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Joen Asmussen
Works at Automattic
Lives in Espergærde
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Wrangling design, usability and data
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  • Automattic
    Design wrangler, 2010 - present
  • Noscope
    Self-employed, 2007 - 2010
  • Titoonic
    Project lead, 2002 - 2007
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Design wrangler at Automattic.
Introduction
I believe in gravity, the moon landing, and well-mixed White Russians.
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
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Espergærde
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Copenhagen - Hørsholm - Nykøbing Falster - Hellebæk - Ljungby, Sverige - Lagan, Sverige
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Joen Asmussen

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The eighties are back. Though this album was made in 2015, nothing about it feels recent, down to and including its release on cassette. Listening to this album takes me decades back to a time when I built model airplanes. It's pretty amazing.

It's also so incredible sugary that were it any more sweet I'd dip it in my coffee. Duett may be an acquired taste, but if you have a musical sweet tooth, give their latest album Borderline a listen.

https://m.soundcloud.com/duettmusic/sets/duett-borderline
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Joen Asmussen

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My Star Wars re-watch completes for the time being, with Return of the Jedi. I like this movie a lot — like Empire it feels expansive with locations, battles and moments in general. And until we learned that there would be a sequel trilogy, it served as a very fitting end to the entire story.

Perhaps more so than the previous installments, this film shows just how important John Williams score is. I doubt the importance of the music can be overstated, it feels almost as if the movie could be far worse than it is, and still work based solely on how good the music is. Were I grumpier, I could point to the prequels as an example of this. One moment that specifically reminded me of the power of Williams score was the piece that plays when Vader finally goads Luke into fighting him, by discovering that he has a sister. It resonates on an emotional level unlike many other musical scores do.

It also reminds me I'd love to see Lando Calrissian return, even if in a cameo!

Another thing I noticed was the special edition tweaks — specifically the inserted song and dance number in Jabba's palace. Pretty terrible. It reminded me that Empire Strikes Back, despite the rephrased speech the emperor gives, is probably the film that "took the least damage" from the tweaks. Just another reason why Empire is still my favorite.

Perhaps I'll watch the de-specialized editions next. 
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Remix OS is an Android fork created for a tiny device called "Remix Mini", which is a $70 device that puts Android on any screen. On the heels of a Chrome OS/Android merger rumor, I find this intriguing. It looks fully baked, and visually resembles an amalgam of Android, Chrome OS and Windows 10.

To me it shows that the patterns are there for a fully responsive OS that works on multiple viewports. More importantly, it shows that it's possible to bring Android to the desktop in a way that makes sense. Imagine this on the Pixel C.

2016 is going to be an interesting year. 
Last year at CES, we mocked a company called Jide for creating a blatant Microsoft Surface clone. Well, this year they've come back with something new — and they've also returned much richer. See,...
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I Want To Believe.

But seriously, wouldn't it be interesting of Pons and Fleischman were exonerated of their bad reputation, after 25 years? 
Is cold fusion truly impossible, or is it just that no respectable scientist can risk their reputation working on it?
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Joen Asmussen

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Soft-key navigation is a bad idea. And it pains me to say that. I personally love the Android soft-key system: it's pretty, it can be contextual so it hides when I'm watching a fullscreen movie, and it enables slimmer bezels on the device.

But the more I watch my daughter play Toca Boca games, the more I realize how broken the concept of soft-keys on a tablet is, and how it's probably not fixable. Capacitative isn't even good enough, it has to be the physical kind that clicks and unfortunately breaks after a while.

She slides her finger around the screen and invokes the systembar by accident all the time. Prior to Android M she'd invoke Google Now using the upward swipe and wail at me to fix it. App pinning is a bandaid that grew better in Android M, but it's still a pain to invoke, and it doesn't accomodate the situation where she wants to stop playing Hair Salon and start playing Restaurant.

I really loathe how Apple overloaded the home button. It responds to click, double click, triple click, longpress, even double tap. Oh, and it's a fingerprint scanner. But no matter, it clicks, and my daughter knows exactly how to move around the system. I really hate that I've come to this realization.

Boo soft-keys :(
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+Jeremy Herve It really sucks for the future of Android tablets :( — I can't think of any fix except for actually making physical buttons again... such a bummer. 
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Joen Asmussen

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The new Star Wars is masterfully crafted. I really enjoyed it. And that's all I'll say on it for I don't know how long, so as to not spoil anything.

Incidentally this means I can use the internet again.
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Joen Asmussen

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On Hangouts possibly removing the SMS sending feature. The rumors have been ongoing for a while now, and usually where there's smoke there's a fire. I think this'll probably happen in some way or other. But I'm not sure it's going to happen through a simple Hangouts divorce. I think there's more going on here. Let's talk a bit about the ingredients.

SMS is a horribly obsolete technology. At $0.20 per SMS, that comes to $383,000 per gigabyte. In a world where you can often video-call anyone on the planet for cheap or free, that's bonkers. SMS exists in part because it's such a good deal for carriers, in part because it's still the most bulletproof cross-platform way to send text. For this reason, it made sense to me to merge SMS into Hangouts — treat it like the subset of more modern technologies that it is.

The problem with SMS in Hangouts has been the actual implementation. The UI isn't great, and "merged" conversations hasn't worked out in a seamless manner.

As many issues as Apple have had with "iMessage", it seems like they had the right idea. A rethink down this path, is probably what Google should consider in whatever future efforts they have.

Hangouts used to be the name for the video communication service that launched with Google Plus. When it launched, it was an amazing feat — suddenly making video calls was an everyday feature. It was easier to setup than Skype, and in many ways it worked better too.

However it seems that it just hasn't improved materially since then, except for making it less plugin dependant. While video hangouts are still excellent, the company I work for has ditched it entirely in favor of zoom.us, a paid service, for only two reasons: it features a slightly better UI, and it doesn't drain your battery or get your fans spinning.

So video hangouts, arguably the biggest reason for the existance of the merged Hangouts app in the first place, is losing momentum.

What's left? The messaging service powered by Google Talk is left. It always worked reasonably well, no beef here. But it still requires the recipient is using Hangouts. And like mentioned before, if you send a message hoping the recipient is on Hangouts, you can't be completely sure they received it or not — and there's no SMS fallback.

It feels to me like all of Googles communication services are in need of a reboot altogether. I don't know whether this will mean separate apps — the tech is probably cleaner that way — or another new merged effort. What it boils down to is that we need to be able to text, voice and video communicate to as many people as possible, with as little effort as possible. It's a tall order, but perhaps merging Hangouts, SMS and Google Talk is not the solution.

It really is true, 2016 is going to be an interesting year. 
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Since watching The Force Awakens (no spoilers), I've resumed my Star Wars rewatch with The Empire Strikes Back, and it didn't take a long time to be reminded why this is my favorite.

Despite having seen this a million times, this film just hits all the marks: battles, locations, ideas and human moments. Despite spanning pretty widely on those levels, as soon as Leia and Han leave Hoth on the Millennium Falcon a very personal story starts, which feels remarkably relaxed considering the the amount of story in this film.

A nice little moment is when the Falcon latches on to a Star Destroyer (since the hyperdrive is broken), and Han explains they'll detach and float away when the Star Destroyers let go of their trash prior to Hyperspace. It's a long conversation, with music only at the end. It doesn't feel hurried or oversaturated — it just plays out, nicely and slowly. It's feels like a film from a better time, which in some ways it is. 
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There's a lot that I love about Nintendo and the Wii U. That company knows games, it's hard to deny them that. But when it comes to software in general, there's a lot of room for improvement.

Latest case in point, if you accidentally start the wrong game from the launcher, you have to wait until it loads and sit through the splash screen, before you can tap the home button. Because if you tap it before, while things are still loading, you get a lock icon on your screen.

Incidentally, longpressing the power button to turn off the console, and then turn it on again, is faster than waiting for a game to load.

Can you imagine if launching apps on the Android was like this? 
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Super Mario Maker bookmarks are live. Here's my profile link, go on ahead and give me some stars :)

I grew up playing Super Mario games, and I always wanted to make my own levels, so this is a game made for me. I've been enjoying evenings building levels these past months.
Super Mario Maker Bookmark is a website that lets you search for Super Mario Maker courses and creators, bookmark courses to play later in the Super Mario Maker game, and share courses and creators via social media!
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I'm increasingly unsure whether Han really should shoot first. A recent-ish comment by George Lucas has made me reconsider my previous very staunch stance that yeah man, of course Han Shot First™.

A quick summary: in the first 1977 version, Han shot Greedo, Greedo didn't shoot at all.

In the 1997 Special Edition, Greedo shot first, and missed, then Han shot.

In the 2004 DVD Edition, Han and Greedo basically shot at the same time, Solo doing a little awkward "bounce" with his head to avoid the laser.

I also want to be clear, only the 1977 version of these "works" as a scene. The 1997 version makes Han a bit too lucky to avoid the laser bolt at point blank range, and the 2004 version while it has Han actually dodge the laser bolt, it just looks completely fake and hey — it's a laser, it's theoretically millions of times faster than a bullet, and you couldn't dodge a bullet either.

Here's the quote from Lucas that's made me reconsider things:

"Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, 'Should he be a cold-blooded killer?'" Lucas explains. "I was thinking mythologically -- should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne?"

I've always been of the opinion that Solo was a roughened up scoundrel who smuggled to make ends meet, and that came with knowledge of the criminal underground. He had to do what he had to do to live. That's why he shot first. It was "realistic" in a way, and it also seemed to make his "redemption" when he joined the Death Star battle that much more poignant.

However, it still had him be a cold-blooded killer, as Lucas pointed out. Truly thinking about it, it makes Solo a douchebag and not the hero that deserves a medal at the end (give it to Chewie, why don't you?). I know Greedo was a douchebag gun for hire, but what if he had kids? What if he just did what he had to do to make ends meet?

I'm still unconvinced where I stand on this. Undecided. As of right now neither the 1977, 1997 or 2004 version of this scene feels right to me. 

#starwars
Ahead of the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars' creator George Lucas has revealed why he made one of the most controversial edits in cinema history -- why Han Solo didn't shoot first
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Joen Asmussen

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I'm at Episode 4 of my Star Wars rewatch. And about time too, I'm watching Episode 7 in 3 hours hallelujah. Incidentally that means I'll have to rewatch 5 and 6 (my two favorites) at a later time, I'll be fine it's not like it's the first time I watch those.

Coming directly from Episode 3 to 4 is quite a big contrast. Not so much necessarily in acting and cheesiness, which especially when watching Episode 2 was something I think would be jarring — the acting in 4, in many places, feels quirky and inconsistent and awkward, almost as if you're watching actors trying to act. It's probably the, for 1977, rather unusual source material.

No the biggest contrast is actually in the style of film itself. The change from squeaky clean and digitally perfect recording to 1977 film with its grain and artifacts and to off-center blur and lens effects.

Movies are never perfect, and don't necessarily need fixing. But I doubt Episodes 1-3, due to the fact that they were shot digitally, can ever be "fixed" to truly feel coherent with 4-6. 
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