Posted inGames / WTF?

Munchhausen by Internet

When I first read this blog post early this week, I felt like crying. It describes a group of online gamers who encountered what seemed to be a heart-breaking story…

About halfway through the instance, our new friend says that she is sorry but will have to go AFK because the “doctor has come to my room”. … After the run, one of our group members (and our kin leader) continues a private conversation with her and learns that she is 20 years old, her mother died when she was young, her father is not involved in her life, she has no other close friends or family, and is a hospice patient with Stage 4 bone cancer.  Her doctor tells her that she has maybe two months left. …

… Now, let me confess something right now.  Although I am not proud of the fact, I am quite often cynical of new people, particularly those with hard-luck stories.  Surely, someone wouldn’t lie about something as grave as this.

Unfortunately, it turns out that this is exactly what happened in this case…

UPDATE 06/23/09:

Good news and bad news.  The good news is “Gynnie” didn’t die after all.  The bad news is my cynicism about people has again been vindicated.  …  Therefore I have removed all references to her from this blog post.  I have chosen to leave this blog post largely intact because it’s purpose is to chronicle my adventures in LOTRO, and that means both good and bad.

Munchhausen by Internet is a type of disorder where a sufferer fakes an illness while participating in an online community to gain attention and sympathy.

I hope the person who perpetrated this particular fraud gets help, if that’s what they need. (Or gets the snot kicked out of them if they do this just for kicks. Karma’s a bitch.)

However, I think the blog’s author and the other members of his player guild seem to have handled this disturbing situation with a great deal of grace and class. Grats!

Posted inWTF?

I learned a new non-word today…

That word is: clbuttic.

Found this today on The Daily WTF (i.e. “Worse Than Failure” – a site for geeks to post “strange but true” programming stories)…

The Clbuttic Mistake

Browsing through a web archive of some old computer club conversations, I ran across this sentence:

“Apple made the clbuttic mistake of forcing out their visionary – I mean, look at what NeXT has been up to!”

Hmm. “clbuttic”.

Google “clbuttic” – thousands of hits!

There’s someone who call his car ‘clbuttic’.

There are “Clbuttic Steam Engine” message boards.

Webster’s dictionary – no help.

Hmm. What can this be?

HINT: People who make buttumptions about their regex scripts, will be embarbutted when they repeat this mbuttive mistake.

Took me a while to figure out just what “clbuttic” means, but I finally did.

Read more for the answer…
Continue reading “I learned a new non-word today…”

Posted inWTF?

Welcome to the Midwest…

As the saying goes, “Welcome to the Midwest. If you don’t like the weather now, just wait fifteen minutes and it’ll change.”

Case in point…

Springfield Temperatures 1/29/2008

This graph, courtesy of, shows the temperature readings here in Springfield, Illinois for the past twenty-four hours.

Let me summarize it for you… At noon today, the thermometer read 60 degrees and I went out to get lunch without a jacket. It was a little breezy, but perfectly comfortable. A few short hours later, the temp has plummeted to 15 degrees (-12 wind chill) and my ears are practically frostbitten as a result of the two block trudge to my parking spot.

That’s a fricking 70 (SEVEN ZERO!) degree drop in wind chill, people! In about five hours.


Posted inMovies / WTF?

The Scariest Thing About Cloverfield…

Odette YustmanI just uncovered an extremely disturbing fact while browsing for additional Cloverfield information on IMDB

The gorgeous young actress pictured here is named Odette Yustman. She plays Beth, the love interest of the lead character in the movie, but she’s definitely not a newcomer to show business. In fact, Odette got her start in movies as one of the kids in the class of Kindergarten Cop.

I am getting so old. :-(

UPDATE: If you’ve arrived here via Google, don’t miss my other Cloverfield entry, which discusses the secret message at the end of the movie.

Posted inWTF?

And You Were Worried About Global Warming?!?

According to the Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash Website, we have much bigger problems on the horizon…

Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, bankers, and investors in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global “Peak Oil.”

The site argues (at length) that the imminent depletion of the world’s oil reserves will have catastrophic consequences for the world economy and population. I’m not buying into the doomsday predictions at this point, but it’s definitely an interesting read.

Posted inTechnology / WTF?


According to a recent CNET News Blog report, the Storm worm has infected and taken control of as many as 50 million computers world-wide. In fact, one security expert had this to say…

“In terms of power, the botnet utterly blows the supercomputers away.” He goes on to say that just 2 million of the suspected 50 million Storm worm-infected machines are equivalent to the computing power of the top 500 supercomputers.


Posted inWTF?

Go Phish!

Am I the only one getting spam-hammered (spammered?) by the ecard/postcard/greeting card phishing e-mails? These are just from today (and that’s not all of ’em)…


I love the “worshipper” ones. :-)

Posted inGames / WTF?

Vanguard: Saga of Zeroes

It’s something of an understatement to say that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is a game that failed to live up to its high expectations.

Even prior to release, the game suffered from some “old school” (i.e. outdated) design choices and insanely high system requirements. However I believe the main reason Vanguard crashed and burned is beta testing, which the game desperately needs six more months of. It was rushed out the door buggy with a humongous but mostly empty gameworld. Unfortunately, the state of the game has lead to real-life repercussions for the employees at Sigil, who developed the game.

From a couple days ago…

Sigil employees were told to meet outside. At which point they were terminated. On the spot.

More details came the next day in this announcement from John Smedley, President Sony Online Entertainment…

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

The Grouchy Gamer has details on how the game might’ve arrived at its current state…

Brad McQuaid has been an absentee manager at Sigil for months. Not only has there been a leadership vacuum at Sigil, with the employees there left twisting in the wind, but I have been able to confirm that Brad hasn’t even bothered to be at the office.

Since last year.

And finally, we get some dirt in a candid and fascinating interview with one of the disillusioned Sigil developers…

What people don’t understand, is the game that went out the door was literally created in the last 15 months. Design worked 12-18 hour days for 9+ months. Coding and Art worked insane hours as well, all trying to actually get something playable out the door.

And also… How was QA treated through the course of development?

Ex-Sigil: QA? QA.

Ex-Sigil: QA was one person up until about November… ONE. What.

Ex-Sigil: 100% serious. What? How? This is an MMOG.

Ex-Sigil: Vanguard had one internal tester for probably 95% of the design cycle.

Unbelievable. My best wishes go out to all of the once and future Vanguard developers.

Posted inMusic / News / On The Web / WTF?

S.O.S. – Save Our Streams!

SaveTheStreams banner 1 Pandora is a very interesting service… It is an online music site that asks about your favorite artists and dynamically constructs a custom radio station just for you. In addition to songs from the artists you selected, the site will analyze your choices and deliver tunes from different artists that (hopefully) also fit your taste. You can further guide the playlist by clicking thumbs up or thumbs down for songs you feel strongly about. If you’re an impulse shopper, links are available to iTunes and Amazon to buy the current song or album then and there. Nice.

Unfortunately, Pandora and other online radio stations like it might not be available for our listening (and shopping) pleasure very much longer. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has recently released a revised fee schedule for internet radio. For most Webcasters, this new royalty rate represents more than 100% of their total revenues. Left unchanged, these rates will force most independent internet radio sites to shut down. The RIAA has effectively convinced this federal committee to establish rates that make online radio a non-viable business.

A site called has been created to provide information on this issue and what we might be able to do to reverse this decision. An online petition is available, as well as links to snail and e-mail addresses for your local representatives in Congress.

Maybe together we can prevent big business from limiting our soundscape.