December 31, 2022

2022 Hindsight

It’s time to reflect on 2022. From a computing angle, my rural area FINALLY rolled out fiber internet. Social media’s demise seems to have accelerated this year. And in a gaming letdown, the Breath of the Wild sequel was delayed until next year. On the upside, 2022 was surprised with JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which released to rave reviews and later got three nominations in the annual Game Awards. As for blogging, there were vexing WordPress shenanigans.

December 29, 2022

USB-C All The Things

You may have heard news that the EU is mandating that digital devices use USB-C ports for charging. Basically, all tablets, phones, laptops, cameras, etc must have a USB-C port to charge, as opposed to something like Apple’s Lightning port found on iPhones. And you know what? I’m ready for it!

December 28, 2022

Need For Speed

In one of those Nintendo eShop sales — thanks, Christmas! — I grabbed a non-JRPG title. It’s a racing game, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered. But why?

December 27, 2022

New JRPGs In 2023

As the year closes and we look towards 2023, I can already see several video games on the beckoning horizon. Brand new JRPG releases are slated in the coming months, including one that may be the biggest impending adventure since Breath of the Wild. Of course, I’m talking about Tears of the Kingdom, the next mainline RPG-like title in Nintendo’s Zelda series. But even before that, I have my own backlog to look forward to, eyeing yet more Xenoblade awesomeness.

December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas 2022!

 "And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:10-11

December 23, 2022

Fight Magic Items Review

Done! I finished reading Fight Magic Items and gave it 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Bottom line: if you like JRPGs, it’s a must-read. Pause your game on occasion and grind out some of the pages; it’ll be worth your time. Let me share why and also sprinkle some of my favorite quotes throughout.

December 20, 2022

3D TV Comeback?

By now, maybe most people have upgraded their TV sets from HD to 4K; I finally did last summer. So to get consumers to buy more TVs, maybe the industry wants to try 3D again? Recently, Wired published a piece reasoning 3D could return but this time succeed. My take? I doubt it. Seriously. Though the tech looks cool, is it really? Here are some reasons why I don’t think so.

December 17, 2022

Big Finally For iPhone?

Can I FINALLY just buy a Kindle book (or see its price) in the Kindle app or Amazon app!? That’s all I want to really know after learning that Apple may soon fundamentally change its App Store rules and the like on iPhone. The change could mean more convenience for the average end user. Sounds good to me.

December 14, 2022

iPhone 11 Thoughts

After turning my iPhone up to 11, I have some thoughts. Yes, it was the upgrade I wanted, substantial enough. All around, it’s a quality smartphone one would expect from Apple. Below are some things that stand out to me most.

December 10, 2022

Game Awards 2022 Winners

At first, I wasn’t going to watch the 2022 Game Awards, but I mostly ended up doing so. I hoped somehow that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 would win at least one of its three nominated categories. But as I figured, most awards went to its competition. Oh well. Being nominated three times says a lot by itself. Besides, I was happy to see Nintendo score plenty of awards.

December 8, 2022

A Xenoblade Adventure

One of the greatest JRPGs to grace gamers in modern times is Xenoblade Chronicles. The definitive edition on Nintendo Switch was on my backlog. Now, I’ve finally — FINALLY — started on this adventure. It’s my first playthrough and, so far, I love it!

December 7, 2022

Bravely Default II Review

Sweet victory! I finally finished Bravely Default II this past weekend, rolling credits at nearly 79 hours of playtime. And by default, I’ll brave some thoughts — I use the term ‘review’ loosely.

December 5, 2022

Fight Magic Items

This new book by Aidan Moher was an instant purchase for me! I read a few words of the synopsis and skimmed a couple reviews and — boom! — I clicked Buy Now and sent it directly to my Kindle in a flash. It’s said to be “unputdownable” for someone who likes JRPGs and grew up playing them in the 90’s. Oh yeah. Pause game…read book…resume game.

December 3, 2022

macOS Stage Manager Impression

Stage Manager is a marquee new feature in macOS Ventura, which released to the general public this October. I updated my MacBook Air right away, eager to try it out. After several weeks of using it off and on, I’ve been reminded of the already impressive multi-tasking capabilities with good ol’ fashioned windows on the Mac. Exiting the stage, I’m happy to manage apps and their windows myself.

December 2, 2022

Social Media Twilight Years

Do you want a good long-ish read? This great piece from The Atlantic was right up my alley. The end of social media? Imagine that. Sure, this has been said before, and I think that’s because the life of social media has been dwindling for years. We’ve seen more signs of it in recent months with Facebook earnings dropping and the company pivoting away from the social app towards the metaverse. And lately, we’ve witnessed Twitter being run into the ground in quick fashion.

December 1, 2022

Fully Rendered In Dark Mode

A quick update for the blog. My site now has an official new blog name, “Fully Rendered.” It’s also now sporting a dark theme.

November 30, 2022

Back To Bravely Default II

Since I finished Octopath Traveler, a great JRPG, I resumed another one I had paused, Bravely Default II. I love it, but is it greater than Octopath? Tough question! I watched a YouTube video comparison of the two and think I agree that BDII edges out ahead. This is surprising since I had previously ranked Octopath a notch above BDII.

November 28, 2022

Turned My iPhone Up To 11

A few weeks ago, I had decided to stick with my iPhone 8 Plus and not upgrade until likely next year. Confession: I didn’t hold out that long. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my five year old iPhone and my son’s now unsupported iPhone 7. So when a nice deal appeared, I jumped on it, netting one new-ish smartphone for two phone upgrades.

November 26, 2022

Tracking JRPG Playtimes

When it comes to gaming, JRPGs are my fave. This genre of escapism is time-consuming. For example, check out HowLongToBeat for the numbers on Xenoblade Chronicles 3 — 100+ easily. Last year, I spent about 120 hours playing Dragon Quest XI S before finally finishing it. And recently, I finished Octopath Traveler at over 83 hours. With so many great JRPGs to play and little time to spare, it makes sense to use a service or a spreadsheet to keep track of it all; I do both.

November 25, 2022

What's Up With 5G?

Remember a few years back when there was hype that the next cell service upgrade would be mind-blowingly fast? 5G service promised download and upload speeds equal to or exceeding a fiber optic data line wired directly to your phone. The benefits of such a feature were things like…remote real-time tele-surgery? Streaming gameplay in high-res? The question: so how’s that working out for ya?

November 21, 2022

Octopath Traveler Review

At long last, I finished the gloriously pixelated Octopath Traveler, having first begun around February 2020. I paused a few times despite how much I like the game, so it had been on my backlog/resume list for a while. Restarting in earnest this month, I finished all the remaining chapters for all the characters and saw the credits roll after two weeks of focused fun. Previously, I’ve ranked the game near the top of my favorites list. Now finished, my final perspective is a little different, though Octopath is still one of the best JRPGs I’ve played.

November 19, 2022

Wired Audio Sounds Winning

In my recent post where I asked are AirPods worth their cost, I was only comparing them to cheaper “true wireless” alternatives. But there still exists an even more affordable option: wired earphones. Yes, physically connecting your ears to a device with dangling cords. And apparently, it’s a trend amidst Gen Z.

November 16, 2022

Game Awards 2022 Preview

Nominees are out now for this year’s Game Awards. It’s exciting to see which Nintendo games are nominated, hoping for many winners from my favorite gaming company. Likewise, it would be great to see an RPG earn Game of the Year; last December, I wrote about why at RPGamer.

November 15, 2022

YouTube Handles More Social

A few weeks ago, I noticed that YouTube would be adding Handles to existing accounts and wondered how that might change the platform, for better or worse, into a more social media-like experience. Well, looks like we’re about to find out; I’ve already got my @username!

November 12, 2022

Are AirPods Really Worth It?

Apple’s popular white plastic buds spurred the ubiquity of true wireless earphones. Competitive companies now make more ear-candy devices at wallet-friendly prices, offering other colors, styles, and feature-sets. So are AirPods really worth their price tag now?

November 10, 2022

Social Internet Versus Social Media

One of my favorite bloggers is computer scientist Cal Newport. I found this great quote on a podcast (at 50:42) from 2019 wherein he discussed his then recent book, Digital Minimalism. The context here is Cal’s apt distinction between the social-internet and social-media:

November 7, 2022

Sticking With iPhone 8 In 2022

Recently, the dynamic iPhone 14 Pro debuted. With it, iOS 16 released, rendering my teens’ iPhone SE and iPhone 7 officially unsupported. My iPhone 8 Plus — now five generations old — still works well. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” I’m not immune to upgrade-itis and am trying to stick with what I have. After all, it’s an iPhone. What more is needed, right? That said, my wants are tough to moderate.

November 5, 2022

Piling Up The Role Playing Games

My RPG game time has been on pause for a while. I’ve been casually playing Minecraft and taking a break from gaming in general. But thanks to a recent birthday gift — Xenoblade Chronicles 3 — landing in my controller-hands, I’m motivated; unpause the role-playing! It’s going to take a focus on other fun for a while before I can get to enjoy XC3 though.

November 3, 2022

Apple's Not So Simple Product Strategy

I generally agree with the sentiment that Apple’s line up of tablets and phones has become more complex over time and could benefit from the minimalism Apple was better known for years ago. From The Verge:

November 1, 2022

Elon Bought A Pet Blue Bird

Maybe you noticed Twitter now belongs to Elon Musk. Some are worried, some cautiously optimistic, some are leaving the social site. Others will wait and see. I think it will be interesting to watch.

October 26, 2022

Maybe There's No Room For Tablets

As if the previous robust lineup of iPads wasn’t enough, Apple just released more new tablets. And the consensus among tech journalists is things are more cluttered and confusing. Not only that, but it seems the tablet space in general — not just iPads — is more messy than ever. From a piece at CNET:

October 21, 2022

Algorithm Antipathy

There’s a good Art of Manliness piece about escaping algorithms and using the social-internet — RSS feed aggregators and email newsletters — instead of relying on social-media to read articles and surf websites. I’ve written likewise — Zero Feeds Experiment and Finding Feedly Again — so the AoM bit resonates.

October 20, 2022

Countering Consumerism

Though almost 10 years old, here’s a great article, Consumerism and its Discontents, with a good finger on the pulse of the shifting culture among Millennials in regards to American Capitalism and Consumerism.

October 19, 2022

Maximizing Contentment

Up front, a disclaimer: I’m not a contentment expert. Being contented in life isn’t something I’ve mastered. It’s often elusive to me and I’m still learning to practice it better. With that, I liked this bit from the minimalists:

October 17, 2022

Concerning YouTube User Handles

Here’s some new brain-tickling info. Google will soon make user handles on YouTube a thing. I don’t know if or how this will affect my video surfing habits, but we’ll see. From the Verge:

October 15, 2022

On The Advent Of Ventura

I’ve somehow managed to avoid tech and Apple news since early September. It takes mindful intentionality to thwart my old habits. So being careful, I allowed a few related info sources to inform me of particular interests. In this case, Apple’s impending new macOS Ventura.

October 14, 2022

Is Twitter Too Toxic To Tolerate?

In this Vox piece from Peter Kafka, a few things are clear: Twitter is likely in decline, broken, and not really important. As he points out, if the social networking site vanished today, the repercussions would be ho-hum, no big deal:

October 7, 2022

The Simplicity Of Craigslist

I stumbled upon a recent article and enjoyed the intrinsic simplicity behind it as well as some nostalgia. I’ve been around on the web long enough to remember using Craigslist long before Facebook Marketplace was a thing. It’s kind of remarkable that the online classifieds site still exists, works, and looks like it did since the beginning.

October 5, 2022

HearPods Sound More Likely

I’ve written about my tinnitus, trying out hearing aids, and the ear-pleasing potential of AirPods Pro before. I’ve also said Apple could someday make “HearPods,” a more hearing-aid capable form of AirPods Pro. Now it’s more likely than ever.

October 3, 2022

Google Kills Again

In both gaming and tech news, Google is shutting down another service, Stadia, surprising about 0.0 people, I think. Its cloud gaming was nebulous.

October 2, 2022

Choosing Blogger In 2022

After several years of blogging on WordPress, I’m leaving to blog on one of the first and oldest platforms: Blogger. But with its ancient internet age and Google’s propensity to cancel products/services, why would anyone in their right mind choose Blogger in 2022? Because in my case, it’s not the mind.

October 1, 2022

Leaving WordPress

Hello, readers. A monumental shift is afoot at Jason Journals, announcing both a new name and home for the blog. Though it’s the end of an era, it’s also the beginning of another.

September 29, 2022

Progress To Less

Inspired by minimalism and simplicity these past few weeks, I’ve started purging some possessions. It’s definitely a challenging process; decluttering in small steps helps. And after taking two loads to Goodwill so far, I’m already more energized toward owning less.

September 26, 2022

Screen Addiction Harms Relationships

In the past 5 years of this blog, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about intimacy or marriage. That said, I guess those topics fit in the “more” part of my blog’s tagline, “Computing, Gaming, and more.” I jest. But I’ll broach the subjects in this post as they relate to technology.

September 24, 2022

The Batman Review

One of the top movies of this year that I wanted to watch, besides Top Gun Maverick, was The Batman. So last night, I had a good chance to chill for 3 hours and take it in. And oh wow, it was worth every moment.

September 23, 2022

iPhone Less

It’s been a few weeks since I passed my iPhone through a vacuum of minimalism, removing all nonessential apps. I intentionally purposed it to be mainly just a phone and an iPod. Surprisingly, I’ve not really needed the Mail app or the Safari app since I’m usually near a “real” computer.

September 22, 2022

Reading Challenge Update 2022

It’s September, and I just now half-completed my annual reading challenge: 6 of 12 books read. Looks like I’ve got catching up to do. My next two books are bought, I’ve started one of them, and I have a few other recent additions to my list. I might reach 12 this year after all.

September 16, 2022

Is Finding Favorites Futile?

While concentrating on purging physical and digital clutter from the nooks and crannies of my life, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the glut of stuff I own or have access to. The picture of a closet or dresser overstuffed with…stuff…is classic, easy to understand. But in the digital realm, where things may be more abstract, less tangible, I’ve realized that in order to clear such clutter, I’ve got to think hard about what stuff is best. There’s simply too much because, being digital, it’s too easy to end up with piles of files. So I must pick my favorites; what’s most valuable?

September 15, 2022

More Minimalism Please

Lately, I’ve been less lasered-into computing and gaming — though I’m enjoying much Minecraft recently — and more focused on minimizing extra things in my life. This mostly means purging possessions but also paring pursuits. Excess things and activities take up extra space, time, and money. Clearing the clutter saves on these while revealing what’s left and what’s most important. So I’m trying to clean the slate and prioritize needs over wants, necessities over luxuries. I feel compelled to simplify.

September 6, 2022

Smartphone Moderation For The Win

How often do you check your phone? I compulsively check for new stuff. It’s like a mobile slot machine: pull the lever…what did I get?! You probably know the feeling, that subconscious tug from your brain-to-fingertips to find something new or novel with the glowing screen in your hands. It’s distracting. I want a calm un-fragmented psyche. No more Smartphone Psychosis, please. Zombie-scrolling, mindless checking, and constant connecting must stop.

September 2, 2022

Avoiding The Apple Advernouncement

In less than a week, the iPhone will be 15 years old. Apple is set to announce the iPhones 14 on the 7th. In anticipation, I pre-drafted an intro for an editorial that I was planning to publish after the event. But something changed. Instead of looking forward to the latest and greatest from Apple, I now plan to avoid the annual iPhone announcement entirely.

August 26, 2022

Focusing On iPhoneography

What’s the best camera? The one you have with you, of course. With that in mind, Apple is on the cusp of announcing its newest iCameras 14, presumably with ever-better camera systems. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying a reawakening of my dormant hobby: photography. And for a pocket phone cam that’s always with me, my iPhone 8 Plus isn’t half bad. Yet newer Apple cameras (phones) are even better. Why not make the camera that’s always with me the best it can be?

August 22, 2022

Stuck With One Computer

On a recent Clockwise podcast, a thought experiment got my attention. The question: If you had to pick just one computer to use — laptop, desktop, tablet, whatever you want — what is your top choice? It seems simple, but the single device you select is the one you’re stuck with. Such a restriction helps the mind prioritize things. Note: the one computer you choose is in addition to a smartphone (thankfully).

August 15, 2022

Tenet Impression

I’m a little late to the show, but my wife and I enjoyed watching Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic experience recently, Tenet. If you say it while inverted, it won’t really get you anywhere. As for the movie, I’m thinking of playing the whole thing in reverse to see if it makes more sense, like playing an audio cassette backwards to find the “hidden lyrics” or something. The movie was fun and cool, but I think it hurt my brain. You are entering a spoiler-free zone.

August 13, 2022

Cloud Storage Is Not Backup

I recently found an interesting video explaining the differences between storing files in the cloud and backing them up (either in the cloud or locally). And then I re-realized how far I’d gone in trusting all my files to a company’s cloud servers, whether Apple’s iCloud, Google’s Drive, or Microsoft’s OneDrive. All my digital eggs have been in one basket! What if the cloud went poof? Wouldn’t all my files across all my devices also disappear in a flash?

August 7, 2022

Making The Most Of My Mac

I haven’t posted in over a week…my focus has been elsewhere lately. House projects, work, and more. Oh, and I started disrupting updating my productivity workflow. That wasn’t on my calendar, but it was one of those “to-dos” that finally got pushed to the forefront. Part of the reason why is due to learning how to use my Mac to its full potential. And that’s thanks to a great YouTube channel I discovered not long ago: MacMost.

July 30, 2022

Tom Bihn Small Café Bag One Year Review

A year ago, I finally received my first major Tom Bihn bag. I was ready to embrace Everyday Carry in a whole new way: a cross-body bag. No more wallet for me; I chose a man-bag for its utility and functionality. My pockets became free, empty of EDC detritus! I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is…in the other pocket.

July 27, 2022

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Hits Hype Zenith

The time has come. How good, or not, is the latest title in the Xenoblade franchise? Does it meet or exceed expectations? I’m avoiding details and spoilers, but review embargoes for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have lifted. The initial scores and praise overall are great – fueling hype – as the JRPG could be in the running for game of the year. I’ve not played it yet, but of course it’s on my wish list.

July 26, 2022

WordPress Plan Roller Coaster Ends

I’m really not sure where to begin with this. Last week, I read two new emails from WordPress announcing its latest moves in the perplexing plan upheaval of 2022. After months of plan changes, flip-flopping from radical reduction to compromising capitulation, now the newly introduced plans have already been axed. Their short-lived reign was quickly usurped by none other than the former plans, fully reinstated. What’s old is new again.

July 21, 2022

Facebook Finally Fixes The Feed

Just yesterday, I published my disconnected Facebook status. Then I found a new article stating that Facebook, after many years, is finally allowing a fully chronological feed for just the people you actually follow, like your in-real-life friends! Though I plan to stay off the social media site, this development is good and, dare I say, promising. Well, no, I won’t go that far.

July 20, 2022

Zero Facebook For 3 Months

This week I realized that it’s been 3 months since I signed out of Facebook. The thing is, I haven’t thought much about it until now. So here’s some fresh thoughts about life without social media of late.

July 18, 2022

M1 MacBook Air 6 Month Review

Since the 2022 M2 MacBook Air reviews have hit the interwebz recently, I thought I’d share my own review. So here’s my little write-up of the 2020 MacBook Air – the M1, not the M2 – after owning and using it for a solid 6 months.

July 15, 2022

Xenoblade Chronicles X Resume

When it comes to gaming, I like to enjoy a good JRPG. One of the more lauded examples of the genre in recent years has been the Xenoblade Chronicles series, at least on the Nintendo side of things. My first plunge into the Xenoverse was Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U. There was something about the game that compelled me to pick it up a few years ago, and I’m so glad I did.

July 10, 2022

Revisiting RPG Towns

A few months ago, when I was a staff writer at RPGamer, I drafted a couple overviews of towns in RPGs that struck me in a special way. The whole piece, which includes several other authors’ views of towns that they enjoyed, was recently published for all to read.

July 9, 2022

My DSL Dark Age Reached Fiber Utopia

A few months ago, my household finally reached an important and thrilling milestone. Our home was upgraded from DSL to Fiber internet. Let that sink in…1GB Fiber internet!

June 27, 2022

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Preview

Nintendo’s recent Direct, a 24 minute bonanza of flashy gameplay and polished cutscenes, aptly hyped an epic RPG that’s set to release next month. I was already happy to plunk down the coin for this upcoming title. Yet now the anticipation is overflowing for Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

June 25, 2022

Pokémon Legends Arceus Impression

Last September, I wrote an editorial at RPGamer about Pokémon Legends Arceus, anticipating its open-world gameplay and reasoning how good it could be. Now I’m finally adventuring in the game and, after ten hours of playtime, I can say it’s impressive, fun, and delivers on my expectations. So, yeah, it’s good! My starter: Rowlet.

June 22, 2022

Facebook's Feed Gets An F

I’m not much on Facebook these days. Logged out in April and haven’t looked back. Might delete it at some point… Now, news of the Facebook feed to become more like TikTok tells me there will be less reason, less interest, for me to Numb-Scroll. If dopamine hits and user engagement are the priority, then it makes sense for Facebook to become like TikTok. But I thought Facebook’s point was to simply connect with people I know.

June 20, 2022

Bricking In Pokémon

Though I’m not always a good loser, I’m pretty good at losing in Pokémon (I’ve had plenty of practice). There are different ways a player can suffer defeat in the Trading Card Game. Two I have found both involve “bricking.”

June 18, 2022

Final Farewell To Internet Explorer

After 27 years, Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer, is retired. That means it might vacation to the Grand Canyon before I do. Whatever it does, I doubt anyone will miss it. Though IE is retiring now, its career ended long ago. I can’t recall when I last used the browser; I think it was for an intranet web app at a company I previously worked for. Outside of that, I had stopped using IE many years prior.

June 17, 2022

Apple WWDC22 Impressions Part 3

In parts 1 and 2, I discussed this year’s WWDC, iPhone Lock Screen customization, and the multitasking featured called Stage Manager. Now onto other small things.

June 15, 2022

Apple WWDC22 Impressions Part 2

Having started with an overview of WWDC22 and thoughts about the iPhone’s new Lock Screen customization, I continue with what might be the most impactful feature from Apple this year.

June 13, 2022

Apple WWDC22 Impressions Part 1

Last week held the annual Apple keynote for its developer conference where the company highlighted its latest innovations – sadly, word count in Apple Notes was a no-show. But there were several other fresh features presented. While some fell in the “finally” category (Undo Send in Mail), others were typical Apple magic (iPhone as webcam). Overall, two new items have stuck in my mind most: Lock Screen Customization (iPhone) and Stage Manger (Mac). I have thoughts. And coffee. Here we go. Oh, and this ended up long, so it’s in three separate posts. Also note: my past WWDC posts are currently featured in the blog’s sidebar.

June 9, 2022

Top Gun Maverick Impression

Fantastic! Yes, I got to see the movie starring Tom Cruise this week on Discount Tuesday at my local theater – what a treat it was! (No spoilers.)

June 4, 2022

Google Retires An Ongoing Initiative

Google is sunsetting...something. The headline of course grabbed me, and it gave me a new thought. Since Google is somewhat infamous for frequently killing off products and services, I often wonder why or how Blogger is still alive.

June 2, 2022

Pokémon Pulls Me To Play

Lately I’ve been purging things and limiting tasks; less to have, less to do. And over the past year, I’ve especially pulled back from collecting and playing Pokémon cards. Until last week when I “accidentally” bought a box of new cards and spent hours organizing my collection and trading cards; Pokémon pulled me back.

May 31, 2022

Journaling Setup Switch Up

There’s been a change — switcheroo — in my journaling setup…again! So I jump between journal tools; it’s one of my quirks. I once relied on general note-taking apps and then moved to dedicated journaling apps. But now I’ve returned to a notes app. Of course, it’s the Apple Notes app.

May 27, 2022

Keep Going With DuckDuckGo

I noticed news this week saying DuckDuckGo, known for its privacy, was found in an audit to allow some level of Microsoft tracking. On the surface, that sounds antithetical to or hypocritical of the search company. But I’m not sure to what extent either is the case. Otherwise, I think DuckDuckGo is still one of the best search engines worth recommending.

May 26, 2022

WordPress Starter Plan A Good Start

Following April’s announcements of the new Free and Pro plans, WordPress has announced the Starter plan. And as projected in a forum message, WordPress slotted the plan at a price point between the others at $5/mo, which is one-third the cost of the Pro tier at $15/mo. Albeit plans still require an annual rather than monthly payment. That said, the Starter price is much more within the realm of the former Personal and Premium plans ($4 and $8 respectively). But are the features comparable to those former plans? And how does the Starter plan stack against the Pro level?

May 25, 2022

Top WWDC22 Wishes To Note

Coming soon is Apple’s WWDC22, showcasing its latest software magic. New impressive features arriving across Apple’s devices over the coming months will be highlighted. If lucky, a dazzling new device may be revealed too. But even if amazing hardware — AR/VR mixed reality headset — is announced, forget that. I want “one more thing” to be…Word Count. In Apple Notes. Well, okay, I’d like a bit more than that.

May 23, 2022

Social Media Or Social Networking

Have you seen the terms social media and social networking used interchangeably? I have; I’ve done it. But I was wondering if they’re the same or just similar. Is there a distinction without a difference? After looking it up and reading a few sites, the answer is…unclear to me.

May 21, 2022

Unpacking My Bags At WordPress

Over the past few weeks, I shared a handful of posts expressing unease towards WordPress. My bags were packed; I was ready to move away. It started with the surprising and sudden plan upheaval in early April, which soured me. Stuck in a rut, feeling unsettled, I sought firm blogging ground. Many other bloggers reasonably felt likewise. But for my part, I think I let negativity taint my view a bit much, seeing WordPress only through the opposite of rose-colored glasses. My view was all thorns and no rose. That’s now changed.

May 19, 2022

Pressing WordPress Woes

There’s a disturbance in the force of WordPress; I’ve sensed it. 

And now my inner disquiet has been further stirred. An article caught my attention, citing a report that indicates declining WordPress market share for the first time ever, which is apparently caused by performance issues, increased complexity, and a lengthy yet unfinished release of the Full Site Editor.

May 16, 2022

May 15, 2022

Imagining Apple GamePod

This week I happened upon a YouTube video covering rumors or leaks about a potential new device from Apple that’s focused on playing games. The company may be developing its own hybrid handheld game console similar to the Nintendo Switch. What!?

May 11, 2022

iPod Had A Long Run

The iPod. After more than 20 years, its end is here. The popular line of Apple music players was discontinued this week and will only be sold while supplies last. The last version left is the dated iPod touch, which happens to be my favorite iPod of all.

May 5, 2022

Who Let The Blogs Out? Review

In the heyday of blogging, and the year (2004) Facebook first launched,
Who Let The Blogs Out? was published. Author Biz Stone’s answer was, of course, bloggers, along with the early pioneers of the first blogging platforms. Blogging meant anyone could post anything, since it enabled the masses to publish online and en masse, which coalesced into the blogosphere. I enjoyed reading about blogging, from the view atop its pinnacle and in the rearview following the proliferation of social media.

May 2, 2022

WordPress Plans New Middle Plan

It’s been about a month since WordPress radically altered the deal with new binary plans. Now there’s new word on its plans to introduce a new middle plan between the ‘free’ and ‘pro’ tier, along with other plans in the works.

A Future With Blogger

With WordPress shenanigans in April shaking up my blogging foundation, one alternate platform I’ve been wondering about is good old-fashioned Blogger, where anyone can still create — after 23 years! — a free blogspot domain through Google. But there’s the elephant-in-the-room question: if or when will Google sunset Blogger? I’ve tried to find a definitive answer.

April 28, 2022

How Books Are Better On Consoles

What if I told you there is a game console for books? I don’t mean you can shove a paperback into the cartridge slot of a game system and play it. I’m talking about a single purpose device designed to do one thing, but instead of playing games, it’s dedicated to reading books.

April 26, 2022

I Deleted Twitter

I've left the sky where the Tweets fly. Good-bye, Twitter. On April 26, 2022, I deleted my ten-year old Twitter account. Previously, when I had deleted Instagram or Facebook, I always held onto Twitter. But now I've let it go for good.

April 25, 2022

Newest Kindle Ticks The Right Boxes

Alright, time to talk Paperwhite. And time to upgrade some tech! Recently I shared that I had ditched my Kindle Paperwhite and switched to Apple Books for all my eReading needs, but then in the last week I rediscovered my Kindle and rekindled my long-form reading. That’s all good, but greater still is the
newest Kindle, which ticked all the right boxes I wish-listed years ago.

April 23, 2022

Kindle Rekindled Again

I’m not reading books on Kindle anymore, because…Apple!

I said something like that in late 2020 after getting a new-to-me iPhone. I dove headlong into the Apple camp — nice walled-garden that it is — and decided it was natural to simply use Apple Books on iPhone to read eBooks. So my Kindle Paperwhite sat in a drawer for 18 months, untouched. Until last week.

April 22, 2022

Social Media Disconnecting

Twitter? Signed out. Facebook? Logged off. It started a few days ago after noticing my frequent phone checking, which spurred a reality check. How did I get so hooked? It felt like brain drain. So Wednesday night, feeling staggered, I turned the key that arms the big red nuke button. I signed out of all my social media accounts and removed all links to them. I'm off.

April 21, 2022

Who Let The Blogs Out?

This week, I found an old book (copyright 2004) about blogging by Biz Stone, who helped create Xanga nearly two decades ago. Amazon was selling the paperback for $5 so I grabbed it.

April 20, 2022

Checking Out WordPress Alternatives

April started with quietly pushing new unwelcome plans with all-or-nothing pricing. Like many others, I’ve written about it (here and there). Besides causing much consternation, the change also caused me to start seeking another blogging platform just in case — still no word on the new a la carte options said to be coming. I’ve been sampling other services and will share where I’m at thus far. But first, a general word on paying for services.

April 16, 2022

Smartphone Addiction Reality Check

Mobile computing is a nice modern convenience. It’s also an encumbrance. I’m talking about the smartphone of course; it can do so much. In fact, it does more than Steve Jobs envisioned… For me, I’ve recently taken a couple steps to, uh, decouple a bit from my iPhone 8 Plus.

April 9, 2022

RPGamer Editorial April 2022

In my latest editorial at RPGamer, I share why RPGs should have overworlds and why I like them.

April 8, 2022

Jason Journals Launches On Twitter

Earlier this week, I took a new step forward with my blog, creating its very own Twitter profile. I had considered this before but never thought it was necessary or worth the extra management. Now, though, it seems fitting.

April 5, 2022

New WordPress Plans Don't Impress

WordPress has made its new plan changes official. The announcement covers the radical reduction to only two plans and includes somewhat clarifying information about related options. It’s nice to see this news properly addressed outside WordPress forums. And it really looks like WP is listening to its customers and adjusting some of its new plan offerings. But...

April 2, 2022

WordPress Plan Changes Concerning

Surprise! In a non-telegraphed move, WordPress launched a new plan pricing paradigm recently. Brought to my attention by fellow blogger Aywren Sojourner, I looked at the plan tier updates to see what’s up. As things now stand, I don’t like what I see. In fact, this sudden and unwelcome plan pivot moved me to begin checking out other options in the greater blogging space.

April 1, 2022

Backup Your World

Yesterday, March 31st, was World Backup Day. Funny thing is, I was already thinking about and planning some new backup strategies for my household.

March 29, 2022

Alita Battle Angel Impression

For the first time, I recently watched the movie called Alita Battle Angel. Somehow this one didn’t stick out to me when released in theaters in 2019. I noticed the 4K version was on sale so I got it; glad I did.

March 25, 2022

I Am Setsuna Backlogged

Thanks to a generous sale, I added another RPG to my backlog this week. I am Setsuna has been on my wishlist for a while now, and it moved to the front burner this week when I found a new positive review of the game at The-Pixels. Later, when I looked and saw the game was 50% off, my Switch’s memory card welcomed the new download.

March 23, 2022

A Tome About Japanese Role-Playing Games

The only game guides I ever bought were thin magazine-like booklets, having stratagems for one game…until last year. That’s when I discovered Bitmap Books and their awesome tome A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. Here’s your up front call to action: if you’re a fan of the RPG genre and are able to purchase this wonderful reference book, do yourself a favor and order it a.s.a.p. You will not be disappointed.

March 22, 2022

A Group Of Switch RPGs

After five years in service, Nintendo recently added the ability to create groups (folders) on the Switch – hooray! Though I never felt my Switch library was a chaotic mess, the new feature is a welcome one.

March 21, 2022

Traveling The Octopath

Lately, my gaming time has been in Octopath Traveler. I’m looking for a good pause point so I can resume Bravely Default II and make more progress there. In any case, I’m enjoying both games greatly.

March 13, 2022

The Great JRPG Showdown!

One way to enjoy JRPGs — when not playing them — is to geek out about them with other role-playing enthusiasts. In that fun spirit comes The Great JRPG Showdown! It’s a collab between bloggers Pix1001 (Shoot the Rookie) and Winst0lf (Winst0lf Portal), who have teamed up to ask:

What are your top five JRPGs?

March 12, 2022

Apple Turns It Up To Ultra

This week, Apple showed how it plans to increase its staggering trillion-dollar market cap, by cranking up their custom microprocessors to ever higher nose-bleed altitudes and cranking them out in more devices than ever.

March 11, 2022

Time To Trigger A New RPG

Distinguished developer Square Enix is celebrating the 35th anniversary of Final Fantasy. Time flies! No need to remind me how old wise and mature I'm growing. I'm grateful I was a youth during the SNES RPG days. But here's the wild thing: though I played FFVI (FFIII in the west)...

March 6, 2022

Another Xenoblade Arrives

What do RPG enthusiasts do when a new RPG arrives? They become more enthusiastic, right? Well, I'm excited and happy to share that I recently received a new game in my mailbox. It comes at a good time because another game in the series is set to arrive in September this year, and it's one that I'm sure many are excited for.

March 3, 2022

A Word On Wordle

Maybe you’ve heard of this thing called, Wordle. I started playing it in January this year, and now I look forward to a new word everyday. It combines gaming and writing (well, you know, words). So I like it of course.

March 1, 2022

Apple TV+ Severance Like Twilight Zone

No major spoilers, but there are minor ones.

After watching the first episode of Severance, a new thriller series on Apple TV+, I was wholly ready for more; no schism in my mind. The show’s creepy and mysterious vibe reminds me of the Twilight Zone.

February 26, 2022

Blog Theme Revert

Just a quick update here. I updated my blog theme again, but this time I’ve reverted back to the previous theme I used, Canard. Nothing like a slick coat of fresh paint, eh?

February 23, 2022

Beyond 400 Posts

This one is meta; I recently surpassed 400 published posts. Nice. 
My main goal in blogging has been consistency. I measure writing on a regular basis by about one post per week on average or four posts per month. This is my loose personal minimum. Overall, I’ve met that frequency and achieved my goal. And I plan to continue well beyond.

February 21, 2022

A Folding iPhone Is Flatly Unattractive

A recent
report about Apple making a foldable phone reminded me: I don’t care for such a thing. That might sound like a surprise coming from a tech geek, but fancy new gadget tech isn’t necessarily good. The report talks about a potential folding iPhone from Apple and mentions the possibility of a folding notebook. With a phone being small and a notebook being big, there are different ways to view folding screen technology.

February 20, 2022

A Fitting New Adventure

Most of my gameplay is within the RPG genre; I just love engrossing stories with fun and addicting battle systems. Currently, Bravely Default II and Octopath Traveler are scratching that itch for me. Alas, yesterday I started yet another new adventure, but it’s not an RPG. There is an adventure to be had and monsters to deal with, so maybe it’s RPG-adjacent. Maybe not though. Without doubt, it’s a fitting title for me nonetheless; it’s Ring Fit Adventure for the Switch!

February 17, 2022

RPGamer Editorial February 2022 - Two

Following recent news of the next version of RPG Maker set to release this year, I wrote about what it means to me and others in the RPG Maker community.

February 12, 2022

Facebook Is Dwindling

Over the years, I’ve blogged a lot about Facebook and my back-and-forth use of it. I’ve quit and rejoined several times, and I’ve written against the social media network, especially amidst its many controversies. Now it looks like the decline of Facebook is official, but its demise has been and will likely remain distant.

February 10, 2022

RPGamer Editorial February 2022 - One

This month saw a big Direct presentation from Nintendo, featuring many upcoming games. I wrote a piece covering the newly revealed RPGs soon coming to Switch.

January 29, 2022

RPGamer Editorial January 2022

Recently, I realized something special about modern sprite-filled games. In this month’s editorial at RPGamer, I write about how the eye candy of today’s pixel-styled RPGs goes beyond regular nostalgia. Special thanks to staff members Alex and Pascal for proofing/editing my draft. Check it out!

January 15, 2022

RCS Messaging Misses The Point

News about Apple’s and Google’s messaging services simmers on the front burner. Two different views in particular stood out to me yesterday,
one from long-time Apple writer John Gruber and one from Android writer JR Raphael. Both offer good points and are worth your time to read. They got me to suspect that the RCS text standard won’t succeed — which led to a related thought experiment — then another piece by Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica confirmed my suspicion.

January 10, 2022

Hate To Burst Your Bubble Color

Recent news about division stemming from Apple’s iMessage app caught my attention this week. There’s a general notion that Apple discriminates against Google, or that iPhone discriminates against Android; I’ve got some thoughts on that. This is about the long-standing difference between iMessage texts, which are blue, and standard SMS/MMS texts, which are green.

January 9, 2022

Settling My Setup

The past year has been a computer smorgasbord. Last summer, my main computer was a nice Chromebook, but it gave way to an iPad. It’s more computer-like than ever, and I enjoyed making it my primary device. That said, I hesitated to publish a post — in draft for months — about switching up my setup. Why? Because I wanted to be sure I was going to stick with the iPad and that it would work long-term for me. Things were going well until a Windows PC gaming laptop entered the mix and I slowly gravitated to it. Now I believe I’ve settled my setup with one of Apple’s best devices yet: the M1 MacBook Air.

January 4, 2022

New Year New Computer

Howdy, y’all, and happy new year! What’s new in ’22? For starters, I did a thing. It’s part of my recent computer workflow upheaval. I’m doing some switching even though I tried to avoid it, but it makes sense. I still love to use my iPad, though certain things work better on a full computer like our Windows 11 gaming laptop. One thing led to another and…I ordered a MacBook!