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They see me bloggin’, they syndic-hatin’ August 2, 2014

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

Google is out there giving me the Luigi Death Stare on yet another front.

He means business...

He means business…

It is interesting to see how much Google affects traffic at my site, and how much changes they make at their end can cause that traffic to ebb and flow.  They change their rankings of results, they decide to cache images for Google image search rather than going to your site, they shut down things like Google Reader, all of that has had a noticeable impact on the number of page views here at The Ancient Gaming Noob.

Currently, the big variable in daily traffic is search engine related.  Unless somebody links in me a post on their own blog, the rest of my daily visitors are pretty regular, a lot of them coming from the much coveted (by those of us using WordPress) blogroll side bar widget that Blogger offers.

I love that feature.  It works.

While the static blogroll in my own side bar barely generates any traffic for other sites, that Blogger widget that shows you who has a fresh post up, that actually gets clicks.

So I was a little bemused when that wonderful widget stopped working last week.

It didn’t go away or completely break, it just seemed to stop picking up new post for me.

If you went to one of the sites that uses that sidebar widget… Blessing of Kings, Player Versus Developer, Greedy Goblin, Herding Cats… right now, as I am writing this on Saturday, August 2nd, it would tell you that my current post is the one from Wednesday, July 30th.

PvD_Sidebar

Basically, nothing new to see at TAGN, don’t bother clicking!  And that actually has an impact on page views.  The sites I mentioned actually send me some regular daily traffic.

Not that page views are the most important thing in the world.  But I like people to know I’m active at least!

Normally I would just blame this sort of thing on WordPress.  They like to break things, giving me a supply of site related fodder for my month in review posts.  Most people use the default RSS feed that WordPress provides.

Only I was not having a similar problem with Feedly and other, non-Blogger sites, like EVE Bloggers seemed to be having no problem at all picking up my latest posts.  And the feed itself looked okay.  So it was time to experiment.

I was able to enlist Bhagpuss and the blogroll at Inventory Full for this.

I have two RSS feeds for this site.  One is the default WordPress feed and another goes through FeedBurner, yet another Google company.  I was wondering if Google might be more inclined to find my updates if they were coming from FeedBurner.

And it looks like they are.  Go to Bhagpuss’ site and it shows my current post.  Probably this one at the moment.  All of which is double strange, since the FeedBurner feed is actually generated from the default WordPress feed.  But Google seems to like it when FeedBurner sends them updates.

So here is my plea to my fellow bloggers using that blogroll side bar widget:

Can you swap over and use my FeedBurner feed?  It is linked there and at the top of my side bar.

Thanks!

PS Occasionally somebody mentions that something is wrong with my feed, the it suddenly spew out a bunch of recent posts flagged as new again.  While WordPress controls that feed (so I cannot do much) you might try the FeedBurner feed as well to see if the problem goes away.

PPS I don’t have to explain the whole syndicating/syndic-hatin’, Rollin’ Dirty, Luigi death stare thing, do I?

 

 

Blog Side Bar Experimentation December 5, 2013

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

Not a gaming post

In what was a bit of a conjunction of two things, I started tinkering with the side bar of the blog last night.

The first thing was my ongoing insane jealousy over the side bar blogroll feature that bloggers who use Google’s Blogger have access to.  The bit that shows the latest post, sorts by date, and so on.  This turns the blogroll into a living thing that people actually look at and use.  My referral stats bear out the idea that blogs that have this feature correctly implemented deliver more traffic than comparable blogs that do not.

I am dying for WordPress.com to implement something similar.  Instead, they seem content to break things and every so often rework the user interface if somebody mentions it is working well.  Seriously, I spend most of my time doing three things with the interface; writing posts, viewing comments, and glaring at stats.  WP has taken it upon themselves to make sure that moving between these three things is as awkward as possible, forcing me to just keep three tabs open.

So, to make up for the fact that I have a very static and boring blogroll… if you get more than 10 referrals a month off of my blogroll, you are doing well… or are at the top of the list… I have used the blogs RSS feed from VirginWorlds as an addition to me side bar.  VirginWorlds remains a great resource!  Pillar of the blogging community!  A few cobwebs are starting to appear around the place, but there is still nothing like else like it.

It is a site of extraordinary magnitude.  Brent has our gratitude.

Unfortunately, Scott Jennings… who I am going to cast in the role of the villain here, because every story must have a villain, so if he show up and twirls his mustache be sure to hiss at him… looks to have been tinkering with his RSS feed.  Once it delivered only posts from his very-quiet-of-late blog to the feed at VirginWorlds.  In the last week, however, his feed began dumping updates from his forum… the Broken Forum… like so much toxic waste flooding the blog feed at VirginWorlds.

Okay, maybe “toxic waste” is a bit strong.  But Scott Jennings does have an active forum… good on him… and every topic update appears to generate an entry in the RSS feed.  The end result was that I found of the 15 entries from the VirginWorlds feed I had displayed in the side bar at any given time, 12-13 of them would be updates from the forum.  Again, good for Scott and his active forum, but not exactly what I want in my side bar.

So after thinking about doing something about it for a couple of days… and ~20 seconds of actual Google work… I set about implementing something different.

The Google search returned a site called RSS Mix as the top unpaid result.

They don't really have a logo...

They don’t really have a logo…

The site is simple.  You paste in a list of RSS feeds.  The site validates them, adds them to its database, and spits out a URL for a feed that combines them together.  Easy times.

I then took this feed and put it in the side bar of the blog using WordPress.com’s rather limited RSS feed display widget.  It works… it was what I was using for the VirginWorlds feed… but it doesn’t have a lot of options. (And, frankly, though I love this theme for some unfathomable reason, it does have pretty narrow side bars which do not help.  My search for a viable replacement continues.)

I would, for example, like the blog name to appear with the entry.  But all it will give me is author’s name and post date.  I would also like it to display only one entry per sub-feed at a time, but then we’re getting into “what I really want is the Blogger blogroll widget” territory, and that just isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, most bloggers would have just made the change and moved on.  But me, I have to tell stories.  You might have noticed this.  Plus, I do wonder if the half dozen of you who actually show up at the site regularly think of it.

I am also interested to see how well the aggregated feed from RSS Mix performs.  It appears to do batch processing to get feed updates, and rightfully so. But that does mean that updates do not show up the moment right away.  We shall see how long the lag is on that.

After I set that up, I did go back and look at the next few results returned by my Google search.  They all seemed to be down or no longer in service, so I guess I didn’t have many choices.  So here we are.  (And I am sure, in my hurry, I missed some blogs that should be in the feed.  I’ll make a 2.0 feed at some point.)

July in Review July 31, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Month in Review.
Tags: , ,
3 comments

The Site

You can tell when I am looking at old posts.  I find typos or dead links or some sort of error and I edit them.  And then, in its mysterious way, WordPress.com makes a judgement call about whether or not that update means it should put the post back into my RSS feed.  Whatever method it uses to make that call… coin toss, darts, broken random number generator… the “post it back to the RSS feed” option seems to be coming up a lot more lately.

I have no idea why.

It actually makes me a bit self-conscious.  I apologize for the old posts showing up in my feed.

Then again, if you want some insight into what I might be writing… or thinking about… or may have just accidentally stumbled over, this is certainly one way.  Unofficial reruns with error corrections!

Meanwhile, in the post-Google Reader world, things continue to vex me or go awry.  I went to The Old Reader for a couple of reasons, including the ability to create my own output RSS feed to place in the sidebar of the blog.  It had hiccups and was down a lot right after Google Reader went away.  So I looked at Feedly, which was in an imperfect state as well, but which was popular in my RSS reader poll.  It was up, but only knew how to import feeds directly from the now departed Google Reader.  With The Old Reader down yet again, I added a subset of feeds into Feedly by hand.  And then a couple of days later, Feedly announced support for OPML import, at about the time The Old Reader came back up and started behaving.

So I spent a couple of weeks using both.  Feedly for key feeds, The Old Reader for all my old feeds and the ability to create the sidebar RSS feed.  That feature was a bit flaky, but it mostly worked.  And then last week, The Old Reader went down hard, which resulted in them essentially taking their venture in a new direction, one to which I am not invited.  And that was the end of that.

So now I am using Feedly, which seems reliable enough, has an iOS client (which actually works now), and which I would pay for and/or donate towards, except there seems to be no allowance for such that I see.  All I could find was that they had plans for a premium service at some future date.

The upshot and site related part of this is that I need to work out a new way to have a feed in the sidebar.

And, in what is really a note about my other site, I decided to post a picture a day, as opposed to two a week, in July to see if that changed traffic at all.  It did not.  Traffic was actually down a bit.  But I have a huge backlog of pictures, so what the hell.

One Year Ago

In New Eden my hear went “Boum!

Elligium took its pandas and went home.

Blizzard set the date for Mists of Pandaria.

There was a Steam Summer Sale.

I was wondering if Torchlight II could live up to its potential.

Ultima Forever!  A shot across Lord British’s bow.

Rift sells mounts for cash.  It wasn’t like they were going free to play though.

Let it be noted that not all Kickstarters fail.  Last year there was the Defense Grid expansion Kickstarter.  I kicked in, they built it, I played it.  Simple as that, and much better than any 99 cent app I have purchased.  And I still get a free copy of their next Defense Grid game when it comes out.

I wondered aloud if nostalgia servers… official ones… would remain the sole domain of EverQuest.

Meanwhile SOE was talking about Vanguard’s free to play plan.

I was underwhelmed at the so-called “reskin” of Qeynos in EverQuest II.  The sorrow of Qeynos knows no end.

In EVE Online, there was war in Delve… again… if only I could get there.  There were battles in 49-U6U, C3N-3S, and DSS-EZ, a conga line in 319-3D (where we also watched the alliance tournament), and a flying titan in F2OY-X.  The tiny Wallpapers Alliance held out longer than Nulli Secunda, before being crushed.

Then having done the heavy lifting for TEST, the CFC was asked to go home.  TEST was going to be its own alliance, but we would all remain the best of friends in the big blue donut of love.  Anyway, it was time for a convoy back to Deklein.  Somewhere along the way I got a warning from CCP for causing lag.

And there was also a link to a list of things to do in EVE Online.

Five Years Ago

BioWare finally let loose the least well kept secret in the MMO-verse at the time.  They confirmed they were making a Knights of the Old Replublic type MMO.

The mention of Diablo III seemed to spur a revival of Diablo II with the Diablo II Battle Chest taking the #1 sales spot for a time.  Not bad for a game that has not had an expansion since 2001.

Meanwhile, on the SOE front, it was time to say farewell to the EverQuest side of the Living Legacy program.  I also griped a bit about how SOE was advertising the completely out of date EverQuest Platinum on the EQ Players site and had been doing so for a long time.  That ad disappeared before the month was out though.  Such a coincidence!

In Azeroth the instance group went back to the Slave Pens as we edged ever closer the Burning Crusade level cap of 70.  Meanwhile people were selling Wrath of the Lich King beta keys on eBay for $500.

In New Eden I was pondering the economics of building and flying a marauder and comparing the benefits of a Raven Navy Issue and the Caldari marauder, the Golem.  Our little corp was on the move again.  And some of us were taking the EVE personality test while I compared ships styles of the different factions to cars from my youth.

And speaking of EVE, I also joined in with CrazyKinux on some crazy EVE Blog Pack idea.  I wonder what happened with that?

Warhammer Online was on the horizon.  I had pre-ordered the collectors edition, but then came the content removal, some classes and four cities.  And while Mythic posted the minimum system requirements, I was wondering what the recommended… often thought to be the true minimum for many games… might end up being.

And, finally, I was done with GameFly and damn glad to have escaped from Atlanta.

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 July

EVE Online dominates the list, in large part because of EVE News 24 syndicating several of my posts, which in turn contained links to other posts on this site.

  1. 6VDT-H – The Biggest Battle in EVE History Ends the War in Fountain
  2. Gold is Where You Find It – Blogging and Community
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. I’m Malshandir and So’s My Wife!
  5. A Prophecy of Murder in G95F-H
  6. The Propaganda War in Fountain
  7. More Propaganda from the War in Fountain
  8. Decisions and Inventory Management
  9. My Guns Jam at Z9PP-H
  10. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  11. Remember the Lazamo – Bloodbath at 3WE-KY
  12. Google Reader is No More – Where Have You Gone?

Search Terms of the Month

eve online awesome screenshots
[I have a whole site for that, but that search points here]

civilization v brave free download pc games old virgin
[You seem confused]

wot major tannhauser
[I think he is still with Venus]

скачать карты для warcraft 3 покемоны белое и черное
[If Google is correct, somebody is looking for Pokemon themed Warcraft III maps]

EVE Online

July was all about the war in Fountain for me.  I lived in B-D and 4-EP and went on as many fleet ops as I could manage.  With the war… if not over, at least in transition… I am not sure what the future holds.  Rumors are that our alliance will move to the new Fountain frontier to live.  But other rumors say that FA or FCON or Fweddit or Black Legion or The Mittani’s aunt on his mother’s side will be taking up that role based on participation or need or ability to knit warm sweaters.  We shall see.

Potshot re-subscribed thanks to my reports of the war, and some prodding on my part, only to join our corp and get into null sec just in time to miss the big battle at 6VDT.  He was far enough along to have coms set up and was able to listen to fleet ops on Mumble, ala that scene in Wing and a Prayer, but wasn’t able to get into the fight.  So he has some time to figure out null sec and get ready for the next war.

Lord of the Rings Online

I have been faltering a bit in Middle-earth.  My captain is in Moria and is just shy of level 52, a number which represents the previous pinnacle of my LOTRO leveling career.  But my drive has waned.  It isn’t that Moria is bad.  It is just more of the same really.  My fun in LOTRO tends to peak in the Lone Lands and Evendim.  I scrambled around in the Misty Mountains and Forochel for a bit until I could start in Eregion.  Then I cleaned up there until about level 51, when I entered Moria and stopped.  Of course, the rest of our kinship had pretty much stopped playing as well.  I am not sure that my summer vacation in Middle-earth is over, but moving beyond Moria seems in doubt.

Rift

I had to check on this one.  I wrote about playing Rift in July, but I didn’t actually play the game this month.  I am not sure I even logged.  The full instance group got together for its second appearance in game last month and that was it.  I might be able to log in and reclaim leadership of the guild again.

Coming Up

As mentioned yesterday, the most anticipated part of SOE Live has to be news about EverQuest Next.  I expect there will be equal parts joy and despair no matter what gets announced.  But whatever gets said, I am sure we will pick it apart and gnaw on the bones for a couple of weeks.

There will be the clean up after the war in Fountain.  What happens next?  Who will get what in the CFC?  Who will end up moving to Fountain?  Will TEST hold on to Delve, take back its moons there, and thrive?  So many questions to answer.

I bought Skyrim in the closing moments of the Steam Summer Sale and started playing that a bit.  I will have some observations… two years out of date though they may be… on the game I am sure.

And… is anything else coming up in August?

Google Reader Alternatives? Again? March 14, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: , ,
36 comments

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:

Netvibes

NewsBlur – Which is having service problems right now… such timing!

Bloglines

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?

I Used to be a Blogger Like You, Then I Took an Arrow in the RSS Feed… January 5, 2012

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

When looking at an old post… my very first post… I decided to update the tags while I was there.

I do this all the time.  My tag and category policy has evolved over time, and when I read old posts I often stop to bring their tags and such into line with newer posts.  I also correct typos, which I seem to be able to find immediately in any post over two years of age, much to my chagrin.

But, for some reason, my update today fed the post… my very first post… back into the RSS feed as a new post.

So, if you are sorting your feeds by date, it now looks like I stopped blogging five years ago.

Look at the age on that most recent post!

(Picture courtesy of Player Versus Developer.)

Oddly… or maybe not oddly… this only appeared to impact the RSS feed that comes directly from WordPress.com.  The Feedburner feed, which is my backup feed, seemed to know that this post wasn’t new and dealt with it accordingly.

So if you used the RSS feed link at the top of the side bar, you didn’t see anything.

Anyway, I apologize for any confusion, for feeling the need to make a post about this (which will hopefully pop me back into the 2012 range of updates), and for using that Skyrim meme when I haven’t even played the game.

I might as well have made the title, “The Feed is a Lie.”

On the bright side, at least  I am not clogging my feed with test posts. *cough*

And we now have written confirmation that Bhagpuss uses an RSS reader to read blogs.

Do You Care About My Side Bar? October 15, 2010

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

You know, the side bar.  That column of stuff on the right.  Over there.

 

over there

 

Do you ever look at it?

I ask this for a reason.

Up until this point, the things on that side bar have been mostly for me.  I use or look at most everything there.  Things that I do not look at or use tend to go away sooner or later.

So if you never look at it, I’ll understand.  It wasn’t necessarily meant for you.

But now I have something there that is pretty much solely for people other than me.

There it is, a little ways down, under the heading of “Posts From Other MMO Blogs.”

I’m looking for a better title, by the way.  Feel free to suggest one.

In the past I have always appreciated those “posts from other blogs” posts that people like Syp, Tipa, and Gordon do on a regular basis.  I have often thought that I should do something like that, but aside from a single parody, I have never managed it.

I’m too introspective I suppose.  Or selfish.  I am always secretly jealous when one of my posts isn’t included on those summaries.  But then I am always secretly jealous when somebody else wins the Nobel Peace Prize or gets crowned Miss America.

Anyway, I decided to finally act on the impulse to point out other blogs posts on a regular basis, but in my own lazy way.

What that new item presents is a selection of links to blog posts on which I have clicked the “share” button in Google Reader.

Google Reader will let you publish an Atom Feed of your shared selections which, due to the fact that WordPress.com doesn’t seem to like Atom, I ran through FeedBurner to turn into an RSS feed so that it would display nicely and in a timely manner there in the side bar.

It is easy and quick for me.  It has a prominent place on my blog.  It isn’t as good as a post when it comes to directing traffic to another site, but it is better than nothing.

Or it would be better than nothing if people looked at the items in my side bar.

So it is time for yet another poll.

I am also happy to entertain suggestions about the side bar.