March 2020

Tap the photo to see it at full size, man.


Free plague films: “Hackers” (1995)

by Joey deVilla on March 30, 2020

Still from the fim “Hackers” where the titular hackers are rollerblading through the streets of Manhattan

It’s silly, dated, and full of the kind of fakety-fake techno-cheese that were the trademark of “hacker” movies of the 1990s, but the 1995 film Hackers is still a guilty pleasure. I find myself willing to suspend my disbelief about their depiction of the tech scene of that era, the motivations of some of the characters, Penn Jillette as a pushover cybersecurity specialist, and the way the movie shows computers in general.

However, there’s one thing where my suspension of disbelief comes to a crashing halt: The way the film tries to portray rollerblading as cool.

It’s on YouTube — legally, even! — as part of YouTube Movies, and you can view it for free; you just have to put up with some ads:


Stranger than fiction

by Joey deVilla on March 30, 2020

Two photos: 1. Still from “Idiocracy” with Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) explaining something to President Camacho (Terry Crews). 2. Photo of White House press conference with Dr. Anthony Fauci explaining something as Trump looks on.

Idiocracy was fun to watch, but less fun to live in.


Tap the image to see it at full size.

The Social Distancing Sing-Alongs have been great fun. The first one, being a last-minute thing, was limited to mostly people from our corner, with everyone staying on their lawns and reasonably distant from each other.

However, I noticed that at the following Sunday’s event, people who very clearly weren’t from the same household were congregating together rather closely, which is the exact opposite of what social distancing is all about. Yes, we all want to get together and hang out — doubly so in tightly-knit communities like the one we have here in Seminole Heights — but the last thing I want to do is cause people to spread the disease we’re trying to contain.

This next event, which has been moved to Sunday, April 5 will still happen, and for the sake of public safety, it’ll happen purely online.

Want to watch it? It’ll be on Facebook Live on my page — — on Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. EDT.


“The Martian”: a YouTube audiobook

by Joey deVilla on March 28, 2020

If you need something to fill up about ten hours’ time, may I recommend this YouTube audiobook version of Andy Weir’s book The Martian? As is typical, the book is considerably more detailed and science-filled than the film, and the book version of Mark Watney goes through even more ordeals than the Matt Damon version:

This is a fan reading of the book. It features women actors reading women characters’ parts, and isn’t a pirated copy of the official audiobook from Audible. It’s also enhanced with visuals, many of which come from the film, for those of you who need pictures with your books.

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

As I write this, I’m working furiously on finishing updates to a book — iOS Apprentice, 8th Edition — at my indoor home office, pictured above. I’ve got the audiobook on in the background; there’s something about listening to The Martian that helps me chug along. It’s probably the story of smart people coming up with creative solutions to problems that’s inspiring me. I hope it inspires you too, no matter what challenges you’re taking on.


Even COVID-19 can’t kill this meme

by Joey deVilla on March 27, 2020


An easy way to estimate social distance

by Joey deVilla on March 26, 2020

You can also image how deep they’ll be buried as use that as a gauge for social distance.

Thanks to Liz Lawley for the find!