app.net: why it sucks.

I recently decided to try App.net, which is a new-ish micro-blogging service. Here’s a brief summary of my experience with it.

First, a little nuts and bolts info. It’s basically Twitter. There’s a larger character limit, and all sorts of access to their API, and… well, that’s about it. It costs a minimum of $5 per month to use it, or $36 per year. The (only?) benefit is that there are no ads. Also, the name is a complete misfire. “App.net” doesn’t lend itself well to anything.

I used an iphone app called Netbot to actually interact with people. Netbot is made by Tapbots, the same people who make Tweetbot, and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same app. I immediately knew what I was doing, since again, it’s basically Twitter. There are far, far fewer users than you’ll find on Twitter, and the conversations are of a decidedly tech-based nature.

That sounded pretty good to me at the outset — after all, I am of a decidedly tech-based nature — but since I’m not someone who writes code, I found myself quickly at a loss as to what I was supposed to do with app.net. I decided to ask if there were any gamers about, being careful to hashtag “gamers” to make my query more visible. I decided to search for that hashtag in attempt to find some gaming buddies, and I was shock to find three results, one of which was mine

I was a bit taken aback by this. Surely that was a mistake, just poor word choice on my part. I decided to try a different search, going with #Warcraft, since I love playing World of Warcraft. Surely in this haven of geekery there would be a few MMO fans, right?

Nope.

There were 2 posts containing the hashtag #Warcraft, with the most recent one being over a week old. At that point, it really crystallized in my mind that this service is not for me. Unless you’re in one of the very narrow bands of geekdom that App.net seems to cater to, you won’t find anything there to keep you around. I’ve already canceled my account, which, to their credit, was very easy.

All in all, that’s really the best thing I can say about App.net… canceling my account was quick and easy.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Round 1)

World of Warcraft

Boo.

I’m lucky enough to get two weeks of vacation a year, and this week was one of them. Right now I’m trying to put that in perspective, and think about not only how awesome it is that I get two weeks of vacation each year but also that I have a job. Kind of a big deal in grown-up land. I know the question you’re asking now. “Interesting man, what did you do with this mountain of free time that the fates saw fit to perch you atop?”

Well, since you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll tell you.

The first thing I need to get off my chest is somewhat of a confession. Until recently, I was a pretty avid World of Warcraft player. I’d played for years, put a lot of time into it, so on and so forth. When the Small Boy came into being, his mother and I both realized that we wouldn’t have time to devote to the game anymore, in addition to the fact that it stopped being even remotely enjoyable to play. This is the first vacation time that I’ve taken in which the week wasn’t essentially one long day of playing that stupid game. If I had posted this a year ago, it would have been pretty short. “What did I do? Played Warcraft. The end.” Fortunately that’s not how this week went down.

One of the things I got accomplished was installing a subwoofer in my Jeep. I’m big into music, and I like the fact that subwoofers recreate sounds that you feel more than you hear. In the past I’ve had two 12″ subs in a very large speaker box with a very large amp. These days, I find that I don’t want my music to be as easy to enjoy if you’re not inside the vehicle. I installed an Infinity BassLink II instead, and I’ve been pretty happy with it so far. It’s small and performs exactly how I want. The bass doesn’t seem louder than the rest of the music; everything just sounds more balanced and full. It’s exactly what I was going for.

We hung some pictures in the house as well, which is a large step for us. You have to understand, my wife and I are both perfectionists in the worst possible sense. If we can’t visualize exactly how something will look, we don’t attempt it. We don’t buy decorative things very often, because we can’t look at an item and know exactly where it’ll go. It’s kind of a pain. As a result, most of the walls in our house are somewhat… well, beige. It’s a nice color and all, but one would think that hanging items in front of it would make it an even nicer color. So I finally got out way more tools than I actually needed to hang a picture (I am a man. Observe my tool collection.) and got some stuff up on the walls. It’s nowhere near done, but it’s a great step. It’s made me loosen up a bit about hanging things up, and I’m kind of looking forward to filling the walls up with things that represent us, both as a family and as individuals. Still need to find a shelf for my Spawn figures…

Of course some yard work was done, which is to be expected from vacation time. Between you and me, I’d pave the lawn and paint it green if she’d let me. 😉 There was also a fun family trip to Whole Foods, which is something we don’t get to do very often due it the closest one being about an hour away, but is always an enjoyable experience. We finished up Rock Band 3 and I played Skate 3 a bit. I meant to spend some time with L.A. Noire, but I just can’t get motivated to play it much more. It’s a nice-looking yet intensely dull game, L.A. Noire.

That was essentially how I spent my summer vacation.

Round two is coming up in a few weeks. I’m quite thankful that I’m in a place to take the time off to spend with my family. I know a lot of guys would kill to get that, and I’m going to do everything in my power to walk into work tomorrow with that fact in the back of my mind and to really appreciate the job I have.

A Week Without Warcraft

Hand I'm bored

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a week now since I canceled my World of Warcraft account after almost 6 years of playing.

It’s been kind of a strange week.

I canceled my subscription because I realized that the game had become a crutch more than anything else. I didn’t enjoy playing anymore, it was just what I did. It was what there was to do when there was nothing else to do. I didn’t look forward to logging in, and I didn’t have much in mind to do when I did. The last expansion was fumbled horribly, and it lost the main component that one should look for in a video game, which is to say shit wasn’t fun. I simply haven’t been having a good experience with it lately. After leveling 5 characters to 85, I had seen all I wanted to of this brave new world, and trudged through the 80-85 content 4 more times than it deserved. The old world, the place that I kept coming back to because of the familiarity and memories, is gone. Guilds have gone into two camps: raiders and idiots. Not having the time or desire to raid and also not being an idiot, that leaves me with the “lone wolf” option, which, in a genre that explicitly states that it is massively multiplayer, doesn’t feel quite right.

Maybe I’ll be back next expansion.