A Very Bloggy Holiday!

Syl over at MMOGypsy has launched a fun holiday initiative which I instantly signed up for. It must have been the Belghast-assisted banner, because I’m not normally much of a joiner, but I (like Syl) grew up in Switzerland and I too remember advent calendars, street-corner hot chestnut vendors (if you don’t burn everything that comes in contact with them you’re doing it wrong), snow, lights, more snow, hot chocolate, and all that western hemisphere Holiday goodness.

bloggyxmasLet’s caveat this right now: sometimes I will say Christmas, sometimes I’ll say Xmas, sometimes I’ll say Holidays, and sometimes I’ll say Great Cthulhu’s Midwinter Brains Extravaganza. Please, please don’t be a dick — just insert the relevant holiday for you and let everyone be happy, m’kay?

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s Syl’s Bloggy Xmas Advent Calendar, which will let you find and enjoy each day’s entries. Apparently so many of us signed up that much of the month offers not one, but two daily entries. That’s how spoiled you’ll be.

There’s a clicky image linky thing over on the sidebar, too:

BloggyXmas2Oh yeah, and I’m up on the 11th, along with Contains Moderate Peril.

 

Woe is me

This is what happens when you put your blog on life-support: WordPress disses you in the summaries.

I’m old, and even *I* don’t think 2010 is recent…

QQ

But it’s all grist for the reborn blogging mill – if I were that cut-up about it, I probably would be sniveling in a corner instead of posting my shame for the world to see. Next thing you know I’ll be posting opinions about gaming again or something crazy like that.

A good sense of humour starts with oneself, I find. There’s your aphorism for the day.

Ego: The Final Temptation

Oh dear.

Harb is doing a 20 days of blogging thing which he got from IHTTS, which percolated down along a chain I’m too lazy to list (and I don’t read those blogs, at least not yet*).

My ego finds the idea very interesting. The rest of me is trying to beat it into submission and silence. I still love the idea of blogging, but I’m having a devil of a time finding the time to do it. Add the fact that I’m not really playing any MMOs (or any other game) right now and you get a big fat nothing to write about and very little time in which to write it.

Sometimes Facebook is just easier.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

And yet my ego wants me to tell you all about myself (again) for no particular reason other than its own pleasure. Perhaps confessing the kinky temptation will make it go away. Thirty lashes for the ego and get back to work, dammit!**

cat-red-dwarf

 – – – – – – – – – – – -

*As an aside, the demise of Google reader appears to be spelling the demise of my blog reading. Feedly is okay, but it’s not as clean as Google Reader. There’s also the fact that I don’t have time to read blog posts these days, which might be the more important factor. Still, I don’t like change. Boo hiss. I’ll get used to Feedly but I’ll complain about it first.

**As another aside, one of the characters in a play-by-mail game I ran years ago (or it may have been one I played in) was a Spanish knight called Ivor Hujego. Loved that name. Still do. May have to steal it for a game someday, even if it means I have to transgender it to Iva Hujugo or something.

No Google Reader for YOU!

Yesterday when I went to read my RSS feed, I got the same popup most other users of Google Reader got: the service is going away in a few months, apparently for lack of users.

Which is mildly ironic. I have a blog, a lot of people I know have blogs (which is how I got to know them) and a pretty large proportion of us seem to use G-Reader to keep track of each other’s posts. According to one article I read yesterday – I didn’t bookmark it and can’t find it now, so you’ll have to take this on faith – RSS feeds are for nerds and nerds don’t need dedicated stuff because they can find other ways to do what they need. And they’re nerds, so they can suck it up. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, direct RSS feeds aren’t “sexy”, apparently. Ah, right. I never realised that what I want from my software is sexiness.

The author did have a point. RSS is kinda nerdy and there was no easy way to explain what Google Reader does. Or did. But just because something isn’t easy to explain (or grasp) doesn’t mean it’s useless or that it shouldn’t be used. If that’s the equation we’re making today, then it’s not just MMOs that are dumbing down.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for alternatives. A friend kindly pointed me in the direction of Feedly, so I’m trying them out first. They were slammed yesterday but seem to be doing a little better this morning. I have to say, I do kinda like the magazine-like presentation. I could like this service. And if not, there will be others out there.

Because if there aren’t, I’m not going to be reading very many more blogs. It may work for some, but I cannot and will not use Facebook and Twitter to keep track of what 100+ people post and when. Yech. I want my feed to be there when I need it, and I don’t want to have to ‘llike’ a bunch of FB pages and trawl through my timeline.

If you ask me, it had nothing to do with popularity, or not directly. Ultimately Google Reader went away because it couldn’t be monetized.

I can haz RAT?

I’ve been using the same mouse for almost a decade. Why? Because I’m left-handed, which means a good mouse is hard to find; they’re all ‘ergonomic’ now, except that they’re anti-ergonomic for the 10-20% of the population who isn’t right-dominant and can just STFU and learn to mouse right-handed. Also, because it was a wireless mouse with instant response in games, because it was really heavy (I hate light mice), because the clicky buttons (all 3 of them) were soft and easy and because I’m resistant to fix something that ain’t broken.

However, it did broke. The rubber covering on the mouse wheel eventually developed cracks and, try though I might to remain loyal, things just weren’t working anymore. It gets annoying to be constantly wheel-clicking when you mean to wheel-scroll. I wonder how much gunge is in there, too, after almost 10 years of near-daily use. Ewww.

I did some research and started out by getting a Razer DeathAdder because it’s one of the few that comes in a left-handed version, but it’s too big for my hand. (Specifically, the left- and right-click buttons are too widely-spaced for short fingers, so beware if you’ve got smaller hands.) So yesterday we trekked into town (instant gratification > cheaper Newegg) and, with some trepidation, I got myself a Cyborg RAT 7, figuring I could return it if it didn’t work for me. I didn’t really expect it to work for me, but I wanted to try it.

RAT7

It’s a weird-ass mouse. It looks like something out of a computer game, or a normal mouse that’s been assimilated by the Borg collective. But ERMERGERSH! it’s freaking HEAVEN. Despite its rather intimidating and very right-canted appearance, it’s actually easy for me to use left-handed. The thumb-rest has become my pinky-rest and I don’t need a stinkin’ thumb rest, so we’re good there. I can even reach the side-buttons (for a right-handed thumb) with the bottom part of my pinky finger, so they’re not entirely out of play. You can alter the mouse’s weight by adding or removing little round weights underneath, though it’s pretty much perfect for me out of the box. It glides easily, the buttons click easily – perhaps too easily for some, it takes very little pressure – and it looks BADASS.

What more could I want?

Well actually, I could wish the two primary click buttons were interchangeable. What’s with this new trend of not letting people switch the main left- and right-click buttons? Is this another FU to left-handed mousers? (The Death Adder was the same.) Is there some deep and meaningful hardware reason why, with a million other programmable buttons on the damn mouse, the primary buttons can’t be altered? Seriously? I’m already considering removing the RAT-specific driver to see if the basic Windows mouse driver will let me swap those buttons around; I’ll lose some extra functionality, but it might be worth it.

This would be the absolute, never-use-another perfect mouse for me if I could only switch the primary buttons so the left-click is under my index finger and not my middle finger – which is odd, actually, given that I’ve been mousing left-handed with right-handed button configs for over 20 years now. I think it’s because the RAT is that good and that comfortable… and ironically, I can’t.

That aside, I can already recommend this RAT for anyone who wants a rodent that’s on the heavier side. The extra buttons are not intrusive and I haven’t hit any by accident yet – which, as any left-handed mouser will know, is quite a design feat.

Oh, and I also got a keyboard yesterday. It’s mechanical (anyone remember the old IBM keyboards?), sounds like I’m directing a firing squad as I’m typing this, is backlit (enough to be seen from the moon if I turn the brightness up to 100), and is already a million times better for typing than my old keyboard was, even if the keys are a tiny bit smaller. I can’t wait to see how this stacks up the first time I have to type 8,000 words in a day – the old keyboard used to give me meatsack hands at the end of crunch days. I’m told mechanical ones won’t, so we’ll see.

razer-bw-2013