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Eight Years of Link Rot September 12, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , , , ,
19 comments

Years ago, back when we thought the World Wide Web was new and cool and we actually called it the World Wide Web and you had to have “www” in front of a web address because otherwise somebody might think you wanted Gopher access to their site for Christ’s sake, back then I read an interview with Douglas Engelbart.  Or maybe it was somebody else.  It could have been Ted Nelson.  Or maybe it was a dream.  I have learned that memory is unreliable which is why, in part, I write this blog.  Anyway, Douglas Engelbart is the guy who invented or bundled together the idea of just about everything you take for granted in computing today, only those ideas never quite came across as envisioned.  Basically, we messed it all up along the way.  It is what we do best.

And in this interview, some young reporter, gushing to be interviewing the person who came up with the very idea of Hypertext, asked him if this whole shiny new World Wide Web thing was the wonderful rainbow-streaked living embodiment of all he had foreseen.  Wasn’t this just what he beheld all those years back when he was given a nearly divine vision of the future?

And the response, from whoever it was… and I am paraphrasing here, because I cannot remember his actual withering retort… was approximately “Jesus Fuck No!”

And his objection didn’t even reference GeoCities.

No, he was pissed off that he had envisioned a vast interlinking of information systems that would allow the user to find all he needed smoothly and seamlessly, and what we had created was a mess of hand typed static URIs that would fail to connect the moment something in the path moved or changed.  We had taken his vision of Hypertext and created from it a living hell of link rot.  I don’t think he used the actual term “link rot,” though he might have.

And this was, as I said, during an earlier era of the web, before link rot was a really big deal.  Visionary that he was, he foresaw this as he foresaw so much else.  He could see the linkpocalypse coming.  Actually, it probably was Ted Nelson.  He literally hates HTML.  But it doesn’t matter, we’re still screwed, having been left with this sort of thing now.

The World Wide Web, as it turns out, is a place where we mostly used to be able to find stuff, but it keeps disappearing.  Often, the happiest result is getting the dread 404 errors, which have become common enough that we have taken to making them cute or pretty or different, so as to make the failure of one link or another more pleasant.

The EVE Online 404 error page

The EVE Online 404 error page

And 404 is good compared to the alternatives.  You are just as likely to get somebody cybersquatting on a URL with ads and malware.  This seems to be the common end for self-hosted blogs.  People stop updating, then stop paying the bill, and then the domain expires and the next day there is a spam page sitting there dispensing shit where once there was something of value.

Some days I hate the internet.

If it were not for the Internet Archive I am sure I would think myself crazy, remembering so many virtual things that have, for one reason or another, shed even their virtual existence and disappeared.

Basically, I am eight years down the road on the whole blogging thing today, and I can really see how annoying the whole link rot thing can be.  I can channel Engelbart’s rage… or whoever that was in the interview I cannot find… because internet.

I go back and look at old posts at least once a month, thanks to my month in review posts, and I end up running into more and more old posts with dead links.  I have always frowned upon posts with supporting arguments available only as links (the awful “go read this and come back” posts), but I am becoming more convinced that I need to quote as much as possible in blog posts, so as to make each post as self-contained as possible, that it might make sense five years down the road when the link to the source material has gone bad.  But I cannot copy things wholesale, as I do not want to steal the works of others.  So there is this middle ground of trying to include enough to support what I am saying, knowing whatever links I include may go away (as an example, SOE has a habit of just changing their web site hierarchy every two years because “fuck the web” I guess, so the data is generally still there, it just has a different URI), without actually stealing the works of other and actually encouraging people to visit other sites.  Community, yo.

All of which is something of an odd intro into my 8 year anniversary post (trivia: Blog created at 17:04 UTC on September 12, 2006), but here we are, eight years in and I am feeling the pain of being on the internet.  For those with more free time than sense, you can go back and look at past anniversary blog posts to see how I have held up over the years.

I had originally thought of going with Self-Portrait at Eight Years Old Wearing a Helm with Giant Horns as a post title, but I thought maybe I might be getting into references too obscure for mere mortals.  Plus I couldn’t come up with an decent image to go with that title, while images of 404 messages are legion.

Anyway, it is at this point I start trotting out various and sundry statistics and other bits of trivia, with some sort of forward looking message at the end.  If you are interested in that sort of thing, you will find it after the cut.  If not, well… there are plenty of happy destinations in the side bar.  And most of those links are still good!

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The Seven Year Kvetch September 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: ,
9 comments

kvetch [kvetsh]   -  /k(ə)veCH,kfeCH/

noun
noun: kvetch; plural noun: kvetches

-a person who complains a great deal.
-a complaint.

verb
verb: kvetch; 3rd person present: kvetches; past tense: kvetched; past participle: kvetched; gerund or present participle: kvetching

-to complain.

Yes, one of the joys of being an American is pissing all over the English language by letting in any damn word we please.  I love our language, how it changes and evolves over time.  I think it is the hallmark of us, as an immigrant nation, that we embrace people and cultures into our so-called melting pot, but that we also swipe some of the best words people bring with them as well.  In contrast,  I remain appalled by countries that have official government departments that dictate and enforce proper spelling and usage.  Color me the anarchist in that regard I guess.

Sure, the chaos makes the language difficult to learn fully, being so full of idiom and context, but it is great fun.  Straight from the fridge daddy-o.

So here we are at my 7th blogiversary (ha ha, suck that purists!), where I celebrate my continued deliberate and premeditated abuse of the language.

WordPress sends their regards

WordPress sends their regards

And since I love linking back to past posts (recycling!) you can find, if you are so inclined, posts marking this date from past years.

Now that I have gotten past that irrelevant introductory exuberance, it is time for the usual dreck.   Beyond this point lies list after list of pointless data followed by my usual summary of events, complete with dubious and/or obvious conclusion.  There is the story of my life; always able to summarize the data, but lost when actually trying for some sort of ending or closure.  I am never quite sure what it all means, and I try not to pretend otherwise.

If you are like me and like numbers and lists for the sake of them or want some sort of quantitative look at what happens at this blog, you may find some of this interesting.  It includes my usual reveal of actual traffic numbers.

On the other hand, if you are expecting to find an amusing anecdote about how I screwed up or got lost again, a nostalgic look at some past game, or an incoherent rant about some bit of gamery that is annoying me at the moment, you will likely be disappointed at what you find after the cut.  You have been warned.

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Two Years of Tanks April 12, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
Tags: ,
6 comments

World of Tanks is turning two years old, their launch date corresponding with Yuri’s Night back in 2011.

WorldofTanks2year

The game has come a long way since its launch two years ago.  I always point at patch 8.0 and the physics update as being a major turning point for me, bringing me back to the game.  But they have added so much to the game over time.

The celebration this weekend includes all sorts of special offers and boosts.  5x experience for your first victory of the day is usually enough, but there is a lot more than just that, as Mrrx detailed in his post on the subject.

For me, the discounts on tier VIII tanks, equipment, and crew retraining means that I will likely be driving my KV-4 before the night is through.  I will have enough credits to buy it, kit it out, and transfer the crew I have been training up for it in the Churchill III. (It is my old KV-2 crew, and is close to 100% on their first skill/perk.)  And I think I even have enough free experience to get through the gun upgrades.  I should be set to start out on the climb to my tier IX tank goal.

In fact, the KV-4 discount is keeping me from coveting the KV-5, which is available for a limited time again in the Gift Shop.

And there is a special second anniversary code that you can enter to get a few freebies, including a day of premium.

2NDBDAYTANKS

That code is single use and expires on April 24.  You have to log into the World of Tanks web site to redeem it for your account.  Last night they tweeted that so many people were redeeming the code that the process was lagging tremendously.

So I expect I will be playing a fair amount of tanks this weekend.  It should be interesting.  These sorts of events always draw in a mix of players, often making the public match maker even more lopsided than usual.  I expect a lot of people complaining about how horrible their team is, but I expect I will be too focused on learning a new tank to care much.

Eight Years of EverQuest II November 13, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II.
Tags: ,
13 comments

Last week was the official 8th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest II.  It went live on November 8th, 2004.

Today sees the launch of the 9th expansion of the game, the interestingly named Chains of Eternity.

Firiona Vie coming to take over EQII now

I find that name amusing because it sounds a lot like the subscription model business plan.  They want you chained to the game and paying for all time. (Patch notes for the CoE update here.)

But today also marks another event.  It was on this day, eight years ago, I started playing EverQuest II.

I wasn’t there right at the start because… I wasn’t really planning to play at all.  But Gaff, who had passed on the whole EverQuest thing five years previously was keen on this second chance.  I and a number of TorilMUD veterans, joined him.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

And so began my love/hate relationship with the game.

For everything I enjoyed about the game… from simple things like just being in Norrath re-imagined to a player housing system that has really gone unmatched for eight years (we’ll see how Storm Legion housing stacks up when live) to zones that felt dangerous (like Thundering Steppes) to zones that were downright deadly (oh those flaming bats in Nektulos Forest), to the need to group for a good chunk of the overland content and all of the dungeon content while still allowing solo progress… there seemed to be a few things designed to just piss me off.

The litany of disappointments varies from person to person, but my own included bad home towns, racial ghettos, too many races, too many classes, too many skills, a meaningless division between Freeport and Qeynos, not enough character slots, high system requirements, and a disconnected zone-based game that seemed to toss all the worldly feeling that EverQuest had right into the trash.  I could go on and on.  Clearly SOE took away a very different set of lessons learned from EverQuest than other people did.

Add in a desire to try and steer clear of EverQuest lore for the first two expansions (Desert of Flames and Kingdom of Sky) and it really wasn’t the heir to EverQuest.

I played through from launch until just before Kingdom of Sky was released… at which time the game was suffering from horrible lag related issues that could render it unplayable at peak hours… before packing up for Azeroth, which is where nearly everybody in our original guild ended up.  Even the hardcore who derided WoW ended up in Blizzard’s cartoon world.

Almost everybody in this raid went off to WoW

I did come back for Echoes of Faydwer… released six years ago today… which promised to actually get back to some of the EverQuest lore and ended up being a reasonably successful expansion for those returning to the game.  But for me the game always seems to spend half its time trying to drive me away, a trend that continued up through last year when the instance group tried to come together to experience the game.  The game, however, had other ideas. The world, so changed from 2004, made trying to do the first 20 levels as a group so painful that free was too high a price to pay to play it.

Still, I feel a pull towards the game.  I have watched it change and evolve and move so far in interesting… the Krono currency will be something to watch… and sometimes very odd or silly directions… did nobody think through the Station Cash for expansions things… over the last eight years.  It seems to hold on to that ability to attract me and repel me in equal measures.  But I might say that about SOE as a whole some days.

As I said about World of Warcraft a while back, I think I am at a point where EverQuest II won’t ever be my main focus again.  I think my interest in it is now more that of nostalgia.

The relationship, however, is much more complicated.

How is your relationship with EverQuest II?

What is great about the game and what just really grates on you?

But Now I am Six, I’m as Clever as Clever September 12, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: ,
12 comments

When I was One, I had just begun.
When I was Two, I was nearly new.
When I was Three, I was hardly me.
When I was Four, I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

From Now We are Six, by A. A. Milne

Back to our regularly planned post.

Here we are again, another anniversary.  It has been six years and I am still here.

Needs a haircut, just like me

As I do every year, I am going to try to summarize the story so far in terms of statistics and other such nonsense, all while attempting to overlay a completely inappropriate theme over the whole thing.  Cue Christopher Robin.

For those who want to read the past efforts, here they are.

As the years have gone along, these posts have become longer and sillier.  But I have tried to keep some consistency year over year for comparison.  Each year the same base stats get updated, while I try to add some new aspect into the mix.

This is long and boring for those who are not interested in the site for the sake of the site, so it is mostly hidden after the cut.

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Heroic Results of the First Five Year Plan! September 12, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , , , , ,
14 comments
  • Pig iron: 6.2 million tons (up from 3.3 million)
  • Steel: 5.9 million tons (up from 4.0 million)
  • Coal: 64.3 million tons (up from 35.4 million)
  • Oil: 21.4 million tons (up from 11.7 million)
  • Electricity: 13.4 billion kWh (up from 5.0 billion)

Industrial Production Gains of the First Five Year Plan

So here I am, five years after the first post went up on the site.

Unlike most posts here, I am going to hide most of this one behind a “more…” link, only because I expect it will get long and tedious with meaningless stats and self-referential nonsense.  If that interests you, great!  If it does not, I will spare you (and the front page of the blog) all that clutter.

So click on the link and I will waste a few minutes of your life hauling out some vague statistics about what has gone on over the last year as well as the lifetime of the blog, as I did with the first, second, third, and fourth anniversaries… plus I hacked up some Soviet era propaganda posters, so the whole thing carries on with the theme set out in the title.  They aren’t very good, but they kept me busy and amused for a little bit.

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If You Had Asked Me 12 Years Ago… March 16, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

EverQuest is 12 years old today.  Did I mention that already?

As I have noted in the past, and will no doubt mention again many times in the future, I ran down to Fry’s on this date 12 years back, bought my copy of EverQuest, and went home to play it that night.  I still have the receipt from Fry’s showing the time and date when I bought my copy.

If you had asked me 12 years ago while I was there, in-game, on the night EverQuest launched, if I would be playing the game today, I am pretty sure I would have said yes.

The game was new and fresh and new and I was very excited about it.  I am sure that in that rush of (relatively) youthful enthusiasm, I would have said that I could play EverQuest forever.

On the other hand, if you had asked me that same question 8 years ago, I am equally sure that I would have said no.  I had worn out the game… or it had worn me out.  Either way, I had had my fill and didn’t really want to play it any more.  My life had grown more complex (marriage, house, child) and I was more interested in TorilMUD then, one of EQ’s key progenitors, or the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942.

And over the last 5 years or so, the answer would have vacillated.  I have gone through fits of nostalgia where I have dragged out old characters and tried to see the game again.  And I have spent an equal amount of time convinced that there is no going home again, that there is no return to the excitement that was EverQuest back in 1999.

But things ebb and flow and suddenly now, at the 12 year mark, I am playing the game again and having quite a good time.

It isn’t the same, day one experience.  You can never recapture that.  But it is a really good nostalgia run.

Part of it is, of course, the Fippy Darkpaw progression server.  EverQuest Live today, after 17 expansions, often feels like too much game for me to catch up with.  I actually own all 17 expansions, though thankfully I did not have to buy them all individually.  SOE nicely rolled up all past expansions in a couple of releases.

But if I have been into areas that were part of more than 6 of those expansions, I would be surprised.  EverQuest has such a huge and sprawling world and I have seen a surprisingly small amount of it.

The progression server cuts that back to just the lands I know by heart.  And those lands are both populated and populated by players who are not all 80 levels ahead of me.  You can, you know, actually find a group now and again or find some help when you really need it or get a random buff now and again. (Drive-by buffing is one of the things that EQII mistakenly tried to kill.)

And so for these last few weeks I have been far more likely to be camped out in West Karana than in the new lands of Azeroth.

Fun with Bandits

Of course, that screen shot also illustrates the other key factor to why I am playing on and enjoying the Fippy Darkpaw server.  That is Potshot and his two characters out camping bandits with me.

Having somebody to play with regularly is always a key motivator for me, and Potshot and I seem to be on a semi-regular 9pm-10pm weeknight schedule which allows us just enough time to accomplish something.  That is the cornerstone of this return to Norrath.

And so we carry happily on in a game we were both playing 12 years ago.

How will this all seem another 8-12 years down the line?

Happy 12th Anniversary EverQuest! March 16, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

It has been 12 years since EverQuest launched.  It went live 12 years ago this evening.

As a way of remembering this launch, I have… um… borrowed the 12 pictures that SOE used for their EverQuest 12 Year Anniversary Contest (now over and I did not win) over on the SOE Facebook Page as they provide a quick look at some of the high level facts about the game and all the expansions they released.

You can click on the individual pictures to see them full size.

There are also some amusing tidbits on the pictures (like how many wolves in game versus dogs) and, of course, the trivia questions.

I couldn’t answer most of them without looking them up.  How about you?

WoW 6th Anniversary Card December 1, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags:
9 comments

World of Warcraft turned six… last week… on November 23rd.   But the card finally arrived in the mail today.

I realize that you guys in Anaheim have been busy with that whole Cataclysm things, but the date was marked on the calendar with fat red marker.

Many Happy Returns of the Day

Last year we got a pet dragon in the mail.  And a “being there” achievement.

This year we only got dragon references.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel disappointed, but I am not alone there.

Happy Anniversary World of Warcraft!

I suppose I will have to be content with the team redoing the whole original game experience.

Thanks for that!

Four Years In, No Further From Noobdom September 12, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, General.
Tags: , ,
12 comments

Today is the fourth anniversary of The Ancient Gaming Noob.  While I couldn’t come up with a really good title for this post, at least I steered clear of the death reference of last year.

And, as with every such anniversary, I take a few minutes to haul out some vague statistics about what has gone on over the last year as well as the lifetime of the blog.

So as I did with the first, second, and third anniversaries…

Basic Statistics

What has happened here and how has it changed from a year ago?

Days since launch: 1461 (+365)
Posts total: 1,640 (+383)
Average posts per day: 1.12 (-0.03)
Comments: 10,306 (+3,025)
Average comments per post: 6.3 (+0.5)
Average comments per day: 7.0  (+0.4)
Spam comments: 138,603 (+24,321)
Average spam comments per day: 94.87 (-9.4)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 13.5 (-2.5)

I am always surprised at the end of the year as to how many posts I have put up.  I start off any given week with one regular post planned, the instance group report, and maybe one additional item.  The others just seem to appear.

Demographics

Something new to look at.  I’ve been running that flag counter widget for about a year now, so by this point it can give a reasonably accurate read on from where my readership hails.

The geographic distribution of readers

While people from 185 different countries have hit the site at some point, the majority of readers come from countries that speak English.

Deep insight, I know.

And the percentages of the key English speaking countries on the list represent almost, but not quite, the ratios of their populations.  The US is a little over represented.  And that a bigger English speaking population means more visitors from that country is, again, not exactly a deep insight.

So I looked at the other end of the spectrum.  Here are the locations (not all of them are countries) from which I have had exactly one identifiable visitor since I installed the widget.

Generally speaking, if you are from a rich, western country that speaks English, you are more likely to visit my blog than if you are in a poor, equatorial nation.  Who would have guessed?  Obviously the marketing department at Blizzard still has new worlds to conquer.

Incoming!

Or who sends traffic to The Ancient Gaming Noob.

All time

  1. virginworlds.com
  2. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  3. eq2-daily.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. wordpress.com
  6. letrangeeve.blogspot.com
  7. westkarana.com
  8. killtenrats.com
  9. cracked.com
  10. commonsensegamer.com

Over The Last Year

  1. virginworlds.com
  2. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  3. wordpress.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. cracked.com
  6. letrangeeve.blogspot.com
  7. playervsdeveloper.blogspot.com
  8. wow.com
  9. westkarana.com
  10. killtenrats.com

VirginWorlds is still number one.

Cracked.com made the list by virtue of linking one of my posts last month, as WordPress.com did with that whole World Cup octopus thing.

Outgoing!

I have to leave the WoW Guild Name Generator post off the list, as it skews the totals.  It is still number one by a long shot.  Aside from that, here is where people go from the site.

All Time

  1. pokemon.com
  2. evegeek.com
  3. syncaine.wordpress.com
  4. potshot.wordpress.com
  5. keenandgraev.com
  6. commonsensegamer.com
  7. killtenrats.com
  8. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  9. tobolds.blogspot.com
  10. westkarana.com

Over The Last Year

  1. pokemon.com
  2. syncaine.wordpress.com
  3. evegeek.com
  4. keenandgraev.com
  5. biobreak.wordpress.com
  6. blog.weflyspitfires.com
  7. killtenrats.com
  8. blessingofkings.blogspot.com
  9. forums.runicgames.com
  10. commonsensegamer.com

This is less precise.  A lot of times I link to individual posts at a site, versus the main site.  Still, it is approximately correct.

Most Viewed Posts

All time over the history of the blog.

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  3. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  4. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  5. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?
  6. My LOTRO Video Crash
  7. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  8. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  9. We’re in the Summer News Doldrums Now…
  10. Upgrading: Golem or Raven Navy Issue?

The Accidental Salesman

Posts that have made people offer to buy stuff.

Strange But True Tales From Google

What search bring people here

All Time

  1. wow guild names
  2. onyxia
  3. ancient gaming noob
  4. guild name generator
  5. thorin
  6. tagn
  7. dire maul summoning stone
  8. blizzard april fools
  9. balin
  10. hulkageddon
  11. evemon

Over The Last Year

  1. onyxia
  2. blizzard april fools
  3. hulkageddon
  4. heroic deadmines
  5. tagn
  6. wow guild names
  7. ancient gaming noob
  8. bolvar fordragon
  9. thorin
  10. blood elf porn

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out how searches on “Thorin” and “Thorin Oakenshield” have been leading people to the site.  This blog is not anywhere in the top dozen pages of sites when you do that search.

Then I noticed that on the first page of the search there is also a set of pictures of Thorin.  Among those pictures is one from this post, which has Thorin and Gandalf.  And when you do an image search, I rank pretty high for Balin as well.

What Does It All Mean?

Who knows.

But at some point in the next year I’ll be able to change the tag line for the blog to “25+ years of online gaming and still a noob.”  Won’t that be exciting?

To those who stop by regularly and leave an occasional comment, thank you for visiting!

If you like what I write, it probably won’t change much in the future… and if you don’t like what I write… well… consider that a warning.