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S&W Appreciation Day – Because Three Heads are Better than Two

In this 3rd installment of the S&W Appreciation Day series, I thought I might pass along some new monsters, scavenged up from my favorite medieval bestiary:

Creative Commons License
As usual, all the original work  below is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License except where included material is licensed under the OGL in which case that material remains licensed under the OGL.

First up is the Amphisbaena

Amphisbaena

Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Attacks: Bite (2d6) + poison
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Poison (+2 save or die in 1d6 hours), Immune to Cold, Can not be attacked from behind
Move: 9
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 8/800

A fearsome serpent, this beast has two heads. One in the usual location, one at the end of its tail. Amphisbaena are spawn when the blood of a gorgon spills upon a common serpent. They are, unlike many serpents, often found in cold environments where they lure lost and weary travelers with their glowing eyes which, from a distance, appear like lamps from a village. Their jaws drip with venom and their poison causes painful convulsions which can last for hours before the victim finally dies.

Next we have a Leucrota

Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: Bite (1d6) or Kick (2d4)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Suggestion, Intelligent
Move: 12
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

This swift beast has the head of a horse, the chest of a lion, the hind of a stag and cloven feet, the twisted result of a mating between a hyena and a lioness. But it’s most distinguishing feature is its mouth, which grins widely from each to ear, and is not filled with teeth, but rather a single bone where the teeth should be. Wiley and cunning, it is said that the Leucrota can imitate the speech of humans, and that it is dangerous to listen to its voice, lest it place you under a spell.

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Dear Google …

Dear Google,

Many years ago you were the plucky upstart that everyone rooted for. You had a clean, simple interface, with quick, and relevant search results. Most of the time, even when searching for a complex topic, one could find the results they were looking for in the first page or two. You  were showing the world just how simple and awesome search could be. In fact, you became so awesome at it, that your name is practically synonymous with searching. Your name has been verbed, and you used to provide such good results, that they made a website just for snarky internet posters to direct other users to just goole their questions.

So what the hell happened Google? Today, if you search for why your macbook pro optical drive might be rejecting cds, you get 2-4 good results, and pages and pages of “Bigresource” (not linking them) results. Bigresource is a link aggregator. Spam. Useless drivel that is another annoying step between me and the results I want. Searches for programing questions often result in pages of link aggregators just scraping StackOverflow for their content. And god help you if you want to search for how to solve your printer problems. If it’s not a problem with the most common of HP printers, chances are you’ll be staring down a list of FixYa all of which are worse than useless. It’s gotten so bad that they made a site to let you search google and exclude all of those sites that we all know are just link spam.

And that doesn’t even begin to touch the crap your intentionally doing to mess up my searches Google. Look, I appreciate your suggestions when I mispell a word and your offer to search for the other term, that’s great. What’s not great is when you decide you know better than me what I was intending on searching for and changing my results without asking me. Yes google, I meant the word “reject” not “eject”. And damn it, when I start editing the search query and scroll the cursor to the end to add a quote stop trying to change it to your recommended search in your search suggestions. And while I appreciate your shopping results when I search for specific products, can you please stop listing prices that I can’t get. Don’t tell me I can get a new monitor for $25 when the cheapest price when I click your shopping link is $75 before shipping.

Oh, and I also don’t want or need your iGoogle crap, can we have a simple, unadorned front page again? It used to be my home page because it was so quick to load, not so much anymore, and I’m not even logged in. And then can we talk about your new habit of inserting ad links at the top of the results, with a barely differentiated background color. I know you want the ads to be unobtrusive, but since they’re included in the search results, it would be nice if they were a bit more prominently marked as ads.

Oh, and lets not talk about your ignoring the “do not track” stuff in browsers ok? I’m sure that was just the result of a bit too much drinking.

Now I get your primary business isn’t search, it’s selling me, my life and everything tangentially related to every salesman in the world. But you didn’t get to have the user base you do on the backs of the same dirty tricks that all the other search engines used to pull. You were different, you weren’t evil. Now … not so much. So in closing, can you please get back to making awesome search engines again?

Love,

(The Subsection Which Agrees to Allow Me to Speak For Them of ) The Internet

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SOPA / PIPA

They suck. Research them. Write your congress critter and help put a stop to it.

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