On May 16, 2007, CBS announced the cancellation of Jericho, sparking a fan movement that resulted in 20 tons of nuts being sent to the network in protest. And I know this thanks to Today in Geek History, a bare-bones but entertaining little program from Jebs Apps LLC for both Android and Apple devices.
Pop it open, and you’re presented with a list of geeky trivia bits and easy means to share them. We’re talking things like births, deaths, books, television, movies, science and history, all with the geek audience in mind.
Admittedly, some of it’s a stretch, like the inclusion of David Duchovny and Tea Leoni’s wedding day, and a good deal of 1980s popular culture seems to be mentioned whether it’s particularly geeky or not. (The birthday of Alley Mills, who played Norma Arnold on The Wonder Years, for instance, or Martha Quinn’s birthday, or the release date of Pretty in Pink.) But there are also plenty of fun nuggets like the notation of the first spam email (May 3, 1978!) and the fact that author Gene Wolfe was also an engineer who helped invent the machine that makes Pringles.
Usage is pretty straightforward, and not much is needed in the way of extras: the only current option under the Settings menu allows you to change the app’s background, and within the About menu there’s a contact form allowing you to send suggestions. Being able to flipping ahead or back day by day can also come in handy if, say, you write for a geek-focused site and need some quick inspiration for an anniversary post or two.
The app easily links to Twitter (although it sends automatic Tweets which you can’t alter) as well as Facebook, email and blogging apps like WordPress.
My only complaints are minor ones: on the Android version I downloaded, if you search for a specific date, the app remains on that date even after you close it. A “return to current date” option would be nice. The developers could also use some proofreading help: punctuation and capitalization errors are not uncommon, and some of the entries are oddly truncated. For example, the May 13 entry notes: “1976: Atari releases the classic arcade game, Breakout. They were unable to use Woz’s compact and complex design.”
Still, for 99 cents, Today in Geek History is a nifty pickup. There’s also a free, ad-supported, no-sharing Lite edition, but I installed and reviewed the full Android version from the get-go. The Apple version’s on iTunes, of course.