I Thought This Achievement Was Going to be More Difficult…

As I mentioned in the October in Review post, and which you probably missed since it was at the end of a wall of text, my daughter and I are back to playing WoW a bit, thanks in large part to the promise of Pandas.  And with Hallows End going on, I decided to try and get that mask achievement finished at last.

And then I got an unexpected achievement.


I barely got myself into Uldum before I got it too.  I went through the little intro event.

Zany, madcap adventures

And shortly ended up at Ramkahen, where I was promptly flamed by a passing epic dragon.

Laying in the Fire

I am guessing they must have upped the Deathwing travel rate, since back when Cataclysm launched, I had my hunter out in Uldum for ages and never once saw him.  But Vikund, he was out there for a couple hours and Ramkahen got lit up three times.  And those flames last for a while.

And did they nerf flight routes while I was away as well?  Vikund seemed to have all the flight points in Cataclysm, even in zones he had never visited before.  Odd.

Anyway, I managed to visit all of the pumpkins in the new Cataclysm zones for that achievement, which only left me with the mask achievement… again.

Last year Hallow’s End finished up with me shy two masks.  Cataclysm added four more masks, so I had six to get.  I proceeded to hit every last pumpkin in Azeroth I could find and ended up with this.


Two damn masks left to go.  Again.  Ah well, next year in Stormwind, as they say.

At least I got the Creepy Crate pet for a few of my characters.  And the critters it eats count towards the Critter Kill Squad guild achievement, which is good, as we seem to need another 30K critters to finish it off.  Still, we have been progressing, and the last time I was paying attention to it, we needed 40K critters.  Every little bit helps.

And I am sure the Creepy Crate will make for an interesting companion pet when pet battles get introduced as part of Pandaclysm.

Google Reader Alternatives?

There were a bunch of changes to Google Reader, which in my opinion left it a worse product overall.

They removed features I used, like the ability to share items to an RSS feed, which I used to use to build the “Posts From Other Blogs” list that was in my side-bar until today.  They also killed off the statistics for individual feeds.  (Or hid them very well, as I cannot find them.)

Of course, they did add features… but only if you use Google+.

But Google+ is still a “real names only” club.  Pseudonyms are not allowed there, so that pretty much leaves me out.  They might change the pseudonym thing at some distant future date, but currently the real name purists at Google hold sway.

When I was griping about Google+ not being integrated into the rest of the Google functions, I thought maybe they would make Google+ play nice with other functions, not break old functionality to integrate with Google+.  Such is life at Google.

Anyway, the updated interface annoys me.  A “fresh design” apparently means “Lots of white space like Google+,” a design philosophy that seems to rank functionality second.  It isn’t so bad that I won’t get used to the font or the fact that it displays fewer items per page due to a layout that is really unpleasing to my eye.

But it annoys me enough that I want to explore alternatives for online RSS feed readers, and all the more so since the Google Reader team’s response to criticism seems to be, “Don’t like it? You’re free to take your data and fuck off.”

So what options are out there that compete with Google Reader?

MBP sent me over to look at NetVibes, which would also take a bit of getting used to.  I have nearly 200 feeds I watch.

Jason Scott, who was hopping mad over the changes at Google Reader, jumped onto NewsBlur.

Bloglines also looks like it might have potential… or is it just NetVibes with a different color scheme?

Addendum: I have seen a spike in views from Feedly, another web based RSS reader.  Any feedback on that?

Who else uses something other than Google Reader?

Some People REALLY Want to be Goons…

I mean, really, really badly.   Such is the case for Prencleeve Grothsmore, resident of New Eden.

Thanks to Gaff for sending this to me.

The whole thread starts off innocuously enough… he sounds like he just got landed in a Goon recruiting scam, and even *I* have gotten those… and then a few pages in, it gets weird.

Welcome to EVE Online.