It is hard to get up, in the middle of winter, at 6 AM, for this writing bullshit.
In other news: Happy Solstice. The Sun Will Come Out, Tomorrow. Or, at least, a little earlier. Sing a sunny song.
One of the blogs I peruse has been posting lists of year end top tens. Technology based. If you're at all interested in bleeding edge web stuff, it's a good place to go and read about what you probably won't use but will be hearing about everywhere next year, or five years from now.
Anyway, it got me thinking about what I've been doing new this year, and what I've found useful. So here's my top nine things that I've found useful this year, briefly annotated:
1. Google Reader: This collects so much blog reading for me. Plus, having all those feeds together makes it easy for me to evaluate individual blogs. I can see what the mass of posts to usefulness ratio is. I can strike off annoying motormouths really quickly. Go to Google.com and get an account. In Your Account, you will see a link to the page that will let you set up a reader.
2. The PLA conferance in March: It's always good to get out and see what other professionals are doing right.
3. My Gamers: Are all good guys (and gals). They ensure that I'll have fun at least once a week.
4. Tome of Magic: A Dungeons and Dragons game book, from those not in the secret order of tabletop gamers. I'm running a game in which the bad guys are all wizards, and having three totally different kinds of magic in which to choose NPCs from really expands my possibilities. That said, not all the new wizardy classes are created equal: Truenamers (so far) out and out suck.
5. Wikipedia: I find so much crap on this page. Take it all with a grain of salt, but start your search for info here.
6. Google homepage: Widgets. Sweeet. Go to Google.com and get an account. On the main page, choose personalized home page. Start dragging and dropping. Click Add Stuff to browse widgets. Sweeet.
7. Netflix: I have a movie, once a week. Don't need to deal with video store stock, clerks, return fees, choosing my movie, or anything. Makes me feel bad for the future of libraries.
8. Stephen Abram: The blog I noted above. He really is one sharp bastard. If you're interested in web culture at all, he's one to stick in your RSS feed.
9. Firefox: Goddamn, tabs are useful. It's so nice not having to re-open your browser every time you want to bring up another website.
10. Flash drives: They are more important to me than underwear. These are old hat, but really, if you don't have one to move files around, get one. Dumbass. If your library doesn't let people use them... I have nothing to say. Floppy Disks are gone, bucko. Stop living in the past.
And a few things that I have yet to see the charm of:
2nd life: Too many choices at start. Bogs up my new computer. No fighting. I don't get it.
del.ici.ous: Why should I bookmark off my computer? Who would care what my book marks are? I'd rather read a blog.
NPC Designer: A software that randomly creates NPC stat blocks for Non-Player Characters (skip this one if you are not in the SOoTtG, as Tome of Magic, above). Too random. Too underdeveloped. I just want to set parameters and go, using at least the core rules. Why can't anyone get something this simple right? How hard can it be to add some numbers in a set of fields?
Audio books: My commute is a mile and a half. They're kind of like coitus interuptus for me.