Social Media Concierge Will Live-Tweet Your Wedding for $3,000

wedding twitter
Getty Images

Eh, I'll do it for $300 and I'll eat with the band back in the kitchen. Sound like a deal?

Being married myself, I distinctly recall my wife-to-be and I frantically searching for something to spend an extra three-grand on as we drew closer to our wedding day. Everything else was so inexpensive!

If only this live tweeting service – offered at New York-area W Hotel locations – had existed in 2007. We got married near Boston, but we would have gladly switched venues at the last second the chance to have our special day shared with a bunch of randos on the Internet.

According to a pitch sent to the the Huffington Post’s Bianca Bosker, here’s what your $3,000 gets you:

Live tweeting of the ceremony and reception

Instagram photos and videos and Vine videos

Curating a unique wedding #hashtag

Encouraging guests to utilize hashtag and handles as they post to social media

Set up and maintenance of Wedding Blog before and after the big day

Curating registry wish list and dream honeymoon Pinterest boards to inspire couple

Wedding social media recap for the couple – a Shutterfly book complete with social media highlights from the planning process and a collage of the best tweets and instagrams sent during the wedding.

You can read the full text of the email over at HuffPo. And if you fancy yourself some sort of social media expert, keep in mind that the title of “Social Media Wedding Concierge” now exists.

Please Do Not Pay Someone $3,000 To Live-Tweet Your Wedding [HuffPo via Romenesko]

TIME Google

Gmail Tests Eye-Pleasing Visual Grid for Promotional Mail

If you use the new-ish Promotions tab in Gmail to corral all your daily deals, ads and other marketing detritus, Google is field-testing a more aesthetically pleasing presentation of such material.

Basically, instead of seeing standard-looking email messages when clicking the Promotions tab, you can opt to have everything presented in a grid of Pinterest-like cards that emphasize images over text.

Google has cobbled together this animated GIF, which I’ve had in my peripheral vision the entire time I’ve been writing this post. It’s driving me nuts for some reason. I’m pleased to share it with you, however:

Gmail Field Trial
Google

Don’t stare at it too long or your brain will start to play tricks on you. It’s like the Zulily lady in the lower right-hand corner is laughing just at me. Leave me alone, lady!

If this newfangled method of perusing commercial email messages is appealing to you, you can sign up to participate in the trial. Google makes no promises that you’ll be chosen, except to say that “if you’re selected, a new grid view will bring to the top of your inbox key images from deals, offers, and other marketing emails if you have the Promotions tab enabled.”

A new, more visual way to view your Promotions tab [Google]

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