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All articles in Virtual Pet Rock

Scary stuff: Geologists: 'We May Be Slowly Running Out Of Rocks'

"A rock can take millions of years to form, but it only takes a second for someone to skip a smooth pebble into a lake, and then it is gone." Dr. Kaiser said. "Perhaps these thoughtless rock-skippers don't care if they leave our planet completely devoid of rocks, but what about our children? Don't they deserve the chance to hold a rock and toss it up and down a few times?"

Continued Kaiser, "We are on a collision course to a world without rocks."

A bit later: "Just look at the pet rock craze: In 10 years, millions upon millions of rocks were painted, played with, and discarded like trash," Merrill said. "Looking back, mankind's arrogance and hubris is startling."

Indeed, which is why Virtual Pet Rock rocks are all 100% electronic and non-material. Get one today!

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 10:28:29 +0200
Subject: VPR feedback - featurerequest

BadGirl30 [VPR name: BadGirl30, VPR age: oLKGMrJNrZSksKV] wrote on 13-10-2009, 10:28:29 about "featurerequest":

I'm not the least bit impressed by celebrities. ,

remote ip:
user agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)

Neither am I weird spammer person. Neither am I.

To: virtualpetrockhelp @
Subject: VPR feedback - helpme
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Reply-To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 23:12:08 +0100 (CET)

Hans <xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote on 26-03-2009, 23:12:08 about "helpme":

Must... buy... AppleMac... becuz... need... to... have... VPR! *sigh!*

VPR back online
Seems I forgot to pay this years' hosting bill and the provider only noticed early this month so they sent me a double bill, one for 2008 and one for 2009. Only I didn't notice that I got 2 bills and thought I'd have enough time to pay for 2009. When I didn't pay promptly they disconnected the domain which unfortunately means the domain was unreachable for the past 10 days which I only noticed last night after I got back from christmas holidays abroad.

Sorry about this folks, I have payed up and the site is back online. You can go back to uploading your stats.

phpBB, aaaaargh
I just had to remove the Virtual Pet Rock forum due to insane amounts of spam. It's been getting harder and harder to keep up with spam and phpBB is so widely used and well known that it's become almost impossible to protect against this. Mods that deal with spam are ineffectual, extremely cumbersome or require you to delve deep into code that really shouldn't be touched as you'll likely have to alter the code again and again every time an update or security fix arrives (and these arrive frequently as the code seems to be leaking like a sieve).

Yesterday I repaired some crashed tables again for the second time in as many days due to the fact that spammers flood the system and this morning I woke up to about 250 spam posts. As the admin interface of phpBB leaves a lot to be desired I had to remove these posts one by one and after about an hour I just gave up. I did install a mod and later a utility that claimed to be able to delete multiple posts but these were either non-functional or failed to do the job adequately, leaving many things to still be done by hand.

What nailed the decision for me was the fact I saw we had 1400 registered users and only about 35 of those were actual bona-fide members (we didn't require registration for the few months when the board was most active). There comes a point where you just have to give in and decide that the effort simply isn't worth it anymore.

In any case, the Virtual Pet Rock forums may be gone but here's the link from the last post I made just yesterday.
The Wheel - a short animation about two rocks.

Let this be a lesson that teaches us that all things human pass in the blink of an eye, in what geologists call Deep Time. Rejoice, for soon the spammers will be dust.

When Jurjan and I created the code for the Virtual Pet Rock website we decided to include some nice graphs for the people that uploaded their adopted rock's statistics.
We were a bit shortsighted however. We use the jpgraph library to do our bidding and while it is very versatile it isn't very intelligent and you have to explicitly set tick-mark and axis number intervals.
Now our problem was that when we created the files that generate the graphs we never expected people to upload more than about 100 to 200 times. In fact this is borne out by and large. Most people keep their Virtual Pet Rock for a few months and then lose interest, or at least they stop uploading. Because uploading your rock's statistics is such an integral part of the whole Virtual Pet Rock experience I surmise that those that do stop uploading actually abandon their rock. In select cases I might be wrong but I tend to think I'm not too far off the mark here.

Anyway, as I said, our code didn't really imagine people would be uploading 400 times, 600 times or even 1120 times (and counting, some clients are very dedicated!). Well I finally fixed this so the x-axis is more intelligent (actually it's just as dumb as before only it has a few extra if switches).

The new code should last quite a while and may need to be revisited one day if people start approaching the 2500 uploads moment but that's at least three and a half years in the future.

So, with the "crisis" averted I have to wonder about several things, foremost amongst them: why do people become so attached to their rock that they actively keep care of it (or not in one case) every single day for years and years and upload their data?

When we created Virtual Pet Rock we thought we'd create something nice for people to enjoy, we thought we'd create a program that would instill a sense of childlike wonder (sorry fake steve). Never in our wildest dreams did we guess that some people would become addicted! Admittedly this number isn't too big, we have 27 people who've uploaded more than 100 times, most stay well below that number (on a total of 14.846 registered rocks).

Still, maybe it is time for an iPhone version???

Famous at last
Virtual Pet Rock has been included in Wikipedia :).

Evil Pet Rock
As you know Virtual Pet Rock isn't available to Windows users.

Here's why.

The free Virtual Pet Rock sticker give-away has ended as of 15.00 hours todays due a lack of response on our request for a photograph of a sticker on a wild rock.
So far we gave received only a couple of pictures. From two people in fact, one of whom isn't even a Mac user and therefore doesn't run Virtual Pet Rock.

Ah well, it was perhaps a bit too much to ask.

Virtual linkage
I don't check the referrers to the Virtual Pet Rock site much anymore but I happened to do so today. Here's two funny links.

1. someone fed a fish to his piranhas and someone else is telling him off: look for post #18.
2. Translated pages are always cool. Here's the Babelfish translation of some French site. Virtual stone of company.

Promotional Coolness
The US Virtual Pet Rock street team strikes!

Stickers are still available throughout the world, just follow these simple instructions.

Please note that your privacy is guaranteed, we won't use your address for anything else and we'll never sell or give away your address to anyone (not even you if you forget where you live, that's how much we care).

Get to it. It's free I tell you!

Special Offer
The OOOk Default: team has gone mad!
We're giving away free stickers like there's no tomorrow.

Find out more here: Free Stickers.

As a special offer for regular readers of this site I'm extending a reaching hand towards Windows users or Mac users who can't care less about a Virtual Pet Rock.

Follow the instructions in the forum post and use the customer number '42' when mailing us, make up a rockname.

You'll still have to send us a picture of a sticker on a rock though!

Limited time offer!
Free while supplies last!
Offer valid until I say so!
This post will be edited if the special offer is rescinded.

Rock Spotting Tour 2004
A new set of Virtual Pet Rock T-shirts is available to celebrate the summer and our upcoming trip to Edinburgh.

Get your Rock Spotting Tour 2004 shirts at Cafe Press.

The regular t-shirts and mugs are also still available.

Growing stuff
We at Virtual Pet Rock get the oddest people: i want to grow lichen on rock.

Fair enough. I assume you're looking at real rocks here, and real lichen.
Here's how: brush some yoghurt on a rock and place it outside. Sucess virtually guaranteed, void where yoghurt prohibited by law.

Sometimes we at the top-secret underground Virtual Pet Rock headquarters get some pretty funny mail.
Most of the time it's about the possibility of a port to some obscure little operating system called (apparantly) Windoids if I recall correctly.
Sometimes we get some mail that's just funny.

whitney wrote on 08-06-2004, 03:12:39 about "other":

> i think this is the coolest site i have ever found, and im
> gonna make a rock her name is gonna be little rock, you
> should make an i love my rock t-shirt that would be great.
> in 3rd grade we had school store and i had an adopt a rock
> orphanage to my surprize my people actually adopted rocks, i
> thought it was a great idea i was right im always right,
> people just dont understand they said my rock orphanage
> would not work but it did.

I like the fact that she talks about "my people". This kid is going places.

Downloads Pet Virtual
How many times can you say "Downloads Pet Virtual" without making it clear that you're just using a Google API?

Join in, it's fun!
Downloads Pet Virtual.

Virtual Pet Rock to be ported to Windows
01-04-2004, Utrecht, The Netherlands. For immediate release.

Important news for Windows users.

OOOk Default: has signed an exclusive contract with Jim of phalange Inc. to port Virtual Pet Rock over to Windows.
Virtual Pet Rock was first released in december 2002 for the Apple Macintosh platform and has received wide acknowledgements as being one of the first truly useless pieces of Macintosh software after the original Talking Moose. Virtual Pet Rock has been downloaded over 7250 times in the period following it's initial release.

Jim says he is "really excited" about this great opportunity and has high hopes for the Windows version. Release dates and system requirements are yet to be set but Jim is persuing an agressive deadline and will, in the best Windows tradition, provide deep tie-ins to the Windows Operating System. Says Jim: "You know, these Dutch guys have really got something here, but by focusing entirely on Mac users they're really missing out on a huge audience. Not to speak badly of Apple users, I own an iPod myself and I think it's a neat piece of engineering, but let's face it, these Dutch guys have probably been smoking too much of their dope and haven't really noticed that the world has moved on and that Windows is the dominant computing platform. In particular the ability to integrate large parts of the OS, like Internet Explorer into an application saves immense amounts of development time and provides the user with a consistent experience". Jim, who is employed in the Chicago area and is working for a leading Windows software developer said he had little fear of problems. His resume contains some porting experience, although this was from C++ to .Net. He has yet to read a single line of Objective C "but how hard can it be? If these Macheads can write it, I can read it," he stated.

Hewlett Packard President Carly Fiorina who refused to be quoted on the matter expressed mild amusement when asked whether this new development would affect the way HP sells it's machines. "There are currently no plans to bundle Virtual Pet Rock for Windows," a spokesman for the company said, "but we'll certainly monitor the situation and make a final decision in the fullness of time, ie when the program is actually released. HP has a longstanding commitment to excellence and we aren't adverse to adding new icons on the desktop of newly installed systems, even if that means programs that have originated as Apple Macintosh only products."

Current customers expressed dismay at the move. One person who wished to remain anonymous said. "I'm really dismayed at this fact. I have recently switched to the Macintosh platform just so I could run this program. Now I find out that if I had kept my brand new Dell desktop and waited a few weeks I would have been able to run the program anyway. I'm dismayed." Her friend, satisfied customer Lisa S., also expressed concerns, stating: "I'm concerned. I talked some of best friends into buying a Mac just so they could run Virtual Pet Rock. I have no idea what will happen to our friendship now, now that the program will become available on Windows."

Asked about these concerns and allegations of making a U-turn on previous statements about the possibility of a Windows version, senior OOOk Default: member, lead programmer, co-founder and el-presidente for life, Jurjan Dijkstra stated: "we knew this was going to be an unpopular move in some circles but what the heck, there's a whole untapped market out there and we have gotten so many requests that we felt obliged to give something to the Windows community. Some of our colleagues are Windows users after all, and we just got tired of the haunted look in their eyes when arriving at work. Wouldn't it be great to give them too the joy of Virtual Pet Rock ownership to look forward to when arriving at the office? Who are we to deny them this unprecedented joy?"

Junior OOOk Default: member Harold van de Kamp, himself a webdesigner, expressed great hopes for the upcoming Virtual Pet Rock for Windows website which will be built entirely in HTML 3.2. "Windows users have long complained about our website saying it's too Mac-centic. The exciting opportunities of making a site for an Internet Explorer only audience will mean we can really get going with all kinds of neat stuff like the greatly under-appreciated and tags."

Jeffrey Zeldman, one of the world's leading webdesigners, stated concern over the plans to build the site in the 1997 era HTML 3.2 version. "It's as if I've been fighting the good fight for nothing all these years," he sighed. "I further contend that the idea of the current "Mac-centic" site is a hoax. I mean, have you looked at the source code? There's all kinds of presentational hacks in there, it's not anything-centric at all. I mean, tables all over the place, a fieldset just to get a nice border thingy? Come on people, this is the century of the fruitbat..."

Senior OOOk Default: member, webapplication developer and co-founder Harold Bakker, in charge of customer relations and support, stated little concern over the fact that a whole new market would open up to the team. He anticipates that little to no extra time would be needed to support the Windows version. "I'll just tell people to re-install their system," he said, when asked about the extra workload. "I work in Dutch education, which is almost entirely Windows oriented, and it's common practice to re-install the entire OS when something goes BOINK. I know this from experience."

About OOOk Default:
OOOk Default: reinvented the virtual pet revolution in 2002 with the Virtual Pet Rock, thereby enhanced the Macintosh user-experience. OOOk Default: is committed to bringing the best virtual friendship to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative internet-enabled software.

Apple, Macintosh and iPod are a registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of the Microsoft corporation. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit the Virtual Pet Rock website (

Mysterious Fun-App almost here
The mysterious OOOk Default: fun-app for Mac OS X is almost here. We are currently working on the website and the wait will be worth it we hope.
If you want to sign up for the upcoming beta and a sneak peek please do not hesitate, we guarantee you will receive the finished product for free (not that anyone else will pay anything, mind you)!
You can sign up via the contact page, please provide details of your Mac hardware and OS version.

Edit: It's here: Virtual Pet Rock

Nothing much new to say on the extensibility front.
However: OOOk Default: is currently hard at work creating a very cool program for Mac OS X. We can't say very much about it at the moment but if you're a mac user and would like to see a very cool and fun application for OS X in the spirit of the Talking Moose (only in spirit! mind you) be sure to bookmark this page and visit again in a month or so by which time we hope to have finished up coding the first version. Alternatively you could send your e-mail adress via the contact form and I will be glad to keep you up to date, I promise we won't abuse you with mail or send spam or sell your details. Please also mention if you would be willing to betatest (OSX only for the moment, but include OS version anyway).

On another front I've been tracking the use of these pages for some time now with pphlogger, a very cool free logging tool, it does just about all visitor tracking you could shake a stick at and then some. Most amazing to me was the keywords entered into search engines which led people to this site. Ah, the power of metadata! I never knew I had so much shit one these pages.

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