Changing The Platform in 2019

The website has undergone many different platform changes over the last ten years: Joomla! to WordPress to Pelican. I was never satisfied with any of them for one reason or another. I therefore changed the platform every three years or so. With a new year upon us, I’ve decided to switch back to WordPress.

Unlike eight years ago when I had WordPress installed, WordPress has matured considerably so much that I now enjoy using it. I’m also planning to consolidate my retired WordPress blogs under one domain, making this platform change semi-permanent. For now. We will see what happens in 2022. Old and new content will be going up slowly in the coming months.

My newest content can be found on YouTube, Twitter and Medium in that order (most active to least active). Be sure to follow me on each platform.

4 MUST HAVE iPhone 8/XR/11 Accessories For $50

Last week Apple announced the new iPhone 11, Pro and Pro Max, and reduced prices on the older iPhone 8 and iPhone XR. Like many people this time of year, you might be planning to get or have already upgraded to a new iPhone. Your new iPhone will need new accessories to go with it, and that can get downright expensive.

When I got my iPhone 6s in 2015, I spent $80 USD on a clear case and screen protectors. When I got my iPhone XR last week, I could have spent another $80 USD on the exact same accessories. This time I went shopping on Amazon to find some great deals. While several of the accessories that I mention are specific to the iPhone XR, you can find similar accessories for other iPhone models at the same price or a few dollars more.

Mkeke iPhone XR Clear Case

The first accessory that I got was the Mkeke iPhone XR Clear Case for $9 USD. A similar clear case at the Apple Store would have cost $40 USD. What’s the point of getting the iPhone in a certain color, say, PRODUCT (RED), and covering it up in a plain old case? A clear case will show off the color while protecting the iPhone from the occasional drop to the sidewalk. A clear case, however, will not protect the iPhone dropped from a tall building, run over by a car or shot by a bullet. There are plenty of other cases that will provide much better protection for a much higher price.

Mkeke Screen Protector

The second accessory is the Mkeke Screen Protector for the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 at $7 USD.  A similar screen protector in the Apple Store will cost $40 USD. If you ever apply a screen protector, it can be a PITA to get it to line up and squeeze out all the bubbles. I like this kit because it has a frame that goes on top of the iPhone for lining up the screen protector over the screen. Despite wiping down the screen with the included cloth, alcohol wipe and sticky film beforehand, it still took me a half-dozen attempts to apply the screen protector just right.

Anker PowerWave Pad Wireless Charger

The third accessory is the Anker PowerWave Pad Wireless Charger, a one-pack is $13 USD and a two-pack are $24 USD. The wireless charger is compatible with all models of the iPhone 8, XR and 11. You charge the iPhone by placing it on the charging pad and leaving it for a while. Please note that wireless charging is slower than charging with the lightning cable. If your iPhone need a fast charge, plug it into the lightning cable. I got the two-pack to have a wireless charger pad at my desk and my nightstand.

Brescia Headphones/Charger Adapter

The fourth and final accessory is the Brescia Headphones/Charger Adapter for $10 USD. The Apple Store has a headphones-only adapter for $9 USD. Since the iPhone no longer has a headphone jack, you will need a headphone-to-lightning adapter. This accessory for a dollar more adds a lightning port to let you listen to your headphones while charging your iPhone or iPad at the same time.

These are my four MUST HAVE iPhone accessories for $50 on Amazon.

Why I Didn’t Pre-Order iPhone 11 to Upgrade iPhone 6s

On the same day that Apple announced the new iPhone 11, Pro and Pro Max, I went to my local Apple Store to trade in my four-year-old iPhone 6s for last year’s iPhone XR. You may recall that I posted a video last October that I wasn’t pre-ordering the iPhone XR to upgrade my iPhone 6s. Sprint wasn’t offering any great deals. Not then, not now. My choices were pre-ordering the iPhone XR for $750 USD or keeping my iPhone 6s for another year. Fast forward a year later… Why did I trade in my iPhone 6s for the iPhone XR and not the newer iPhone 11?

There are three reasons why I traded in my iPhone 6s for the iPhone XR this year.

Apple Had A Better Deal

With Apple offering a $100 USD trade-in value for the iPhone 6s, and discounting the iPhone XR by $150 USD, I could get a brand new iPhone for $500 USD. Not only was that a $250 USD savings over last year’s price, $500 USD was a number that I felt comfortable paying for out of pocket. I could have gotten the iPhone 11 for $600 USD, but that extra $100 USD would have impacted other financial priorities for this month.

iPhone XR/11 Are The Same

While the iPhone 11 has slightly newer hardware specs for cameras, processor and wireless, it’s not that different from the iPhone XR. Because the iPhone 11 is the newer iPhone, it may have issues on release that Apple will have to fix in time. Since the iPhone XR has been out for nearly a year, every issue that it had upon release is already fixed in iOS. If you got the iPhone XR last year, there’s no reason to get the iPhone 11 this year. Unless you want one of the new colors that the iPhone 11 comes in.

If the iPhone 11 purple was in a very, very dark shade of purple, say, eggplant purple, I would have paid an extra $100 USD for that. I paid $200 extra for the black MacBook when it first came out in 2006. A great laptop that I used for eight years before Apple dropped support for 32-bit processors. The iPhone 11 purple was a washed-out pastel purple. I got the iPhone XR in Product (RED) since I’ve always wanted this color and it supports a good cause.

Needed A New iPhone Now

After having the iPhone 6s for four years, I wasn’t going to wait another 10 days to pay an extra $100 to test the iPhone 11 for Apple. Apple, if you want to sponsor my channel, follow me on Twitter and send me a DM. I have the iPhone XR for five days and I absolutely love the larger screen, faster performance and reliable Face ID. The only hiccup that I had was with the Apple Card not appearing in the Wallet on the iPhone XR. After I updated iOS to version 12.4.1, the Apple Card appeared in the Wallet and everything was fine.

If you still have an iPhone 6s after so many years, now is a good time to upgrade to the iPhone XR, or the iPhone 11 if you want to become an unpaid product tester for Apple.

Are You Ready for The Area 51 Naruto Run?

If you missed out on attending AlienCon Los Angeles like I did last month, there’s a new “alien con” taking place on Friday, September 20, 2019. The Area 51 Naruto Run in the southern Nevada desert. Over one million people will storm Area 51 to find the aliens and the UFOs that the US government stashed away since the 1947 crash in Roswell, New Mexico. The plan is for everyone to meet at the Area 51 Alien Center on US-95. During the wee hours of the morning, everyone will travel to surround Area 51 from every direction. If you perform the Naruto Run just right, you should outrun the bullets as military personnel tries to stop everyone from seeing those aliens. If you can’t outrun the bullets, you will die knowing that the Area 51 Naruto Run was one of the greatest “alien con” you have ever attended.

If you haven’t already figured it out yet, the “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us” on Facebook is a parody meme that too many people are taking too seriously. The parody meme started off as a joke by California college student, Matty Roberts, on June 27, 2019. Over a million people indicated a commitment or an interest in storming Area 51 in the first three days that the page went live. No one expects a million people to show up at Area 51 on Friday, September 20, 2019. The US Air Force and local authorities, however, are taking seriously that too many people will show up anyway.

What is the Area 51 Naruto Run? 

Area 51 is the popular nickname for the top-secret US Air Force training base at Groom Lake, 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A very small area that is also downwind from the Nevada Test Site for testing nuclear weapons. Both Area 51 and the Nevada Test Site are within the Nellis Air Force Range for training combat pilots with the use of live weapons. The entire region is a no trespass zone for civilians and unauthorized military personnel.

The development of the U-2 during the 1950s gave Area 51 its reputation for Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs. The sleek Lockheed aircraft had an unusual design for aircraft of that era, flew 65,000 feet above the earth, and the pilot wore a spaceman-like pressure suit. With the U-2 and other experimental aircraft flying above the Nevada desert, people reported strange lights and unusual sounds in the skies above. Military and government officials refer to UFOs as “weather balloons” or “natural phenomena”. In fact, the UFO mythology of the last 70 years may have been “fake news” created by the government to cover up new aircraft than anything from out of this world.

As I pointed out in my AlienCon 2016 review video, UFO fans are different than science fiction and fantasy fans. They are true believers who are serious about what they believe. When the CIA declassified documents in 2013 that officially recognized Area 51, UFO fans camped out on the Extraterrestrial Highway with the hope of seeing an extraterrestrial flyby. With the Internet siren call for non-believers to storm Area 51, UFO fans will have no choice but to show up and get in on the action.

The Area 51 Naruto Run will not be a moonwalk. The southern Nevada desert at the end of summer is going to be very hot with temperatures over 100F degrees. Water, restrooms and cellphone reception are nowhere to be found. The sheriff department will use tear gas and rubber bullets to breakup the crowds. Military personnel can use real bullets, if necessary, to stop trespassers. 

In 2014, a tour bus inadvertently drove past the warning sign that they were entering Area 51. They were soon pulled over by military personal without incident. The passengers inside the tour bus thought that the stop was part of the tour. Until the sheriff deputies arrived to escort them off the base and cite them for trespassing.

In 2016, a BBC TV film crew of a dozen people deliberately trespassed into Area 51. A half-dozen guards had them handcuffed and laid face down on the ground for three hours. They later learned that 20 additional guards have driven up from the base, an Apache attack helicopter was monitoring the situation from the air two miles away, and Washington called London to report the security breach. After they were individually escorted from the base, the sheriff department cited them for trespassing and government agents in unmarked cars followed them around for days. 

Earlier this year a man drove past a security checkpoint, stopped eight miles inside Area 51, and refused verbal orders to surrender. He was shot dead. Except for the official PR statement, no other information was available about who this person was or why he was at Area 51.

The Naruto Run is a Japanese meme based on the anime series called Naruto, about a young boy training to be a ninja. One of his ninja powers is the ability to run super-fast by leaning forward with his arms behind him to reduce air drag. The Naruto Run as a real-life event became popular in Japan and elsewhere since 2017, as hundreds of people ran like this anime character.

I used to run like that in kindergarten, but I was holding my jacket back and screaming, “Batman!”

Keep in mind that the fastest human can sprint 40 MPH. A real bullet can travel up to 1,700 MPH. When storming Area 51, the bullets will be coming towards you as you run towards the bullets. It’s going to hurt like a sumbitch for those on the front line. If you want to survive long enough to see those aliens, stay away from the front line and stay far back as possible to let others fall for the cause.

I was never into Naruto as an anime series. I was more into Please Teacher, about a female teacher who had a romantic relationship with a high school student. Before you jump to conclusions, the teacher was a half-human observer from outer space and the high school student was an 18-year-old suffering from a rare medical condition that made him look younger than he was. While their relationship as next door neighbors and in the classroom were questionable, it was all appropriate in the eye of the law.

The Area 51 Alien Center on US-95 is about 75 miles southwest of Area 51. This is not the Alien Research Center on NV-375, otherwise known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, that is nearby to Area 51. The Area 51 Alien Center is not a museum and souvenir shop but is probably the only alien-themed whorehouse on the planet. As a reminder, prostitution is legal in Nevada. If storming Area 51 ends up in a bust, you might have better luck doing the Naruto Run with a prostitute in bed. No word on whether the prostitutes are Americans or illegal aliens from outer space.

The Area 51 Naruto Run is a parody meme, do not take it seriously, and stay away from Area 51 for your own safety.

PERSONAL DISCLAIMER: I work in government I.T. for a three-letter agency in the United States. I will not be going, and I do not encourage you to go to the Area 51 Naruto Run. This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only.

Late Night (2019) Movie Review

Last week I saw a preview showing of Late Night, an R-rated movie about late night television, opening in limited release this weekend and wide release next weekend. Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, a white, middle-aged English talk show host who never had a female writer on her all-male writing staff. Mindy Kaling, the writer and producer for Late Night, plays Molly Patel, a woman of color who becomes the first female writer for the show. What could possibly go wrong in this comedy-drama? Quite a bit.

The first thing you may notice when watching Late Night is that Amazon Studios is behind this movie. They bought the distribution rights for $13 million USD after Late Night premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Late Night is the first of ten titles that Amazon Studios will bring out to theaters in 2019. I’ve seen one reviewer mistakenly refer to Late Night as an Amazon Prime video. Then again, who knew that Amazon was in the film distribution business?

Late Night opens and closes with Katherine Newbury walking up to the studio camera to deliver her monologue. Craig Ferguson did that for his monologue on The Late Late Show on CBS, getting up close to his audience and talking in front of the studio camera. Every other late-night host does the long-distance camera shot of walking out to the middle of the stage for their monologue.

You can tell that this movie was made on a budget since the distance from curtain to studio camera is short, the musicians are standing up against a nearby wall, and the studio audience is always the same people.

The head of the television network informs Katherine that she is being replace after the season with a younger white male comedian whose material is edgier.  Changing the host of a late-night television show can be a source of great drama in real life. The most notable example was Johnny Carson retiring from The Tonight Show after 30 years in 1992. Carson wanted David Letterman from Late Night to replace him. But NBC signed up Jay Leno instead, and Letterman moved to CBS to start The Late Show in the same time slot as The Tonight Show.

As panic settles in, Katherine meets with her writing team to jump start her show. She fires several writers out of hand for disagreeing with her and assigns numbers to the rest since she doesn’t know their names. If that wasn’t bad enough to put the writers on edge, Molly joins as the first female writer and becomes writer number eight.

Molly’s previous job was in quality control at a chemical plant. She won a contest to meet any executive in the company and used that opportunity to meet a network executive at the parent corporation to arrange for an interview at The Katherine Newbury Show. That’s like someone at a chemical plant owned by Comcast asking to see a NBC executive to arrange an interview at The Tonight Show.

The writing staff tries a lot of different ideas to see what sticks. One idea was to show off old and new media by interviewing an up-and-coming YouTuber, Zoe Martlin, played by Halston Sage of The Orville, who made her claim to fame by doing dog videos. That goes downhill in hurry when Katherine asks Zoe why she didn’t make cat videos. YouTube in the early days was well known for cat videos. Zoe unleashes a lecture on why old media needed new media before walking off the stage, leaving Katherine perplexed by the sudden change in attitude.

After Katherine revives her show by embracing her white privilege for edgier comedy, she sabotages her future replacement from getting her job. Not surprisingly, hacked emails from a male writer whom she had an affair with appears in the press. That writer leaves the show and leaves the other writers uncertain how to proceed. She believes that the scandal would doom her chances of saving her career and her marriage, sending her off on an emotional roller coaster. With forgiveness from her husband, played by John Lithgow, who is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, she makes a confession in the monologue of her show. The scandal becomes a minor speed bump to successfully reviving the show.

I found this part of the movie very interesting, as David Letterman went through a similar episode ten years ago. He confessed his affairs with female staffers on the air after a CBS employee tried to blackmail him for $2 million USD. The studio audience thought he was joking until it became clear that he was being serious. He went to the district attorney’s office, the police set up a sting operation, and the person was arrested and later sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation. I don’t think Letterman suffered any long-term consequences after his public confession. If he made that confession in the era of #metoo, he probably wouldn’t have a job.

Late Night is the kind of movie where I listen to the audience to see what they laugh at. Most romantic comedies, or chick flicks, are usually hit and miss when it comes to audience laughter. A bad movie would have 25% of the audience laughing, and an average movie would be 50%. The audience laughter in Late Night was consistent throughout the whole movie. The last movie that I saw with that much audience laughter was Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in 2009.

This blog post is not a paid promotion even though AMC and Gofobo provided two free tickets for a friend and I to see Late Night before it opens to the general public. Gofobo is a website that offers free tickets by invitation to see preview screenings of the newest movies. I’m under no obligation to make this video and Gofobo provided no editorial guidance for this video.

Disney’s Aladdin (2019) Movie Review

Earlier this week I saw a preview showing of Disney’s Aladdin, the live action version of the 1992 animated version. Will Smith replaces Robin Williams as the blue-skinned Genie, providing not only the voice but also the physical presence on the big screen. I had my doubts on whether he could pull that off. Robin Williams was a legendary comedian and the Genie was one of his most iconic roles. Never mind that I’ve never seen the animated version of Disney’s Aladdin.

The new Aladdin starts off on a boat with a father played by Will Smith, a little boy and a little girl, and a mother we hear but won’t see until the end of the movie. The father tells the children about Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, kicking off the first song called Arabian Nights. Arabian Nights is the English name for a collection of Middle Eastern folktales called One Thousand and One Nights. This collection featured the original story, “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp,” “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad.” 

The premise of Aladdin should be familiar to most people who grew up on the original folktales. An evil sorcerer sends a young thief to steal the lamp from the magic cave, and the thief uses his three wishes to escape the cave, becomes a prince and overcome the evil sorcerer. Throw in a Disney princess and a soundtrack, you got a whole new family classic that is better than the original folktale.

Since this is a Disney movie, I’m going to skip the plot highlights and focus on the main characters.

  • Marwan Kenzari plays Jafar the evil sorcerer, who seems too squeaky clean to come across as evil until he kills a servant who reminded him that he was still the second most powerful man after the sultan in the kingdom.
  • Mena Massoud plays Aladdin the thief, and later Prince Ali, who stays one step ahead of the guards while stealing for a living and running freely throughout the city.
  • Naomi Scott plays Princess Jasmine, who can really sing the new theme song, “Speechless,” and pushes back against the conventions that others try to push on to her.
  • Will Smith, of course, plays Genie, who really surprised me by his ability to sing and play a very over the top character that is quite different than past roles.

I’ve read some complaints about why Genie doesn’t free himself from the lamp if he is so powerful. Pay very close attention to what Genie says to Aladdin about the limitations of his power after they first meet. Will Smith does a very good job at expressing the nuances in what Genie can and cannot do with his powers.

While I haven’t seen the animated version, I thoroughly enjoyed this live action version.

This blog post is not a paid promotion even though See It First provided two free tickets for a friend and I to see Aladdin three days before it opened to the general public. See It First is a website that offers free tickets by invitation to see preview screenings of the newest movies. I’m under no obligation to write this blog post and See It First provided no editorial guidance for this video.

What 56% Of Americans Don’t Know About Arabic Numerals

A survey question by Civic Science found that 56% of Americans are against teaching Arabic numerals to kids. What are Arabic numerals? Zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. The everyday numbers that schools have taught kids in the West for the last 800 years. Snopes weighed in with a “true” rating, noting that the survey was like another viral survey question from December 2015. Public Policy Polling found that 41% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats were in favor of bombing “Agrabah,” the fictional city of Disney’s Aladdin. I very much doubt that Will Smith will be singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, Agrabah,” in the live action version of Disney’s Aladdin at the movie theaters this week. What does the survey questions about Arabic numerals and Aladdin reveal about Americans?

Arabic, sometimes called Hindu-Arabic, numerals were first invented around 500 CE in India, and used extensively by Arabic mathematicians in Baghdad in the centuries thereafter. The Arabs brought not only Arabic numerals to the West, but also fractions, decimal point, and algebra that formed the mathematical basis of modern science. The finalized form of Arabic numerals that we use today came to Europe in the 13th century CE. Arabic numerals became the rage when the Norte Dame Cathedral in Paris finished building in the same century. As scientists discovered when the cathedral caught on fire last month, 800-year-old timber burns a lot faster than brand new construction timber. Arabic numerals replaced Roman numerals to become the standard numeral system around the world.

The Civic Science survey question showed that most Americans are prejudice towards anything associated with the word “Arabic” in particular and the Middle East in general. However, I find the breakdown in responses as a reflection of education in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25% of Americans have a college degree. Most college degree programs require algebra and calculus for graduation, exposing students to the history of Arabic numerals and Arab contributions to science.

The 29% of Americans who wanted Arabic numerals taught in schools were probably college educated or have a personal interest in mathematics. As for the 15% of Americans who have no opinion, they were being honest for not knowing and withholding judgment on what Arabic numerals were. If the high schools ever taught critical thinking, most Americans should have been for No Opinion.

A somewhat interesting coincidence that Civic Science asked about the Arabic numerals prior to Disney coming out with a live action version of their animated Aladdin. The Public Policy Polling asked their survey question about bombing the fictional city of Aladdin in the run up to the 2016 presidential campaign, as the debate over Iran’s compliance with the nuclear treaty got underway. They based the survey question on Senator John McCain singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran” in tune to an old Beach Boys song during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Disney’s Aladdin had permanently fixed the story as being Persian and in the city of Agrabah even though the original text mentions neither nationality nor geography. The story may have been set in Western China, which, at one point, was part of the Persian Empire. For those of you who don’t know, Iranians are Persians and not Arabs. Replace Iran with Agrabah in the survey question, most Republicans and some Democrats would bomb the heck out of it. Never mind that Agrabah was a fictional city created by Disney, which might have been an alternative name for Baghdad in Iraq since the animated version of Aladdin came out a year after the Gulf War ended.

The brilliant minds who brought us the Second Iraq War with a $1+ trillion USD price tag 15 years ago are in the White House today, pushing for war with Iran on purpose or by accident. Something to think about while watching Will Smith in the live action version of Aladdin.

Nick Fury As Spider-Man’s New Daddy

A new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home dropped this week, prefaced with an Avengers Endgame spoiler warning from Tom Holland. If you haven’t seen Endgame after it made over $2.5 billion at the box office, don’t watch the new trailer or continue reading. After the first trailer dropped three months ago, I made a video speculating who would make a better father figure to a young Peter Park, Tony Stark or Nick Fury. With Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame behind us, and Far From Home coming out on July 5, 2019, let see how well my speculations held up.

My most glaring error was that Peter Parker was already on his school field trip in Europe when he ditched the school bus to join Tony Stark at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. I speculated that the timeline would reset in Endgame and Far From Home would resume with him ditching the school bus to join Nick Fury instead. The school field trip in Infinity War was to the Modern Museum of Arts in New York City. The school field trip in Far From Home was to Europe during summer vacation.

Because the timeline was not reset in Endgame, Far From Home will take place six years after Spider-Man: Homecoming. Endgame starts three weeks after Thanos snapped his fingers to eliminated one-half of all life in the universe at the end of Infinity War.

Captain Marvel shows up, rescues Tony Stark and Nebula in space, and takes the Avengers to the planet Titan, where they discover that Thanos used the Infinity Stones to destroy the Infinity Stones. If she used her superhero powers to reset the timeline all by herself, Endgame would have been a much shorter movie and spared my bladder from three hours of trauma.

Yes, Captain Marvel is that powerful.

Endgame skips ahead five years to when Antman gets out of the quantum realm, finds the Avengers, and convince them go on a cosmic treasure hunt to collect the Infinity Stones from parallel timelines since the past cannot change. Add another six months for Fat Thor to sober up, Tony Stark to build his time machine, and the rest of the universe returns from being snapped out of existence.

Peter Parker’s class, if not his entire high school and everyone in New York City, returns as if the timeline was reset. The population at large should be split between those who returned unchanged and those who stayed behind for six years. Maybe Thanos was a Republican who snap the Blue States like New York out of existence while leaving behind the Red States.

With Tony Stark dead at the end of Endgame, Nick Fury has no choice but to assume the father figure role for Peter Parker. Based on the new trailer, I no longer think that is the case. Nick Fury will put a boot up Peter Parker’s wazoo to get him to become Spider-Man. Happy, who was too friendly with Aunt May in the last trailer, will become the father figure that Peter Parker need to help get over mourning for Tony Stark.

An alternative theory is that Nick Fury is MJ’s baby daddy. Considering that Peter Parker’s last girlfriend’s father was the super villain Vulture, his next girlfriend having a superhero father wouldn’t be that far fetch. Nick Fury as Peter Parker’s father-in-law might be a boot too many up the wazoo.

Is Nick Fury’s MJ’s baby daddy?

Watching Avengers Endgame At Pruneyard Cinemas

I wasn’t planning to see Avengers Endgame during opening weekend since tickets were sold out two weeks in advance at many movie theaters in Silicon Valley. While AMC Theaters added more showings around the clock, I wasn’t going to see a sold out showing on Saturday at 4:30AM. A group of friends were seeing the movie at Pruneyard Cinemas in Campbell on Sunday at 6:00PM. One of them dropped out at the last minute and they asked me to join them. This was my first visit to Pruneyard Cinemas, a dine-in movie theater and restaurant that opened over a year ago.

Pruneyard Cinemas occupies the former locations for Pizza My Heart, Camera 7 movie theater, and a bar-and-grill restaurant. When entering the theater lobby, the kitchen doors and ticket kiosks are to the left, and the entrance to the restaurant is to the right. What was Pizza My Heart became the kitchen for the new establishment, and the old box office for Camera 7 became a storage room for the kitchen. The new restaurant is the Cedar Room with a bar along one wall and tables on the other side.

The layout of the theaters was no different than it was under Camera 7 for 15 years and United Artists for 43 years: Theaters 1 and 2 to the right, women and disabled restrooms straight ahead, Theaters 3 through 7 around the corner, men restroom up the stairs, and concession stand to the left. One notable change was the removal of the drop ceiling to reveal the wooden beams of the gable roof and open up the space overhead.

While food and drinks are available at the concession stand and bar, most people wait until they sat down inside the theater to order. The 6:00PM showing of Avengers Endgame was in Theater 2, the second of the two largest theaters. We were let into the theater 20 minutes before the movie started. Being a traditional movie theater, it was long and narrow. Each row had powered recliners with an attached table and cup holder that can swing inward. Unlike the powered recliners in a Dolby theater, these powered recliners can go all the way horizontal, if you like watching a movie between your feet or the first half of Avengers Endgame puts you asleep.

Waiters dressed in all black went down each row to take orders. I can’t say anything about the food since I don’t eat out at the movies and I’m not much of a foodie, but I did order a glass of Coke and a glass of water. My friends did order food and each one got a big plate, which smelled very good from where I was sitting, and they all reassured me that it was great. Most of the food arrived before the house lights dimmed for the trailers. If you’re into watching the trailers before the movie, you might find it distracting with waiters and busboys delivering food until the movie started.

Because this is a traditional movie theater, the screen was darker than the bright Dolby and IMAX screens. Our reserved seating was in the back center, which, in my opinion, was too far away from the screen for me to enjoy the movie. I felt like I was watching Avengers Endgame from the backseat of a car at a drive-in rather than at a dine-in. Food and ticket prices for the Pruneyard Cinemas is in line with other theaters in Silicon Valley, making it an reasonable alternative if you want to eat something better than plain old concession stand food.

Should You Keep A Brand New AM4 Mainboard With A “Damaged” Socket?

Last month I posted a video on how I installed the AMD Athlon 200GE processor into the AM4 socket of the Asrock B450M Pro4 MATX mainboard with a little bit of pressure. Despite the clicking sound from the socket, the processor worked fine after extensive tests at stock and overclock speeds. Should you keep a brand new AM4 mainboard with a “damaged” socket?

While switching out heatsinks to lower overclocking temperatures, I made an attempt to remove the processor from the socket. I lifted up the lever and heard a clicking sound when the socket was fully opened. I was able to pull out and drop in the processor without any pressure, and press down on the lever to close the socket without a clicking sound. After repeating that a half dozen times, the clicking sound went away and the processor still works fine.

The AM4 socket is a Zero Insertion Force, or ZIF, socket, which does not make clicking sounds or require pressure to insert a processor. Something funky about the socket on the mainboard that now works fine.

  • If you are a new or less experienced PC builder, you might find it safer to return the mainboard for another one with a working socket.
  • If you are an experienced PC builder, the risk of something going wrong might be less than the hassle of returning the mainboard to the store during the return period.

Let me know in the comments below if you would have kept a mainboard with a “damaged” socket.