Category Archives: entertainment

Summer Movie League – Gonna Need a Bigger Lineup

Week eleven of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the can and it was the sort of week that people long for, one where a film or two exceeds expectation allowing for a big score relative to the pack… if you make the right picks.

While we are past the blockbuster portion of the summer season, this past week looked like one on which an astute pick or a gamble might let a lucky player climb up the ranks.  The choices were as follows:

The Meg                 $334
Mission: Impossible     $260
Christopher Robin       $177
Slender Man             $171
BlacKkKlansman          $84
The Spy who Dumped Me   $83
Dog Days                $69
Mamma Mia 2             $65
The Equalizer 2         $63
Hotel Transylvania 3    $62
Ant-Man and the Wasp    $52
The Darkest Minds       $38
Incredibles 2           $41
Teen Titans GO!         $31
Jurassic World          $29

Last week when I was finishing up the week ten post I felt that Slender Man was the wild card for the week.  It was based on what is now a well known meme, horror movies always surprise me, generally doing much better than I expect, it didn’t have much competition on the horror front, and the box office projections for it were all over the map, running from $9 million to $25 million.

All of that seemed to indicate that it could do well… or not… which pretty much defines a wild card.

For my Monday Hot Takes league picks though I was not willing to risk it.  I went conservative, running with 3x Mission: Impossible, 2x The Equalizer 2, and 3x Teen Titans GO! for my pick.

The other possible wild card was Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, for which there was no long range forecast and no projections on Monday night when I was writing and doing my first round of picks.  It was priced by FML with the expectation that it could run to about $5-6 million, about half of what they seemed to be calling for Slender Man.

And then there was The Meg, which didn’t seem like much of a wild card at all.  Its long range forecast numbers had been sinking week after week, so that by Monday night it seemed like a toss-up as to whether it would out-perform Mission: Impossible, the latter going into its third weekend.

And I could see why projections for The Meg might be modest.  While not running with a statistically valid sample size, nobody I asked knew what The Meg was about.  I had to look it up myself on Monday night to get the brief on it.  And when I did read up on it, I wasn’t all that impressed by the idea of another shark movie in a world where the Sharknado series, set to release the sixth and promised last installment in the franchise, seemed to have sucked all the oxygen out of the shark tank.

I mean, I love me some Jason Statham, but I wasn’t sure he was going to be enough to carry The Meg very far given my perceived obstacles.

So I did my Monday night picks and felt I needed to keep an eye on Slender Man to see if it was going to hit the high end of expectations or not.  That was the anchor to which I was expecting I might swap.

The movie news sites seem to be past their summer box office obsession now that the blockbusters have passed as well.  It wasn’t until Wednesday that Box Office Pro showed up with some forecasts, and they only deigned to call a top five rather than the ten they were doing earlier in the season.

But in that top five there was BlacKkKlansman estimated at $12 million, ahead of Slender Man, which was only in for $10 million in their estimate.  If true, that made the Spike Lee film very much under-priced and a very likely candidate for the best performer of the week.  It was also clearly going to be the filler of choice, delivering the most box office for the buck.

They were less enthusiastic about The Meg however, calling it at just shy of Mission: Impossible, the latter expected to top the week.

So I swapped by lineup around, going with 2x Mission: Impossible, 5x BlacKkKlansman, and 1x Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Summer Movie League – My Week Eleven Picks

Box Office Pro tends to be a bit optimistic on its calls, so I felt that my other plan, 1x Mission: Impossible, 7x BlacKkKlansman might not be optimal for a league with no best performer bonus.  However, that pick went to all my other leagues.

That is where I left things until I saw the Thursday night preview estimates pop up on Twitter.  Actually, I only saw one estimate before lock time for all of the other leagues, the estimate for The Meg, which was $4 million.

That seemed like a lot.

There is always the question as to how much one should value the Thursday night previews, with talk of multipliers between 5x and 8x depending on a range of factors.  But I was thinking that if Mission: Impossible did $6 million in its preview and topped $60 million, then The Meg was most certainly going to get well past the meager $20 million forecasts.

And so, minutes before the final lock, I swapped all my still unlocked leagues to 1x The Meg and 7x BlacKkKlansman.

And then, of course, The Meg did $45 million for the weekend, more than double Mission: Impossible.  Warner Bros. did a last minute social media campaign that helped lift it past modest projections.  The Meg was the way to go, with the optimum pick for the league being 2x The Meg, 3x BlacKkKlansman, 1x The Incredibles 2, 1x The Darkest Minds, and an empty screen!

Summer Movie League – Week Eleven Perfect Pick

A perfect pick with an empty screen is a pretty rare bird, so it isn’t surprising that nobody went for it, and only two people were on board with The Meg, leaving the scores for the week looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $121,319,505
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $97,034,466
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $97,034,466
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $90,687,957
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $81,631,751
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $78,904,468
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $74,657,452
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $73,483,913
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $68,495,990
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $55,706,528

Only ten people got their picks in for the week, which I think is a new low.  Ah well.

Corr won the week, with Goat and I tied for second with the same pick.  The tables were turned from last week, when Corr and I different in lineup only on the main anchor.  I chose right that time, going with Mission: Impossible over Christopher Robin.  This time he got the anchor right.

Meanwhile Po, who went with The Meg as anchor as well, was pulled down by betting heavily on the under-performing Dog Days. which was in seventh spot for pricing but ended up in twelfth for box office.

Slender Man, while about spot-on for the price, was not a good option in the face of two over performing titles.  So much for my wildcard theory.

The scores for the season now look like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,014,013,866
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,000,863,301
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $967,074,533
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $900,240,793
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $886,033,509
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $874,876,673
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $874,791,320
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $874,563,834
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $864,197,348
  11. Joanie’s Joint – $818,064,804
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $817,567,373
  13. grannanj’s Cineplex – $813,493,200
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $611,478,501
  18. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381

I am going to have to go back and note, for the final season scores, how many weeks people missed.  The cut to make the list this week was $600 million.  Next week I think it will be $700 million.

Last week I was $10 million ahead of Corr.  This week he is now $13 million ahead of me.  Again, we can see how quickly that close of a lead can change, though it does require the leader to make a mistake, so I am depending on Corr to blow it if I am to have a chance.

All of which brings us to week twelve of the season, the choices for which are:

Crazy Rich Asians      $358
The Meg                $356
Mile 22                $296
Mission: Impossible    $193
BlacKkKlansman         $129
Christopher Robin      $128
Alpha                  $89
Slender Man            $84
The Spy who Dumped Me  $61
Mamma Mia 2            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3   $55
The Equalizer 2        $51
Ant-Man and the Wasp   $43
Incredibles 2          $39
Dog Days               $23

This week sees Jurassic World, Teen Titans GO!, and The Darkest Minds fall off the list.

Coming in we have Crazy Rich Asians, Mile 22, and Alpha.

Crazy Rich Asians, another comdey-drama, this time set at a rich wedding in Singapore. It leads the pack in pricing this week, though only by a hair. The last long range forecast has it running at about $15 million for the week, though it has been trending up. Either somebody thinks it is going to do significantly better than that or they think that The Meg, priced two dollars less, is going to drop precipitously from its $45 million week eleven opening. In addition, Crazy Rich Asians opens today, so there will be no Thursday night previews to pile onto the weekend total, but we’ll be able to see how it does on its opening night before the league closes.

Mile 22 is Marky Mark back as an action hero. There is also John Malkovich in it as well.  Mark Wahlberg always strikes me as a stand-in for a real action hero, like he is somebody you go with when your first choice isn’t available.  But that might just be me.  Anyway, this is supposed to be the launch of a new action franchise, if the film does well. Long range forecasts had it at $18 million for the weekend, which I guess either means that such forecasts aren’t really worth mentioning or that the people who do FML pricing have better sources than I do (most likely the latter), because it looks like somebody thinks it will only do 83% of what Crazy Rich Asians will make over the weekend.

And then there is Alpha, a prehistoric tale of a boy and his dog. Seriously. It is about an ice age hunter who befriends a wolf. Early estimates put it in for around $7-10 million.  That puts it awkwardly in the crowded high end filler section.

Which leaves me trying to decipher the FML late summer pricing strategy. Last week FML got it badly wrong on two films, and while they have given BlacKkKlansman the usual over-perfomers pricing punishment I cannot figure out the plan for The Meg.

If The Meg drops 60% from its opening, which would be a big drop, it still lands at around $27 million, which is more than any estimate I can find for Crazy Rich Asians. Is The Meg a one-week-wonder, destined to collapse completely? I don’t know, but for my Monday Hot Takes picks I wasn’t inclined to believe that, so I went with 2x The Meg, 1x The Spy Who Dumped Me, and 5x Ant-Man and the Wasp. File that under “things that make sense on Monday night.”

But now it is Wednesday morning and the league is going to lock in less than 24 hours so be sure to go and make your picks.

Arriving in Kul Tiras

I was in luck.  I got home about an hour after the Battle for Azeroth went live in my time zone and was able to log straight in and get started. No queue, not hangups, nothing wrong.  And the game wasted no time either.  New things were immediately presented.

I’ll tell you what’s new!

It was pretty much straight off to Silithus to finish up what we started back at the beginning of the pre-expansion events with Mangi Bronzebeard and the great big sword in the middle of the zone.

Mangi exposition while I look on

We did a few things, said good-bye to Illidan Stormrage, and went through the azurite intro which included me being handed a genuine reproduction of the Heart of Azeroth, a neck piece that lets you do the azurite thing.

In hindsight this is pretty much The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything

A bit of instruction, my first bit of azurite capable gear, a flash back through how that sword got stuck in Silithus, and things were wrapped up.

Somebody should do something about that sword though…

Then it was back to Stormwind for a quick meeting with King Anduin Wrynn and… well… anybody else who happened to wander into the room for that part of the question.

The classic moment is when he says, “Good, you’re here” in the crowd

Andiun and his advisors are concerned with word that Sylvanas is off to seek allies in Zandalar.  If the Horde manages that it will lead to a naval ally gap.  The Alliance needs their own allies in that regard, so I was sent off to meet Jaina at the dock.  She has a spiffy new boat.

Stormwind harbor is never neglected

Somehow I managed to fall off the boat almost immediately.

We’re going to get wet again…

Apparently there is a no flying mount zone around the boat, so my mount disappeared right above the gap between the dock and the boat.  Fortunately there was a ramp pretty close to hand and I was able to get out of the water and on to the boat with Jaina, at which point we sailed to Kul Tiras.

On arrival I immediately began to regret that I hadn’t paid more attention to the lore around Jaina and the Proudmoore family.  She was not welcomed with open arms.

I feel like you could have mentioned some of this on the boat…

Her mother runs Kul Tiras and blames her for the defeat at Theramore and the death of her father, so things were more than a bit awkward.

Not her happy face

Jaina was hauled off and I was thrown in jail.  But, as we know from all RPGs through all time, the hero breaking out of jail is super easy, barely an inconvenience, so I was out and free in short order and headed off to Boralus Harbor with a bit of exposition along the way.

In case you were wondering…

From there it was a tour about town, a couple of tasks to get me acquainted, and then off to the familiar from Legion decision as to which zone to go after first.

Only three zones? You have a couple hidden here for later, right?

I went with Tiragarde Sound which, in its description, held the promise of getting in better airs with Jaina’s mother Katherine, which seemed important given recent events.  While there is no jail in Azeroth that can hold me it seems, I’d still like to move pas all that.  So off I went to get stuck into my first zone of the expansion.

At this point I want to stop for a moment and praise the new areas.  While I have adopted a flippant tone, I do have to say that walking about Boralus Harbor really impressed me.  It is a beautiful, detailed zone that feels like part of Azeroth yet not a place I have been before.  It certainly isn’t another trip back to Dalaran.

Looking out on the town

It has a very organic, seaside town feel to it.  Also, the main color scheme is in greens, so I clearly chose the right transmog to wear.  I just tell everybody the shovel is an oar and I am set.

Flying over Boralus Harbor on the local griffon substitute

So first impressions are pretty positive.  I had to stop playing to take care of some things around the house… and then to write this… but I really want to get back and carry on.

I am kind of amused that several sites out there have guides up about getting to level 120 as fast as possible.  While I am often a destination guy, there is some journey here to enjoy.  I don’t have to race with this guy.

Four and a half hours and he’s through.  Now what?  Do you start working on alts then or just badger your guild mates to hurry and catch up?

Trogdor Burninates Kickstarter

It is a victory for an internet sensation from 15 years ago.  Over on Kickstarter there is a campaign for a Trogdor board game.

I don’t need to ask you to go support it because it has already exceeded its goal.

When I look at Kickstarter campaigns I have my eye on a few things.  One of them is name recognition.  How well the person or potential product focus is known often dictates how much a campaign can expect to collect.  One of the rookie mistakes is asking for much more money than your popularity or publicity can possibly bring in.

My latest example on that front is the Codename Reality Kickstarter campaign where a group of unknowns with no listed game dev experience asked for half a million Euros to develop a medieval perma-death sandbox MMO.  They are in the midst of a 46 day campaign… hint, if you can’t make your total in 30 days, 16 additional days won’t get you there… and are closing in on seven thousand Euros.  I don’t know what level of optimism keeps a campaign like that going.

A fifteen year old Strongbad email gag from Homestar Runner though?  They asked for $75,000 and are currently past $1.2 million.  They may have the problem of being too popular.

There is still a day left on the campaign if you want the Trogdor board game.  Are you overcome by nostalgia yet?

And So We Begin to Battle for Azeroth

The time has come.  With the worldwide launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion is set to go live semi-simultaneously world wide today, which in the US means 3pm Pacific Time.  My characters are set, my addons have all finally been updated, and I am otherwise set to go.

Battle for Azeroth is now

Since this is Blizzard, and not Daybreak, it seems likely that the appointed hour will be met.  When you’ll have access to the expansion is illustrated on a chart Blizz has put out.

When can you play?

That also shows what time the blog post is scheduled to go live… well, the US times are correct.  Your mileage may vary elsewhere in the world.

As to whether or not you’ll be able to log in to your server at the appropriate time or just be stuck in a long queue is another story.

And speaking of story, we have had our last bit of the preliminary story.  Unfolding over the last three weeks, it has sought to set the tone for the Horde vs. Alliance conflict that is central to Battle for Azeroth, pretty much dumping the burden on Sylvanas Windrunner, current War Chief of the Horde.

Sylvanas is waiting for you…

After playing through the pre-launch events on both Alliance and Horde, I am still unclear on the “why” of her actions.  She keeps speaking of the survival of the Horde, but what that has to do with the world tree one way or another isn’t certain.  Her orders seem more designed inflame conflict than foster survival.

Nice tree..shame is somebody BURNED IT DOWN!

This provoked the Alliance just as we expected it would… mostly because it was featured prominently in the Battle for Azeroth cinematic trailer from BlizzCon last year.  Young King Anduin Wrynn takes the Alliance to the Unercity for a showdown.  The Alliance prevails, entirely because Jaina Proudmoore shows up at their moment of need. Jaina ex Machina.  And so Andiun seeks out Sylvanas.

I am so going to give Sylvanas a talking to!

But when the naive king goes to confront Sylvanas he is outwitted again.  She escapes and, in the final moments of the cinematic, she and her lieutenants are formed up in what I would consider very much the smug, bad guy lineup.

Sylvanas wins again, I think

The parallel cut to Andiun and his group shows a weary determination.

Duped again

And now the stage is set… for something.  There is, or course, dissent in the Horde leadership that makes me think that Sylvanas might be headed down the Garrosh Hellscream path.  Or maybe she just isn’t telling us everything yet.   We will see as this unfolds over the next eighteen months or so… once we can log in.

MER – How Much Does War Cost Delve?

CCP has released the Monthly Economic Report for July 2018 so we can see what impact moving off to war has on the Imperium’s economic engine in Delve.  So I will be comparing this to the June report which was the last peacetime period.

We might as well dive straight into mining output, as that is where Delve and the Imperium dominate every month.

July 2018 – Mining Value by Region

July saw a big hit to mining output in Delve, dropping from 14.7 trillion ISK in value in June to only 8.2 trillion ISK in value in July.  That is only 55% of the June output, a 6.5 trillion ISK reduction.  A lot of Rorquals were clearly docked up as capital and super capital pilots flew north to Cloud Ring.

And while, in the past, I have had to point out that changes in output might be related to the price in minerals from which the measure is derived, this month the economic indicators show that mineral prices were flat, even rising ever so slightly as the month moved on.

July 2018 – Economic Indices

So there is the cost of war.

Regions in northern null sec, where a lot of the war is occurring, suffered downturns as well, save for a few like Branch that stayed stable or even rose a bit.  There is no bar chart this month so we cannot see the relative rankings easily, but even a diminished Delve is still dominant.

Then there is the NPC bounty output to look at.

July 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

As with mining, NPC bounties in Delve were down.  In June the number was 11.2 trillion ISK, but in July that number sank to 7.5 trillion ISK.  Unlike mining, which has to be sold or used in manufacturing to be turned into ISK, this drop saw 3.7 trillion ISK less flowing into the pockets of Delve pilots, with a corresponding reduction in taxes for corporations.

I wish that the bar graph for this data had been included… and I am too lazy to make one myself… because you could more easily see Branch, where many northern players have gone in order to escape the war and keep krabbing, creeping up in value compared to Delve.  July saw Branch hit almost half of Delve’s number, up from less than one third in June.

The reduction even saw a slight change in the sec status balance of bounty payouts.

July 2018 – NPC Bounties by Sec Status

Null sec dropped 0.8% causing the percentage for High sec space to rise just a bit.

Overall NPC bounties saw a mid-month dip.

July 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

War activity, move ops and battles alike, took people away from ratting.  Or, took some people away from ratting for a bit.  Even the bottom of that dip is still pretty high as an overall number.  And, ever so slightly, incursion payouts saw a dip at the same time while insurance payouts went up during the dip.

On the trade front Delve stayed steady.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region

Instead it was Jita that saw the big boost, supplying the northern war front.  Trade in The Forge was up by nearly 50 trillion ISK in July.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

At leas there we have the bar graph to illustrate the dominance of The Forge, home of Jita.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

Without The Forge you can see Delve holding steady in third place behind Domain, home of Amarr, the second trade hub of New Eden.

When it came to contracts Delve again stayed steady while The Forge surged.

July 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

That surge may be related to the war, at least indirectly, but seems likely to be more about mutated modules from Abyssal space as they are becoming more readily available and can only be traded via contracts.

Then there is production.

July 2018 – Production Values by Region

Here again The Forge surged, but Delve sank some.  This may be due to a shortfall of minerals in the region.  I know we were already importing minerals from Jita to support production, but with the drop in mining there have been requests from leadership going out asking that we make sure and list minerals in the Delve market because they are needed.  This was a key speaking point for The Mittani during the most recent coalition fireside chat.  Minerals and ice products are in high demand.

And then there is the war time chart, destruction by region.

July 2018 – Destroyed Value by Region

Since the report lags by a month we are only now seeing the numbers for the battles at UALX-3 where a Keepstar was destroyed along with hundreds of capital ships in two consecutive bouts.  That boost the Tenerifis number by about 3.3 trillion ISK.

In Delve the numbers were up a bit as those who kept on ratting and mining while the super capital umbrella was elsewhere paid the price.  In The Forge however ganks were apparently down a bit compared to June.

And, as usual, I will close with the regional stats chart that puts a chunk of the data into one chart.

July 2018 – Regional Stats

The July numbers reflect only the start of the pan-null sec war, with the opening struggles in the south.  Already in August we have had two major battles with losses measured in trillions of ISK, so next month’s report should be interesting.

Meanwhile the shortfall in mineral and ice product production may send the prices upward.  Something to keep an eye on come next month’s MER.

You can find the July 2018 Monthly Economic Report and all of the charts it provides, along with the raw data from which they were made, over on CCP’s site under Dev Blogs.

Honest Game Trailers – Fortnite Season 5

Honest Game Trailers already did a Fortnite video back at the start of the year, but that was before the game fully exploded across multiple platforms and put PUBG in the corner.  So now they are back to cover what has happened since.

I still haven’t given the game a try.

At one point my daughter tried to play Fortnite on her aging iMac and found it ran about as fast as a PowerPoint presentation.  I expect that she’ll be back to it with her new PC when school starts again and she wants to play what most of her friends are playing.

Blaugust and Consolidating Your Blog Reading

Sure, one of the main aspects of Blaugust is getting people to start up or keep going with their blogs, writing, if not every day, at least more than usual.

Blaugust Reborn

But the reverse of that coin is reading blogs.  If we’re all busy writing more than usual we should all make some time to go read some of this extra output.

However, we as a group, and blogs in general, are a scattered bunch, with addresses all over the internet.  And, while you could easily favorite/bookmark all your regular sites in your browser, that still means you have to go and check up on each and every one regularly to see what is up.  If you check daily, then the less regular sites will start to seem a wasted effort, while if you check less frequently then those daily posting sites will be a chore to keep up with.

What you need is something you can check that will show you the new stuff.  Well, the internet has you covered, though not as well covered as it once did.  Here are some options for reading blog posts.

RSS Feed Readers

This is likely the default approach for most people, and there has traditionally been a lot of options in this area, both online and offline.  Back in the day I used to use an offline reader for both RSS and UseNet because always-on internet wasn’t a thing, and even when it was I felt the need to archive some sites.

Google Reader changed that.  It was light, readable, and had a lot of additional, useful functionality and dominated the RSS reader market for a stretch.  At one point damn near everything, from Outlook to Firefox, had RSS reader functionality, but why complete with free from Google.  Then Google killed Google Reader, hoping that we would all swap over to GooglePlus.  I’m still annoyed about that five years later.

So some of us were left looking for alternatives, none of which quite lived up to Google Reader of old.  Meanwhile, the continued growth of social media caused some of the options to, if not give up on RSS, reduce the importance of RSS compared to other areas.  NetVibes went that way as an example.  Other sites, like Digg, that would have been well positioned to pick up the slack, had long since wandered away from RSS.  Digg actually killed off their reader.  Still, there are some decent choices out there:

The Old Reader – An attempt to recreate the Google Reader experience, a light and useful online reader, and a good one at that.  It is still doesn’t have features that Google Reader had back in 2008, but it has gone in other directions to connect with social media.  A solid choice, and it is free last I checked.

Feedly – Where I ended up after Google Reader.  Solid, has a UI that works for me, and free for basic functionality.  I pay for premium which, among other things, lets me hook it up to IFTTT in order to run the blog feed in my side bar.  Still lacks features that Google Reader had in 2008 and is building out new features in directions that do not interest me personally.  Also is starting to get a bit too smart for itself.  If, for example, a site you follows changes its RSS feed URL, Feedly won’t let you just add it without jumping through some hoops.  It keeps trying to force you back to the original address.

NewBlur – Another site that benefited from the demise of Google Reader, so much so that the new traffic brought it down.  Another solid choice.  I am not in love with the UI, but I am picky about things like that.  Worth looking into.

There are others out there, but none that I have any experience with, though I would be interested to know about others.  Do you use Comma Feed, RSS Owl, or some other reader?  Consider that a Blaugust writing prompt if you want.

WordPress.com Reader

I wanted to break out the WP.com reader for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it isn’t strictly an RSS reader.  Also, I have been critical and dismissive of it over the years, but it has finally grown into usefulness.  Among its benefits:

  • Easy to follow other WP.com blogs with that follow button
  • Can still follow non-WP.com blogs
  • Can use categories and tags to find blogs

That last item is the biggest feature to my mind.  WP.com has long had a strong yet almost unknown tag and category feature.  You can, for example, create an RSS feed from a WP.com tag or category and see all the posts that use it.  For example, this one does it for the tag “eve online”:

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/eve-online/feed/

This is why I get annoyed when people are lazy about tagging, especially when they uses “wow” instead of “world of warcraft” or “eve” instead of “eve online” for their posts.  The latter choices are specific, the former generic and used for many other things.

Anyway, you can search by tag or category to find new blogs.  I have found a few new MMORPG blogs that way.  I have a regular set of tags I look at for just that sort of thing.

The downside of the reader is that the interface isn’t ideal for me as I tend to prefer a compact view with more titles on the screen, and there is no reading the whole post.  Still, if you have a blog on WP.com, you should check this out, if only to find new blogs.

Bhagpuss’ Side Bar

Once again I pitch how great the Blogger blog roll widget can be, at least if you configure it correctly. (I have seen it configured badly.)  Go look at Inventory Full and check out how it is done.

There are long dormant blogs on the Blogger platform that still send me a regular trickle of traffic because of that blog roll widget.

If you want a reader of your own it is a legit option to create a blog on Blogger and use the blogroll widget to display the latest posts.  You don’t even have to put it on the side bar.  You can configure the feed to use the main space of the layout.

Use This List

Anyway, now that you are thinking about readers you can use the list below, which features all of the participating blogs this Blaugust, as a place to start populating your reader.  If you just want the RSS feed links you can find a list over at Armagon Live.  It should be at least as up to date as my own list.

  1. A Green Mushroom
  2. A Hobbits Journey
  3. Aeternus Gaming
  4. Ald Shot First
  5. Arc’s Oddities
  6. Armagon Live
  7. Ash’s Adventures
  8. Athernes Adventures
  9. Aywren Sojourner
  10. barely readable diary
  11. Beyond Tannhauser Gate
  12. Bio Break
  13. Book of Jen
  14. Brain Dump
  15. Built on a Daydream
  16. Calamity Jess
  17. Can I Play Too
  18. Casual Aggro
  19. Cinemaxia
  20. Contains Moderate Peril
  21. Daily Creative Thinking
  22. Deez Wurds
  23. Diary of a Guild Leader
  24. Endgame Viable
  25. Fresh Eyes in Gaming
  26. Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism
  27. Galumphing
  28. Gamer Girl Confessions
  29. Gaming Conversations
  30. GamingSF
  31. Geeky Dad Fitness
  32. Glyffe
  33. Going Commando
  34. Gray’s Cozy Nook
  35. Heattanu’s Game
  36. I’m Not Squishy
  37. Inventory Full
  38. JVT Workshop
  39. Knifesedge Blogs
  40. leaflocker
  41. Learn Japanese Online
  42. Leeterati
  43. Magen Tales
  44. Mailvaltar – MMOs and other stuff
  45. Me vs. Myself and I
  46. MMO Syndicate
  47. Mmosey
  48. Moonshine Mansion
  49. Municipal City
  50. Murf Versus
  51. Nerdy Bookahs
  52. Neverwinter Thoughts
  53. Nomadic Gamers, Eh!
  54. Ocarina Farms
  55. Party Business
  56. Pizza Maid
  57. Plan B Better
  58. Princess in a Castle
  59. Professorbeej is Awesome
  60. Psychochild’s Blog
  61. RandomX
  62. RunningShoes.tv
  63. Ryuh Note
  64. Scarybooster
  65. Self-Distract Sequence
  66. Shadowz Abstract Gaming Blog
  67. Shards of Imagination
  68. Simply Janine
  69. Soul of the Forest
  70. Stabbed Up
  71. StarShadow
  72. Stropp’s World
  73. Symphony On A Chip
  74. Tales from the Backlog
  75. Tales of the Aggronaut
  76. TechJoy2Day
  77. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  78. The MMOist
  79. The Parent Trope
  80. The Path They Walk
  81. Thinking Play
  82. ThisThingIsNeat
  83. Through Wolfy’s Eyes
  84. TroytlePower
  85. Unidentified Signal Source
  86. Welshtroll
  87. What’s Occuring
  88. Why I Game
  89. WoW Alt Addiction