Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose – T minus 3 days

Three more days and I couldn’t be more excited!

Three more days to Grand Prix San Jose, and with it the chance to interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of Magic enthusiasts! How cool is that?

Three more days, and I’m so busy getting ready that I feel like this:

Busy like a Gecko!

Living life on the Edge (or the screen, rather) getting ready for #gpsj

Been so busy, I’ve missed a few days of blog updates; not to worry – I’m back with a blog post – and I have great progress to report.

A few highlights, then back to work:

  • “https:// protection” – after a three grueling sessions of phone contact with Amazon AWS tech support I have finally protected the main domain with an SSL certificate. Not out of the woods yet, but the end is in sight. Two hours talking on Friday night, then a three hour followed by a final one hour session with Amazon. They were great, and I take a lot of responsibility for the slowness – I have some OS issues, some ‘peculiarities-of-hosting’ problems and the inability, initially to allow screen-sharing with the tech. Clearly I am not cut out to be an IT/sysadmin guy. I still have an issue with my jquery-mobile not rendering properly because it has been stored on CDN – gotta host it locally and the ‘https://’ task will be complete! Yay!
  • Graphics (the design) – can’t have a ‘naked’ booth at #gpsj, right? Spent some quality time with my friend and go-to graphic designer, Jeremiah, who helped with some posters, a banner and some logo updates – high quality work from him; the stuff will look great!
  • Graphics (the printing thereof) – dropped the several jobs off at Feathers Photo, a great print shop right here in Santa Clarita

Well, that’s enough for now – gotta get back to work!

Make sure to stop by the Zejoop booth at the Event; looking forward to seeing you!

Zejoop is Going to GP San Jose! – T minus 11 days

One would think that making the commitment to attend Grand Prix San Jose as a gaming lifestyle vendor would be the end of a long process of preparation, and cause to kick back and relax – let the good times roll! Well, let me tell you, such is NOT the case. Deciding as much marks the beginning of just another phase of getting ready. Not to worry though; the chance to interact with the gaming community is unquestionably AWESOME!

As for the checklist of things to do. There are several categories: Software readiness, marketing readiness, art readiness and “people” readiness. For the moment I’ll focus on software readiness.

Not to reveal too much under-the-hood, but as far along as Zejoop.com is, considering it is still Beta, there remains a lot to be done.

For example, while in development to this point, the workflow of planning an event has assumed a single, straight-ahead path. That’s all well and good, unless the organizer wants to save a draft of the event, and come back and edit it later. Things such as changing the event details, or updating the list of invitees prior to sending out the invitations, are just being added now. That takes time – but, progress is happening!

Also the code still has some diagnostic alerts and whatnot; those have to be identified and removed.

Perhaps most importantly though, and I hope we can still be friends after I make this admission, but the site itself needs to be protected by encryption and an SSL certificate. Never had to do that before – now I do! Have to learn that real quick. Fortunately securing the certificate from, BlueHost, my domain registrar, was pretty straightforward, and come tomorrow, the imprimatur of SSL protection will be a done deal (assuming that is, that the tutorials I will rely on are easy to follow). It will be done – I am success oriented!

So there you have it; a blog post with a little bit of info, some behind the scenes stuff, and a little bit of soul-searching and the humble confession of a learning-as-I-go software developer.

All of this to keep you up-to-date, and ultimately, to extend the invitation – Come visit the Zejoop booth at the event. Learn what Zejoop has to offer to help you get together with your friends, have fun, and game!

Moving Forward with Zejoop

There have been several articles out of VentureBeat the last few days that need further examination for their application to the evolving business model and implementation approach for Zejoop. Here they are:

I need to fully absorb these later, but the gist of the first article is e-commerce prevails over ads, etcetera for monetization. This is good news at first glance because a primary channel for Zejoop is affiliate-link sales based on the “type” of event planned. Of course, no option is off the table, but it is good to know that my first instinct was good.

The second article asserts the importance of creating your app in such a way that it appeals to youth and that it is properly packaged in a slick mobile implementation. Well, of course, I knew this, but I needed to hear it again, clearly stated, right now. The implication for Zejoop is huge. By necessity, the way that I am learning to be a software developer, and due to my choice of the Java-based application framework Grails, I have basically built a fully capable desktop version of Zejoop that happens to have a reasonable, but not optimum mobile version attached. I’ve built desktop browser first, and have gotten mobile almost as an afterthought – passable but not as slick as it needs to be.

Fortunately, I have found that there are possible paths forward to get great mobile even from my starting point without needing to start over. A good discussion to that effect is here:

Hidden in that discussion are links to Grails plugins that will/may hopefully facilitate such a transition. Here are links to GitHub repositories and requisite documentation:
That’s enough for now. Sorry if this is not your cup-of-tea; I have indulged here somewhat, making a post that I’ll find useful for me, but for you, not so much, maybe.


Zejoop “tokens” Concept Development

Steve: Here are the samples you asked for to assist you in continuity, such as it is. Note that my primary goal is to make functional, reasonably appealing tokens for use by players for the express purpose of promoting Zejoop. I am not selling the art aspect – art is a means to an end, and nothing has to be perfect, especially on this tight schedule I’ve got. NOTE that soon, perhaps as early as 8 to 12 weeks, there MAY be another opportunity to make another set of similar tokens tied to the next set in the Theros block. If I/we want to do this again, we can devote more attention to more refined artwork next time. With regard specifically to the Elemental token, I am more interested in presenting a good “horse” than I am with a “water elemental horse” – staying consistent with the specific treatment used by the original artist’s approach. A good, simple, take on a horse, would be great…. thanks Steve!


Boar -in-work (ball point pen, on white printer paper, with 5 value gray scale marker) – NOTE: final MAY be done on cream or manila paper

copyright - Michael Jay LaRue

one soldier and one golem (not sure which is which yet) – there are both a white and a red soldier token and I am not sure if I will bother to both… these are likely “final” except for cleanup – both are charcoal on newsprint

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com

This is the Harpy (in-work) – currently black ball point on white printer paper – FINAL may be done on cream or manila paper using the 5 value marker style

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com


– and finally, “harpy” concept development… black ball point on white printer paper.. just trying to find a style, settling on the version above, for now.

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com

copyright Michael Jay LaRue, www. Zejoop.com