A Hard Look at Warhammer Online

This post is about an online fantasy role playing game called Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. It is developed and operated by Mythic, now a division of Electronic Arts. I’ve been playing it for about a month now, on the Iron Rock server, with a bunch of former Dark Age gaming buddies. You would think I am too old to be wasting time on something like that, and, in the end, the point of this essay may be that you’re right. At least, it may be that online role playing games have moved on, and I haven’t. In any case, this isn’t going to be a very positive post, and I’m sorry about that. Mythic got monthly subscription dollars from me for Dark Age of Camelot for years. I wanted Marc Jacobs to succeed with Warhammer Online, and it may well be that he will, but it doesn’t look good from here.

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Google Image Life Archive

Now this is some cool stuff. Google images has archived over ten million photographs from Life Magazine, dating back to the 19th century. Many of these have never been published before. As far as I can tell the archive does not contain some of the more iconic images that Life has featured over the years. For example, John Kennedy Jr.’s salute at his father’s funeral is not included, although others from that day are. But what is there is pretty incredible. One of the best things about Google, for me at least, has always been the way they have plowed profits back into a continuing effort to get as much of the world’s information as possible online. This is another great step forward. You can access the archive’s front page and perform searches here. Have fun!

Back to the Lehigh and Hudson River

A couple of weeks ago I set out to trace the route of the abandoned Lehigh and Hudson River Railway north from its crossing at Johnsonburg Rd. near Allamuchy, NJ. You can find the post related to that excursion here. The LHRR was once one of the most important rail links in the Northeast, serving as a bypass around New York City via the Poughkeepsie Bridge for trains heading north from DC to Boston, including the famed Federal Express trains of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

This past week I headed out late in the afternoon to walk the same line south from the crossing, with the goal being to reach the culvert where it passed under interstate 80 southwest of Allamuchy. Despite having been abandoned for over 30 years, much remains to tell the tale of a once-critical rail link. I’ve updated the gallery with the additional pictures. Have a look and let me know what you think.


Well, today is the day I removed Internet Explorer’s icon from my desktop. I have to admit that my capitalist principles were trembling a bit as I relegated the little ‘e’ in its orbit to the trash bin. Surely a well-run corporation can make a browser that is more complete, better tested, and more reliable than a bunch of guys working for nothing! Oh, well. The fact is that I have had Firefox’s icon on my desktop right below IE’s for a couple of years now. If you’re a developer then testing scripts and pages under both is a requirement, and Firebug, a “peel the onion” web forensic tool that runs as a Firefox plug-in, is probably the most useful web development tool I have ever downloaded. But FF was my back-up browser.

Lately I’ve been running into more and more sites that don’t render correctly in IE. I think the first one I noticed was Slashdot a few weeks back. Articles that didn’t display correctly in IE displayed just fine in FF. A couple of forums based on PHP Nuke were next. Again, articles and posts displayed correctly in FF but not IE. What was going on? Was there some wide agreement among web developers to stop catering to IE’s eccentricities? One could hardly blame them. As a developer who has done extensive javascript and HTML with styles I have wanted to tear my hair out a few times, and it isn’t even my primary gig. The last straw for me was when I downloaded the Google Android SDK and found that some of the local html docs didn’t work right in IE… but again worked fine in Firefox.

So, out with the old, in with the newer. I changed the file associations in the registry for .htm and .html files. I visited all the news sites and forums where I have perma-logins and established the cookies in Firefox, and then deleted the IE icon as previously related. I’ll give IE another go when 8.0 is released, probably, but for the moment the team at Mozilla is doing a much better job. I read recently that some young Aussie Microsoft developer had the nerve to ask Steve Ballmer at a conference why the company continued to invest in IE when open source renderers like Webkit were much better? Ballmer didn’t fire the guy, and actually seemed to be listening. It was a good question. Perhaps they will come up with the right answer.