An authoritative history of BIFF and no, there never, ever was a "BIFF filter"



Joe Talmadge of HP authored the first two BIFF postings in talk.bizarre in 1987 or maybe (I doubt it) 1988. BIFF was like a western version of Borat and was a 14 yr old retard with a commodore VIC-20 who lusted after a C64 and as such, the better early BIFF postings (now apparently lost to bit rot) were never more than 40 characters wide to demonstrate stone age Commodore authenticity.

After those two Joe never did another but I picked it up and ran with it. I tried not to overdo it, lest the effect be diluted; I posted occasionally as BIFF in talk.bizarre but the real comecy gold was reserved for or even news.admin on occasion.

I forged maybe a dozen postings as BIFF@BIT.NET (BIFF) poking sticks at assholes that truly deserved it. Some wiener (Sean something or other) at "UNIX Today" magazine complained in a column about how immature idiots were ruining the Unix network, so I forged a BIFF posting tracable back to his account - he whined about this in his next column so I forged another BIFF posting tracable back to his account which he acknowledged by admitting defeat, and he finally shut up about it.

When the secret of how to forge usenet postings got out the college kiddies (no names but his initials were ROB CLARKE at PSU) ran with it and made a real mess out of it. They used numbers instead of letters (and I think invented l33tspeak) and were fairly numerous. But not as funny.

Wikipedia's war on facts

Christ Wikipedia pisses me off. For nearly over a decade I've been trying to set the record straight on what should be a simple historical fact that can be verified by any decent student of Usenet history. But nooooooooooo, prepubescent wieners posing as "editors" of Wikipedia must continuously sodomize the facts and continually throw out any attempts to correct them with pesky things like authoritative facts. Ya know, I only really posted to Usenet with any gusto from 1986 to 1991 and I've spend 1992 till the present point out, (caps for emphasis) THERE NEVER WAS A "BIFF FILTER". It's 2010 as I write this, and I am again changing the Wikipedia article to remove the "BIFF filter" idea.

Why I'm still trying I'll never know. But, once more with feeling. Lets dissect the current inaccurate drivel on wikimadness shall we. I draw your attention to:

A sentence exemplifying BIFF would be: " ths soydns lik her o" "it hyrtd to typ lik ths thoyhg"

Nope, not really. What idiot thought this up? How do I prove the non-existance of a negative?

BIFF posted articles using his elder brother's Commodore VIC-20. (At a time when most active internet users were sophisticated computer scientists sharing centrally managed "big metal"
Nope. Nearly everybody I knew back then had a "small" computer. Some guys had vaxes but even then in the late 80s pcs, macs, Amigas, you name it where what we were using, on dial up UUCP connections, in my case to which was a PC. Ok it may have been the first PC on the UUCP net, point was though I'd hardly characterise that era as being strictly "big iron". Nor would I categorize a PDP-11 as "big iron" either. Sure a mainframe 11/70 was bit LSI11's and 11/34 wern't. Guys had those in their garage.

BIFF was originally created by Joe Talmadge, also the author of the infamous and much-plagiarised "Flamer's Bible" (1987). The BIFF filter he wrote was later passed to Richard Sexton.
I'm getting pretty sick of saying this. I have for over a decade and it keeps going away. Repeat after me:

There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter". There never was a "biff filter".

Never. Ever. It was just me typing. Almost certainly whoever made this up (and it seems to have eminated from Tim Skirvin's FAQ which I first corrected in 1996) had the jive filter in mind and assumed BIFF used the same technology. Not true; it's a bad assumption that will seem not to die.

And if you saw numbers instead of letters that was probably that prick Rob Clark up as PSUVM or one of that gang. They did that, I never got numbers in there, just good old honest typos, the kind I've been known for since 1200 baud modems were hot shit.

BIFF served as a satire of an exceptional behaviour in a fairly homogeneous environment.[5]

The explosive growth of the web led to the rapid decline of BIFF, as on the one hand Biffisms became no longer exceptional,

Who writes this shit? Why do they just pull facts out of their ass? I was off the net when I moved from LA to Canada in 1990 and didn't get back on till 91-92 or so. Plus, gryphon and its owner died in 1990. That's why Biff ended. No other reason. Pinheads.

BIFF attains immortality

I see biff lives on in spirit though. This just in:

> On Mar 16, 10:29 pm, "Joe Forster/STA"  wrote: 
>>> Alright, who's the wise guy that blocked my access to comp.sys.cbm? 

>> You can contact him at 

> Thank You! I just now sent him a message. 

Please make sure you forward his reply here, thanks.

Good luck with this.

A few of my BIFFisms.

There are the only ones that seemed to have survived, which is a shame as they're really not that good. Oh well.

Here's the BIFF postings of mine that a) I can remember doing and b) have managed to stay on the net someplace.

one two three four five six seven eight

The Death of BIFF

Greg Laskin and his computer, died in April 1990 so it was all over for me then. Postings from BIFF after that date, like this one were not me. I hear Rob Clark did the first few than taught all of Penn State to forge postings. I just kept my head low after that.

Or not. Looks like I found a way to post this in August of 1990. I had dialed into ccipg (which had become forgery central in Southern California because it had a direct uunet connection and "our guys" ran it) and posted as Alf Emmett. Somebody else posted as Biff. Life imitates art. Dave Mack was starting to notice, at the end of the thread, that somebody else was posting as BIFF now. The gig was indeed up, at least for me. I never BIFF'd again. Now if slashdot hadn't implemented their filter against all caps postings I sure would have, that seems to have replaced news.admin as the worlds greatest collection of assholes that need to be jabbed with a pointy stick.