Interesting Lifehacks: Use a Wooden Spoon to Block Part of your Screen

While the benefit of the wooden spoon may not be immediately obvious to the novice user, the concept is now hailed the ‘next big thing’ in software development. Early adopters have been tinkering with some creative use-cases.

wooden spoon in manual use
wooden spoon in manual use

Most users first realize The Spoons power when selectively blocking unwanted pop-ups. This works much better than any browser plug-in (e.g. ad-block+) and with surprising accuracy. Although not as fast, it does so entirely without false positives! The spoon even works on all browsers and is both backward and “forward-compatible (a term which has been coined by the spoon community)!

Michaele Adduci, a Research Associate and Technical Supervisor at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and expert in the field of Computer Vision points out that:

The system may one day be used to view poorly programmed websites like Google+ on large screens. Already now it completely eliminates the annoying border in the news-feed on large monitors (>22″/1080p res). G+ is just one example, of course.

The user-base, albeit still tiny, is extremely dedicated and faithful (almost religious some say). Open Source community pioneers and bigwigs like Richard Stallman or Eric S. Raymond are also big fans and backers of the movement.

Eric S. Raymond recently wrote in an email to us:

When I first stumbled over the concept, I failed to come up with some valid use-cases and almost dismissed it as another fad. But over time, I better understood it’s *real* power. Now I would no longer want to program without the spoon.

People ask me about its advantages quite often lately. It’s a bit like answering the question “why anyone today should bother learning languages like LISP/Scheme”. Because using it will ultimately open your mind to different solutions, and make you a better programmer! The same can be said for the spoon.

How one applies the idea isn’t set in stone. There is no rule-book to follow. But this is exactly what makes it so powerful! It’s a ‘mindset’! Nobody will tell you HOW you should use it because the experience is unique for everybody. For newbies who expect some more concrete answers this can be frustrating, sure!

New usage scenarios are being invented constantly. Some people have even “forked” the idea and are now experimenting with ladles. Whatever works for you!


GNU spoon presented by Richard Stallman
GNU spoon presented by Richard Stallman

Agile pioneer Martin Fowler loves the spoon and thinks it will help Agile developers focus on what’s relevant during pair-programming or code-review.

While several funding requests have popped up on kickstarter, not everyone is as cheerful: The most critical concerns are aired by the UX community. They feel that the spoon may impact their relevance, because users will no longer care about poor design or flaws in a GUI layout. Also companies behind ad-blockers probably have a lot to lose.

Rogers Innovation Adaption Curve
Source: Roger the Doger

While it’s too early to talk about the long-term effects of the spoon, one thing is certain: We have hit critical mass and the spoon is bound to disrupt our relationship with technology as we know it. Spoon Defined Everything, Spooning as a Service, Carrier-Grade-Spoons, Big-Spoons, Internet of Spoons, Continuous Spooning, Smart-Spoons, Crypto-Spoons and Blockspoons (nobody knows who invented, but no surprise some Australian Imposter has already attempted to plagiarize the IP).

I’d love to hear about your experiences (positive or negative) when it comes to using the spoon. Please share below.

EDIT-1 Update 2016:

the spoon is becoming the tool of choice for people who want to block their built-in webcam from spying on them. Activists have stepped forward and gave the project 5 ☆★☆★☆ for empowering freedom and democracy and stopping government surveillance dead in it’s tracks. The spoon-community is currently working on a technical standard they’ll put forward as an IETF draft that will solve security and privacy problems in the Internet of Things once and for all and hence make all current marketing claims valid (cough-cough).

EDIT-3 Update summer 2016:

Daniel Britt, full-stack developer and Chief Community Spooner from Cleveland area has provided us with a feature chart named after a popular Keanu Reeves film. Daniel says:

Since learning about the usefulness of wooden spoons in the software development field, I’ve decided to run some tests and work out some features. The list is nowhere near complete, nor even exhaustive; the majority of uses are secret, waiting to be uncovered. I hope to be with my spoon for many years to come as I begin my career as a full stack software developer! Thanks to Valbonne Consulting for the inspiration, and to Tech Elevator for the awesome C#/.NET boot camp learning environment!

feature chart wooden spoon by Daniel Britt (you should hire him!)
courtesy of Daniel Britt (you should hire him! or send him cat pictures. up to you.)

¹ Works half way, additional unit required.
² Only current tester is an ex-smoker. Validating on correlation, only.
³ The wooden spoon should be used as a defense implement only at your own risk. The Wooden Spoon Group, its members, manufacturers and other cutlery in your drawer do not recommend this usage.
⁴ But kinda gross.
⁵ Before 1990, only. From 1990-2010, only verbal spanking allowed, spoon used in “Making a Point” mode. Post 2010: All punishments result in internet shaming of parent. Avoiding punishments results in internet shaming of parent.
⁶ Ugh.

Daniel says, Testing is also taking place on finishes for the fine fir wood that composes our product. Traditional stains and waxes are providing both beauty and function, while paints leave much to be desired. The patina from being left in a pot of spaghetti sauce too long seems to be a favorite. Please send feature requests to 🙂

Daniel is available for hire right now. If you’re looking to hire an aspiring, passionate, full-stack engineer with awesome people skills, please connect with Daniel Britt (despite his misleading last name he is actually based in the US) on LinkedIn [].

Valbonne Consulting provides Research & Consulting for emerging technologies in Internet/Web of Things (WoT/IoT/M2M) and Emerging-Tech. We specialise in decentralisation, security and privacy. We work across a variety of traditional industry verticals (Telecommunications, Automotive, Energy, ...). We support Open Source and technologies built on open standards.

Joachim Bauernberger

Passionate about Open Source, GNU/Linux and Security since 1996. I write about future technology and how to make R&D faster. Expatriate, Entrepreneur, Adventurer and Foodie, currently living near Nice, France.

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