Among their wondrous innovations, F.A.T. Lab provides us with amazing web applications that seem like silly jokes at first, but turn out to have functionality that we desperately need. Such was the case with Shaved Bieber, a browser app that blocked all mentions and images of the famed boy-star that you may come across, shielding you from a constant irritation that could threaten to drive you insane. F.A.T. Lab has taken this concept a step further with Pop Block, allowing you to block any items you choose, be they Bieber, Chris Brown, Rush Limbaugh, Elmo, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, or all of the above.
Add Pop Block to Chrome, Firefox, or Safari and start blocking the hell out of everything you hate. It might not be the best practice to list things like Technology, Middle East, or Politics, since that’s the kind of stuff everybody should really be aware of… unless of course there’s simply too much of it on the internet… OK, so now the thinking behind Pop Block becomes clear.
We spoke briefly with Greg Leuch, the mastermind behind Pop Block, to find out how it came about and how it could possibly shield people from essential news.
Shaved Bieber was the first step for this concept, but what made you want to expand that to anything and everything?
After Shaved Bieber, I was approached by a number of people (and a few advertisers) to create different variants for other pop culture they wanted to block out. Some of these include the colorful Olyimpics, a blocker that blocked the 2012 Summer Olyimpics, the BP Oil Spill plugin, a collaborative project with JESS3 that dripped oil over references to BP and the Gulf oil spill, and Tinted Sheen, another blocker to block the winning celebrity Charlie Sheen.
What are your personal top 5 terms to block?
My top 5 are Justin Bieber (of course), “Gangnam Style,” Lindsay Lohan, corgis (they’re cute, but distracting), and Nyan Cat
Is there a danger that this will allow people to shield themselves from things that everyone should be aware of? Do such things exist?
Initially, I worried about the implications of these blockers putting people into echo chambers of their own viewpoints. It is for that reason I’ve stayed away from political-themed blockers in the past and delayed the launch of Pop Block until after the elections. It is important to know what is going on, even if they are all over-talking windbags. But I suppose some will argue that there are exceptions that should be blocked, like Trump, Beck, and Limbaugh.