My Top 10 TV Shows Viewed During 2015

Most of the shows I’m about to list didn’t first air in 2015, but all of them had at least half a season air in 2015.

  1. Rick and Morty – It felt like forever waiting for season 2 to come, but it did and it exceeded all of my expectations. This season got pretty heavy at times, but still managed to be just as hilarious.
  2. Nathan for You – People are weird. No, people are crazy. And it’s hilarious. That’s what Nathan for You does, it exhibits the craziness that is humanity via terrible business ideas that sometimes manage to work. I don’t want to give anything away, so just watch a single episode. I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I binge watched the whole series over 3 days, including Christmas.
  3. Mr. Robot – As someone who used to watch Burn Notice and Suits, I know how USA Network can ruin shows. None of them seemed to break through that “campy” feeling. But Mr Robot did just that. Season one was awesome.
  4. Mad Men – One of my favorite shows of all time came to an end this year. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it in my list. This show did such an amazing job of creating an atmosphere and really developing a whole world. It really felt like I was going back to the 60s and 70s for one hour every Sunday night.
  5. Last Week Tonight – The perfect spiritual successor to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. We’re in good hands with Jon Oliver. In fact, I find this show to be better than either of the other were towards the end of their runs.
  6. Master of None – This was a surpisingly enjoyable short series by Aziz Ansari released on Netflix this year. I found it very relatable. It was light and funny, and I found myself talking about it with friends on more than one occassion.
  7. Silicon Valley – This quickly became one of my favorite shows on TV following the ending of season 1, when the group came up with their middle-out compression algorithm with an hilarious discussion that I won’t get into here.
  8. Review – I think this Comedy Central show is getting overshadowed by shows like Nathan for You, but I find it very funny and it absolutely deserves some credit. “Life – it’s literally all we have, but is it any good?” The show follows a host as he reviews life experiences.
  9. Luther – I’m not a fan of cop dramas at all, but Idris Elba gives such a compelling performance every episode. Season 1 was definitely the show’s strongest, but I keep coming back for more.
  10. New Girl – I consider this one of those cheap, guilty pleasure-type shows that networks manufacture to appeal to mass audiences, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I feel no shame admitting that I find this show hilarious. I will say that like Luther, this show’s best season was definitely its first.

As you can see, I love comedies. I find them very easy to watch. They keep my attention and have short episodes that are easy to consume. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy being happy? If you haven’t yet seen them, I absolutely recommend Rick and Morty & Nathan for You. Those two shows are some of the best on TV in recent years.

I’ve watched a lot of TV this year. Some shows I feel deserve honorable mentions: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Louie, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park, Game of Thrones, Whose Line is it Anyway, Avatar: Legend of Korra, House of Cards, the Jinx, and Show me a Hero.

Some other shows I watched this year that I didn’t enjoy as much were: Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Parks and Recreation (Season 7), Heroes Reborn, Modern Family, the Muppets, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Narcos, Archer, True Detective (Season 2), The League, Fargo, and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

A few shows I have yet to watch and may in the future: Party Down, The Leftovers, The Wire, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and maybe DC’s several superhero shows like The Flash.

That about covers it! Let me know why you think Jessica Jones should be in my top 10 in the comments, because I’m sure that’s going to be the one that causes any readers the most grief.

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My Top 10 Movies of 2015

Let’s just get right into it. I’ll explain some things after the list. Here we go:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. The Martian
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Sicario
  5. Ant Man
  6. Creed
  7. Inside Out
  8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  9. Furious 7
  10. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

There are a few movies that are notably absent. Specifically Jurassic World, Max Max: Fury Road, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

  • I really did not enjoy Jurassic World. I found it to be over the top. It had a lot of bad acting and terrible plot holes. I see it as an unnecessary money grab that didn’t capture the original wonder of the first movie in the series. Also, I have a grudge against it for how much money it earned, which I think it didn’t deserve at all.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road was a really good movie. I just didn’t like it more than any one of the movies on my top 10 list. It probably would have been #11 or #12, had I made the list longer. The reason it’s so low? It’s a basic story where not a lot goes on. It didn’t really make me feel anything. It was more of a cinematic viewing experience than a well rounded film. Movies like Furious 7 and Mission: Impossible I enjoyed for their entertainment value more than Mad Max.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron was incredibly forgettable. It was enjoyable up until the credits started to roll, at which point I had lost all interest in thinking or talking about it. I had no desire to rewatch it. Nothing of meaning happens, other than some character development and set ups for Civil War.

There are several movies I still haven’t seen which could potentially break into the top 10. They are:

  • Black Mass
  • Spectre
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Concussion
  • Steve Jobs
  • The Revenant
  • The Hateful Eight

I’m not the biggest fan of Tarantino’s films. Frankly, the only movie out of these that has a decent opportunity of breaking into the Top 10 is The Revenant. Everything I’ve heard about the others doesn’t bode well for their chances.

In closing, if you haven’t yet seen The Martian, Ex Machina, or Sicario, SEE THEM NOW. I’ll just assume you’ve already seen Star Wars.

New Android Apps to Try!

It’s been a few months since my last post, so here are my latest recommendations:

Appchat – This app automatically creates or joins a chat room for every app you have installed on your phone. It’s brand new and still in development, but I really like the idea. I’m excited to see what they do with it.

Retry – New game by the people who made Angry Birds, if that’s your thing. But it’s nothing like Angry Birds, if that’s not your thing. It’s really just like a glorified Helicopter game, but it’s pretty fun.

Pocket Casts – I’ve recently gotten into podcasts again. I tried this app for a bit then immediately decided it was worth the money. Looks great and works flawlessly.

Google Voice – I don’t think I’ve recommended this yet, but I kind of have to. I have T-Mobile’s 100 minute prepaid plan. Now, I barely talk on the phone as it is, but Google Voice allows me to talk on the phone as much as I want without worrying. I can make and receive phone calls using my Google Voice phone number over data or wifi. I have 5 GB of data per month, so this is never an issue. Plus, since I’m on T-Mobile, no music streaming counts against my data usage.

Chrome Remote Desktop – This app is super easy to use and very reliable. Easiest solution for remote desktop connection from anywhere (not just for controlling Chrome, despite the poor name choice).

TWRP/SuperSU/FDroid/Xposed – You should really root your phone. But I’ll save that post for another day.

That’s all for now!

How to remove yourself from most background check sites and people search engines

I saw this post on reddit not too long ago and I’ve been meaning to share it here. Anyone who has read any of my stuff here knows that online privacy is a big interest of mine. A user on reddit, Paranoidsbible, has compiled a pretty comprehensive list of many people search engines and ways to remove yourself from their listings. ‘People search engines’ are sites like white pages, pipl, etc. which index peoples names, ages, addresses, and social media accounts. See the full list and explanations on reddit.

A while back I wrote a post for an old blog where I showed just how much information could be gathered about someone starting with nothing at all. To sum it up briefly, I decided I liked Scotties tissue box art so I typed in “scotties.com” and found it wasn’t owned by the company. Because I was curious, I used a WhoIS lookup to get the name of the person who owned the domain name. I was able to google that name and get the home address, age of the person, family members, Myspace & Facebook pages, car fan club memberships, posts on a forum over a 5 year span, and much more. A lot of this information was gained from these “people search engines”.

While this isn’t the original post, I cover some of this in a post here.

Some users on reddit have brought up the fact that it seems like you’re just providing more personal info to remove your info from these sites. That is true and I believe a legitimate concern. What reason do you have to trust them? However, that is not required for every website. It may be worth it to go through this and do it for at least a few sites. It’s not always about removing all your information, just making it more difficult to find.

What I learned running a fake Facebook account for 8 years

Eight years ago I created a fake Facebook account for a completely fake person. I’m not sure why exactly I did it, but half the reason was probably just to use it to mess with my friends. But for some reason I never deleted it year after year. I kept it going, visiting it every couple months to see how “Jake” was doing. And I actually ended up learning something from it.

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Recommended Android Apps (Late 2014)

Here’s a list I generated for a friend that includes apps I often recommend to people. These apps are well-designed and very good at what they do. Most are free, and I’m sure many are available on iOS too. However, all links in this post go to the Google Play Store.google-play-store-4-5-10

BASICS
Device Manager – Keep track of & control your phone in case you lose it.

Google Keyboard – Google’s official stock keyboard, pretty solid keyboard.

Swiftkey – IMO the best keyboard app ever. My first choice.

Messenger – Google’s SMS app. There are a bunch of other great SMS apps like Hangouts, Hello, and QuickSMS.

ENTERTAINMENT
Auralux – Great game. One of the few apps I’ve paid for the full version of. Free version has plenty too.

Google Sky Map – If you love space and enjoy looking up at the stars, this is a great app.

My Boy! – Gameboy emulator. There’s also emulators for SNES, NES, and a bunch of others.

Reddit News – My current favorite reddit app. Baconreader is also great. Reddit Sync and Reddit is Fun are also popular.

Viral Popup – Play YouTube videos in a pop-out window over other apps, or minimize and play in background.

AUTOMATION
IFTTT – “If this then that” a straightforward automation app that links with many services like Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, your phone’s settings, etc. Great UI, allows you to browse others’ automations. I use this for a bunch of things, but I’m most proud of one that I set up to automatically “clock me in/out” when I entered/exited a GPS radius where I work and log it to a Google Spreadsheet.

Llama – Worse UI than the other two, but still a great app for doing more complex things. I use this to enable screen rotation for specific apps, rather than leaving it on all the time.

Tasker – The most complex, yet comprehensive automation app. For advanced users only. This app can basically build other apps. “Amazing” is how I’d describe it.

Trigger – Nice UI, more about phone automation rather than syncing with other apps. I use this to automatically enable a “night mode” that changes the sound profile to ‘silent’, disables the notification light, and changes bluetooth/gps settings.

OTHER
Google Opinion Rewards – Get paid in Play Store credits to answer anonymous surveys. Free money.

Keedle – Basic drawing app, good for quickly drawing on pictures you take.

Moonshine Icon Pack – Nice set of icons you can use with Nova launcher.

Pocket – Save articles to read later.

Pushbullet – Pushes your phone notifications to your computer. Allows you to easily send files back and forth. Now allows you to send/reply to SMS from your computer!

QuickPic – The best gallery app for your phone.

SeatGeek – For finding cheap tickets to games/concerts/shows etc.

Unified Remote – Universal remote for your computer. Control itunes, vlc, chrome, netflix, plex, monitors, power, etc. The full version allows you to build a custom widget for your homescreen.

Untappd – Track/rate yer beers!

[Guest Post] Why You Should See Interstellar Right Now

Guest Post! This post was written by Alex Schechter and edited by myself. I very much enjoyed Interstellar too, but I thought it would be cool to bring in someone else’s opinion. Check out Alex’s detailed thoughts below.

Before you begin reading what I’m sure will be a rambling and only sc28cfc439ce01f52d156da54729013a0lightly coherent post please be aware of the following things: First of all this post is titled “…Should See Interstellar…”. This isn’t an article about why it’s a good movie (which I think it is) or an amazing work of art (yep, I think that too). It’s a post about the film industry in general and about trends we have already seen begin to develop. And this trend will only take a more dramatic hold in the coming five to ten years.

Second of all I’m an unapologetically huge Christopher (and John) Nolan fanboy. I’ve loved all of his movies of the past several years, even the Dark Knight Rises. His stringent use of real, live effects and props instead of using CGI astounds me. His somber tone and larger than life approach to filmmaking gives his movies something special. When you watch a Nolan movie, whether he wrote, directed, or even produced it, you know that it’s a Nolan movie. Perhaps what set people off of the 2013 movie Man of Steel was the contrast of Nolan’s solemn tone with the action-packed, in-your-face style of director Zack Synder (whose vision I also enjoy). In that movie you could truly see, in a very clear fashion, Nolan’s perspective and filmmaking process at work. (more…)