And Sometimes Google Just Freaks Me Out… March 7, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in A Random Post, entertainment.
I opened my browser to see a new Google doodle. Something to do with cake. So I moused over it to see what was being celebrated.
Wait, what? I am today’s doodle?
And then I realized that I was logged in to Google and had no doubt entered a date of birth somewhere along the way. This was up there just for me.
Well played Google, well played.
Google Chrome Version 32 Problems – A Work Around January 24, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Chrome, Google, Let me tell you about browser compatibility testing..., Public Service Announcement
A minor public service announcement.
We noticed at the office that Google Chrome version 32 broke functionality in certain controls in our web product. After a bit of looking around, a co-worker of mine found a work-around that got us past the issue.
Find the icon to launch Chrome. You can go with the one on your desktop or the Start menu (should you still be so blessed) or where ever.
Right-click on the icon and select “Properties” from the contextual menu. From there, navigate to the “Compatibility” tab and check the option to “Disable visual themes.”
That solved our problems with controls for the time being. I hope that it solves yours, should you have any.
October in Review October 31, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Neverwinter, Path of Exile, War Thunder, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Google, iGoogle
Not much has changed on the site and WordPress.com hasn’t mucked anything up of late, so I guess I will complain fruitlessly about Google a bit more.
I must remain in the bad graces of our friends over in Mountain View, as search engine related traffic continued to taper off this past month. I think Bing is in danger of providing more traffic if this persists, and what does that say about the world? (Ha, ha, just kidding. Who uses Bing here? Raise your hand. Even in decline, Google drives 50x the traffic to my site than Bing.)
Of course, Google continues to irk me on various fronts. They will be making search private in the future, so say good-bye to the search terms of the month section of this post. The Google+ interface continues to make Facebook look… well… not so bad in my eyes. The Gmail interface only looks good when compared to the latest insanity taking over Yahoo’s mail interface. And, of course, there was the demise of Google Reader and the impending end of iGoogle, which Google has reminded me about with a pop-up every single day this month.
Then I moved to Google, which was the new thing. And then came iGoogle, which let me put a couple of informational widgets on my start page… the calendar, headlines from a couple of news sources, and Google’s hilariously inaccurate weather widget… that struck a nice balance between minimalism and usefulness.
So I suppose it is back to just the main Google page as the default. No more news headlines, I’ll just be aware of whatever obscure anniversary Google has chosen to commemorate in its logo. Tomorrow is the 117th anniversary of the first bare female breasts shown on the pages of National Geographic Magazine. That would make for an interesting doodle.
All of which is just me rambling, having little to do with this site… so carry on.
One Year Ago
The SF Giants won the World Series. That makes twice in my lifetime, which was one more than I had any hope for.
Disney bought out Lucasfilm, claiming ownership of Star Wars. Panic ensued.
I had a sudden crescendo of activity around World of Warcraft, culminating in Blizzard finally letting me cancel my subscription. There was the Panda launch and people declaring success or failure. I was off in the Emerald Dream attempting to relive what WoW was like back in 2006. In involved a shovel.
The Project: Gorgon kickstarter kicked off.
In World of Tanks the word of the day was Sturmgeschütz.
Lord of the Rings Online launched the Rider of Rohan expansion. I still don’t own it.
EVE-Kill was looking for donations to keep everybody’s favorite kill board up and running. I was off on a CSAA killing mission that got me accused of cognitive dissonance. I was feeling warm and cozy in null sec. We were also pursuing our foes in Tribute and the Vale of the Silent.
I was wondering how EA Louse’s comments about Star Wars: The Old Republic were holding up two years later.
I was complaining about games (or, in my 30+ year old example, a game master) that try to impose their story on your character. I don’t mind being a part of the overall story, but my characters have their own stories and motivations and I do not like it when games put their own words in my character’s mouth.
And, finally, there was the case for seat belts.
Five Years Ago
I celebrated my 15 years of playing Sojourn/TorilMUD with the first in a series of posts. Nostalgia FTW! And I guess that makes this the 20 year mark. My, how time flies!
And speaking of Nostalgia, Tipa was out looking for EverQuest blogs. I’m not sure any were discovered.
The instance group formed up a guild and was running in Warhammer Online. We had our best night and our worst night, plus a few that were somewhere in between. All in all though, things were not as exciting as we had hoped.
And I stared logging into World of Warcraft again to get things lined up for the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I managed to survive through the controversial scourge event and was intrigued by the shiny new achievements.
New Linking Sites
The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.
Please take a moment to visit them in return.
Most Viewed Posts in October
- Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
- Steam and the Path of Exile
- Rift and the End of the Happy Time
- The End of the Road for EverQuest Mac
- Quote of the Day – Screwed by the Autopilot
- Archon Acquired
- Sneaking Into Curse
- CCP to Attempt to Explain EVE Online to New Players
- What You Get in the Absence of Actual Information…
- Going Bombing in War Thunder
- Hardware Updates – Headphones, Video Cards, and Connectivity
- Hallow’s End, Brewfest, and an Empty Feeling
Search Terms of the Month
a fake star system built on cheating people for one s own self satisfaction
[Welcome to EVE Online! Or Scientology! Whichever.]
martha stewart a mud shark pictures
[But is that a good thing?]
what causes tiny air bubbles to form on top of anaround the top edge of the water in a beta fish bowl
my god its full on stars
[ I am so many pages into that search that I stopped looking. But I did make the reference.]
Well, there was the deployment to Curse and the return home, which I participated in, and the whole SOMERBlink thing, in which I completely declined to participate. Meta game fail on my part I guess, but it didn’t stop some people from being a dick. So it has been a relatively quiet month in New Eden for me. There was a corp day where most of us got out and did some ice mining to gather fuel for our towers. Potshot and I did a little mining on our own. But not much else came to pass. Null sec is like that. Big wars for a bit, then some quiet while everybody adapts to what has changed.
The various members of our regular instance group have continued to participate in Neverwinter in various combinations. Sometimes there are three, sometimes there are four, but so far all five of us haven’t been on. Still, we poke away at the game. I think our overall group is close to level 20.
Path of Exile
This claimant to the Diablo II crown finally went live this past month, and it certainly has done a good job in that department, feeling more true to the original than either Diablo III or Torchlight II. I have been enjoying it for its faithfulness to the source, but I do wonder how long that feeling can last. It is clearly nostalgia and a desire to relive the joy of the original, and if you are a long term reader then you know how quickly nostalgia can evaporate around these parts.
Driven here by my annoyance with World of Warplanes… which stemmed mostly from my own ineptitude and choice of input devices… I have actually found something of a home here. It is probably driven by Air Warrior nostalgia, and I am barely beyond terrible in my abilities in the game, but with the right settings and in the lowest tiers, I can occasionally look good relative to complete noobs on their first flight. I am probably good for another month here on my desire to fly a variety of planes alone.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard’s main game has kept me interested, though I have clearly been distracted by some other titles this month. I log on a few nights a week, but I haven’t done anything really exciting, hence the lack of posts about it. Brewfest and Hallow’s End certainly didn’t do much for me. Like the lonely asparagus, it seems that my hollandaise are behind me. (obscure reference alert) But the game is still comfortable and enjoyable and accessible in small doses. And at some point I will wrap up what I have been doing, as there is a story there that explains why I have been working on three different characters who are all now in the 40s. Meanwhile my mom is almost level 60.
Some things are happening in November.
In EVE Online, the Rubicon expansion will drop. A new expansion usually means a new conflict, so perhaps things will heat up in New Eden. There are also expansions slated for Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II, neither of which interest me all that much. They will both introduce content well beyond my levels. Though the big class/skill/trait/whatever revamp that is coming in LOTRO will likely have some impact on me when I go back to visit Middle-earth.
There are more holidays coming up in just about every game. At least I will be able to get my cooking skills up with Pilgrim’s Bounty in WoW.
There is BlizzCon coming up, so we might get some news. I expect that there will be either an announcement about the next WoW expansion or some sort of “half-step towards F2P” change in the game’s business model.
Then there is the possibility that we might actually get something tangible around EverQuest Next Landmark.
And… and… hrmm, I thought there was something else. It has probably slipped my mind. Anyway, bring on the 11th month!
Google Reader is No More – Where Have You Gone? July 2, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, polls.
Tags: Google, Google Reader
Thank you for stopping by.
Google Reader has been discontinued. We want to thank all our loyal fans. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you’ll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.
The Google Reader team
What will happen to my Google Reader data?
All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers. You can download a copy of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.
Will there be any way to retrieve my subscription data from Google in the future?
No — all subscription data will be permanently, and irrevocably deleted. Google will not be able to recover any Google Reader subscription data for any user after July 15, 2013.
Why was Google Reader discontinued?
Please refer to our blog post for more information.
Google Reader is now officially gone. The above is all that is left at the URL. No reprieve was forthcoming, though you still can download your feed list until July 15.
I swapped over to The Old Reader last week. Among other things, it has the ability to create an RSS feed of stories I flag, which I put in the side bar here. And you can access the service through a nice iOS reader called Feeddler. However, with Google Reader finally gone, a lot of people are now rushing out to find an alternative, so performance is really, really slow today, when it works at all. I am essentially feedless now.
And I am not sure they will stick around. They are asking for funding, but then require you to join another service to donate… or you can use Bitcoin… which simply isn’t going to happen in my case. I already have my financial information out in too many locations as it is.
But now that Google Reader is gone, I can have my final poll and ask where people ended up. The last one showed that most people hadn’t changed over yet. They are probably doing that today.
So what RSS reader have you moved to?
If you are still looking for an alternative there are a few articles out there comparing them.
Tags: Google, Google Plus, Google Reader, iGoogle
Just about two months back it was announced that Google Reader was going to be shut down.
The reasons given were declining usage and the Bizarro world excuse that killing it would lead to a better user experience.
I cannot speak to the former, except to say that Google pushed a lot of people off the bus themselves when the screwed up the UI for a few weeks, but the latter still smacks of “More people using Google Plus would make the user experience there better.”
I point at the work they have done to further integrate Blogger into Google Plus as evidence of what is important to Google.
But whatever the reason, there was much talk about jumping ship before the July 1 end date and the “declining user base” ran off and pretty much swamped every comparable service. Numbers clearly mean something different at Google.
I too began looking around. I put together a list of possible alternatives, which I will reproduce here:
And then… I pretty much did nothing.
July was still a ways away. There seemed no point in joining the rush. And who knew if Google would change their mind. Stranger things have happened. So I decided to let things settle down a bit.
Now the dust has settled. Or I hope it has. We have about six weeks left in the life of Google Reader. So I am wondering how things are going for people who have moved off of Google Reader. For this, I will use a poll.
Feel free to embellish your choice or warn people off of bad choices in the comments.
Meanwhile, Google continues to do its best to make me not use Google products. In addition to Google Reader, they are also shutting down iGoogle, which has been my default home page for years now. They have been tinkering with YouTube, including making me link my YouTube account directly to Google Plus, which ended up unpublishing all of my videos for a while. More on the “what is important to Google” evidence pile. And they let Bob Scoble loose with Google Glass, which everybody calls Google Glasses, because that is what they are, which sent the message, at least to me, that they are perfect for crazy people.
And then there is Google Plus, the gifted child at Google, the web app on which they are devoting their focus. How was that last update for everybody?
I swear, every time I look at Google Plus, something happens to piss me off. They banned me for using a pseudonym, then quietly let me back a couple months later. Then they made changes, screwed up my account, linked it to YouTube, which screwed up that account, and now they have made their bad UI even worse for the moment.
Yes, I realize that “bad” is relative. You might like only being able to see four or fewer posts at a time, each with a big picture, the author’s avatar, an excerpt of the first paragraph, and the first few comments.
Me, I read a lot of things online. If I cannot see 20 or more headlines at once, I end up doing too much scrolling. I want a list with title, author, source, the first sentence of the post, and maybe a general topic tag. A UI like the one they are pushing is high on the list of reasons I do not invest much time in Facebook. The interface does not suite my needs.
The irony here is that, if Google gave me a UI more suited to my needs… make it an option if not the default… added in RSS feed reading with the ability to share with circles and the like, and just stopped pissing me off for a little while, I would probably go use Google Plus. There are already people there I would follow.
Ah well, the life of an outlier.
Addendum: A write up comparing the Google Reader alternatives.
Google Reader Alternatives? Again? March 14, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Google, Google Reader, RSS
Wasn’t I asking for alternatives to Google Reader just over a year ago?
Well, I explored some of the alternatives at that time, but ended up just lumping it with Google’s reduced features and annoying UI “improvements,” the worst of which they did end up fixing eventually. It looks like those that took the opportunity to jump ship then were the lucky ones.
So today Google announced that Google Reader is being “powered down” as of July 1, 2013. To quote from the official blog:
There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.
Welcome to the better user experience, which is none at all. I suppose it is a lesson in getting what you paid for yet again.
Anyway, some of the alternatives from last year:
NewsBlur – Which is having service problems right now… such timing!
Feedly – Which seemed to be anticipating this.
The Old Reader – New! Trying to be what Google Reader once was.
Tiny Tiny RSS – New! Attempting to be light weight and portable.
Like Hack – New! Billed as a “social media” reader.
Any others to add to the list?
There are lots of stand alone readers, but I want one online so I can check feeds from a browser from where ever.
What will you be using?
And what will Google shut down next?
What Google Has Been Telling Me Lately – Spaceship Edition January 23, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Civilization II, Google, Star Wars Galaxies
1 comment so far
Nobody at Google actually tells me anything… except that they seem hell bent on redesigning their UI across all of their apps so that they all match Google+. I am, frankly, not a fan.
But indirectly Google tells me things via the search results that get directed here.
Sometimes that can be viewed as just a message about the search terms in which this site ranks highly. Often those are the very obvious. Variations of the name of the blog tend to send people here.
And odd mash-ups of past topics also show up from which I am sure I could build my own version of The Road to Popehat. (Which I sort of do in my monthly summary most months.) I think searches like “Tom of Finland Harry Potter” would certainly get me started, as does “one does not simply cat tank into mordor.”
Some of these searches can be oddly specific, such as “swtor email in use,” which I am sure is somehow related to account creation.
But sometimes my site ends up not only ranking high in a search, but that search is apparently at least mildly popular. And from those I can derive different, more specific messages from Google. Currently Google is sending my three such messages. They are:
When is Hulkageddon V Already?
Easily the most popular search terms bringing people here revolve around Hulkageddon V.
Hulkageddon is a player event in EVE Online when some players get together and blow up the ships of other players who, for the most part, would rather their ships not be blown up.
I put up a post about this right after the event was announced back in early November. At the time it contained all the information available and a link to the forum thread where future information would be posted. Two and a half months later, the post still has all the information available, and people seem to be getting impatient about it.
Of course I cannot tell if the people searching seek to actively participate in Hulkageddon V or if they just want a heads up so they can take an in-station skills break while it goes on, but there is clearly some desire out there for more information.
People Still Want to Play Star Wars Galaxies
Search terms around SWG emulation started showing up regularly the day after SWG went dark.
These terms bring people to a post I did about SWG emulators that are out there.
All I can really say is that there is clearly some interest out there. The fact that such searches have been going up noticeably as the first month of SWTOR draws to a close might be a message, but the sample size is so small that any conclusions would be unsupported.
Civilization II is Still Popular
I do not appear to be alone in my love of Civilization II.
Back in October I finished up my tale about getting Civilization II to run on 64-bit Windows 7. Things were quiet after that, but around mid-December there was a spike in searches on the subject, and Google has been delivering people here based on Civ and Windows 7 based search terms ever since.
Does This Mean Anything?
Probably only that there are a few people out there interested in a couple of topics about which I have written. Google sends between 600 and 1000 people to the site based on search results. These three just stand out in that variations on these terms have topped this list for the last month or more, and have kept those three posts on the Top Posts list on the side bar. That list is usually just the home of what I wrote over the last week, that post about the guild name generator, and various Pokemon related posts. People love their Pokemon.
Anyway, that is my read on what Google has been telling me of late.
Heroic Results of the First Five Year Plan! September 12, 2011Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: Anniversary, FeedBurner, Google, Google Reader, Meaningless Milestones, WordPress.com
- 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.
Tags: Google, Weather Underground
Weather Underground, a weather service based on data from amateur weather stations.
It is like open source for weather reporting. It is proof that people aren’t just talking about the weather, they are trying to do something about it.
And it is the weather reporting service of choice for Google. Or at least it is one of the default apps on iGoogle.
Good enough for Google, good enough for all of us.
So imagine my surprise when I checked the outside temp this past afternoon.
I wonder what it would feel like without those clouds. We sure could use a breeze… or would that turn the whole place into a convection oven? Either way, I would recommend staying inside if you are in the vicinity of Campbell Ave. and Foote St.
Meanwhile, a couple of miles down the road nobody is in danger of feeling as though they were being baked alive in a giant oven.
That is quite a gap.
So I decided to check with the National Weather service, which is apparently too snooty to take weather data from just anybody’s back yard, sitting in direct sunlight, get’s hit by the sprinklers every other afternoon, weather station, and instead feels content to tell me about the temperature based on how things are going at the airport.
Normally I would point out that not only do I not live at the airport, but that the place always feels hotter than the rest of the valley because it is made up of a couple of square miles of black asphalt surface which seems to collect and radiate heat. Out on the tarmac at SJC is the only place I have been since that bus ride in Madera County that felt like it was 165 degrees.
But the National Weather Service apparently knows something about weather stations.
They said it was 85 degrees and that it felt like 85 degrees. Since this matched up with the readout from the cooling system in our office, I guess I have to give them their due. Or dew. Or something.
You might ask why I didn’t check the weather read out in the building first.
Well, that is nearly 4 cubes walk away, while Google is right here on my desk…