The Jason Effect

I'm Jason Rappaport. I'm showing people how to do anything with Squareknot. I also own and operate Zelda Universe and Zelda Wiki. You should read this blog if you want to. Sometimes there's ice cream.

I'm Jason Rappaport. I write about stuff.

  1. October
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    This is what we do at work. #triforce #squareknot

    This is what we do at work. #triforce #squareknot

  2. June
    30
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    People don’t want to do things on their watches

    Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

    One of the main reasons I like Android is that it does a better job than any other phone of giving me powerful ways to manage notifications. I practically live in that notification center — dismissing stuff, archiving email, tapping reply on texts. I think of the notification center as the Everything Inbox. It’s more than email, it’s like a pager for every damn thing that comes your way: phone calls, texts, annoying Groupon deals, and all the rest. It’s easy to get angry at it and even easier to think that having Android Wear is just another way for the Everything Inbox to bother you.

    For a while, I was stoked for Android Wear. I go through this cycle with Google products once a year - it looks like they’ve made massive steps forward, but once you get down into their software you get the feeling that they just don’t understand how humans work.

    In this case, take that literally. I’m wearing a Movado watch given to me by my girlfriend right now. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I never have to interact with it unless I want to know the time.

    I think that’s the problem with Google’s vision for smartwatches. It assumes that people want to replace things that they do on their phone with things that they do on their wrist. If there is a computing device that is meant to exist on your wrist, it should serve a purpose that is not covered by my phone, tablet, or laptop.

    Steve Jobs said it best when introducing the iPad:

    The bar’s pretty high. In order to really create a new category of device, those device are gonna have to be far better at doing some key tasks. They’re gonna have to be far better at doing some really important things; better than the laptop, better than the smartphone. What kind of tasks?

    Let’s take that same argument and add “tablet” into the mix.

    The one thing that watches excel at, above all else, is the passive consumption of information. For this, and only this, watches are better than your smartphone, tablet, and laptop.

    Google wants you to interact with your watch. It wants you to respond to texts and answer emails and swipe everywhere. Google’s watch is needy. A real watch exists to serve you, only showing you information when you want it, with minimal interaction between the user and the device.

    What if all of our favorite apps were redesigned with this philosophy in mind? Sure, not every app would make it over - but not every app will make it over to CarPlay, either. The apps that would exist on this watch would be based on ambient, timely, quick, and most importantly passively consumed information.

    Start directions on your phone? They’re already displaying on your watch. Open Dark Sky recently? Your watch is now a rolling weather report. Set a workout in the Nike+ Running app? Your watch can show you information about your current workout. Listening to music? See now playing information. Each of these apps is a magic watch face that transforms to show information you want to see.

    You wouldn’t find addresses on the watch. You wouldn’t set your workout on the watch. You don’t choose what song is playing. But why would you want to? Your phone is way better at that.

    If the watch were to handle notifications of any sort, they would have to be so important that they’d justify changing the nature of the watch from passive to active. The only notifications that fit this bills are those that the user explicitly initiated on another device, such as a calendar alert or a reminder.

    Ultimately, a successful wearable computer will be everything that makes a watch better than our other devices for some key tasks. I believe that Apple has figured all of this out already, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of 2014.

  3. May
    29
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    Boat sitting at a dock in San Diego, California.

    Boat sitting at a dock in San Diego, California.

  4. May
    15
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    squareknotted:

Since announcing Squareknot just over a year ago, our entire team has been hard at work building Squareknot. From the beginning, we’ve been on a mission create a place where anyone can figure out how to do anything. It starts with beautiful step-by-step guides, and adds the power of branching to turn them into a choose-your-own-adventure book of possibilities.
Since January, we’ve been running early versions of Squareknot in closed betas. Now, we’re slowly taking the wraps off of Squareknot. We’re starting out by showing Squareknot to folks at this year’s annual Maker Faire Bay Area.
If you’re going to be there, you might just run into us! If you do, you’ll get exclusive access to our private beta. We’ve opened up a limited number of spots especially for Maker Faire attendees.
We can’t wait to see you there and to make something new with you.

This is the first time we’re giving out access to the private beta. If you’re in the Bay Area, better get in on this fast!

    squareknotted:

    Since announcing Squareknot just over a year ago, our entire team has been hard at work building Squareknot. From the beginning, we’ve been on a mission create a place where anyone can figure out how to do anything. It starts with beautiful step-by-step guides, and adds the power of branching to turn them into a choose-your-own-adventure book of possibilities.

    Since January, we’ve been running early versions of Squareknot in closed betas. Now, we’re slowly taking the wraps off of Squareknot. We’re starting out by showing Squareknot to folks at this year’s annual Maker Faire Bay Area.

    If you’re going to be there, you might just run into us! If you do, you’ll get exclusive access to our private beta. We’ve opened up a limited number of spots especially for Maker Faire attendees.

    We can’t wait to see you there and to make something new with you.

    This is the first time we’re giving out access to the private beta. If you’re in the Bay Area, better get in on this fast!

    via: squareknotted
  5. January
    18
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    Nintendo considers 'new business structure' in wake of losses

    Dave Tach, writing for Polygon:

    Sounds like Nintendo’s finally getting it.

    (As an aside, the Wii U has been a complete disaster for me. The 4.0.0U update last year broke Wii Mode on my console, causing me to have to send the console to Nintendo for repair. A month later, I received my Wii U “repaired” - Wii Mode worked, but I couldn’t properly install any of my previous purchases from the Wii Shop Channel.)

  6. October
    31
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    squareknotted:

Happy Halloween from all of us at Squareknot! This is a giant bowl of candy that our CEO Jason brought in today, probably all for himself.

I love Halloween.

    squareknotted:

    Happy Halloween from all of us at Squareknot! This is a giant bowl of candy that our CEO Jason brought in today, probably all for himself.

    I love Halloween.

    via: squareknotted
  7. October
    24
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    squareknotted:

    Check us out! We’re in the latest issue of Philly Mag as one of Philadelphia’s coolest startups. If you’re in our hometown, we hear copies are being delivered everywhere today - so grab a cup of coffee and read up about Squareknot.

    via: squareknotted
  8. October
    7
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    Twilight

    Twilight

  9. September
    28
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    Valve announces the Steam Controller

    One of the primary reasons I don’t use Steam as often as I’d like is because I have to sit down at my computer, straight up, for hours to use a mouse and keyboard. It’s pretty uncomfortable.

    The Wii U, a gaming console, or even my iPhone, is a more comfortable gaming experience in theory. But the Wii U doesn’t have many games worth playing, and most iOS games are small distractions. All the interesting titles, for me, are on PC - the experiences that folks like Valve spend years meticulously crafting.

    Valve’s controller has an interesting design, but it’s pretty upsetting that this is just a concept. Valve has a bad habit of not being like Apple - that is, only announcing products when they are finished and ready to ship - leading them to frequently over-promise and under-deliver. I’m not sure if the Steam Controller and Steam Machines will dominate the living room, it even bring the Steam library to my couch effectively. But, if it does, Valve could generate a powerful presence in the living room.

    Gabe Newell was the first to recognize that Apple was a threat to the living room, well before Nintendo and Microsoft and Sony (who still don’t see that Apple could usurp their positions with AppleTV, especially Nintendo). If anyone’s going to challenge Apple for that position effectively, it’s going to be Valve.

  10. September
    9
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    Sony announces PS Vita TV

    Sony seems to understand something Nintendo does not.

  11. August
    28
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    Nintendo announces 2DS

    I remain convinced that Nintendo determines its next move by throwing darts at a wall.

  12. July
    13
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    Sonic After the Sequel is the best fan game ever made

    Warning: Some serious fan nerdery follows.

    A long time ago - when I was in seventh grade - my friend Emilio Saffi and I, being huge fans of Sonic the Hedgehog, set out to build our own Sonic fan game. Under the alias Xoram, Emilio handled backend, and I handled level design. We never finished our flagship title, but our engines always had really impressive tech demos. Unlike most folks who were building their engines using Multimedia Fusion, we wrote ours from scratch in C. They had real physics and tons of features, like the wacky ability to dynamically change the size of any object on the screen, including Sonic himself. The whole system ran super smooth; smoother than any Sonic engine out there.

    Unfortunately, we got caught in the trap of building and rebuilding our engine to be bigger, better, and more performant. We never finished an entire game.

    It’s always been astounding to me that so many young developers and designers gather around the Sonic franchise. I don’t see this breadth of fan work for any other franchise. No group is as fervent or as dedicated.

    Recently, a fellow under the alias LakeFeperd has done what Emilio and I could never do: build and ship the most impressive fan game ever made. (You should download it now for free.)

    What makes it great? It does something that Sega attempted to do with Sonic Colors, but didn’t get quite right. Taking a page from the Super Mario Galaxy playbook and running with it, Sonic After the Sequel introduces an interesting and fun new platforming mechanic every single act. It’s remarkably successful and breathes new life into the 2D platforming world of classic Sonic.

    However, what’s getting everybody raving is the absolutely outrageous four-disc soundtrack; an OCRemix-quality release full of completely original tunes. LakeFeperd and crew are the first people I’ve seen in a decade that actually understand how to compose music for Sonic games. Their soundtrack rivals the Genesis, and I’d put it on par with the soundtrack for Sonic Colors. I don’t think even the mobile Sonic titles were executed this well, at least as far as their music is concerned.

    I hope Sega is scouting and picks this guy up.

  13. July
    5
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    Single photograph looks like 4 individual photographs

    Outrageously clever composition.

  14. July
    4
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    Seven years

    Every year, the United States of America celebrates a tremendous event by flying explosives across the country skyline. Hundreds of millions of people drop everything to enjoy the spectacle.

    I like to think it’s in honor of my father. This year, more than any other year, I feel the pang of his absence. After his death, I wrote a eulogy to read aloud at his funeral:

    There are things I’ve done in front of him that have made him so proud – things that he bragged about to his office, and that is being strong in the face of a crisis. When he cut his wrist on glass accidentally, and I held his wound shut with a towel. When he broke his ankle, and I didn’t even show any sign of being upset, because I knew he would be alright. Now I have to be strong – not just for me, but for my entire family, and my mother who needs someone to lean on more than ever. I will provide that until they’re calm, and then I can have my turn and lean on them. But they go first.

    Seven years later, I apply this strength to everything I do. But this year, I think I will finally rest and lean on a shoulder or two.

    I love you, Dad.

  15. June
    19
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    Neven Mrgan's critique on the new iOS7 icons

    mrgan:

    The blue, hollow box is the maximum area the icon can fill in this toolbar. If your icon is a “full shape” (one that fills space very efficiently) it would be a mistake to simply make it the size of this bounding box. It would look too big. Instead, it should be inset slightly. That way, “pointy shapes” (with a lot of “inefficient”, protruding parts) can extend to the edge of that bounding box, and the two kinds of shapes will look good next to each other.

    This phenomenon can be more clearly explained with a bit of mathematics, I think. Icons of different shapes and sizes look good when placed next to each other so long as they both remain in the same bounding box and share the same total area.

    Mrgan’s “pointy shape” (the star) and his “full shape” (a box), when both set to fill the size of his bounding box, do not occupy the same about of space. It is only when he shrinks the box to occupy the same area as the star that it becomes harmonious.

    via: mrgan