Confessions of a WoW Junkie

World of Warcraft is one of the most addictive MMORPGs out there. I mean that literally–people get addicted to this game and (almost) can’t stop playing. Take a look at this post from one of the top players in World of Warcraft. The guy quit playing after spending ten hours a day, seven days a week on the game, becoming a leader in one of the top guilds.

This is why I didn’t stick with EVE Online. MMORPGs are fun, but they suck your the time away from real life experience. Go outside, people!

America’s Dumbest Congressmen (and Women!)

Just in time for the November elections, I found this hilarious article ranking the top ten stupidest Congressmen. It’s not political–there are both Democrats and Republicans represented, and the stupidity is usually not policy related. One of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

An excerpt:

10. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Bunning is a Hall of Fame pitcher who, during his eight years in office, has shown “little interest in legislation that doesn’t concern baseball,” writes Time magazine. And Kentucky doesn’t even have a major-league baseball team. His campaign style is so completely unhinged that political observers openly speculated in 2004 that the then-73-year-old was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. “His is a tragic case of descent into senility,” says one Hill staffer, “except without the ‘descent’ bit.” To scotch the rumors, Bunning was forced to hold a press conference and offer up doctor’s reports.

Among his antics that year: Telling a group of GOP fundraisers that his Italian-American opponent, Daniel Mongiardo, physically resembled Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay; referring on the stump to the tragic terror attacks of November 11, 2001; and adding a federal security detail to his campaign in the firm conviction that members of Al Qaeda—the masterminds of November 11—had targeted him for elimination. (“There may be strangers among us,” he darkly informed a Paducah TV crew.)

Behold the awesome power of gerrymandering!

The Machine Stops

I have discovered an amazing story. Written by E. M. Forster in 1909, The Machine Stops explores a world in which people are no longer able to cope with unmediated experiences. In the story, people live in small cells underground, with purified air, medical care, food, and communication all available from the vast Machine that cares for most of humanity.

They are unable to breathe the air on the surface of the earth. They regard travel and physical contact with disgust, and are frightened of the stars and sunlight. Mostly, they sit in their rooms and communicate with each other–giving and receiving lectures.

In 1909, Forster was able to write a story which seems like a cautionary tale about the isolating effect of the Internet.

You really ought to go read the story. It’s not long; it shouldn’t take much more than a half hour to read, and it’s quite insightful. Enjoy!

New Feature: Stories from Around the Net

I read a lot of stuff from around the internet. There’s a lot I could write about, but I’d just be echoing what someone else said. My contribution would only be “Hey! Look at this! This is cool!” So, rather than waste your time (and mine) with that, I’ve put a new feature into the sidebar: Stories from Around the Internet.

This is powered by Google Reader, which makes it really easy to share stories and put clips like this onto your website. It’s just a matter of copying and pasting some JavaScript snippets.

If you’re interested in what stories I think are cool, interesting, or informative, you can either check the clip on the left, or you can subscribe to my Shared Stories RSS feed.

FireFox 2.0

The other neat thing that I’m playing with other than the aforementioned Google Reader is the Firefox 2.0 Release Candidate. The new version of Firefox is going to have some new features, the most prominent of which are these two: First, the search bar offers suggestions from Google about what it thinks you’re searching for. So, if you type “New York,” it will drop down a box with entries like “New York Times,” “New York City,” and “New York Daily News.”

The other, far more valuable feature is the built-in spell checker. In any text form–like the blog entry form I’m typing in right now–Firefox will scan for misspelled words and underline them in red, just like in Word. This will (hopefully) prevent me from releasing blog entries with horrid spelling problems. That is very convenient.

I’ve encountered no problems with this version of Firefox yet, so hopefully version 2.0 will be released very soon.

Google Reader

The new Google Reader is amazing. It’s an RSS reader, like Bloglines or NewsGator, sites that let you keep track of lots of different blogs and news sites in one convenient location.

Google’s version is really nifty for a couple of reasons. First, by default items are marked as read as you scroll by them. You don’t have to mark anything as read yourself anymore.

Second, there’s a share link at the bottom of each story. This lets you compile a list of interesting stories for your friends to read. In the near future, you can expect to see a “J. D. Harper’s Shared Stories” section in the sidebar of this website.

There are number of other interesting features that I haven’t mentioned. You really ought to give it a try. You can find it at http://www.google.com/reader/.